That thought comes from a song written by one of my favorite bands. From Blind Melon’s eponymous album, songwriter Shannon Hoon also offered this thought:
“And as we all play parts of tomorrow, some ways will work and other ways we’ll play. But I know we can’t all stay here forever, so I want to write my words on the face of today… and then they’ll paint it.”
I was up late last night, and then woke relatively early this morning. I have a lot on my mind. Not just politics, believe it or not… Work, dating (or not, as the case is now) and many other things are searing in my brain. I have learned that I am an information seeker. I have a constant need to consume brain food. That trait is both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I stress myself so hard trying to learn so much, or to get so much accomplished, that I exhaust myself. The past couple of weeks have been that way…
We let a coworker go, which is always difficult when it’s a good person to whom you’re saying goodbye, but sometimes it needs to be. Unfortunately the truth is that our company will be better off without this person at this time, as nice a guy as he is. He’s got issues I’m familiar enough with (been there, done that kind of stuff) that I worry greatly for him, and I regret to say I believe he has some falling to do before he picks himself up and fixes himself.
Politics is an interest… a hobby… and to some degrees a devotion. If I could, if life turned in such a way for me, I’d probably find a way to get into politics for a living. I don’t know that I would want to be a politician, even though my coworkers always tell me I should be. They say I have an interesting ability to learn from experience, to teach, and to help people see things in a way they might otherwise never see.
I have enough skeletons in my closet I hold my own Halloween party, thank you… but maybe an advisory role, or maybe as a pundit. I enjoy the writing I do here, until it upsets my world.
That which can upset my world is the idea that my family and I have disagreements about the superficial elements of political discourse, because I always worry my writing will come between us. That would break me. I sincerely believe we are not so far apart in our belief systems that we should be jaded by politics to the point it brings us to disagreements, but I know that it happens. It happens to everyone who pays any attention to the world and has an ounce of passion about our future, because not every one of us has the exact same perspective. So we don’t all share the same vision for America’s future, even though we all want America to succeed, grow, and prosper.
This morning, as wrote the continuation of what I began writing last night, in reply to my brother… with whom I’ve had some pretty heated political discussions over the past few years, my sister posted something awesome on Facebook. She said,
“Jumping on the bandwagon with […] and doing the month of thankfulness through the alphabet. Today is B. I am thankful for my brothers, […]. They've both taught me a lot about who I want (and sometimes don't want, Lol!) to be. Love you both!!”
Throughout last night and this morning as I wrote back to him, as heated as the discussion felt, one of my most prominent thoughts (in addition to the need for food) was that I always appreciate my brother’s input. Even when we don’t see eye to eye, I know I walk away from each discussion a better man.
So in the spirit of my sister’s Facebook comment, and in the interest of satisfying my desire to express myself fully as I always seem to do (even when I’m at my most obnoxious)… I would like to take a liberty and fast forward the calendar to Tuesday, November 6th, if only for the rest of this blog post. I have some things I need to express, and I’m not going to wait. Thank you for your understanding.
I take this liberty not because Tuesday, November 6th is Election Day; that’s purely coincidental. Or perhaps it isn’t… hmmm….
I take this liberty because Tuesday is the 6th day of the month, and therefore it is the letter “F” in the month of thankfulness.
Family. I am thankful for my Family, first, foremost and always. I am thankful for the fact that I am brought to tears by the love I receive from my family. It is overwhelming to me; to be given the love my family gives me, knowing the paths I’ve walked and the possibility that they could have disregarded me as lost. It is because of my own strength, first and foremost, that I no longer walk those paths. Yet I absolutely know my family plays a huge part in my never-ending recovery, because each and every day I enjoy living to earn their respect.
My family’s love begins with my parents, without whom I wouldn’t be alive today for many reasons beyond the obvious. Mom and Dad, the wonderful upbringing you gave me accidentally made me the man I am today, sometimes seemingly against my will. Thank you. Your love is always there for me and therefore always trusted, and every day I work my tail off to make sure it is earned by learning to be a better man. I have come to understand that this is all you expect of me, and if I do as you expect of me I will succeed in life. You continue to help me through my journey each and every day through the wisdom of lessons taught to me years ago. I may not have listened very well back then, but I’m fully attentive today.
