Sunday, July 15, 2012

An Open Heart

"Life is simple. We are living in a worl that is absolutely transparent, and God is shining through it all the time. This is not just a fable or a nice story. It is true. If we abandon ourselves to God and forget ourselves, we see it sometimes, and we see it maybe frequently. God shows Himself everywhere, in everything - in people and in things and in nature and in events. It becomes very obvious that God is everywhere and in everything and we cannot be without God. It's impossible. The only thing is that we don't see it"

 Thomas Merton - A 20th Century Trappist Monk

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

How’s Your Soul?

"Hey Mark, how's your soul?" That's the question that greeted me the other night at group.

"Dark and dismal.", were the words that I replied. WHAT?!

"Why, what can we do to help?"

"I don't know", was all I could say.

Even as I said it I knew the truth. And the truth was and is, what makes me feel that way is the loss of someone loved... lost too soon, she was only 24. And the feeling of justice needed. Justice that I can't provide.

It's been the last few weeks that I been feeling like someone took something from me that can't be replaced. Strange thing to me was that she was not even blood kin. I called her my niece, I refer to her mom as my sister to anyone who doesn't know me. Strange also, is that I never really expected to see her again when she left our house the last time. But knowing now that I can't ever see her again creates an emptiness that I've never experienced before.

She had lived with us for awhile when she had no other place to go. She was part of our family. She was a part of our lives. She was our niece.

A few days later a very good friend of mine lost his son to illness. His son was only 30 years old. In 2 weeks he was to be married.

Nobody should have to bury their child.

My "sister" shouldn't of had to bury her daughter.

There are three kids who will grow up without their mother.

My friend shouldn't of had to bury his son.

There's a young lady who will have to reshape her life… without the one she loves.

Their brothers and sisters shouldn't of had to deal with death like this.

Death is for "old" people who have lived full lives, not for young folks with all their lives in front of them.

To even think of burying a child of mine brings a heaviness that I…. I can't even begin to explain.

I am confident that I will see my niece again, and that the circle of family will be rejoined with my dad and Uncle Bobby. But somehow that only takes the edge off the pain, it doesn't remove it.

As far as my soul goes?... I've decided the condition of my soul is up to me. If it dark and dismal, that's because I've let it become that. If it's full of light, then that's because I've allowed it to be. I believe we do have that control, but in the living of life we tend to forget. We let ourselves become overwhelmed. So we need to be reminded now and again with a simple question…

How's your soul?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How Long Do We Give?

I don't know...but, I feel like I could have done more.

A few months ago I was contemplating how long or how much should be given before we should stop and say, "Enough! Until you try to care for yourself, I'm through giving!!"

Well, I still don't no where that line is, but I find myself wondering ,why, when we convince ourselves we have to say "That's enough", do we find ourselves thinking "I could have done more" when it is too late to do more.....

I'm no theologian or doctor of anything that would suppose me to know all the ins and outs of God's word. But to the best of my knowledge Jesus did not preface "Love your neighbor as yourself" with "as long as he is helping himself".

So I find myself at the end of a chapter and second guessing all my decisions that lead me to this point.... To late to do anything else and so sorry that what I did do wasn't enough.

Monday, June 15, 2009

As Fathers Day approaches I find myself thinking of my dad and remembering how he was always sure to make sure we knew how proud he was of us. I'm sure that many times he was not proud of the decisions I made or the friends I kept, but I am very sure he was proud of me and the fact that I was his son. I loved my dad and I know without a doubt that he loved me.

As I think about this I wonder about my own journey as a father. I am sure that I have made my fair share of mistakes as a father. I am sure that I have been at work when I should have been at a game or a party. I am sure that I have sat down on the couch at the end of the day and went to sleep when I should have played a game. I am sure that I should have taken more time reading books or pushing swings or wrestling or any number of things. I am sure that I have made my fair share of mistakes as a father.

As equally as I am sure of these things I am sure my kids know that I love them. I try to remember everytime I talk with them, to tell them how much I love them. However I must learn to take the time to tell them how proud I am of them. And so that brings me to the point of this ramble. Each of my children hold a special place in my heart. From the oldest to the youngest and all 5 in between, I could not be more proud. Failures or success, good decisions or bad each one of them bears my name, they are my children, and I could not be any more proud.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

whoever said being in God's Will will make you happy and content
was off their rocker,
and obviously forgot to read the Bible.
where does that leave us??
I know there are several guide lines to determine
whether or not we are in God's Will.
I suppose the first one to check is whether or not it is bilblical.
So now,
where does that leave us??
I reckon I'll have to look into this a little deeper.

Friday, April 24, 2009


My spanish teacher is from Venezuala. She always likes to talk about family and things going on in life in order to introduce new vocabulary and phrases and such.

A friend of her family past away recently and she was asking about funerals procedures and what people wear and so forth. In Venezuala if someone dies one day they are buried the next day and a Mass is performed seven days later for that person. As we compared rituals and timing she said something that made me stop and think.

"Americans work and plan for the future. They save and prepare for what they don't know. In Venezuala it's not like that. I live for today. I don't think about growing old, I only think for today."

Well, while I'm not sure throwing it all to the wind and living only for today is such a good idea for me and my family, I do think there is some merit in that school of thought. I do think that we as a society have become....ok, me as a person has become somewhat consumed in saving and/or planning for tomorrow. While that's not totally bad we do tend to miss some of the blessings or opportunities of today when we only focus on tomorrow.

I'm sure we all know this, but sometimes I wonder.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.

What is your life?

You are a mist that appears for a little while

and then vanishes.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Give me a hug....

My daughter, the world traveler, came back from Amsterdam this evening. I got the privilege of picking her up at the airport. I love picking her up when she travels because I'll go sit in the baggage claim and people watch till she arrives. I wonder where they are going to or coming from. But you know my favorite thing in the world is giving my girl a welcome home hug. I'd sit there watching people come out and meet family or friends and the hugs were all around, everyone smiling and laughing. I feel for the folks who have no one there to greet them with a hug.
A hug is like a bridge that spans the gaps of time you've been apart. At Rhonda and my anniversy party an old friend came whom I hadn't seen in about 15 years. I gave that man a hug and it was like we were brought back together, like the lost time was found. When my friend Juli came home from her travels I had to give her a big ol bear hug. If I hadn't it would be like she was not back yet. Same as with my daughter-in-law and my sons when they come into town.
It doesn't matter if it's a side-to-side "arm around the shoulder" hug or a leaning over "pat on the back" hug, a hug is very comforting. Maybe it's like says... the hug is the new hand shake. The first time I saw a "Free Hug" sign I thought it was kind of silly. But the more I think on it the more I realize the impact of that free hug on that person and the people they'll meet.
So hear this, both of you who read this blog, go out and hug someone. Hug your mom or your spouse or your boyfriend or girlfriend. Hug someone you haven't seen in a while. hug someone who needs it, hug someone who doesn't. You might just have a God size impact on someone.