Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh! The Places You'll Go!

As I have been reflecting over this past year, I have been absolutely amazed at the number of changes that have taken place in such a seemingly short time. I have started a new job which required me to be away from my family for one month during a training period, I subsequently was forced to make an immediate move to another state. Then I lost my sweet father whom had been my anchor, strength or rock, if you will, for over half a century. The one thing that I am absolutely certain of is that change is inevitable!

The past two weeks have been a real test for me. I have been off work and able to be home but have faced a few health challenges...nothing huge, but definitely significant and potentially life-altering if not attended to. Thankfully, all is well. My doctors have done their jobs, proper meds have been prescribed and I am feeling great. But, during this "off" time, I have had cause to reflect on the Path my life is on and to really see if this is according to the "Script" that I wrote for myself. At times, I have seriously considered resigning from my job. Questions have arisen..."is it worth it to be away from the most important people in my life?"

That's HUGE!!

Discouragement has set in at times. Frustration, Consternation, Doubt and even Sadness has replaced, Hope, Excitement and Successes. Then I ran across a sweet children's book that put perspective back into my life. Perhaps you've heard of it...(WARNING...this is long, but worth the read!)

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!
by the incomparable Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go.

You’ll look up and down streets. Look’em over with care. About some you will say, “I don’t choose to go there.” With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet, you’re too smart to go down a not-so-good street.

And you may not find any you’ll want to go down. In that case, of course, you’ll head straight out of town. It’s opener there in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.

Oh! The Places You’ll Go!

You’ll be on your way up!
You’ll be seeing great sights!
You’ll join the high fliers who soar to high heights.

You won’t lag behind, because you’ll have the speed. You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead. Wherever you fly, you’ll be best of the best. Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.

I’m sorry to say so but, sadly, it’s true that Bang-ups and Hang-ups can happen to you.

You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch. And your gang will fly on. You’ll be left in a Lurch.

You’ll come down from the Lurch with an unpleasant bump. And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a Slump.

And when you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked. Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked. A place you could sprain both your elbow and chin! Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in? How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And if you go in, should you turn left or right…or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite? Or go around back and sneak in from behind? Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space, headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.

The Waiting Place…for people just waiting.

Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance. Everyone is just waiting.

No! That’s not for you!
Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying. You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing. With banner flip-flapping, once more you’ll ride high! Ready for anything under the sky. Ready because you’re that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all. Fame! You’ll be famous as famous can be, with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don’t. Because, sometimes, they won’t.

I’m afraid that some times you’ll play lonely games too. Games you can’t win ‘cause you’ll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not, Alone will be something you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants. There are some, down the road between hither and yon, that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go though the weather be foul. On you will go though your enemies prowl. On you will go though the Hakken-Kraks howl. Onward up many a frightening creek, though your arms may get sore and your sneakers may leak. On and on you will hike. And I know you’ll hike far and face up to your problems whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)

Kid, you’ll move mountains!
So…be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ale Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

So as I progress on my own personal journey, a simple children's book had lighted my way. I'm not sure what I'll do, but I am proud to say that I'll be sure when I step and I'll step with care and great tact, remembering always, that "Life's a Great Balancing Act!"


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thanksgiving; Where Are You?

As many of you know, my life has been turned upside down lately as I am literally juggling life from two different states. When I am home, those few precious days are usually spent catching up with dust mites, mopping sticky floors and reigning in other various household duties, not to mention spending time with my precious family...

I got back to Utah this past Monday morning at 2:00 AM. Yes, that's right, after a 12 hour duty day, I caught a flight out of San Francisco that delayed, delayed, delayed. No worries though, I got home and that's what ultimately matters. I promptly made a doctors appointment to check out my ticker that was acting up (hence the reason for coming home so early) only to discover that, although my heart is relatively healthy, it most definitely marches to the "beat" of it's own drum and I WILL have to have another heart procedure in the near future (ugh). But, thank goodness for modern medicine and modern surgeries that can ensure a better quality of life!

