Do You Know Your Secret Name?

Do You Know Your Secret Name?

I arrived in my taxi cab at the home of my next passenger—an ordinary house in an ordinary neighborhood. Ordinary except that there was no one home. This was  strange as I had just called to say that I was coming and he was expecting me. I knocked and waited. No one. At the moment that I held my cell phone to my ear to call once again and find out what is going on, I heard someone call, “Here I am.” From down the street, a few houses to the east, a man with large, dark sunglasses and a golden brown dog at the end of a black harness came briskly down the street. “Sorry,” he said, “I was just chatting with a neighbor.” and with that, climbed into my taxi … following, of course, lead of his seeing-eye dog. “What is your dog’s name?” I began as we pulled away from the curb to my passenger’s destination. What I found interesting was the response: “You can call him anything you want. I am the only one who knows his real name.” A moment silence ensued as I was not sure how to respond. I sensed the owner’s smile as he explained further. “Actually, it is on purpose that no one else knows his real name.” “But what if I were to accidentally discover it?” “Then I would have to shoot you on the spot,” he smirked. Then with a serious tone explained, “Actually, when he hears that name, he knows it is me.” “…he knows it is me.” There is such an loyal intimacy between a seeing-eye... read more

The Genie That Lives in My GPS

My GPS is a genie. I am not kidding. Well, at least there is a genie living inside it. I am relatively new to the iPhone and even newer to the Google Maps app that, when activated and fed the right information, will politely guide me with step-by-step directions to my destination. It is nice to have the company on a long trip.  It is tempting, though, to kick back, blindly accept the wisdom of this gentle, soothing female voice, relieving me of the responsibility of driving…safely. Recently, I drove to Oxnard, California from my home in Phoenix, Arizona. I got in my car, situated myself in my seat, ensured everything was safely stowed and took that final deep breath as I hit the “Start Navigation” button to begin my trip. I was off. “Go to the end of the street and turn right on 44th Place,” she prompted. “Continue for one quarter mile on 44th Place then turn left on Roeser.” Sweet and gentle. Certainly, for most of the trip she was silent. Even without her guidance, I knew that once I was on the I-10, I simply had to point the car west and when I drove into the Pacific Ocean, I would have gone  too far. Once I entered the entanglement of the Los Angeles freeway system, I was amazed at the accuracy of directions even to the point of ensuring I understood which lane to use to access the next freeway system. I was even more amazed when I noticed that the color of the highlighted route  changed from blue to yellow and then to red. Red, I discovered, means that you are in the midst of heavy, stop-and-go traffic. Well, duh. A simple observation out... read more

Surviving Left-Handedness

One thing I LIKE about being left-handed are all the cliché jokes. One thing I DISLIKE about being left-handed are all the cliché jokes. I hear them ALL the time. “Left-handers have rights too.” “Left-handed people are the only ones in their right mind.” “God made everyone left-handed. The geniuses have overcame it.” They say that 10% of the world’s population are considered left-handed. In other words, look around at 9 other people. If they are all using their right hand, that means you must be the left-handed one. I am not a purist. I do bat, golf, play hockey right-handed—anything with a stick. I fence left-handed. I use scissors right-handed. I throw a ball—although somewhat inaccurately—with my non-right hand. If I were American, I would even place my right-hand over my chest to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because it would be the right thing to do—and, yes, the pun was intended. But virtually everything else known to mankind I do left-handed.  Living life as a left-handed sinister is fun. It is creative. It is extreme. But the crux of being left-handed is this: living in a right handed world. During training, I served summers in the Canadian Naval Reserves. Rifles in the military are made to fire for right-handers and those of us of the “higher persuasion” had to adapt to it—for somehow, even the concept of allowing adjustments for the minorities, eluded the most brazened commanders. Hence, after a round of practice on the firing range, my score was always a hair’s width above zero. The scores of colleagues to my left and to my right?... read more

My Resignation

I signed my resignation the other day. Well, not really, but I really, really, REALLY wanted to. It was not even a real resignation but I wish it were. I am not even sure where I found it. All I know is that as I read it, I found my heart again—even though I did not know my heart had been lost. The letter of resignation read something like this: RESIGNATION I,              [name]              , am hearby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again. I want to go to McDonald’s and think that it’s a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud pubble and make a sidewalk with rocks. I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to like under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer’s day.  I want to return to a time when life was simple, when all you know were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn’t bother you because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. All you know was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life... read more

