HANDS AND THREAD RED

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Hands down”, there’s a clear winner.

Hands up”, there’s a robbery in progress.

But even as I hold my pen over the blank page this week, my hands are paused as I wrestle to get a grip on the fist clenching rage that has seemingly come out of nowhere.

           Rage is red.

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I’ve heard it said that especially in guys, rage is the evidence that our backs are up against the wall. When there is no other way out, we get mad. My capacity for rage has always scared me. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to suppress it…afraid of what might happen if I ever let it to go out and play. Of course, the irony in all of this is when rage (or anything else) gets bottled up and never learns how to play nice – it comes out anyway – without the benefit of ever having learned how. Rampant destruction is imminent for any villagers living at the foot of my volcano.

But here’s the thing. Having learned at a very early age that ‘good boys don’t get angry’, I learned to turn it the only other place left which was me. And so as the years went by, my rage developed a preference for feasting on me and my insides before it ever considered turning its attentions outward to others who might be within striking range.

More threads from my past, “Rage is sinful.”

In an effort to blunt such a gory eventuality, I got ‘better’ at suppressing my rage. I learned to go to incredible lengths to make it difficult for my unbridled dragon to ever breathe red by making the simplest things very difficult on myself. What might be easy for anyone else, I made into a labyrinth of self-imposed hurdles and obstacles – each and every one of them designed to check my hands from ever getting close to strangling anyone. “Good boys don’t hit.”

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But the thing is, good boys and girls do get angry.

The past few weeks have been filled with me making all kinds of good choices that have each contributed to making things easier on me. We’ve upgraded our phones, bought a new DVD player that didn’t require shaking it to make it work and I’ve started taking the toll way to work which has cut my commute by more than half. And with a transponder on-board, it’s half the cost of normal fare! All kinds of good things, right? But each and every choice has been met with difficulty. It has seemed that every time I made a move to improve my lot, it seemed I was getting smacked down back into my rightful subservient place. For all my work at choosing to be happy at the progress, my goblins roosted on my shoulder, whispering into my ear. “See, you aren’t worthy of a simpler life. Why do you try? Why not just admit it. You aren’t ever going to change. Who do you think you are?”

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Suppressed rage will not be denied and its arrival is never convenient.

Such was the case for my Better Half this week. Two nights in a row found me ending my day by yelling at him with such fury I’m surprised I didn’t strangle him for no more offense than being there for me. He’d done nothing wrong. He was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time when a week of trying to make things easier on myself had turned into one failure after another. I refused to see that I was the one spoiling for a fight, any fight. And the yelling started.

And then all of the sudden, the boil erupted.

I remember looking at my hands, tightly clenched at the same moment my throat had gone dry for all my yelling. Whose hands were these?

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In that moment of Truth, I was reminded of the Chinese proverb that speaks to each of us having a red thread that connects us to each other. Friend, lover or co-worker, we’re all connected. My rage wasn’t just hurting me, it was running down the threads that connected me to all that was good and True. If I didn’t cut it out, I was running the real risk of cutting one of the most powerful ties that binds me.

Red is blood…it is the life that circulates through us. It is what returns to our hands when we unclench them and ask the forgiveness of those we’ve hurt in our selfish tantrums.

I didn’t know what I was worthy of writing to you this week, but the need to keep my commitment to posting to the blog proved to be another red thread between staying stuck in my regret and moving forward with what I’ve learned. It’s helped me sort through why I was so out-of-control.

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Making things easier on myself does not mean I’m taking the easy way out. Have you ever tried to wash your hands with just one hand? Hands work best when they wash each other. When people around you want to give you a hand, they’re either applauding for you or, they’re making heavy work lighter. Now I don’t see the red, as much as I’ve come into a new appreciation for the thread of it.

The early song writer was right. Blessed be is the tie that binds…and you red it here first.

UntilThenDan

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Invisible Threads Good Reads

An Invisible Thread tells of the life-long friendship between a busy sales executive and a disadvantaged young boy, and how both of their lives were changed by what began as one small gesture of kindness.

When Laura Schroff brushed by a young panhandler on a New York City corner one rainy afternoon, something made her stop and turn back. She took the boy to lunch at the McDonald’s across the street that day. And she continued to go back, again and again for the next four years until both their lives had changed dramatically. It is the heartwarming story of a friendship that has spanned three decades and brought meaning to an over-scheduled professional and hope to a hungry and desperate boy then living on the streets.