As I stopped by the pharmacy to pick up my newest meds, I was overwhelmed as I entered through the sliding doors of our friendly neighborhood market only to be overcome with the sweetest smells of my favorite holiday...yes, Christmas. I was bombarded by the sweet melodies of favorite Carols and my eyes beheld the sparkling hues of every tint of red and green imaginable. It was beautiful...but wait, it was only Nov. 7th...where are all the gorgeous Fall leaves, scarecrows and gourds? Where is the homey aroma of Pumpkin Spice, Cinnamon and Clove? Did I miss this entirely?

As much as I adore Christmas, I am willing to wait a mere 4 weeks until breaking out the stockings, trees, garlands and mistletoe. I think Thanksgiving is vital and extremely important. In fact, I even think that it is necessary to ensure a GREAT Christmas...

You see, I believe we live in a world of "Gimme". I see it in adults, teenagers and little children. I am appalled as I hear about rambling lists of requested items from one person to another regarding "what you CAN GET ME"...are you kidding me?

My personal feelings about Thanksgiving transcends way beyond the usual obscene, copious amounts of food injested in one sitting. I believe that it is a precursor to the celebration of one of the most beautiful holidays of the year..the celebration of our Savior's birth. Thanksgiving should be a time of pure reflection for the bounteous blessings we have all been granted during the year from the obvious to the sublime. It should set the tone for the holiday of "giving". It should be a time of verbal expressions of gratitude that would no doubt set the tone of thankfulness through the end of the year and hopefully into the New Year which could easily be carried through each month, day and minute if we truly allowed it it's place in November.

I am personally sickened at the gaudy display of commercialism that is creeping into our lives earlier and earlier. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the beautiful sights, smells and sounds of Christmas, but firmly believe that "to every thing there is a season". Our weak economy dictates which celebrations we can begin to focus on and ultimately overlooks the precious, non-commercial holidays that seem to somehow "interfere" with projected revenues for ailing businesses. How sad...

Shouldn't we be embracing a holiday that brings to the forefront, gratitude, thankfulness, giving and most importantly, humility? Wouldn't this ensure a better Christmas and foster a feeling and attitude of love and gratitude rather than entitlement and greed? Is it really necessary to provide lists of requested "items" in order to have a Happy Christmas? My sweet mother talks of her pure joy and excitement of receiving an Orange in her stocking on Christmas see, during the depression where she lived, oranges were not plentiful and considered a luxury item...It is one of her favorite gift memories, in fact, I have never heard her speak of another favorite gift.

What has happened to our society that we have allowed the most sacred holiday to lose it's pure and simple meaning? Maybe if we allowed Thanksgiving its rightful place and time, gave it the respect and dignity that it rightfully deserves, just maybe we would all have a more peaceful, enjoyable and precious Christmas. Maybe people would focus on the "Giving" of ones self and not just of giving tangible gifts that often leave us with a trail of debt. How many of us stress over finding something that someone has requested thinking that if we don't find it, WE will somehow be responsible for ruining THEIR Christmas? Has our culture really become that selfish and shallow that the success of a holiday depends on how much we spend on someone?

My favorite gifts are neighbor gifts. They are generally homemade and unsolicited. They usually are accompanied by a thoughtful poem or story that evokes a warm feeling within my heart. My *Littles* draw me pictures...sometimes scribbles and I have EVERY ONE that they have ever given me. They are created with pure love and joy and I see them with my heart as it is busy melting as I cherish each one...My dad used to to say, "Let's enjoy Christmas this year and NOT give any gifts!!" (By the way, he LOVED buying gifts for each of us) but I totally get what he meant. This should NOT be a time of stress and anxiety. Would our dear Lord and Savior want His birthday celebrated this way?

I personally am thankful for so many amazing blessings that have bounteously been bestowed on myself and my family. There is no room in one humble blog to list ALL of the tender mercies that we have experienced during this past year. I will most likely be flying November 24th and who know where I'll eat dinner...if I even get to get dinner that day. But it doesn't matter because I am just thankful that my family is healthy, happy and prosperous. Welcome are entitled to your day!