Happy Father’s Day !
~ A very happy FATHER’S DAY to all our fathers worldwide ~
~ A very happy FATHER’S DAY to all our fathers worldwide ~
My family is a military one – has been for generations. At one time, my grandfather (an inveterate veteran) declared, “If you’re from Texas and you’ve served your country, you’re an American, for sure!” He wasn’t from Texas, ‘nope, siree’ (as he would’ve said). But he did end up retiring in that great state. Sure he’d found God’s country, he adopted it.
For generations of our family, the terms “soldier” and “military” have never been equated with “anonymous.” It’s my shy and slender aunt who proudly sent back photos of her slight, feminine frame next to the towering military vehicles she drives. Inspired to join by stories of the patriotic WASPs, you can see how proud she is to be in charge of a vehicle so large a stepladder is required just to climb the huge tires to the driver’s seat. It’s Uncle Roy, who faithfully sent back his WWII paychecks to his orphaned siblings, who survived off his service. It’s our dear friend Dave, who is manning the local Buddy Poppy station in memory of all of our country’s fallen veterans this Memorial Day weekend, despite the physical and emotional scars he brought back from deployment.
Because it’s inherent in the very makeup of our genome, each culture has a tradition around the passing of life. Time is in the driver’s seat and Death is the passenger. So, the saying It’s not the destination so much as the journey has always rung true for me. We’re all travelers on a profound quest for experience and knowledge. And, while we don’t actively move ourselves toward that final destination, Death is one of only two shared primal commonalities – the other primal commonality being Life.
Life is the supremely awesome journey. To that serviceman and that servicewoman who has given life up so that others might continue with theirs – or begin it – our inexpressible gratitude. To those whose own lives were forcibly shunted toward that final destination, even if your name isn’t on a tribute to your service, you live through us. Without you, the rest of us around the globe, of different nationalities and creeds, those of us who hold faithfully to the concepts of free will and the freedom of self expression, we might have ended up living only the basest of lives – one of bodily survival – if it weren’t for you.
We worry about where nations’ elected leaders are steering us to. We worry that humans around the globe continue to be used as pawns for narrow-minded and selfish ends having so little to do, really, with self-defense. So, on this Memorial Day, may the rest of us, world-wide, remember our own most basic duty to fight as civilians against any government’s abuse of its most precious resource: our loved ones.
Depending on the day, I fill my travels with music, an audio book, simple silence or a podcast. Windshield wipers parting rivulets of spring rain at a traffic light, the right half of my brain lights up: my phone has just alerted me that the newest episode of A Playful Day has been uploaded. Immediately, I’m off. I’m mentally traveling to Dorset.
Watching the rain drenching the landscape around me, I wonder, “What’s the weather like right now in Dorset?” In my location, the weather has gone from a rainy 42 degrees Fahrenheit (5 C for my Celsius friends) to 72 F (22 C) and sunny and back within three days. Mostly, though, I’m thinking of my week and what seems like a never-ending treadmill of errands, chauffeuring and household chores. A Playful Day, however, energizes with the sense of possibilities.
What did Kate just say? Catching up with the new season of A Playful Day podcast, I’m excited about her new program format. The message is this: “A Playful Day is a place for makers to celebrate their craft, travelers to rest and friends to gather. This is a safe space that I created as a reminder to seek playful moments that invigorate us and make our hearts glad.” She asks us to share what creating means to us. On this rainy morning, I needed something sunny.
To me, creating is fulfilling my wish to join with my fellow life travelers in nourishing one another. This is akin to Kate’s vision of creating and promoting a community mindset vital to a world meant for us to enjoy. And now my thoughts aren’t running downward with the rain on my windshield but are reconnected with how excited I am about a chance to share the road with a community of fellow artists and travelers.
After a long day, and during our more difficult times, it’s easy to forget that we have some real control over our thoughts, feelings and energy – even for those of us that may be sensitive to seasonal affective disorder or depression. Take a moment right now – really, right now – to note what lifts you. Keep those things in mind and turn to them when your heart needs them. I made my way home that day through rainy thoughts with Kate’s soothing podcast and was reminded of how important it is to be mindful of where we choose to spend our energy. Do our choices reflect caring for ourselves? Sometimes, for me, it means taking the longer but more beautiful way home because it gives me time to decompress.
What resources do you turn to on “rainy” days? What lifts your thoughts and energy? I’d love to hear from you in the comments and to be a part of sharing with one another.
Sunny travels to you, my friends.
Glad of my car’s heater one early winter morning, I watch as a motorcyclist seamlessly weaves in and out of lanes. Freeway magic happens when there’s a willing give and take between motorists. No sudden flash of red from a brake light. No strident horn admonishing a thoughtless or aggressive driver. And this motorcyclist was practically gifted, riding the line between herself as a nearly-pedestrian, fragile human and we armored, powerful motorists.
As motorists, we’re insulated behind dashboard and glass, engine and headlights. Within our private space, driving can be a mindless activity, so our thoughts drift with the currents of our day – with the planning of tomorrow and worrisome leftovers from yesterday. Our agendas harry us and it’s not empty air the noses of our cars push against but time. Still, every intersection brings us together with those traveling with us for a time, those we perceive to be going in a direction contrary to ours and those who travel a path seemingly totally disconnected to our own. However, there are realities beyond that place where we find ourselves at any point in time, such as: We are never the first or the last; we will sometimes lead and sometimes follow. Most importantly, we won’t get very far going it alone (i.e., someone has to run the fuel stations, tow trucks and repair shops).
Admiring and anxious for her at the same time, the weaving motorcyclist reminds me that each wheeled machine holds at least one precious, fragile human body in its mechanical palm. We can tend to forget that it’s not really just cars and trucks we share the road with.
May we never forget we need to take care – of ourselves and others.