I am thankful for my brother…you are my best friend. When my world turned upside down almost thirteen years ago, I made the decision to put two thousand miles between us… in part so I could run away from my troubles, and also so I could chase my dreams. I’m still chasing, but I don’t regret the decision… if for no greater reason than my physical health, which is improved greatly by the weather here. I’ve also had to learn how to be comfortable in my own skin, which is something I may have had issues with before.
I’ve made some stupid decisions along the way… I know. But I’m stronger for it, which is much of where my political viewpoint comes from. I’m not sure I’ve really ever portrayed that properly to you… Sometimes we don’t see things exactly the same way, I know… there’s an old phrase, “A conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged by reality.” Maybe we should talk more about that sometime. Maybe we shouldn't.
Yet through it all, no matter what, I know you always have my back, and I hope you know the same is forever true from me to you. It is an awful lot to ask of you to be that person for me, but when I call you find the time. When I need to ask your advice you offer it.
Your wife is such a good woman… your family is amazing, and you inspire me with your ability to be the father I never expected you would become… I always expected you would be the perpetually single one. Imagine that.
I am grateful for your insight and therefore your input is always welcome… even when you crack at me for all my cat pictures on Facebook. Although I have to tell you I am still working on you derailing from being a Denver Broncos fan…
I am thankful for my sister… for so much more than your Facebook posts, and I’m sure you know this is true. Yet from you sometimes it is the simple things… you send me a text message when I least expect it and put a smile on my face, or a card shows up in the mail… or perhaps it’s a Facebook post that has driven me to a new place on this beautiful day God has given us.
Through your family, you remind me of all the best of our family. We have a few years age difference between us, which in younger days perhaps made it more difficult for us to feel close and really understand each other. But through all our twists and turns we’ve managed to grow closer each and every year. Your husband is a good and decent man with whom I know you are safe and happy, and there’s not much more a big brother can hope for than for his little sister to be safe and happy. I’m so thankful that you are in the place in life that gives you the ability to be the best that you can be.
And I also am so blessed to have five wonderful young people to watch as they grow up; even from the distance the miles put between us I watch over them closely through the shared stories and pictures you bring me, all of you. Their smiles bring me joy and their growth amazes me, and I am so thankful to have their presence in my life. I feel like they are a part of me, and I hope as they grow older I am able to offer something… anything to them, to give them a happier life and a greater understanding.
It’s mid-afternoon now. I’m not sure what time I started writing here… I’ve eaten, that happened about three hours ago. My desire to write finally succumbed to the need to feed the machine. Scrambled eggs cooked in a thin layer of bacon grease…. Mmmm, bacon… I shared some with my kitties, they love my cooking, and they definitely love bacon. We don’t do bacon here very much… it’s tough, living for one person.
Anyway… I vacuumed, flipped some laundry, gave the ‘kids’ a brushing, and came back to finish here. I’ve scanned up and down this work of writing and added a handful of thoughts.
That’s what I do some days. As mundane as it sounds, I have a simple, yet rather happy existence. I don’t live a grand lifestyle. I stay in more than I go out… in fact, since I’m not dating at the moment, I don’t go out at all unless it’s to grab some take-out and get back to my comfortable little place with my four little bundles of love. The love I have in my home from my little rescue-babies does me wonders, and gives me a wonderful extra purpose beyond work and sleep. I don’t have children, but I have my ‘kids,’ and it’s working out pretty well for all of us these days.
I have countless items I’ve written that I never post to this blog, because sometimes I just need to get it out of myself without broadcasting it for the entire world to see. Other days… days like today… I need to express it.
Today I planned a day off in advance. I took a vacation day from work; I deemed it a “mental health day.”
It worked. I am feeling much, much better right now than I did when I woke up today. I’ll get back to my political response to my brother some other time. Right now I’m in a place in my mind I enjoy being. I’ve cried about ten times this morning, and I’m not ashamed to admit it, because I’ve been crying tears of joy. When you’ve been where I’ve been and seen what I’ve seen, expressing emotion becomes a little less embarrassing and a little more cathartic than it was before.
Some moments I get the feeling that if I died, right at that very moment, I would be perfectly okay with it. Not because I want to die, mind you… but because I am at peace with my very existence. Because, as my late friend Shannon said, we can’t all stay here forever.
The song closes… “And oh, as I fade away, they’ll all look at me and say… ‘Hey, look at him, and where he is these days.’ When life is hard, you have to change.”
So I will write my words on the face of today...