Good Where You Least Expect

How to discern good, how to find it, especially during difficult times? How to hear the truth above the din of naysayers? The reading from the Gospel of John 7, one of the phrases stands out for me: “…no prophet arises from Galilee…”, said the Pharisees of Jesus. This was in response to some saying, “Listen to how he teaches,” and others saying , “perhaps he is the Christ.” In other words, good can’t come from there. You’re mistaken: what you think is wrong. I find the exact opposite to be true from this excerpt. I find instead this lesson: maybe Good reaches us, maybe God speaks to us, sometimes from the least expected places. We’re in the midst of a life-changing pandemic right now. Even if we don’t get sick ourselves, even if our loved ones stay healthy too, most everyone’s life is turned upside down right now. We don’t know how it’s going to play out. We have to wait and see. Even in the dark, in the dirty, the dull and bland and difficult, we might find a bit of wisdom, some unexpected beauty, a splash of color. In the midst, let’s look for the lessons about how to cope, what changes we can make, to the what and how of the moment, and let’s cope and support each other and learn the lessons. We’ll be better for it.

Inspirations, COVID-19 Sequester Week Two

Low simmer of stress. Emotional ups and downs for sure.

Overall Family Goal: Adapting, accommodating, making the best of the circumstances. Second week, the whole family home for work and school and life and staying safe. Keep life going forward for two adults and three little kids.

The Community Goal: “Flatten the Curve” and stay healthy, as the health professionals get a handle on the pandemic, save lives, and keep more people safe from the virus overall.

So, some wandering inspirations along the way…

Garage Office: do what you can where you are.
Do the simple things: replacing the hand towels a lot more often because we’re at home washing hands all day, everyday.
Creative lunch prep: eat what’s there.
Efficient Kitchen Service: keep getting better.
We’re still on the front end of this outbreak: STAY HOME
Get your steps in: I’ve been walking this backyard path a lot these past two weeks.
Glad to have more time with this one.
And this one too: enjoy the sun.
YES: Inspiration everywhere. This found on a walk this week.

COVID-19: Listen to the Science, Stay Home

I live in one of the so-called “hot-spots” for the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States: Santa Clara County, in the San Francisco Bay Area. Depending on where you draw the boundaries, we have about 5 million people in the are; there are more than a million in our county alone.

Our kids have been at home since they were furloughed from school on 03/13/2020; we’ve all been home since the county (and area-wide) order to “shelter in place” was released.

It hasn’t been easy, but it could be a lot worse. A LOT worse. My whole family is heathy, my wife and I can still work and get paid, our kids are doing ok overall with the sequester regime; we’re really blessed, given the circumstances, I say.

All that said, this pandemic and the crisis it’s created…it will fully be a defining time for multiple generations of people; here in the US, and around the world.

We are still on the front-end of events where I live; the same goes from coast to coast, Pacific to Atlantic, and North to South too. We really don’t know how many people have been exposed, or infected. Thousands have died already around the world; hundreds of thousands more have been stricken.

Here in America, there are cases in all fifty states. Nearly a thousand people have died already, and tens of thousands have become sick with COVID-19.

It’s VITAL that we all work together, all follow the orders and protocols that have been established, to slow the spread (“flatten the curve”), as the experts are saying, and save lives.

So let’s stay home, listen and trust the science.

Let’s work together, to help our communities get through this difficult time.

Lean into the difficulty, the changes, the hardships big and small.

Make it so, and thus, make it GOOD.

Meet The Moment

As the COVID19 virus pandemic continues to spread in the United States and around the world — or more precisely, as our awareness of the scope of the outbreak becomes better understood through testing — thoughts continue to develop on all manner on the effect the crisis is, and will have on all manner of our lives.

As with any such immediate, crisis situ, where most everything gets turned upside down and many norms go out the window, we struggle for balance, to get a grasp, a foot-hold to help us steady.

It’s a disruption, it’s a challenge, it’s an opportunity, to meet the moment.  “Meet the Moment”, I heard a governor say in a press briefing recently, talking about the community state-wide to rise to the occasion in this crisis. 

So what does that mean?

Most immediately it’s the effects of the now state-wide order to “Shelter in Place” – on Home Life, on Work Life, on School Life. 

There is an over-arching theme:

At home, treat any immediate health issues that arise.  If people are sick, treat the symptoms, help them find relief.  If their symptoms line up with the COVID19 virus, or any other serious/acute condition, reach out to the health care professionals.

