…And the Earth Moved: It Gets Your Attention
I didn’t ask for this nor did you. No, I didn’t ask for any of it. I guess I’m just lucky that way. In fact, I’d prefer not to be here writing short missives destined for dust in a world already choking on electronica yet starving on precious little information.
On the surface I was going about doing the daily stuff any mid-40’s man, husband, and father does. However, from one sojourner to another, it’s rarely the surface stuff that gets you.
I married my college sweetheart after dating six years and she’s amazed me in the ensuing years as a faithful, strong, loving wife and mother of two great kids, a daughter and a son. As if this is a piece of yardstick against which we measure external success in life, and it’s not – or rather shouldn’t be, our house is probably four times larger than any of the North Carolina apartments and houses in which I grew up. While having the same challenges as any other modern family, love and laughter largely fills our Texas home.
I was educated in the Liberal Arts and earned an undergrad English degree. With the exception of a short stint teaching high school, I’ve spent the last 20+ years building a largely successful career in the business world. Yeah, I’ve done the post-undergrad thing, too.
Given my upbringing in a lower middle-class loving and hard working family but possessing a loner’s waywardness, predilection for solitariness and solitude, perfection, moodiness and restlessness, all of which didn’t bode well for my future success, the American Dream materialized for me. I’ve lived it. Hell, maybe not as well as some but better than others and I don’t care in either case. I’m not that guy. I’m thankful. Only on the foundation of sacrifices, hard work, support and dreams of my parents have I achieved what I have. Irrespective of how great or meager they may be, those achievements most certainly can be counted as my parents’ own.
Life has been much more than I ever imagined and much better than I ever deserved.
As I said I was going about life just fine…
…and the Earth moved.
When your world shifts beneath your feet, even the slightest bit, it gets your attention. When your world moves, you need an outlet, a refuge, a way to make sense of it and regain your balance…to face it head on. For me, writing is it. It’s my way.
Before we move one more step further, let’s get something straight: While I write, I’m not a writer. Yes, I’m an English grad. Although I’ve enjoyed writing, I don’t do it often. Granted, sections of this blog are devoted to that very purpose. However, I’m a novice of the craft as any aficionado will quickly tell you. I don’t think of myself as the new Hemingway or Fitzgerald, King or anything new for that matter. Age and experience have long ago dispelled any delusions of youth. Most importantly, that’s not why I write. In the words ahead you’ll know why.
The Earth is a big orb. Like you, I am only one sojourner. Many roads lie ahead. So, if you have the time and interest, you are welcome to join the ride. You might want to strap in. There could be some rough terrain. Many, many miles stand between here and somewhere.
Well, this weekend my orb moved, again.
On Saturday I met a long-time friend and mentor for breakfast. As I sat in the booth waiting, cupping my hands around the coffee to help banish the early chill of a November morning, I reflected on the ties that bound us together…a shared past and present.
In the rearview of our relationship was the typical fare of work, sports, fun, family, and faith. However, it’s not the typical that has forged the bond we share nor was it the catalyst for breakfast Saturday morning.
We hadn’t seen one another in year or so, and in fact, the last occasion was filled the sounds of incredible pain, sorrow and loss. Yes, his Earth moved violently and irrevocably then. A tap on my conscience told me to reach out to him and see how he was doing. To check-in…that’s what friends do, right?
I looked up from my cup and saw him rounding the corner to the booth. He looked good. Healthy and smiling. He said I looked the same. You know, it’s the little white lies we tell the ones we love sometimes, all hidden safely behind the masks we wear to placate each other and society. Neither of us was truly healthy nor was either genuinely smiling.
We bypassed the pleasantries quickly. We’re way beyond that. We tossed the masks away and got down to business.
That’s enough for tonight. Tomorrow’s another light.