My Declaration of Independence

For quite a while now, I’ve needed to find a release for these thoughts welling up in my soul, and so tonight I make my

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

  1. Being a meek soul who never, until recently, took a risk to try anything new, in the words of my dear friend Brian White, I declare my right to dare to suck. I declare my right to try something new every day, something I love, something I’ve always wanted to do but was too afraid to try due to my fear.
  2. Tonight I declare my right as an individual to speak truth, to search for honesty, to say what I mean, but to say it in a way that is gentle and kind without coming across as blunt or insensitive.
  3. I declare my right to be myself, to love what I love, to love whom I love, and to be loved.
  4. I declare my right to make my own mistakes without someone else stepping into my life to control me so that I can’t learn how to make my own choices. I want to learn to make good choices even if I have to first pay the consequences of bad choices.
  5. I declare my right to open myself up to you, to believe you when you say that you will listen and that you will be my friend, even as you volunteer to hear the same story dozens of times. Remember I am learning. It takes time for me to process the lesson that will eventually sink into my own heart and mind and soul.
  6. I also declare my right to close the gate to my inner me if you betray me. Cordial we shall be but close nevermore. That ship will have sailed.
  7. I declare my right to maintain my vulnerable, childlike soul. I declare my right to believe you when you say I can tell you anything, and I trust you to maintain confidentiality when you give me your word.
  8. I have the right to walk away from you if you say one thing to my face and say another thing behind my back.
  9. I declare my right to sing, good or bad, as I make my joyful noise.
  10. I declare my right to find the good in all souls but to protect myself from the bad that hides itself in those dark areas.
  11. I declare my right to be a writer, even if I am not published.
  12. I declare my right to be a musician, even if I can’t play all the notes.
  13. I declare my ability to communicate with animals because they speak a language of love.
  14. I declare myself to be your friend who will never betray you.
  15. I declare myself the right to make mistakes, and I don’t need you to point them out.
  16. I declare my right to seek God without outside interference.
  17. I declare my right to fight for the underdog, even if I am the underdog.
  18. I declare the right to call you on your lies and to turn away when you won’t take responsibility for them. I refuse to accept your negativity or blame.
  19. I declare the right to turn away from violence.
  20. I declare my right to take the high road, a lesson I learned through a song written by one of those souls who is a gift from God and a rare treasure.
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Take these broken wings

I present to you a blog about birds, laced with metaphors, subtext, and me. I hope you understand.

I want to fly. I want to travel, to go to Ireland. I want to do things I’ve never done. I want to write a book. I want to write a song. I want to sing. I want to paint, to draw, to write poems, to create. So do it, you say.

I have been making progress. It takes time you know, to learn, to figure out how all of this works. And I will continue. Soon. But right now I’m on my perch.

Perching birds are called passerines, so go ahead and call me a passerine. The name means sparrow shaped. Passerines are songbirds. So maybe perching is just natural for me. I aim to soar. But I’m not an eagle. I’m not a bird of prey.

I am a passerine like a sparrow or a raven or a cuckoo. Yes, go ahead and laugh. It’s all starting to make sense now. Just remember it’s only natural for a passerine to perch.

Ornithologists tell us passerines are the most advanced birds, as well as the most adaptive and the most intelligent. Though they perch, they aren’t necessarily caged.

Need I remind you that blackbirds are passerines too? Thank you, Paul McCartney for creating a song for me. I’m sure there were others more worthy than I to be the subject of a song, but for someone who understands what it’s like to live with broken wings, your song is my epiphany.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

I know my moment has arisen, but I’m still learning. And learning and practicing, and learning and practicing can be exhausting. Sometimes I need to rest and to observe. I’m steadying myself and resting for a bit, locked in for safety’s sake.

Perching birds do that, you know. As they sleep, the muscles in their little legs actually “lock in” so that they don’t fall while they are sleeping. Of course, all birds, all beings, need to rest. But resting for a passerine is dangerous. It’s easy for a predator to swoop in and devour the vulnerable bird.

Though passerines are wild and free, there’s something to be said for the kind souls who provide these birds with shelter, building them birdhouses, filling their bird feeders and baths. And thankfully, though they love them so, these kind souls don’t try to cage the birds. When the birds need to fly, they fly. But they come back. They are caught but not caged.

