Happy Christmas

It’s the middle of the night. I woke from slumber, thinking about the rough state this country’s in, the tough state our world’s in, and then this song comes to mind. And I feel a little better.

“Christmas Song”, Dave Matthews, c. 1993.

She was his girl, he was her boyfriend

Soon to be his wife, take him as her husband

A surprise on the way, any day, any day
One healthy little giggling, dribbling baby boy

The Wise Men came, three made their way
To shower him with love

While he lay in the hay
Shower him with love, love, love
Love love, love
Love, love was all around

Not very much of his childhood was known
Kept his mother Mary worried
Always out on his own

He met another Mary who for a reasonable fee
Less than reputable as known to be
His heart was full of love, love, love
Love, love, love
Love, love was all around

When Jesus Christ was nailed to the his tree

Said “Oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be

I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene

Instead I fear I spill the blood of our children all around.”

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our childrens all around

So the story goes, so I’m told

The people he knew were

Less than golden-hearted

Gamblers and robbers

Drinkers and jokers

All soul searchers

Like you and me

Like you and me

Rumors insisted he soon would be

For his deviations taken into custody

By the authorities, less informed than he

Drinkers and jokers, all soul searchers

Searching for love, love, love

Love, love, love

Love, love was all around

Preparations were made

For his celebration day

He said, “Eat this bread, think of it as me

Drink this wine and dream it will be

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our children all around

The blood of our children’s all around

Father up above

Why in all this anger do you fill me up with love, love, love?

Love, love, love

Love, love was all around

Father up above

Why in all this hatred do you fill me up with love?

Fill me love, love, yeah

Love, love, love

Love, love, and the blood of our children all around

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PERSEVERE

My “Word That Matters” for 2018.

“This word speaks to me everyday.

I have it engraved on a band I wear on my wrist.

It says ‘keep going, never give up, go forward, don’t be deterred by obstacles’.

It speaks to all of us where we are, to be strong and brave and committed to making things better.”

Listen

Listen.

There is an awful lot we can learn, and a lot of joy to be had as well, when we listen. When listening carefully, we also deepen our awareness, and strengthen our ability to cope and understand and thrive in the world.

The other morning very early, I made the decision not to get up to take the dogs out for a walk in the usual pre-dawn darkness. Instead I chose to lie in bed after feeding them, and just listen. 

The sounds that whispered through the room? The gentle creaks of of our antique sleigh bed when my wife adjusted herself next to me, and the deep breathes of sleeping kids in the other room, across the hall. Somewhere outside, off in the distance, I heard a truck beeping as it backed up to a delivery dock. 

Our house makes sound itself too. You can hear it creak like the bed, as temperature warms and the wood expands. The heater in the hall bangs awake as the metal grate heats up. The day is set to begin.
Another good example for listening, is my ritual of listening to the morning news via NPR podcast on the way into work. And then also, enjoying a little classical music on KDFC before arriving to the office.

And finally, there is Pope Francis‘s tweet from this week about listening and it’s effect of soul.

He wrote on Twitter under his @Pontifex moniker: “This is the first step in order to grow on our journey of faith: listening. Before speaking, listen.”

Amen.

It’s not always easy. If you’re a talker like me, sometimes it’s really tough. But it’s worth it. 

Listen to those around you. Listen to your friends, your partner, your spouse, your co-workers, your kids.we

Listen and learn and love. Good way to start the day, good way to live everyday. Listen.

AMEN.

Priorities

“Shoe Pile.”

It might seem a bit odd, a pile of shoes next to a shoe rack. I often think that when I walk by that spot in our house. After all, shouldn’t those shoes be properly stowed in the rack?

But then if you count the shoes, you pretty quickly note there are more pairs if shoes than cubby holes to hold the shoes. And what you likely don’t know is that the rack is meant for kids’ shoes. Mostly, anyway. And those size 9 green crocs are too big for any of our kids, in any event.

“Wait…”, you think, “…what’s a pile of shoes got to do with priorities, anyway?” Actually, I’m not exactly sure, but let’s see if we can get there together.

Sometimes, maybe a lot of times, we’re in a hurry to get to the next thing, once we get home. And so we throw off our shoes upon arrival, and they end up in the pile.

Priorities.

What ever it was, it was more important that putting away your shoes, and maybe other stuff too, in the moment. I’m sure some folks might be appalled at this approach, this blatant disregard of order. But it’s the way it is often times around here.

There’s another example of priorities that comes to mind. I have this phrase in my Outlook calendar that comes up every morning at 5am:

“Every day, start this way: What matters most? Family, Friends, PB, Friends, Community.”

It’s a reminder to keep my priorities straight every day. At least for me, for the priorities I have myself. People mean a lot to me, my family and friends, my clan, my tribe…and never want to lose sight of that.

Other things fall by the way side often due to these priorities, things I’ve committed to, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

I do my best. I sometimes fall short. And when I do, I take a deep breath, and I keep going forward.

Priorities. Get ’em. Keep ’em straight. GOOD.

Even if the shoes end up in pile. 🙂