The Big Hurry

Braydon hit the snooze button twice, but the third time he reached for it, he actually took a long at the clock. “Oh no,” he exclaimed and jumped out of bed.

He rushed into the bathroom and splashed his face with cold water, made a dive into and out of the shower, towelled his hair and ran his razor over his stubble. Then he hastily dressed and hurried into the kitchen.

He poured himself a big glass of milk and gulped down a vitamin pill. Then he found his briefcase, popped it open, and threw in a couple of breakfast bars. His wife, Janelle, knowing the routine all too well, stood at the open front door with his jacket in her hand.

Braydon gave her a quick kiss as he grabbed his jacket. Then he stopped to give her a proper hug. He shrugged apologetically. “I’m sure looking forward to retirement, when I won’t have to rush like this every morning.” Janelle smiled and shut the door behind him.

He dashed to the bus stop just as the bus was opening its doors. As he climbed the few steps he felt around in his jacket pocket, dug out his bus pass, and flashed it at the driver. Thankfully there was an empty seat nearby; he flopped down and took a deep breath. The bus pulled away.

Suddenly he sat up in his seat and looked around at his fellow passengers, “Hey, Where’s this bus going?”

In the mad rush of life, promising ourselves peace and relaxation sometime in the future, we may not notice where we’re heading at this moment. There are many roads offered to the traveler today; we need to be sure we’re on the one that will take us where we want to end up.

“Too many people
in too much of a hurry
rushing in too many
directions leading to nowhere
end up with nothing.”

Story retold from a 1976 devotional article

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Industrial Sparrow

Sparrow alone.jpg

Sparrow on the warehouse step
huddled against the March wind
a bit of fluff on the splattered steel
searching for a crumb.

No food for you, poor bird,
unless you find in the dumpster;
among the trash and flattened boxes
some workman’s lunch leavings,
a stale office-party doughnut.

Only cardboard, steel, concrete
in the industrial section of town.
We make the ovens, the baking pans,
and hopefully some dough to share
but no bread for shivering waifs.

Song for My Brother

I wrote this article twenty-some years ago and stashed away a hard copy. Now as I’m digging around in my “filed and forgotten” I came across it.

I Dreamed of My Brother

Early one morning I had a dream. I dreamed that I was walking along a path and I came upon a man sitting and singing a song. I paused to listen to the words and this is what he sang:

Somewhere I have a brother, though his face I’ve never seen,
But in my mind I see him as he walks on hills of green,
and in my heart I love him and I’m going to see him soon…”

As I listened, I realized that this was my song he was singing, one I had written about my little brother who died some hours after birth, when I was three years old. Mom tells me that on the day of his funeral I cried a lot. That I don’t remember, but I do remember the family gathered in the old farmhouse and the little coffin Uncle Tom made sitting on a table, holding the newborn.

Then in my dream I turned around and looked at the horizon. Far off in the distance I could see those hills of green and I could see him walking there. But he was too far away; I couldn’t see his face. I woke up with the melody of that son still ringing in my ears.

Many times over the years I have thought of my little brother. At the time of this dream he was the only one of our family who’d gone on and was waiting for me in Heaven. At times when the going gets rough in this old world below, my thoughts often turn to him waiting up there. I don’t want to disappoint them by losing out. I don’t want him to be the only one of us who made it to heaven.

Years have passed since I had that dream. My niece. Barb, and others in the family have joined him up on those hills of green. Now I often think of those waiting and pray that I can join that family circle on those green hills.

“Out on the hills of that wonderful country,
happy contented and free
loved ones are waiting and watching our coming.
Heaven holds all to me.”

As I went about my work the next morning my mind was still on the words of that song. I decided to adapt it with more of a thought for today. Here’s my “earthly” version:

Somewhere I Have a Brother

Somewhere I have a brother though his face I have not seen
but in my mind I see him as he walks through fields of green
and in my heart I pray for him as I go along my way,
that we can both be faithful so I’ll meet him some glad day.

