Time piece

The other day when I took my daughter for a checkup with the ophthalmologist, I noticed there were no wall clocks anywhere. It wasn’t a Vegas casino, so I thought it a bit odd.

You’re probably asking: “Why would you need a clock? Don’t you have a cellphone with a click on it you can look at?

Yes. I do. At that moment, though, my daughter was using it to keep herself occupied while we waited to be called back after her eyes were dilated. I also didn’t have my watch. The battery had died. We were going later that day to get a new one installed.

20180406_090738286412404.jpgIt’s funny. When I didn’t have the watch on my wrist, I would look there to check the time. Nothing there. Habit. When I looked and it wasn’t there, I felt a tinge of loss and a slight annoyance that I would have to stare at my phone until it recognized I was looking at it for it to come back on and tell me the time. With the watch, I was always secure in the notion that I could look at it on my wrist and know the time.

The watch is a throwback to a “simpler time” when we weren’t all so “connected” through our technology.  Maybe that is why I felt loss when it wasn’t something I would have on every day. Maybe I, like many others, would like to turn back time (couldn’t resist, sorry) to when the Internet and cell phones didn’t exist. Why do you think shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things, Fuller House, or any of the plethora of reboots out there are so popular. Those of us who grew up then are at a point where we can control the contributions to culture in a way we couldn’t before. And we long to go back. The world is more complicated and stressful now than it was when we were kids. We want the clock to rewind instead of tick ahead minute by minute. We’re at a point in our lives where there is less ahead of us than behind.  And yet, we’re looking for the connection back so we can move forward.

I’ve found that my connection back is this timepiece my wife gave me. It’s back on my wrist. And now I’m ready to go forward again.

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No Spring for You!

Like the Soup Nazi in Seinfeld, this never-ending winter is not going to give us what we want. There will be no Spring for us. It feels that way, anyway.

I mean, it snowed today. In April. This isn’t too unusual for where we live. However, this year it just seems like Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are just piling on for the fun of it.

And we want it to stop. Spring is a great time of year. The smell in the air after a rain shower. The rebirth. The flowers. The birds. There is just so much to love about this time of year.

If it would ever get here!

I am not a Know-Nothing

Former US President Abraham Lincoln's statue is seen at Lincoln Memorial  in Washington

Former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial is seen in Washington March 27, 2015. The 170-ton, 19-foot-high statue, formed from 28 blocks of Georgia marble, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and carved by the Piccirilli brothers. The 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theatre in Washington is April 15, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron – RTR4WKMZ

I found this writing from President Abraham Lincoln quoted in an article on The Atlantic’s website very insightful. Applying it to today’s political climate produces interesting results:

I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain,” he (Lincoln) wrote in 1855, in a meditation that reverberates all the way to our current election. “How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/04/the-party-of-lincoln-in-the-time-of-trump/479601/

Simple things

haircut

For the last 8 years, giving our son a haircut has been a struggle. He detests it. The cut hair falling on his face and everywhere else overloads his senses. My wife and I have tried many things to divert his attention with minimal success. We’ve also honed our cutting skills, so that it takes less and less time to complete the job. Still, he’s irritated and irritable every time we have to cut his hair.

Until last night. He had been growing his hair out (thereby by-passing the need for a haircut). It grew too long for him and he needed it to be cut. He sat on the stool and did not complain while I used the clippers to give him his traditional hairstyle back. No complaints. No harsh words. No antsy movements and whining “Are you done yet?” Nothing. It was fantastic! When he was done, he took a shower to get all of the hair off of him. He exclaimed while showering that he had gotten so used to “thick hair” that having his hair cut like this was “amazing!”

Driving into work today I was thinking about this whole episode last night. Honestly, it was nothing short of miraculous. Sometimes God works in mysterious ways, like parting the Red Sea. Sometimes He works in more apparent ways. That was the case last night with my son’s haircut. Thank you Lord for simple things. Amen!

Winter Blast Champions

Winter Blast 2016 Champs

We all piled into the minivan a bit later than normal. This time around we got a bit of a reprieve. Instead of starting before the sun came up, this soccer tournament Sunday would start closer to high noon. We just had to get there.

An hour or so later, we pulled up to the high school gym where for the next 4 hours our two teams of third and fourth grade boys would play between 72 and 90 minutes of indoor soccer. It was fun and intense.

As a coach to these boys, I’ve really come to enjoy watching and being a part of their development as players, and more importantly, as people. It is not always an easy job, but it is rewarding. Such a reward came at the Winter Blast Indoor Soccer Tournament.

As is the case with any good sports story, we had to overcome challenges that tested each player and the team. We had to play each other in the semifinals and then in the final we faced the team that beat both of our teams in the round robin group stage. The final was much closer than either of the earlier games. Emotions ran high on both sides. There was pushing, shoving, and injuries. Our team took the lead. Up one goal, the time seemed to slow down. The wear and tear on their young legs was catching up to them. This tiredness and the subsequent communication breakdown it caused led to the other team scoring an equalizer.

Not much time remained in regulation. I was starting to determine the best strategy to employ in overtime. Despite the pressure of playing in a final and all of the other challenges, our team persevered and scored the go-ahead goal.

As the clock ticked down…10…9….8…7…excitement built on our sideline. Then, exultation. We were the champions. The excitement and joy on the faces of the boys is what I will remember the most. That, and all of the work they put in to creating that moment.

With malice toward none; with charity for all

1865oath
Library of Congress
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations. – President Lincoln, March 4, 1865
 
We may not think of Abraham Lincoln as “the most divisive president in U.S. history” as some have called President George W. Bush or President Obama, but the truth is Lincoln was president during the only time in our nation’s history that Americans fought against each other in a civil war.
Today, March 4, is the day in 1865 that Lincoln was inaugurated for his second term as President. The closing remarks of his address (above) were relevant then as a way to begin the healing the nation needed. Those same words have meaning today, much for the same reasons.
In the news, on social media, pretty much everywhere you turn, there are messages being shouted that pit one group of people or ideas against another. I look out and see our nation divided. I look out and see divisions, not just between Republicans and Democrats, but among those two groups. What I see is the rising tide of bigotry and racism. This tide is evil and has the potential to drown us all.

We can and must remember our history. We can and must overcome. We can and must do everything within our power to dispell the base instincts that are shouting for attention. Lincoln understood this. He spoke about it and took actions to stop the division. He took actions, just as we must today, to stand united, because should we continue to be divisive we shall fall.