I’m sure all passerines appreciate a safe place to land, especially the blackbirds.

And by the way, there are a couple things I might add about blackbirds. They like to sing particularly after a rain. Listen closely, for their first songs of the year are usually heard at the end of January or early February.

As for myself, I have been flying into the light of a dark black night for sometime now. I’m weary, so I’m perching. I’m thankful not to be caged, but I wouldn’t mind being caught.

Has anyone ever written anything for you?

EBAY 6 003

Funny how one thing leads to another.

I was out doing errands this morning when a Stevie Nicks song came on the radio. I didn’t get a chance to hear all of it, so I marked my mental “to do” list to go home and to look up the song so that I could see if I wanted to learn how to play it.

I never made it to  the song on the radio because the title of another one of her songs caught my eye, one I’d never before heard—“Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You.”

One of the verses goes like this:

“Has anyone ever given anything to you
In your darkest hours
Did you ever give it back
Well, I have
I have given that to you
If it’s all I ever do
This is your song”

The song isn’t written in what I call a standard format, but it ends with these lines:

“So, if not for me, then
Do it for yourself
If not for me then
Do it for the world”

Of course, I looked up the lyrics and listened to the song. I could barely breathe as the song was so hauntingly beautiful. And, as I always do whenever I hear a song that moves me, I researched it. I can’t verify the facts because I haven’t talked to Stevie herself, but supposedly the liner notes from her TimeSpace explains her inspiration :

Stevie had just finished a gig and then walked into a party at the hotel where she was staying. She saw this guy from across the room and immediately fell in love (something she does not / did not believe possible):

No, it wasn’t Lindsey Buckingham. It was Joe Walsh.

He held out his arms to her, and she walked right into them. Two days later he took her for drive in the mountains of Colorado to a “magical park” where he used to take his little girl. Joe had a special connection with his daughter, a connection that only a parent understands, a connection that can only be experienced, not transformed into words on paper. I suppose Joe felt totally vulnerable and REAL around her because she was so pure, so innocent. Her only complaint in life was that she was too little to reach the water fountain in the park.

This story is sad because this sweet little being he loved so much, the one he could truly connect with, died. I don’t know how. Joe’s heart must have ached for her. In dealing with his grief, he built a fountain for her and all the others too little to reach “it.” And Joe wrote a song for her, titled “Song for Emma.” Here are a few of the words:

“There’s a feeling I get
When I look to the sky
As if someone is watching
Someone hears every word

We are filled with regrets
It was such a short time
But we told Him we loved you
Hoping somehow He heard
We hoped He heard”

As the story goes, Stevie was so moved by what Joe told her on their drive and during the visit to the park that she wrote the song “Has Anyone Ever Written Anything for You” for Joe.

And for this reason, I feel a connection with Joe Walsh and Stevie Nicks. We’re all seeking relief, love, and answers. We look in different places, but we all look. You look. The person in line with you at the grocery story is looking. It doesn’t matter what sins or troubles he or she wears. The person is looking, seeking, needing.

I am a writer of songs. I know that what I write is for myself, not for a commercial market. Writing helps me digest life experiences and gives them meaning in my world.

I am a collector. I don’t collect fine things that cost a lot of money. I collect things that remind me of people and the experiences I’ve encountered.

Today’s journey through song was quite serendipitous for me. Only by chance, or better yet, God’s design, did everything line up at just the right time, just the right moment, so that I would do the research, hear the song, discover the meaning, and remember, the wonderful experience I had talking with Joe Walsh about one of his songs he wrote—inspired by his music hero, Jimi Hendrix.

Isn’t it amazing how we’re all connected in one way or another? The experiences. The songs. The journeys. The inspiration. The meaning our experiences bring to our lives.

There is dire conflict in the media today, such a clash between religion and beliefs and tolerance and intolerance.

God created each one of us and gave us the freedom to choose. We can’t force people to love us, and who would want a relationship with someone forced to love us? Do we expect God to want anything less?

Just because people don’t love us doesn’t mean we don’t love them. Right? You can’t stop love. God still loves people who don’t love Him. So why do we spend all of our time yakking about the sins of somebody else when we’ve got enough troubles of our own? Is God not big enough to handle the situation? He knows why they (we) do what they (we) do.

