Rest In Peace, Bruce Howard Ludlum

To quote a good friend whose dad passed away last autumn, “Heaven got a good one yesterday….”

Howie Lud was many things: husband, father, teacher, counselor, athlete, coach, music lover, angler, friend. He had an honesty in his love of life, and zest for living.

His love and commitment to his wife, his family, and his friends radiated. He set the ultimate example of how to be the best one can be, to keep trying new things, helping others, being open, and rising to the occasion time and time again.

His love for his wife, our mom Kathy, was expressed at an even higher level over the last 20 years, being her primary caregiver after she suffered a debilitating stroke. We miss you dad, we love you, and we celebrate your life –

Rest In Peace: Bruce Howard Ludlum, 12 March 1936 – 4 February 2018.

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My Deepest Hope

At this moment, as I go through another glorious (seriously!) day of work, my dad lies in his bed, under hospice care, nearing the end of his time on this earth.

Surreal, really.  But it’s the circle of life at it’s most pure.  Our struggles, our triumphs, and everything in between, are our own.   Life goes on, even as a life nears its end.

I’ll see my dad, and mom too, this evening after work.  I’ve made arrangements and advised all the related folks of the situation so I can break free and be with my dad when the time comes, at the end.

Between now and then, this is my deepest hope for my dad, that he can have this perspective:

“More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel
myself so totally in God’s hands.”

These were the words, this was the prayer written by Pedro Arrupe, S.J., who at the time had suffered a massive stroke and could no longer speak.

Amen, AMEN.

Common Themes

Start and stop and start again.

It’s in the doing that matters. No matter how trivial, the effort is what counts, thoughts out of your head, words on the page.

New job at work got things swirling in your head? New terms, new processes, new people, new demands and priorities, all piled up when the day begins. All these things pour over you like a never-ending series of breakers over the reef, over your head.

Start and stop and start again.

What else? Big life stuff, circle of life stuff, father under hospice care, the end on the horizon, looming. How to make the most of these final months? Or is it weeks? Help my kids understand Gramps is dying, won’t be around much longer. Matter of fact, intent not to dramatize, only help them realize, this is life, that’s my dad, soon no more.

Life elsewhere goes on, day in, day out. Plenty to do. At work, at home, in between. Plenty to do. Keep life going forward, keep eyes focused on the horizon, get some exercise, get enough sleep, be happy.

Start and stop and start again.

Scribble down a few thoughts in the blog, this blog, that makes me happy. My job? Happy. Being married makes me happy, my kids make me happy. It’s a choice, this blog, happiness. Make it so.

Glue

It’s good to be the glue.  

It’s good to be the guy in middle, exposed to various skill sets and perspectives and attitudes and goals. It can be stimulating, too.

It’s good to be the glue.

It’s good to be the one who can bridge the gap, to mediate, to help others understand. It takes a certain mindset, a certain disposition, personality. It might be in your DNA naturally. But it can be learned, too.

It’s good to be the glue.

It’s a challenge for sure at times, being pulled in different directions, being exposed to the whole gammet of forces that are brought to bear by any one party and their related agenda. A challenge yes, but enlightening, too.

It’s good to be the glue.

Happy New Year 2018

New Year’s Eve, mid-day.

I’m sitting on the couch, getting some last minute donations buttoned up.  There’s family chatting to my left at the kitchen table and in the other room, kids are playing a game.  One is watching a Disney show on the TV in the room where I’m working.

Lots going on, lots of different directions.  This situ pretty well sums up most days:  plenty of activity, plenty of pulls on attention and energy.  Normal.

As we round out 2017 I’m like most people, thinking about what went well, and what didn’t.  I think about my to-do list, what I got done (some), what I didn’t (lots more).  I think about the basics of what I’m thankful for:  my wife and kids, healthy and happy (most of the time).  We have food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over our head.  I’m thankful for my base of friends, the other primary foundation of my day-to-day life.  I know I’m blessed.

That said, I look forward to 2018, and know there’s plenty of room for improvement. I can work smarter, be more efficient, write more.  I can do better in my relationships.  I know I can make life a little better for those around me.  I know I can learn more.   I’m planning on publishing my first book early in the new year, and writing a second, with any luck.

I also know it’s going to be a big year of transition in one particular, major way:  my father is soon to transition into hospice care, after two years of a difficult life post-stroke.   I know he’s in the final twilight.  All that reality represents has me muddled with emotions, as anyone would be in my situation, I know.  There will be plenty to write about, that’s for sure.

So as the sun sets on 2017, and the early morning light of 2018 is soon to break on the horizon, here’s to all of you.  May you find good health, good fortune, and most important, happiness in your every day.  And here’s to bringing a little more GOOD to the world every day.  Happy New Year.

 

Joy.

Today Christians celebrate the unlikely beginning of the life of Jesus. The story is well known.
Mary and Joseph had taken shelter in a stable for farm animals, because all the places for lodging were full. Mary bore her baby amongst the chickens and sheep and oxen and donkey. Very humble beginning indeed.

Yet you can imagine, especially if you’re a parent, the manner in which all else fell away when the child came into this world. Humbling, speechless, JOY. One can only be in the moment. Imagine that moment.

Today we went to Mass at a packed church in my wife’s home town. Even those believers who are not church-goers show up on Christmas Eve.  

We got there late. I had to park four blocks away. I hustled in as the service began.

There was little open space even in the crying room. We ended up on the back corner. All good. 

With five little kids between my sister-in-law’s and our family, that space suited us fine. That’s where noisy, distracted families belong, in my humble opinion. Folks up front are there to fully participate.

Front or back of the house though, I find myself feeling humbled when I contemplate God become human in that newborn baby in swaddling clothes that stable. If I give it just a little focus, and can get my mind and soul far enough inward to feel the awe. I feel the joy. 

I have to listen above the din of the kids and people gathered together, much the way the animals in the stable might have distracted the new parents of Jesus. But the joy is there. 

The main thing is the moment, the devine inserted into this world some two thousand years. And still present today among us. JOY.

Emmanuel. “God With Us.

Amen.