At school, or more precisely now, the concept of “school” for our children, we must support our kids as best we can using the materials we have available.  Aside from the school sites and districts themselves, other educational and learning organizations have much to offer.  It’s great to have the materials, but it’s the daily efforts we make to give our kids focused time, learning time, engaged time, that’s where the  rub is. We may need to do this for a long while. We’ll figure out the longer-term pace as we get into it; for now, focus on the content, and the routine.

At work, depending on what you do, do as much as you can to maintain contact and actions in support of whatever business or endeavor you are engaged with.  If asked, do.  If you see something that needs to be done, offer to do it.  

Attitude is paramount. It’s a challenge, a crisis, a massive upheaval on all aspects of the day-to-day.   But you can flip that upside down and it becomes an opportunity to make a significant difference, to help others, to rise to the occasion in this time of crisis.

Stack on top of these Big Three areas of focus as above, stack on top your own mental health, that of your loved ones, and the dynamics become all the more clear: the stakes are high, and this is not a drill.

Choose the right attitude and it all gets a little more bearable, doable, live-through able. 

Meet the moment. Each of us can. It will make all the difference.

More Color

I think I need more color in my day. Yes indeed more color, that’s what I say.

From time to time, I find that rhythm adds a little more color, a little more color, to the day.

Often in my shirts and in my sox, splashes of color that really rock. So I’m the day to day jottings going up in this place, same thing’s true, need to do the same,

Splashes of color with words and pace, paint the picture outside, give a little taste,

Let you see from the page from the words on the screen, there’s surely more meaning you can glean and believe,

Believe if you let your mind run free everyday, wander far and wide, that’s what I say,

It’s good for your spirit, good for your soul, good for you mind, don’t you know,

Know for sure you’re a little better off, with a little more color, a little more color, a little more color, in your day.

Dad Solo, Be The Rock

First, I’m not a solo dad. Let’s be clear about that. My “Better Half” and I parent together, and keep this family together as a team.

So that said, I’m sitting on the couch one afternoon. I’m with my son, who’s not feeling well. He’s taking a nap just now.

Watching “Free Solo”, about Alex Honnold’s attempt to conquer El Capitan without rope. This film is an amazing documentary, by the way.

Many thoughts churning through my head as I watch this film — the prep, the backstory, the team, the relationships, the expertise, the doubts, the story over all: All the lives, all the goals in the mix.

Then I think about my life, the team, the relationships; I think about my life, my goals, about my sick little boy sleeping next to me, his breathing hampered by congestion.

It’s pretty straightforward really. As I progress through each day, through lists and chores and tasks and objectives and projects and goals otherwise, personal and professional, one thing is clear over and over and over. My life goal is to provide support to others and see them shine, grow, achieve. I do various things with my time to various degrees of success.

What matters most though? Being there for others. Being the rock. Hmm. Yea that’s it. I want to be the rock. And I can be. And I am. That’s what I strive to be.

Not so fancy. Not flashy (except my socks, and plaids, sometimes bright shirts, sometimes the emoji I use). My purpose over decades has been to help others shine; and thereby I shine too. I have my own moments; and they shine brightest and feel most satisfying when others are in the frame. This rock shines brightest in support of others.

Dad solo: there’s no rope, but plenty of support, and what I strive to be.

Lean In

This phrase, “Lean In”, is a common expression. It means to push back against that which is giving you difficulty. Don’t give in to the challenge. Keep working.

I did a search in this blog recently I’ve written about this concept several times over the years. No wonder. It’s so fundamental to a happy life. Certainly fundamental to my life.

I’ve also written about this new role I’ve taken on at work recently; the learning has been a challenge. But it’s not rocket science, as they say. It’s learnable. It’s learnable by me.

It’s just taking time; more time than I’d like. With more bumps and errors than I’d like too. But…

THAT’S LIFE.

Lean In, that’s the response.

Our younger daughter was having a tough time getting ready for school recently.

I told her I understood that she didn’t want to go, didn’t want to get ready. But we have to do what we have to do. We have to lift our game to meet our responsibilities.

In so many words, this means “lean in.” Lean into the obstacle, the feeling of not wanting to do something, the anxiety, the fear, whatever.

I hope she learns to do it earlier than I did, I hope she gets better at it sooner than I did.

LEAN IN.