Somewhere I have a brother though his face I’ve never seen,
for he lives quite far from me with an ocean in between;
and in my heart I love him, for the Father’s love we share,
and I’m sure he’s also praying for his brothers everywhere.

Somewhere I have a brother and I almost see his face,
for just like me he’s part of this global human race;
just like me he cries when hurt and laughs when life is fun
and just like me he’s tired when his working day is done.

Somewhere I have a brother and his hopes are just like mine:
to have a home in Heaven when we reach the end of time;
to be among the faithful when the Saviour’s face we see. (Judgment throne we see)
Somewhere I have a brother and I think he’s just like me.

Nursing Home Musings

I’ve been going through a lot of old papers stashed away for years, mostly unfinished symphonies. 😉 Among them was an even longer version this poem I’ve decided to edit and post. (I remember now why I never finished it before. 🙂 )

Having worked in seniors’ homes over the years, I’ve seen various sides to this issue. I’ve seen parents whose children do visit often, and parents whose children, for some (often valid) reason, don’t. I’m curious to know what you think as you read this senior’s musings. Do you think her complaint’s valid, is she forgetting how often her children do visit, or is she whining too much?

Where Are My Children Tonight?

I’m lonely tonight in this old nursing home,
wishing that one of my children would come.
The visitors passing glance down but don’t care
to speak to the woman that sits in this chair.
I see them arriving; they come with a smile
to visit their parents and chat for awhile.
I do hope my children come see me tonight.

I’d love it if one of my boys would drop by
to talk of old times, even just to say “Hi”;
or my daughters—they surely could think of their Mom?
But it seems so long since anyone’s come.
I wonder what they are all doing tonight?

When Dad passed away, the children were good
to come to the service and cry like they should;
they took care of the will and the funeral, too,
and they said, “Mom, don’t worry. We’ll look after you.”
Be nice if they’d drop in to visit tonight.

They said, “Mom, you’re too frail for living alone.
The best thing for you is a good nursing home.”
And then we won’t worry that you’ll get sick or fall
So they came to admit me and signed papers all.
I’m safe in this place, but where are they tonight?

When my children were little I was busy all day
I had so few minutes to hear what they would say.
Now I have all this time and would love to just sit
and gather my brood for a good long visit.
Oh, please let my children come see me tonight!

We gave them so much—all we could afford—
and I marvel to think of the money we poured
into their schooling, fed and clothed them for years.
Now they’re busy each day with their friends and careers.
No time to drop in on their mother tonight.

Do they think back with fondness on their childhood years?
How should I have raised them so they would be here?
Now I’m just an old woman sitting here in this chair
hoping they will remember and show proof that they care
for their mother and still come to see me tonight.

What I’ve Learned

Yesterday I went through a lot of old papers I’d squirreled away — and did a lot of shredding in the evening. 🙂 Also keyed in a number of items, including the following. I’ve no idea who wrote it, but it sounds like simple, yet profound, wisdom for life.

I’ve learned that…

— you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

— it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

— you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

— you can keep going long after you can’t.

— we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

— either you control your attitude or it controls you.

— heroes are the ones who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

— money is a lousy way of keeping score.

—my best friend and I can do anything, or nothing, and have the best time.

— sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down will be the ones to help you get back up.

— sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

— true friendship continues to grow even over the longest distance. Some goes for true love.

— just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

— maturity has more to do with what sort of life’s experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them, and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

— your family won’t always be there for you. It may seem funny, but people you aren’t related to can take care of you and love you and teach you to trust people again. Families aren’t always biological.

— no matter how good a friends is, they’re going to hurt you every once in awhile and you must forgive them for that.

— it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

— no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

— our background and experiences may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

— just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean that they do.

— we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

— you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

— two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

— your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

— even when you think you have no more to give when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.

— credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

— the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.

Mr Google has helped me out yet again, directing me to a slightly longer version at this site: Roger Knapp.com

He Calls It Clutter

Marcel Makes A Sale

Danny and his wife Lyanne were strolling through the art exhibit when he saw something really unique. They approached the artist and Danny asked, “Uh, what exactly is this supposed to be?”