But what do I know?

God created each one of us, and each one of us has a purpose. We choose our own destiny. But God’s plan is always fulfilled. He orchestrates all lives so beautifully that a grand purpose is accomplished. I can’t explain it. I can’t comprehend it. But I can feel it. And write about it—in a blog , in a book, or in a song.

So thank you, God, that I was able to connect with a couple of human beings through song this morning. We may not think the same way, we may not share the same talent, we may not share the same beliefs, but I know You are pretty proud of them and of me too even when we break Your heart.

A Note to My MiniMe

EMILY

I find quotes on the Internet all the time. I never take time to write them down, but bits and pieces of them resonate with me, even if I can’t remember the whole thing. Some of them are just too good not to share.

And since I don’t have daughters or nieces, I’ll dedicate this blog to the daughter of my cousin–not just because of the funny cartoon of us she created and shared on Facebook but also because of her passion for music and writing.

I hope I can inspire her to follow her dreams. My 200th blog post is for Emily.

Dear MiniMe,

f there is anything you should latch onto in this life, it is love. I don’t know a whole lot, but here are a few things I do know.

You are beautiful. God created you just the way your are. You don’t have to mold yourself to be anyone else’s dream girl. So get used to who you are before people try to change you to be who they want you to be. Learn to LOVE YOURSELF. You can’t love anyone else before you love yourself.

Love everyone, even the people who hurt you. And there will be people who hurt you. There are many types of love. Give the right type of love to the right person. Love doesn’t mean you have to change who you are. Sometimes the best way to love someone is to say NO. Some day you’ll become a mom. You’ll have to learn that the word NO keeps you and your children safe. (Remember that the next time your parents say NO.)

Your Great Aunt Ann (my mom) told me never, ever to forget that actions speak louder than words. Many people will make promises, but only a few will live up to them. Keep these words close to your heart every time a cute little boy looks your way. If you want to know if he’s nice, notice how he treats you–not what he says to you.

Some day you will like boys. I don’t know if you think they’re yucky or cool right now. But guard your heart and don’t give it to the first one who asks. You know how I mentioned I like quotes? Here’s the last one I found. It actually came to me as one of my Quotes of the Day sent to me in my email:

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep… wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you’ re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have YOU… The one who turns to his friends and says, that’s her.”

There is ONE LINE in this quote that really made me take notice. It’s the part about finding the guy who “will stay awake just to watch you sleep.” I know it sounds a little sweet and a little creepy too. But let me tell you why I like this. When your Aunt Ann was so terribly sick, she was very afraid to go to sleep at night. She was afraid to be alone if something happened. My daddy, your Uncle Bud, would stay awake until she fell asleep on the nights she really needed him. He didn’t have to. He wanted to. He loved her that much. He watched her while she slept.

And like she used to tell me, love is not what you say–it’s what you do.

Love God, above all. Love yourself, and love others.

The best way to love others is to be yourself. Be honest. Never lie. Be caring–but don’t let people take advantage of your caring. (Don’t forget. Sometimes the best way to love some people is to tell them NO. Hopefully, they will learn they can’t always get their way by pushing others around.)

And you shouldn’t push others around either. There’s a big word for that–manipulation. It means to trick others. Don’t trick others by pretending to care about them just so you can get them to do something for you. Don’t pretend to care about others to get attention or to make you feel good about yourself.

Love is a verb. (I’m an English teacher. I had to throw that in there.)  Love is what you do,  not what you say.

Your parents and grandparents love you very much. That’s why they do things for you. (Don’t forget to do things for them too.)

Some day you will fall in love, and you will wonder, “Hmm. Does he love me too?” Here is one way to help you know. It comes from another quote I found: “The best possible thing you can get out of a relationship is that you’re with someone who encourages you to be the best version of yourself everyday.

Did you get that? The person who loves you will always encourage you to be the best YOU you can be.

I love you, My Little MiniMe.

