Thursday, June 26, 2008

Life Has A Way

As my last several blog entries have mentioned, it has been an interesting several weeks during which I have experienced the loss of friends, both personal and public. In an exchange of correspondence with a friend who recently returned to my life from back in the days of the Whole Life Learning Center in Denver, I realized that Life has a way of bringing into our experience just the right persons who support, nourish and provide us with possibilities and hope. I also realized how little time any of us have to share our love and how fickle fate is in tricking us into believing there is plenty of time to let others know how we feel.

I thought of the folks who are in my life and those who no longer are. I thought of the folks with whom I have made an effort to communicate over the years and who have or have not responded. It has become even clearer to me how Life has blessed me with very special folks with whom to share this experience. It is my prayer that somehow I have been able to fill that role for others. Several times in the last two years I have reached out to people in my life whose life for one reason or another, I felt I needed to touch again. For some I realized that I had never told them how much they meant to me. For others it was a case of apologizing for some slight or abuse I may have given. For others it was just to say “Hello.” It is not important who responded or who didn’t. The effort was for my own pulling together any loose ends in those relationships. I needed to complete the circle of sharing, of giving and receiving.

Life is always in transition, much as the lesson is given to us from the caterpillar to the butterfly. It seems to me that it is important that we pay attention not only to the transition but also to the time together and that we make the most of those opportunities. Life has a way of giving us opportunities, but It cannot force us to learn or benefit from them. I am determined to continue to become more conscious in my living. I am determined to be mindful of the folks with whom I share this path and to honor them to the best of my ability. In some cases the honor must be in the silence of my meditations. For others I will seek to be alert to openly sharing support, love and helpfulness in any way I am able.

Life Has A Way!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It Comes In Threes

It seems to be true. When one friend moves on, two others follow. I had no sooner finished posting my article about George Carlin than I received notice of the passing of a dear friend. Bertha Crich was a member of the Unity of Bellevue ministry whom I first met when I returned in 1987 to the church I first served in 1960. She was one of the members who participated in the North Bend Study Group and whose delightful presence always added to the experience of being together. When I was going through a personal struggle after leaving the church, I had the opportunity to stay in the guest house she and her husband, Jack, had at their home at the base of Mt. Si. That respite made possible my return to sanity and composure so that I could proceed with getting on with my life. We have been dear friends ever since. It was as difficult for me, as I am sure it was for them, when they sold their river place and moved to a retirement community. I could not imagine them not sitting on their front porch watching the Snoqualmie River rush by, or in their flower gardens or in their cottage-like home with its welcoming warmth and inviting comfort.

As I bless Bertha in her path beyond our view, my prayers attend to Jack. May solace bring comfort and the peace that passes understanding. For all of the family, God bless and sustain you.

Another Friend Has Moved On

Photos from:

It has been a tough couple of weeks. First, it was Tim Russert. Now I learn that another friend has moved on. George Carlin will no longer assault our senses live. His marvelous mechanics as a word-smith will be missed. However, we will always have the films, books and HBO archives to enjoy. I never knew George personally, but for fifty years I have been a fan. Several years ago, when my daughter was working for Universal Studios in Florida, she managed to get a personally autographed photo of him for me. She was responsible for working with the scheduling of talent for tours and told George of my long-lasting fanship. I also have several of his books that can lift me from the doldrums within a few pages of reading. I treasure that record of his work.

What I like about George Carlin is his ability to clearly see how absurd we are so much of the time. He could particularly emasculate political correctness. He could completely desensitize us to phony aloofness and piety. In short, he helped us realize that taking life too seriously was not healthy. Perhaps it was due to his own unhealthy lifestyle for much of his life that led him to strike out at the foolishness of some of our priorities. There is no way we could continue to take ourselves so seriously, if we were paying any attention to his routines. We were probably not laughing with George so much as we were realizing some of the facades we showed the world.

Well, George, you may be out of sight, but speaking for myself, you certainly are not out of mind! If you will excuse me for now, I need to pick up Brain Droppings, (Hyperion Books) and submerge myself in your eternal humor. Keep ‘em laughing up there, George!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Perspectives: Tim Russert

If you have a television you have to know that "Meet the Press" host and journalist, Tim Russert, died last week. If you did not hear about this event you missed a great opportunity to know someone who truly had a news perspective that was fair, challenging and all-encompassing with a passion for getting it right. Tim was a son of a garbage collector in Buffalo, NY, father to his own son, Luke, as well as a loving husband to his wife, Maureen. His rise from humble beginnings to the top of his field is a remarkable story. The following statement reflects the esteem with which his co-workers held him.

Statement from Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal:
“We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim’s entire extended family.”

As I listened to tribute after tribute on all television stations, regardless of their affiliation, it was clear that Tim was a giant among not simply the news media, but also among human beings in general. Chris Wallace, one of his Sunday talk show competitors said, “I couldn’t say this on air, but Tim was the best newsman in the business.”

Tim Russert seemed to see clearly and usually earlier than his fellow journalists. He knew the way things were. Yet he had the freshness and passion of youth, a child’s way of relating honestly with friends and competitors alike. Certainly, I realized, he cast a long shadow worthy of my attention and consideration.

