Finding the Write Meaning

“Sometimes an event occurs in our lives through which we catch a glimpse of what our lives are all about and maybe even what life itself is all about and this glimpse of what “it’s all about” involves not just the present but the past and future too. Inhabitants of time that we are, we stand on such occasions with one foot in eternity.”                                 Frederick Buechner
Writing for me is about stopping the clock and putting one foot in eternity. It allows me to look at life, as it attempts to whiz past unnoticed, and absorb the beauty and meaning in it. Everything I write is, in reality, a thank you note to God. I am taking the time and the opportunity to appreciate the gift of the mundane and random things of life, like the way my wife nibbles on an m&m one at a time, or how my granddaughter sucks her thumb with her fingers open instead of making a fist. Writing takes me on a walk towards gratitude and humility, two things I desperately need in my life.

We are all in search of the meaning in life and it’s only when I write that I am able to focus long enough to discover it.

This is America

The boat sends shivers of ripples along the surface of the calm waters. Everyone on board is quiet and reflective as we pass through the tropical lagoon. It’s hard to imagine this beautiful place being the scene of such violent devastation. But he doesn’t have to imagine. It’s as real to him today as it was seventy years ago.

The deep creases in his weathered and whiskered face tell only a hint of the old man’s story. Perhaps, many of his stories have never been told; stories too unbearable to share, yet too painful to forget. He has done his best to move forward; marrying his high school sweetheart, and going to work every day to provide a safe home for his growing family.

Everyone rises to their feet in honor of this old man as he disembarks the boat setting his weary feet on the hallowed ground of the USS Arizona Memorial. One of the last living survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack that occurred December 7, 1941, he represents what is best about America. He helps us remember the Day of Infamy.

The crowd respectfully follows this American hero on to the platform suspended over the sunken ship that entombs nine hundred of his fallen brothers. Flowers fall into the dark water of the harbor, floating on the blue surface stained with black tears bubbling from the watery grave.

But even in the somberness of this memorial scene, I am delightfully surprised to discover this ship graveyard has become a living reef for the beautiful schools of fish that swim here. Nature has turned that which was dead into a living sanctuary of new creation.

I am grateful for these heroes, both dead and alive, for the sacrifice they made for their country; for their courage to face the enemy and for their perseverance to rebuild and redeem the tragedy and devastation of war.

Yes, I am grateful. As I return home from my memorial experience, to reengage my everyday life of job and family, I reflect on this elder hero with deep appreciation. Because of him, I have the opportunity to pursue my personal happiness in a free and prosperous nation.

As I travel the well-paved highways of our country to celebrate our independence with other members of my family, I am grateful. Many American heroes made this possible with their sweat, their blood, their very lives.

As I gather with family and friends, enjoying the bounty of burgers and barbeque, I am satisfied far beyond my expanding waistline. Cold bottles and red cups filled with ice cold relief are raised in honor of the men and women throughout our country’s history who made each and every feast possible.

My heart explodes with every “oo” and “ah” as we sit under spacious skies illuminated with spectacular displays of color and sound. I delight in seeing the fireworks reflected in the eyes of my children and grandchildren as we gather together under the booming ballet of light. I am grateful.

This is America; generation after generation, inheriting the blessing of freedom and passing it on to the next.

Gratitude: Black and White

Life would be so much simpler if everything was black and white;

Like reruns from the 50’s; Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best.

But life doesn’t happen in black and white;

It is filmed in Technicolor before a live studio audience.

 

While some things are black and white, agreed upon do’s and don’ts;

Other things in life don’t fit so neatly into our embedded categories.

Life doesn’t always fit into well-organized systems.

Cause and effects aren’t always consistent.

 

We must often make room for a blending of the black and white;

But rarely is gray listed as someone’s favorite color.

Gray appears drab and old, like a communist’s uniform,

Or an old white t-shirt washed too many times with the colors.

 

But we are often called to accept the gray in life,

Like the strands of hair stripped of youthful color.

But I have realized that if you add reflection and light into it,

Drab gray is beautifully transformed to radiating silver.

 

I thank you God, Creator of Light

For allowing us to reflect your light into a vast spectrum of color.

It is in and through your Eternal Light

That we discover the brilliant jewels and precious ore of life.

Gratitude: Purple

Sweet grape jelly on warm buttered toast,

Eggplant Parmesan, a food I like most,

Mom’s purple cabbage served once a year.

These are the purple foods that make me cheer.

 

A big, audacious purple bruise

From a fight that I didn’t lose,

A badge of honor to my name,

As a young boy, it would bring me fame.

 

Singing “purple people eaters” just for fun,

Making those around us want to run.