WORDS OF WISDOM
Cherish the friend who tells you a harsh truth, wanting ten times more to tell you a loving lie.  ~ Robert Brault

If you’re alone, I’ll be your shadow.  If you want to cry, I’ll be your shoulder.  If you want a hug, I’ll be your pillow.  If you need to be happy, I’ll be your smile.  But anytime you need a friend, I’ll just be me.  ~ Author Unknown

MUSIC NOTES
When you’re down and troubled / And you need a helping hand / And nothing, nothing is going right / Close your eyes and think of me / And soon I will be there /To brighten up even your darkest night  ~ written by Carole King, performed by James Taylor

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN_HVup9oOg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WK0z87WrhGo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE9NGS8Ynvk
(Okay, a couple of these are really Old School, but they still give me warm fuzzies inside and just make me smile.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

Love Never fails

This writer’s early Letter to Santa

santa_claus_letter

Dear Santa,

I know it’s early, but I’ve noticed  the Christmas trees and the Halloween pumpkins are already competing for aisle space at the local Walmart. I’m sure you’ll be swamped this year filling stockings. Heaven forbid you have to stand in line on a Black Friday because your elves didn’t make their quota. The North Pole may melt before you make it back to load the sleigh.

So, I’m getting my list in early. You know I’m a writer, but I’m not asking for books or pens or laptops this year. I want something to elevate my mood, to entertain my Inner Child. It’s awfully hard for the writer to write when the writer has a bad case of the blues or the blahs.

So, if you don’t mind, could you please ask your elves to set aside these five things  just for me. I’ve been really good this year–except for the time I backed into the mail truck and all the times I got in trouble for not turning in my attendance on time. Other than that, I don’t think I’m on your naughty list. So here goes. You can start packing now. (Well, let me rephrase that. Maybe you’d better leave the Daisy Red Rider with Mrs. Santa and stay out of the malls.)

My List

I want PURPOSE. Michael W. Smith told me during one of our interviews that teenagers need a place to “plug in.” Smitty was right. We all need a place to “plug in,” a place to feel as though that’s where we belong. Right now I have a music studio that gives me a sense of purpose, a place to “plug in.” I hope I can keep it, and I hope it gives others a place to plug in as well. There are a lot of stage moms and dads out there who want their children to become stars. I don’t want that, Santa. I can’t make anyone a star. I just want a place where kids, from ages 9 to 99, can find their purpose . I know how it feels to be “disconnected.” I worked with teens in church settings for years. However, when we moved to a larger church, I lost my purpose because I didn’t feel needed. I kind of got bumped out of the jobs I used to do. I want to be needed. I want to have purpose. I want to help other people have purpose too.

I want TRUST. All people need security in their lives. I need security in mine. I feel secure when I know I can trust the people around me. I want truth. Truth builds trust. I like it when people tell me the straight-up truth. I never ask anyone to spare my feelings. Spare the white lies. I trust people who aren’t afraid to tell me I’m doing something wrong. I trust people who aren’t afraid to tell me they are doing something that might upset me.

I want LAUGHTER. Here’s a secret. I think you’ve done a pretty good job in the past with this request. I’ve had a lot of students in my class who have made me laugh. Please don’t stop sending me those people, in my class, on my job, on the streets. Laughter is good medicine. I know a lot of teachers have a tough time with the class clowns, but those students usually end up being my favorites. Please don’t send me the ones whose humor belittles or whose humor is crude. I don’t like sight gags much either, and I don’t even want to talk about flatulence. That kind of humor just stinks. But word play, mild pranks, good natured teasing? I’ll take that.

FYI, some of my former students must have been special delivery gifts from you, dear Santa. They were a hoot–even though they drove me crazy. And yes, I have forgiven all of them for their shenanigans.

(By the way, thank you. Clark and Darrell, I forgive you for sticking my hall pass to the ceiling each day. Nick, I forgive you for leaving campus to “borrow” a backhoe to dig into the methane pockets surrounding our school. Hayley and the Ditzy Chicks, I forgive you for the utter chaos you conjured in Room 32. Tonya and the Couch Crew, I forgive you for delivering a couch to my classroom so that I could counsel you all on your many problems–you certainly had them. Amy, I forgive you for starting a dance party when I stepped out of the room. Juli, I forgive you for catapulting a stuffed groundhog at me as I walked through the door. Curtis, I forgive you and the others for hiding behind the lockers and leaving me a “Gone Fishing” note. Emily and Ashleigh, I forgive you for “rolling” my room and getting me in trouble with the principal on Halloween. You meant no harm.)