Available at your local library, book seller or in e-format at Amazon and other online outlets: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12902549-an-invisible-thread

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FernFive

PASSAGES

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GEOFFREY BRUCE OWEN “Geoff” EDWARDS

(February 15, 1931 – March 5, 2014)

Game Show Host Geoff Edwards Dies at 83

Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and ’80s host of TV game shows including “Jackpot!” and two incarnations of “Treasure Hunt,” died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83. Edwards died of complications of pneumonia at St. John’s hospital in Santa Monica, agent Fred Westbrook said.

Edwards also worked as a radio DJ and actor, appearing on TV shows including “Petticoat Junction,” ”I Dream of Jeannie” and “Diff’rent Strokes.” “Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Edwards, a native of Westfield, N.J., hosted “The New Treasure Hunt,” a revival of a 1950s quiz show, from 1973 to 1977 and hosted “Treasure Hunt” in 1981-82. He also emceed the 1980s game show “Jackpot!” and appeared on other shows including “Starcade.”

Westbrook said his longtime client made a splash on TV by shedding the conservative look worn by his peers. His hair was longer, he never wore a tie, and he favored jeans over suits, Westbrook said. “He was part of the new breed.” Edwards had been in good health, his agent said. In recent years, he wrote about travel on his website and did radio and TV programs on the subject.

He is survived by his wife, Michael, and stepsons Justin and Jason Feffer, Westbrook said. His survivors also include his ex-wife, Suzanne, and their children Todd, Shawn and Chess, as well as nine grandchildren. Funeral plans were pending, Westbrook said.

Did you know? As a news reporter, Edwards was present in the basement of the Dallas Police Department when Jack Ruby shot suspected John F. Kennedy assassin Lee Harvey Oswald on November 24, 1963. Edwards was one of the witnesses interviewed by NBC television correspondent Tom Pettit on the scene.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geoff_Edwards and http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/agent-game-show-host-geoff-edwards-dies-83-22793289 Photo (Chuck Barris Productions/AP Photo):

Single Fern

Erik Lucansky

ERIK LUCANSKY

(March 7, 2014, Aged 17)

Teen dies after hit by Metra train near Taft High School.

(CHICAGO TRIBUNE) “A 17-year-old Northwest Side boy was struck and killed by a Metra train while walking to Taft High School on Friday morning, officials said.  Erik Lucansky was trying to cross the tracks at Avondale and Bryn Mawr avenues in the Old Norwood Park neighborhood when he was struck by an outbound Union Pacific Northwest line train around 6:50 a.m., authorities said. Lucansky was wearing earphones, according to authorities, and may not have heard the train. He was taken in critical condition to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:27 a.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Friend and fellow student Stefanie Bates said, if she was stuck at school late, Bates said Lucansky would sometimes walk her home to be safe. “He’s the kind of guy that if somebody was having a bad day, he would sit there and talk to them,” said Bates, 17.

Inside Taft, where grief counselors were made available to students, “it was really, really, quiet” Friday, Bates said. “Teachers were crying,” she said. “A lot of people were crying.

Taft posted the following statement on their website:

It is with heavy hearts that we must inform the Taft community of the passing of one of our students. Erik Lucansky was tragically struck by a train and killed while crossing the tracks at Bryn Mawr and Avondale on his way to school. Grief counselors have been made available in the school and are currently meeting with students and staff. Please join us in offering Erik’s family our deepest sympathy in this time of sorrow.

The railroad crossing about three blocks from Taft is a popular route to the school and includes gates for both pedestrians and vehicles. “The gates were active,’’ said Metra spokesman Michael Gillis. The train was traveling northwest and was in between the Jefferson Park and Norwood Park stations at the time, he said. After class on Friday, dozens of Taft students walked across the tracks on their way home. Max Jaurigue, who lives in a house overlooking the railroad crossing, said “this is a dangerous area.” Jaurigue, who said he’d lived there since 1994, said he often saw cars not stop for students crossing at the intersection.”