Dancing to Prince’s “Purple Rain”

People wondering if we were insane.

 

Cheering for the purple and gold

At NKC High, it never got old.

Giving purple flowers to my new love;

I knew she was a gift from above.

 

These purple memories from my past,

Remembered with gratitude that will last.

Another color in the rainbow,

An inspiration for love to grow.

 

But none of this would have really mattered,

If it hadn’t been for the bruised and battered;

Who loved our country from the start;

Returning home with a purple heart.

 

 

 

Gratitude: Orange

Who takes orange so serious?

Orange is all about fun.

Except for traffic cones, I suppose.

But wouldn’t it be fun to hit one?

 

I believe that if everyone wore orange,

No one would take themselves serious.

Talking with a man in a bright orange suit,

Would simply make me delirious.

 

Oranges are orange, and yes, they’re nutritious;

But oranges are also quite fun.

Oranges squirt and squirting is funny.

So’s an orange peel grin, big as the sun.

 

Circus peanuts and orange candy slices;

Orange colored candy is fun.

Orange popsicles and creamsicles rule,

But orange soda pop’s number one.

 

Pumpkins are all the rage in the Fall,

So is playing in orange crinkly leaves.

Kids named Rusty with freckles and orange hair,

Who doesn’t smile at these?

 

Everyone loves Nemo, the lost orange fish,

And Pooh’s orange friend named Tigger.

Which reminds me of the fun we all would have

If the zoo tiger exhibit were bigger.

 

Last, but not least are orange cheese curls,

The snack that just keeps on giving,

There’s just no way to eat them all up

Without some orange finger-licking.

 

Thank you, God for orange.

Gratitude: Red

Big red tricycle, first taste of freedom;

Cruising down Heinz Road, running cars into ditches.

Freedom demands my caution;

Lesson learned the hard way.

 

Grandma’s old red wagon, thrills down the hill;

Hitch it, crash it, Grandma’s wagon bites the dust.

Fun requires my responsibility.

Lesson learned slowly.

 

Red door on Fayette Street, experience first true love;

Sally in a red dress, her heart in my hand.

Love invites my tenderness.

Lesson learned together.

 

Red flows from open wounds, staining the ground below;

Covering all of our lessons hard learned.

Sacrifice deletes my shame.

Lesson learned with gratitude.

 

Red is the color of true Love.

Gratitude: Blue

Gaze into the blue eyes of love.

As blue oceans reflect the heavens,

So are these eyes a reflection of eternity.

 

“Blue skies, smilin’ at me.”

A reminder to celebrate Love.

An invitation to a party.

 

But when the party’s over,

When blue eyes have betrayed,

Blue changes her reflective color.

 

“My momma done told me,”

Yes, I had been warned;

But I must sing my own blue song.

 

The blues of the singers,

A haunting beauty all its own,

Turning suffering into song.

 

Thank you Great Composer

Maker of blue sky, ocean and song;

A dim reflection of a great eternal party.

Gratitude: Yellow

I am grateful for waffles, cooked golden, topped with bright yellow butter;

Melting and mingling with warm maple syrup;

Running over crispy grid of nook and cranny.

Waffle-love is a generational blessing.

 

Atop our refrigerator sits a bright yellow waffle maker.

This is not your grandma’s waffle iron from years past.

This one creates waffles shaped as circus animals;

Lions, monkeys and giraffe.

 

This is Kaden’s grandma’s waffle maker.

Grandma Sally makes more than waffles,

She makes memories.

Another generation of waffle-love.

 

Yesterday was cold and misty; today a big yellow ball hangs in blue sky,

Casting spotlight and shadow, filtered through shimmering trees.

They dance in worship to their Creator God.

Remnant clouds take turns playing peek-a-boo with the sun.

 

Yellow-haired children make their way to the pool.

Moms gently warn them to look both ways crossing the street.

I sip lemonade on the front porch and dream of grilled cheese sandwiches.

Thank you, God, for yellow.

Gratitude: Green

Thank you, Creator God;

For the coolness of variegated carpet under bare feet.

I gladly breathe in your freshly mowed perfume.

It is life to me;

Filling me with renewed hope after winter’s death is resuscitated.

 

Tall, naked skeletons lift their bony fingers to heaven,

In desperate hope of a new Spring wardrobe.

You send the sunshine and the rain;

Enabling each beggar to clothe themselves in honor and beauty.

Wardrobes of delicate blossoms and intricate sequins of emeralds,

All birthed on the scene as the earth throws back the covers,

Revealing Your faithfulness once again.

 

The earth is green with envy for heaven’s beauty.