As I thought about the tributes and my personal experience of listening to his programs, I realized the importance of perception. For many of us our perception of an event, person or situation, tends to feel right for us. We may get caught up on being right to the forsaking of good judgment. Many experiments in psychology classes have shown that every individual experiences an event in his or her own way, and the relating of those experiences seldom concur. The story of the blind men describing an elephant is a similar exercise in perception. This has always served as a support to me in my efforts to judge care-fully.

If you can imagine a polyhedron before you with each face a different color or with different scenes displayed on it, immediately it would be clear that depending on where you stood in observing it, you would see things that someone standing in another place would not see. Even if positioned so that each could see some faces the same, there would be other faces that the other could not see. Life is like that. We stand in our state of mind viewing our experiences from the position of our understanding, clarity and belief systems. What we see is not what others see. What we see is not right or wrong. It is simply what we see and know. As we understand this truth, we have a greater tolerance and understanding of how others see the same experience. It is this quality of life that makes us a more genuine person. It is this same quality that Tim Russert seemed to have. From his truth he challenged others to see their own truth and to get free of the clich├ęs they so often reverted to seeking to explain themselves.

Tim will be--is already--missed by all of us who knew him, even if only through watching Meet the Press or his political coverage. Strangely, I feel the loss of a close friend, an emptiness that for now cannot be filled. I can only imagine how his personal friends and co-workers must feel. This loss brings me again to the consideration of how I relate to my family and friends. It calls me again to the effort to be genuine, to see and know as clearly as I can what is going on in my life. It deepens my awareness for the need to love and reach out in love, not only to those close to me, but also to anyone whose path intersects or coincides with mine. I recommit myself to this effort in love and with love.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Rest of the Story . . . ?

Each time I think about my LifeCentering blog, or review the articles I have written for it, I know there is yet an unwritten story that sooner or later I will get around to writing. This may be the time for at least a part of that story. Those of you who have followed the LC articles know much about my story. Many of you have also been supportive of my efforts toward healing.

The last year has been the toughest of my life. I have had to deal with rejection and despair, fear and a sense of failure in my personal relationships. But I have also found strength in friendships and hope for the future thanks to being able to return to my basic sense of optimism about life. I have had to make a sincere effort to reclaim my sense of self-worth, which I had finally gained through a year of counseling, but which suffered severely due to my inability at the time to resolve critical issues with my family.

Some of the family issues are beginning to find resolution. The process is slow, but deliberate. Others remain unresolved. There is light within the process for each of us and as I catch a glimmer of it occasionally, I remain hopeful that full recovery is unfolding.

I realize that what constitutes resolution for one party in a disagreement is not necessarily resolution for the other party. A part of healing is that each of us realizes that the other’s path is their choice for what is best for them. In freeing others to explore their own options and needs we are also free to experience our own healing path. I have found solace in recognizing how that seems to be working in my family. While I hope for the process to bring about conditions that I would like to see occur, it may not happen. Whether or not it goes as I desire, I sincerely bless the situation and leave it and all parties securely in God’s presence knowing that only the highest and best is possible for all concerned.

I know the full story is not yet written. I also know it will be someday.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Old Times, Places and Friends: The Report and Photos

On Sunday, May 25 we began the trip with a journey to Plummer, Idaho to visit friends, Lloyd and Barbara Agte. Lloyd retired several years ago as a professor at Casper College in Casper, WY and his wife, Barbara currently teaches in the area. They are building their dream home on property that has been in Lloyd’s family for many years. Nomi and I were fortunate to get to stay in the new home, even though the Agte’s have not yet moved in.

We “partied” the first night recollecting “old times” and stories. I never laughed so much and so hard in my life! My back and body ached soooo good!

We visited the large marina on Lake Coeur ‘d Alene; had dinner at a great Greek restaurant and had another wonderful time.

Tuesday morning we left for points north and Kalispell, MT, where my grandparents homesteaded beginning with 160 acres of timberland in 1905 and adding another 160 acres soon after. I had not been to the farm since I was four in 1938 so was unfamiliar with the area. I stopped to talk with a woman walking her dogs and asked if the house for which I had a photo was familiar to her. She said, Yes,” and gave us directions. After returning home and conferring with my cousin who had been there in the 80’s I discovered that I had gone to the wrong house. Still, I was driving past the old homestead and really did feel “at home.”

After staying the night in Kalispell, it was off to Glacier National Park with stops along the way at Hungry Horse Dam and every spot that offered a good photo opportunity. The following photos are of Lake MacDonald, which was as smooth as glass for the two days we were there.
We spent a night at the Lodge and took the boat tour of the lake. Again, the waters were mirror-like.

The Highway to the Sun Road was not yet open due to heavy snow, so we drove up as far as we could taking photos of the river. Then we drove around the south side of the Park on Hwy 2 to get to East Glacier and the Highway to the Sun Road from the east side. This followed along St. Mary’s Lake.

From Missoula, MT, where we stayed that night, we headed along US Hwy 12 up over Lolo Pass and the Lewis and Clark Trail. The scenery was breath-taking and one couldn’t help but wonder how Lewis and Clark could have made their journey through those mountains. It was all explained at the Lolo Pass Ranger Station, one of the best I have visited.

Finally, near home, we came to Multnomah Falls at sunset. Always beautiful, the falls was especially pretty overflowing with snow melt and spring runoff. After a photo, it was on to home. It was a great adventure and those faces, places and times are no longer in the past!