“A friend of mine was recently typing up his resume and listing his experience with different operating systems. When the Word spelling grammar checker came across “Windows ME and Linux,” it was quick to suggest that “Windows, Linux, and I” would be more appropriate.” – Doug Adams
Too funny. What did we forget after getting our education and before spell-check?
Checkpoints. Systematic ways of protecting ourselves from our own selves. ID’s, E-Verify, passwords, PIN numbers and phones who think they know what we’re trying to spell better than ‘w-e’ do. Why do we mark birthdays and anniversaries as if they were hash marks on the trunk of a palm tree? What if trees did that to us? I propose all these various and sundry check points are designed in service of satisfying our manic quest of perpetuating the illusion of order in an otherwise chaotic swamp called Life.
Good news, bad news.
I started earning a paycheck last week…in a logistics warehouse for a group of hospitals. Don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful to be working again. Working isn’t just a way to pay the bills, it’s a large part of how I define myself. But for all that, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge there was just a little of chafing in my saddle. The whole point of my most recent academic exercise had been to better myself; to return to that which I’ve always loved and make a better buck in the process.
No point in putting lipstick on a pig, the new gig isn’t one of the big forever jobs I had envisioned claiming when I left my career and went back to school this year. All the new shiny credentials didn’t seem to have made much difference. I told myself I should be doing better than this. Cuing up the Pity Party Orchestra, I caught myself lifting the baton for what promised to be a soulful rendition of “Woe is Me”.
The pride players hadn’t even lifted their instruments in anticipation of my cue when my Soul froze before the downbeat.
How do we ever know how things are going to turn out or where they are going to lead? Isn’t the rush of buying a lottery ticket the whole ‘not knowing’; the ‘what if?’.
Each milestone in my life has been a checkpoint. The good have been many. Each tragedy? Similar for their significances. Being able to track my trek to where I’m standing today is because the sum of both have granted me the gift of perspective unimaginable when I was a 19-year old.
Sometimes when the midnight crazies are doing their best to make me feel ‘less than’, my spirits’ eye looks around the bed and I can almost see all the people who love me – living and dead – surrounding me like a protective herd of water buffalo bent on a singular purpose. Check points. The people who saw something in me long before I ever did aren’t worried. The ones who believed in me from the start aren’t checking their numbers…they have already concluded I’m a winner.
Why? Don’t know. But this I do know. If you believe and do the best you can with what you have; if you’re still breathing and you never quit fighting to be and do better, Life has a way of taking you to where it needs you to be. I’m reminded of that piece of gold in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel when Sonny says, “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end”.
Checkpoints. There is order in my warehouse. I never quit walking around to insure my Product is rightly arrayed in rows, racks and tiers. Pull tickets balance to boxes and their covering labels get them on the right truck at the right time. The right material reaches the right hospital and all kinds of sick people who will never know I even exist get better because of what I do in my little corner of much larger endeavor wholly focused on the health and welfare of those they tend to. It’s not the job I was looking for, but I’ve quickly come to understand there is a calling to it that squares my shoulders. Maybe the real deal is the job was looking for me.
I know how much I still don’t know, but I know this trip is mine. My brain is sharp. There was a point to my training. My muscles are strong and my Spirit is being renewed. Sometimes I’m so dense. Duh! Pride and Purpose don’t have nearly as much to do with what you do for a living as much as how you do it.
Walking through the Tetons at dawn or watching the sun set in the Keys – Life has been as good as it’s been hard. Discovering the Truth of what Love really means when my wet screaming son was placed in my arms for the very first time is as notable as being blessed with true love with Rick these many years now. One does not outweigh the other. They work in concert. They constitute the equation of what is Good.
In turn, I wouldn’t be able to look past the shiny bits and recognize Evil if only for the glaring absence of the Good. It’s how you know. It’s what you do. And all of it, has been mine. My checkpoints.
I don’t know where this new gig is going to lead me or what secrets it has to tell, but I’ve signed up for the trip. Come on folks, Life is so much more than trying to overcome our childhoods or peering into the future. It’s all about today. What do I do, right now?
My check points speak to all that’s gone on before. They inform me on the road coming up to meet me…and that has brought me to you. I am a very lucky man.
See you out there this week. As I told my son this week, “Travel well. Love Deep. Live Better.”
As has become my practice on his birthday, I sent my son an email this week. While the bulk of the message is between him and me (or is it “I”?), I included a musical track in the post-script that has a lot of power for me. It was my gift to him and now, to you. Rock on!
“Carry On Wayward Son is a single recorded by Kansas and written by Kerry Livgren for their 1976 album Leftoverture. In 1977, the song peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming their first Top 40 hit. The song was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 18, 1990”
SOURCES: EPIC/ASSOCIATED/LEGACY (P) 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1999 Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and to read more about it, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carry_On_Wayward_Son
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Checkpoint Speller (SOURCE): http://blog.supenta.com/2014/11/24/how-to-spell-check-your-android-app-easily-and-automatically/; Spell Checker Joke: http://www.jokesend.com/microsoft_word_spell_check.htm – Douglas Adams; Warehousing: http://gclc.biz/warehousing-2/; Midnight Crazies: https://www.psychologistworld.com/dreams/; Red Moon over Red Castle by Eric E Photo aka Eric Erlenbusch (@ericephoto) • Instagram Red Moon over Red Castle. https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/39406565466856275/ I have been honored to have his permission to rely on one of his photos as my banner image from the start. Click on Eric!; Closing Pic: I see Father and Son from (SOURCE) Contre-jour photograph near Lulworth Cove, on the south coast of England. Photographed by Adrian Pingstone in approx 1970 and placed in the public domain. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Contre-jour_on_english_south_coast_arp.jpg
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