Sources: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-03-07/news/chi-metra-reports-pedestrian-incident-on-upnw-line-20140307_1_metra-train-union-pacific-northwest-taft-students

Single Fern

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SHEILA MARGARET MacRAE

(née Stephens; 24 September 1921 – 6 March 2014)

Sheila MacRae: ‘Honeymooners’ Star Dies At 93

Sheila MacRae, an English actress and comedienne who was best known for playing Alice Kramden in the 1960s reboot of the hit CBS television series The Honeymooners, died on March 7. She was believed to be 93.

Sheila starred as Ralph Kramden’s sassy, long-suffering wife from 1966 to 1970 on The Jackie Gleason Show. She died on March 7 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J., according to our sister site Variety.

The part of Alice had been played by several actresses — including Audrey Meadows, who starred in the 1950s version of The Honeymooners — before Sheila took on the role. Sheila made her final appearance as Alice in a Jackie Gleason television special in 1973.

Sheila briefly had her own series in 1971 and she has made numerous other television appearances on shows such as I Love Lucy, General Hospital, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote. She is also known for her role as Madelyn Richmond on General Hospital.

Sheila MacRae Lived A ‘Good Life’

Sheila was a woman of many talents — she was also a accomplished singer, dancer and impressionist. She was married to Oklahoma! singer/actor Gordon MacRae from 1941 to 1967. The couple had four children together, including Petticoat Junction star Meredith MacRae, who died of brain cancer in 2000 at 56. After her daughter’s tragic death, Sheila did not perform for years.

She lived a good life and she lived a long time,” her granddaughter Allison Mullavey told the New York Daily News. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Sheila’s friends and family during this difficult time.”

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_MacRae; http://hollywoodlife.com/2014/03/07/sheila-macrae-dead-honeymooners-alice-kramden-dies/(Photo Source) http://www.13wmaz.com/story/entertainment/2014/03/08/macrae-honeymooners-dies/6202033/

FernFive

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SOURCES, PHOTO CREDITS and ATTRIBUTIONS:

Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.

Visit Eric and see his other work at: http://www.ericephoto.com or http://ericephoto.wordpress.com/

handsdown: http://www.feelingretro.com/toys/Games/hands-down.php; RageFace: https://dan4kent.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/08395-rageface.png; Deep Red Thread 1 by the-eyes-of-spiders – Photography / People & Portraits / Emotive Portraits©2009-2014 the-eyes-of-spiders http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs47/i/2009/177/d/7/Deep_Red_Thread_1_by_the_eyes_of_spiders.jpg; red_thread_of_fate_by_sutebelux-d3gegea: red thread of fate by SutebeLUX Photography / Abstract & Surreal / Abstract©2011-2014 SutebeLUX: http://th07.deviantart.net/fs70/PRE/f/2011/135/9/f/red_thread_of_fate_by_sutebelux-d3gegea.jpg; Red Thread il_570xN.375085798_7lcb: http://img0.etsystatic.com/004/0/7180911/il_570xN.375085798_7lcb.jpg; cat6: http://weadartists.org/ecoart-in-canada-a-conversation-and-brief-survey-of-the-terrain-2 AND Artist: http://charissebaker.com/the_red_thread/index.;Invisible Threads Good Reads Book Jacket: http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1328320486l/12902549.jpg; The Red Thread of Fate 2 by Rita Rae Mertens: http://d3oeu2l8qd7s1b.cloudfront.net/386345-13633372-7.jpg

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The Red Thread of Fate 2 by Rita Rae Mertens

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 32 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 6-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Life, Life Lessons, Love, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to HANDS AND THREAD RED

  1. It’s hard to write when we are struggling, isn’t it? I find myself always wanting to show the best days of myself and stay inside my shell on those other days. In spite of all of the self-reflection at the moment, I am committed to sharing. If I’m struggling, might not someone else be doing the same. Perhaps I can put words to the struggle that will help someone else.

    I think you have done a good job of sharing yourself in this post. It will surely bless many readers.