Blob

Marcel quickly explained, “This painting represents the busyness of life, the rat-race we’re running, cluttering our world with stuff, yet always wanting more.”

Danny eyed the painting. “Yeah. I can see Clutter.”

“Hey, look at it this way.” Marcel used his most persuasive tone. “This is the perfect gift for that someone on your gift list who already has everything.”

Danny gave the artist a rather bemused stare, then his eyes lit up. He pulled out his wallet and handed Marcel his VISA.

Lyanne put a hand on his arm. “Whatever are you thinking?”

He gave her a silly grin. “I know exactly who to give this to.”

On January 3rd VP Harold walked into the Sales Manager’s office…and froze. He pointed to the picture. “What on earth is that supposed to be!”

Randy looked at the painting and sighed. “Christmas gift from my brother-in-law Danny. His little joke, I guess. ‘Perfect for a car leasing exec,’ he says. The artist has titled it Clutter.”

“Yeah. I can see that!” Harold leaned on the door frame and laughed.

Randy rolled his eyes. “Dan and Lyanne will be popping around tomorrow. He said they want to see how it brightens up my drab office.

“I hope you’ll be donating it to charity after that. Because it looks like you let your grandchildren play on your wall with a marker and a ruler.”

“Donate it to charity? Not on your life. Danny and Lyanne’s son’s getting his own apartment in June. This is going to be his housewarming gift. He’ll probably love it—and they’ll get to see it every time they visit him.”

“The gift that keeps on giving, eh?” Harold chuckled as he left to check out what other gifts might have turned up in the company’s offices after Christmas.

I’ve expanded this tale from a Friday Fictioneers story I posted several months ago. My thanks to the artist who posted this image on Pixabay.com.

Books to Fall Asleep On

I read once that if you’re having trouble falling asleep, start reading a rather boring book. Then, of course, someone else disputed this. Take an exciting book that will hold your attention and get your mind off the events/problems of the day. What do you think? Have you followed either of these suggestions and found success?

After a day of heavy caffeine intake, last night I wasn’t falling asleep like I wanted to, so I thought I’d start on a rather boring book, The Man Who Was Thursday, by G K Chesterton. I’d picked it up one time and hubby suggested I read it, so I read the first chapter Wednesday in between bouts of rearranging the living room book cases.

(Is anyone familiar with the Father Brown mystery series by G K Chesterton?)

Chapter One started in that old-fashioned “proper English” style and I assumed it would carry on in the same rather boring manner. But it got rather interesting at the end of Chapter One — and by the end of Chapter Two I was hooked. This daring young Scotland Yard detective infiltrates a cell of British anarchists and gets himself elected to a very important post. He’s about to sail off and take his place in the “Inner Circle” of seven, each one code-named after the days of the week, the organization’s head being “Sunday.”

I didn’t read further or I’d have been awake all night finding out what happened to him! There’s a hint in the beginning that he thought from time to time about the girl he met in Ch 1 and that he met her again at the end of his adventure, so of course I’d like to know how that panned out.

In contrast I downloaded a free e-book last week and read the opening a few days ago. It starts off with this preface: a lonely, destitute old man, broken by life. But it wasn’t always this way. He thinks back to his youth as a gentleman’s son, to the times when he had everything going for him.

Did I want to read the book and find out the bad choices he made? How things went wrong, how he ended up in this sad state? Nope.

This is a decision an author makes, knowing that it’ll kill some sales. Some readers may be eager to hear the story. For me, if I know the ending why should I read the book? What about you? Does this kind of opening make you curious to read the book, or do you find it rather off-putting?

Back to the topic. I’ve rarely found fiction I could fall asleep on. I need something like an account of the life cycle of a miller moth, or a recap of the War of the Roses.

So I gave up on sleeping last night, rather turned on the computer and did more DropBox sorting. Normally a repetitive task tends to make one sleepy — except that I kept finding stories & poems I wrote some years back and have forgotten the names of. By 3am and after a hot chocolate I was ready to sleep.

They say not being able to sleep is part of old age for some people. It’s definitely hit me. 🙂