Wednesday, September 27, 2006

don't be surprised

The things that matter in this life are the things that will be mentioned at your funeral.

A number of years ago I watched a movie many of you also watched. As Good as it Gets has, as one of it's main characters, a man played by Jack Nicholson, not to be confused with Jack Nicholas (the Bear), the golfer. Really, the only thing I remember from the movie, aside from Jack being a real ass when it came to getting his favourite table in a restaurant, was a single line spoken. "You make me want to be a better man".

I've sincerely thought, and have spoken those words regarding my wife many times. My track record of sticking with these renewed feelings is probably much like any other male out there. I have nothing to boast about. What I am grateful for is frequent times of renewal.

Yesterday morning I watched another movie. Or rather, I watched as 500 people gathered to become part of a moving picture of a young man's life. Each actor had a vital role. Some got speaking parts. The people who played the rocks or the trees spoke as clearly as all the others.
The feeling I retained after the life show was nearly the same as Jack's sentiment. After watching Ken's story, I wanted to be a better man.

In the next little while, don't be surprised if:

I do the ordinary in extraordinary ways, do the extraordinary in ordinary ways.
I not busy myself caring for my children to such a frenzy that I do so without CARE.
I go about my employment as the means to living my life with fullness of giving and not to fuel the desire to GET.
I use something outside of myself to keep kicking at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.

KEN KEHLER - father, husband, brother, son and friend, died September 20, 2006. He was 43 years old.

Where while that severed doth remain,

This grave partakes the fleshly birth,

Which cover lightly,

gentle earth.

In lieu of flowers, any donations to cancer research, CancerCare Manitoba or to anybody who is trying their best to help others, would be greatly appreciated.

L'chayim (to life)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

wealth managment

Down on Grandpa's farm...*

...there is a cute - little - boy
the boy - he makes a face like this (smirk, smirk)

...there is a huge - apple - tree

the tree - is ready to be picked (yum, yum)

...there is a pretty - young - girl

the girl - she likes to laugh out loud (ha, ha)

...there is a quick - humming - bird

the bird - it makes a sound like this (hum, hum)

...there is a red - haired - Jen

the Jen - she loves to run and play (yee, ha)

...there is a his - to - ry

the past - is captured one by one (snap, snap)

We're on our way, we're on our way,

On our way to Grandpa's farm.

We 're on our way, we're on our way

On our way to Grandpa's farm.

*apologies to those that don't know the song. The flow of this post will not make a lick of sense to you.


And then returning home...

...but before turning in, and instead of unloading the cargo space of the van, I decide to have some quiet time at one of my favourite rest-stops.

The next morning, unloading the van proved to be an excellent work-out substitute for an eight mile run. At almost 40 years of age, my mother still likes to pile it on. I kept asking her as we loaded this all into the van, "Are you sure you want to give all this away?...and doesn't anyone else wants some of this?" She simply said that this is why they have such a big garden. (It's about the size of Prince Edward Island).

Better than Christmas.

After all the unloading, I settled in to my regular, as of the last month, breakfast.

It's all part of the plan.

Friday, September 01, 2006

a rose by any other name

As I drove in to work this morning, I was having one of those moments I expect everyone else also has. It's the kind of feeling one gets when remembering having done something quite stupid. Sometimes the reaction to the feeling can be a sudden shudder, slapping of the forehead, a Homer Simpson "D'oh", or simply an admitting smile.

My reaction this morning was a brief closing of the eyes and a gentle shaking of the head. I couldn't keep my eyes closed for very long seeing as I was driving. It was a memory from my adolescence, early teens I believe. I also smiled briefly as I drove, thinking how silly I was for feeling odd because of an event so long passed.

As a youth, I attended a youth group every Wednesday in our church. At the time we called it "young peoples". It was a time for the youth of our church to get together for energetic activities, peer socialisation, and Bible lessons. The lessons were quite evangelical in nature rich with pressure to conform. I recall one Wednesday when one of the leaders was talking about hell, and he said, "You know how hot a sauna is don't you...well, hell is going to be twice as hot as that". We always said he was a little "retarded" anyways.

Young Peoples was a great place for us to put on our best display of coolness for the opposite genders. I remember feeling quite confident walking into the church one particular Wednesday wearing a new pair of brown suede Hush Puppies. Now I was as cool as my friend Ray who smoked outside before and after the meetings.

I don't know if it was the Hush Puppies or not, but I do remember at some given time hearing that a girl in the group, Rose Blatz, liked me. She was cute. She has shoulder-length, slightly wavey, blond hair. She wore no makeup...she didn't need to. Pure and simple, just like you would imaging a Rose Blatz should look like. From then on, without us ever talking about it, I'm assuming we were considered, by her, to be a pair. We would occasionally say "hi" to each other and exchange glances paired with a nervous smile, but there was never any communication about an agreed union, as it were. Months would pass with this unspoken union.

Now here comes the memory which made me shake my head this morning. After the church Christmas concert one evening, Rose met me in the foyer on the South side of the church. She had her usual smile for me, and also a wrapped package. I didn't know what to say. All I did say, however, was, "Thanks...(awkward stare and near angina attack)...I'm sorry but I didn't get you anything". She told me that it was alright, and then I walked out the door, got into my parents blue Ford LTD, and went home. I fought with the image of Rose's disappointed face for a long time after that.

This morning I felt like finding out what ever happened to Rose. I wanted to call her up and ask her, "Are you O.K?...Did you turn out alright?...I'm so sorry, Rose, I didn't know what I was doing."

Sometimes I'm still not sure whether I know what I am doing. I'll often have recall of things that happened much more recently than my youth, and then I'll wonder at my current ability to be a good man. There are many roses in my life that are currently just as sweet and fragile as the Rose of my youth...and they are in full bloom. It would be a shame to miss it.