    • dan4kent says:

      You bet. But we’re not turtles, we’re writers. So we must write. The kicker is how our best work proves to be the unvarnished bits…writing what we know. Like you did in what I read tonight. I suspect the struggle to put it down on the page is what sends our odds of winning all kinds of struggles through the roof. Good vibes to you and your House from me and Mine. Dan

  2. jfvassar says:

    Dan, it’s been awhile since I’ve visited. Internalized anger is one definition of depression, and I externalized it more than I care to remember, leaving a path of destruction, both physical and emotional (although much more so the latter). I didn’t scale up my anger. It would start with a BB gun, a warning shot if you will, but if that didn’t work, then I went straight to the ICBM stage. I used to tell people to look for the mushroom cloud and they would know that I had “had it”. But these days, actually since 11/11/11, I have found a calm, a peace, and I can’t remember the last angry day I had. Sure, if (when) a driver does something totally stupid and nearly causes an accident that will involve me, I am angry, but only for those moments. Then I become thankful and even say a quick prayer for the person (since I have no idea what’s going on with him/her) but even more so for other drivers who are going to encounter that person. Simple “acceptance” and living life on life’s terms (not John’s) has made all the difference. People who have known me a long time (the ones who are still include me in their circle) have commented that I am different now. I don’t miss “the old me” and often wonder, how did I survive? How do I have any meaningful relationships at all? I am blessed and ‘someone’ was looking out for me. I should have been dead or in jail long ago. But I’m still here and keeping my side of the street clean, and I try to be of service to my fellow journeymen. Call me some time. Especially if you’re angry. 🙂

    • dan4kent says:

      JV — Most excellent to see you in my in-box (both of them). You’ve been crossing my mind more than once as of late. Genuinely value your ‘Notes from the Front’. And suffice it to say, your side of the street has never been cleaner. Well done Sojourner. Well done. While my anger clot seems to have cleared, we’ll talk soon. All my very best from my House to Yours.
      Dan (the lucky).

  3. ntexas99 says:

    First, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having a rough time. I applaud you for stretching your limits and putting the words on the page. When we are distressed or angry or frustrated, it can be very difficult to verbalize what is going on, (often because we are not even sure ourselves), so good for you for finding a way to speak up about the red hot rage that has been plaguing you of late, and for being willing to admit that you’ve been struggling.

    My experience has been that I eventually learned that I had not been permitted to show any outward sings of anger (or sorrow, or fear) which ended up having the same effect; all my anger and sorrow and fear was turned inward. It can melt away even the kindest and most generous parts of yourself, and if we’re not careful, we end up becoming hollow shells of emptiness. It takes years of practice and determination to find ways to express anger (or sorrow and fear) appropriately. As someone who is still learning the process at the age of 56, it is with great respect that I say that at least you are willing to accept ownership of the “unbridled dragon” and recognize it for what it represents — years and years of suppression — and work towards healthier ways of navigating those hot spots.

    I love it that you’ve managed to find a common thread (all puns intended) that can provide a more positive exemplification of the word red, and how that thread that connects us all can help to unravel even the most complicated emotions. A tangled mess is nothing more than a single thread that has become confused and twisted upon itself, and given the right amount of patience and determination, that tangled mess can be unraveled to reveal a single strand of hope.

    • dan4kent says:

      My dear NTexas — Wow! You sat me back on my haunches with your thoughtful reflection. I know from reading your work how you’ve earned the wisdom you practice. Three cheers for your display of what the “kindest and most generous parts of yourself” looks like in action. See you at the rodeo. All my best. Dan

  4. purplemary54 says:

    Yeah. It takes a lot to get me really angry, but when I do, I yell and scream and cry and generally act like a two-year-old. I’ve known for some time that my methods of dealing with anger haven’t been really good, but they’re not overly destructive either. I do know I need to do something else.

    • dan4kent says:

      PM! Value your sharing, really do. The strongest thing I read in what you wrote was that you know you need to…some of the most powerful words we can ever say to our inside selves. Be well. Travel with Joy. Dan

  5. jlindsay says:

    Dan, thanks for opening up to us and reminding us that we’re all only human. It’s difficult to be on the receiving end of angry outbursts for one too many times. I know you treasure your relationship with your best friend, so get a speed bag to redirect that red. It’ll make life more enjoyable for all. 🙂

    • dan4kent says:

      JL! Speed bag on the way. In fact, today I took stairs up and down and then up again as a humble substitute for dancing around in Rocky’s gymn. Can’t wait to get back out on the tennis courts. So pleased and honored to call you Friend. Dan

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