The Would-Be Kiss

There certain things that only happen once in life. When it does happen, we often wish it never happened at all or that it would happen all over with different—better—results. Like being born. However, there are other things that might happen several times, yet every time we wish it didn’t happen at all or could happen again so we can make wiser choices for a more productive result. But as I think about it, if they had never happened, there would have nothing to write about. I can’t remember exactly how old I was but I had to be either in Grade 3 or 4. I will assume Grade 4. Neither can I remember her name. I shall call her Kathy. What I DO know is that she had the most gorgeous hair and was the prettiest girl in class. She sat by the pencil sharpener. Every time I went to the sharpener, I delivered a secret love note, as a result I never, EVER, had a dull pencil. Then, I received secret notes—with equally favorable responses. Thus, we communicated and, thus, we made plans to meet on Saturday to kiss—ON THE LIPS—behind a tree in a woods near the school. Saturday came. There was a knock on the door. My parents answered and told me there was a Kathy who wanted to see me. Great. I knew why but I don’t know why I said I was too busy—although I was—reading National Geographics about Eskimos—which I was. I got another secret note on Monday that read, “I hate you!” My response:  “That’s okay. I hate you, too.” I... read more

“And the Waltz Goes On”—A Lesson in Patience

Imagine idly writing a waltz one afternoon, thinking nothing of it and then, one day 50 years later, hearing it for the very first time—played by an orchestra conducted by and starring a world renowned musician. Ask Sir Anthony Hopkins. He will tell you. Known for his decorated acting career, Anthony Hopkins shared in an interview that he is a music lover. One day, as a young adult, he sat down to compose a waltz. He did and there it sat until decades later. At the encouragement of his wife, he connected with André Rieu, a world-renowned Belgian violinist and conductor, with the hopes of seeing it to completion. As I watched the video, I felt there ought to be something I can learn from this. There is always something to learn. Here is what I derived: PATIENCE. One does not always see the fruits of one’s labor immediately. We may even forget our “creations” as they sit in some forgotten vault, covered with a thick dusting age. In our society today, we become trapped in “instant gratification,” believing that if it does not have visible payoff RIGHT NOW, it was not very good anyway. DON’T BE AFRAID TO PLAY. Play hard. Enjoy. Venture. Explore. Fail. One day, your playing around—even 50 years later —might delight the world. DON’T DOWNPLAY ANYTHING YOU DO. Have you ever heard, “Ah, it was nothing,” or “I don’t know what I am doing. I am not an expert,” or, perhaps, “This is stupid.”  Sound familiar? Stop it now! YOU ARE MORE THAN YOUR REPUTATION. Here is evidence that one person can do more... read more

The Real Measure of Time

The end of one’s life is a tenuous time. Watching someone go through it, grabs at the heart strings with an iron clutch. Schedules get overhauled, anxieties rise and all the comfort zones get tossed aside. Every day, life and death decisions bear down upon a caregiver giving rise to the idea that one wrong move would strip the elderly parent or sibling or child of any hope of life—no matter how bleak the outlook was to have been. The word fragile comes to mind. But so does tender and strength. What does it feel like? No one really knows for no one ever lives to tell about it. Considering the recent journey over this last month, four weeks feels like an entire chapter—but it has only been…ONE month. There she is, lying in bed. Pain. Weariness. Frustration. Loneliness. Although unresponsive, it is evident that she is preparing her heart to meet Jesus. And as the hours and minutes and seconds while away, time becomes irrelevant. Time becomes irrelevant. What is time anyway. Certainly I ponder the wrinkles in the hands and face which hold  stories of the struggles and the triumphs. I see delight and happiness and sadness and dreams and trials all bundled in one frail, yet stubborn, body momentarily, lying quietly. At times, life goes by in a flurry. At other times, life creeps along with such excruciating slowness that tomorrow and eternity are one. Yet, as I look at the clock on the wall, the minutes pass by at the same steady pace without respect to either scenario. So what gives? Why does this month... read more
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