Any person who wants to win my heart just has to make me smile. I’m a sucker for the kid who never grows up.

I want DEPTH. God gave me a pretty good brain. It’s creative. I don’t want to dull it through countless hours of watching TV. I want to think, I want to create, I want to discover. So, Santa, please wrap up some opportunities for me to write songs that mean something, to explore new places–Ireland perhaps, to read words that inspire and challenge, and to talk with people who can communicate with me on my level.

I want LOVE. I know, I know, Santa. Love is not in your department. And don’t send me to Cupid, either. True love comes from God. So if you can’t deliver love, I’ll take the next best thing–Starbucks. So, Santa Baby, you can slip a Starbucks gift card under my tree. I’ve been an awfully good girl.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
One, two, three, ready, set, GO! It’s a proven fact that Santa stops at my blog first. Leave your Letter to Santa in the comments. Who knows? You may get exactly what you want.

WORDS OF WISDOM
If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give.  ~ George MacDonald

What we are is God’s gift to us.  What we become is our gift to God.  ~  Eleanor Powell

MUSIC NOTES
No more lives torn apart / That wars will never start / And time will heal our hearts / Every man will have a friend / That right will always win / And love will never end / This is my grown up Christmas List  ~  Monica

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCf2PoTuh4Q

http://theboot.com/blake-shelton-god-gave-me-you-lyrics/

FINAL THOUGHT

GIFT

Waiting on 9-11

life

It’s a page turner, ain’t it?

Every day we write ourselves a book. Life is a book, unpredictable. Sometimes we get so anxious, wondering what’s going to happen next, we push it and try to skip forward to the end.

Nope, don’t do it. Wait. Read every page. Every page. Examine it. Ponder it. Reflect upon it. Tomorrow will be here soon enough. If it’s not here, then we won’t have to worry about it, will we?

You’ve done that before, right? Skipped the pages because you couldn’t wait to find out? I bet you had to go back and re-read so that you could understand what was going on.

Me too.

Every day is a new story with pertinent information that will help us understand tomorrow, so don’t go so fast. Reflect. If you skip the details and rush the end, you may miss the significance.

I have had a terrible time focusing the last couple of years. I haven’t been able to read anything but road signs. Sometimes I even miss them. I tried to explain my trouble to the cop who clocked me going 35 in a 15-mph speed zone.

Nobody told me that’s what the new sign meant. I should have paid attention to the details so I didn’t have to pay the triple-digit ticket.

I teach three dual-enrollment college classes. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been talking about remembering an event and creating a narrative.

My students lead the class, and one of them drew a diagram of a dramatic arc on the page. She explained the importance of providing the background details, setting the stage, adding the conflict, reaching a turning point and, finally, coming to a conclusion.

Those elements are the essence of life, each day. Each day is a brand new story.

But the main lesson I sought to teach my kiddos is that whatever they choose to write about, their story has to have the MAIN thing. That thing is significance.

All day long today on 9-11, I’ve been waiting for something to happen. My anxiety levels are at high alert.

I’m ready to turn the page, skip to the end.

I can’t. And it doesn’t matter anyway. I’m not in control of anything but myself. I can’t change anyone but me, and I can’t stop the world.

If I were to skip to the end, I would miss out on the details. I would miss out on how this page prepares me for the next. I would miss out on the significance.

I believe in serendipity, fortunate accidents, but I can’t predict them. I just have to deal with them when they happen.

I also believe everything happens for a reason and that all things work positively for those who love God and who are part of His plan.

It’s not up to us to change his plans. I do think we should be wise and reflective and think about what is happening in our lives. There’s a reason for it, you know, a purpose, leading up to something important.

Remember every story goes through a dramatic arc; every day is a story. What is the significance?

People are motivated by many things. Not to sound cliché, but I am motivated by one thing–love. Love is the significance of my life story. Even though I don’t understand why or how things happen–yet, I do know that I know love.

And no matter what happens today, 9-11, or any other day, I have known love.

But the story is NOT over yet. I’m not skipping pages. I will wait patiently so that when I get to the end I will understand all the details.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
Today is 9-11. What emotions surged through your soul? Did you experience fear, regret, grief, relief, anxiety, etc? Why? What is happening in your life story? Reflect upon these questions. Please add a comment or two if you have time. I encourage you to write in your journal as documentation of your existence on this day in history. It’s always interesting to go back months or years later to see how you have changed.

WORDS OF WISDOM
“EMILY: “Does anyone ever realize life while they live it…every, every minute?”
STAGE MANAGER: “No. Saints and poets maybe…they do some.”

“Now there are some things we all know, but we don’t take’m out and look at’m very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain’t houses and it ain’t names, and it ain’t earth, and it ain’t even the stars… everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you’d be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There’s something way down deep that’s eternal about every human being.”
Our Town by Thornton Wilder

MUSIC NOTES
In life I know there is lots of grief / But your love is my relief. / Tears in my eyes burn, tears in my eyes burn / While I’m waiting, while I’m waiting for my turn.
“Waiting in Vain,” by Annie Lennox, featured in the movie Serendipity

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QP27pp5NwM

FINAL THOUGHT

serendipitydestinyhumble

My voice

sorrow-captured-in-stone-forever-gun-legler

I really should be in bed, but I assigned my students to comment on my blog.

It would be great if I had WRITTEN the blog.

I’m supposed to write about voice. All serious writers strive to develop their own unique voice that speaks from the page. It’s hard to do. Julia Cameron says you have to write from the gut. Tennessee poet laureate Maggie Vaughn says, “You have to have fire in the belly”—like those old pot-bellied stoves.

It’s true. To write with passion, your inner being has to burn with passion. You can’t NOT write whatever it is you have to wite. Passion produces voice. Voice stems from emotion.

My motto is, “Laughter good. Tears bad.”  And there are those days when the motto isn’t worth diddly squat.

I steer clear from the tears. I’d much rather make people laugh, but today has been an off day. And I don’t have anything silly to say.

My day is a by-product of my procrastination. I have been putting off going through stacks and stacks and stacks of paper and mementos I have saved. But today was deep house cleaning day. I couldn’t put it off.

So with much ado, I finally got around to sifting and sorting. I found a HUGE stack of sympathy cards my dad had bundled together after my mother died. She always took care of the storing of cards. When I was moving things out of their house, I found a portable filing system. She must have saved every birthday card, every Christmas card, every Valentine’s Day card, the boys and I ever gave them.

But what do I do with the sympathy cards? I don’t know these people who sent them. I have no use for them, but to throw them away seems thoughtless. Neither of the boys will know what to do with them. I have made scrapbooks for them so that they and their children can look back to their elementary school years and reminisce about what it was like back then.

But maybe they don’t want to. I guess they’ll be like me, wondering what to do with all the “stuff.”

I also found a stack of Christmas cards, addressed to me, unopened. My heart dropped because I was going through such a sad time that I didn’t even realize I had Christmas cards. So what do I do with them now? It’s kind of late to show them off on the stair railing as I’ve done in the past, and I can’t send a Christmas card in return. I never even got the chance to say thank you. Too late.

I hate those words. If ever I wrote with a fire in the belly it’s now. I can click on Facebook and find at least a dozen or more nifty pictures to repost that say, “It’s never too late to ___.” You can fill in the blank. But the truth is, yeah, there is a time when it’s too late.

Sifting through all those papers made me remember the worst day in my life, the day I was supposed to call my dad.

I didn’t remember until it was late. When I didn’t get an answer, my worst fear came true. It was too late. We confirmed my fears by driving up to the house. It was a terrible night. And then there was the police, the ambulance, the trip to the hospital, the night, and the next morning.

I threw away the Van Halen shirt I had been wearing. I didn’t want any reminders.

But I’m reminded all the time. I have sifted and sorted my dad’s papers, and I put them back in the boxes I found them. Birth certificates, a marriage license, deeds, warranties, military papers, etc. What do I do with all that? Where will it end up?

I think I should want to travel lightly. Two guitars. A baseball. Scrapbooks for the boys. Everything else can go. No need to ask. No need to wonder. No need to hang on to anything material.

The important things can’t be saved for later. They should be taken care of now, said now, done now, for tomorrow may be too late.

So, dear ones, if you should wonder what my voice is. This is it, a desperate plea for you to pay attention to what matters most in life, the people you love.

Yes, I do love to laugh. I love to make others laugh, but nothing is more important to letting others know how much you love.