The Loser Wins

Hi everyone,

The daily word prompt over at Jibber Jabber with Sue is BEGIN

I sat down awhile ago to begin, a short story, thinking I’d like to do one of these three-short-paragraph ones, and I was going to pick a quote as my inspiration. But my plans went awry and I ended up with a long, maybe soppy, tale.

Here’s the quote I chose:

“What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better.”  — Wendell Philips

And here’s the tale I wrote to illustrate it:

THE LOSER WINS

Sad.rubberduck1951
rubberduck1951 from Pixabay

“Hey, girl. Why are you looking so sad? Lost your best friend.”

Finch looked up at the teen leaning on the door frame. One of the Senior boys. She swiped at a tear. “What do you care,” she grumbled.

“No, really, you look shattered. What’s bothering you.”

She glared at him, but could see he honestly wanted to know, so she spilled her sad story. “We played baseball at recess. I hate baseball! I’m not good at it and the others all know it, so when it came time to pick teams, I was picked last. In fact, I wasn’t really picked; I just ended up on Jenia’s team because I was the only one left. She rolled her eyes like ‘Do I have to.’ Then she says, ‘Okay, come on then,’ like I was such a zero. I was, like, totally humiliated.”

“Hey, that’s tough. Some people don’t do tact. They care zip about anyone else’s feelings.”

“That’s her. Miss Always-the-Leader. Then when we played, I was so nervous I couldn’t hit anything, and the others on the team grumbled straight time about me being so slow. The teacher told them to ‘be nice,’ but they just did it when she wasn’t looking. I don’t ever wanna go back to school again.”

“I know where you’re coming from. I got the same thing when I was a twig.”

“You! But you’re a natural at baseball. I’ve seen you play and you make great hits and catches.”

“Now, yeah, but I remember singing the same song as you. Back when I was in grade school, I was the last one picked. Couldn’t run, couldn’t hit. But I really wanted to play so I joined a team playing sandlot baseball. It was misery. I was slow; I fumbled; if I hit the ball it was luck.”

Finch stared at him. “I don’t believe it. What happened!”

“I was ready to quit after the second game, but one of the dads, Bill, was acting as umpire, and he saw I was in the dumps. So after the game he came over and gave me a hug. Then he rattled off this bit of wisdom. I’ve typed it up and pasted it on my wall.”

‘What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step to something better’.

“I got a life-lesson that day, thanks to Bill, who cared enough to help me out. He told me I wasn’t going to just drop into a game and be a star. He said, ‘If you wanna get good at baseball – or anything else in life – you gotta work at it.’ He got me and a couple of other boys to meet him a couple evenings a week at the ball park and we’d practice. He brought his young boys and met us there for a few weeks, explained the game, the moves, and worked with us. After that we went back on the team and all three of us are good players now.”

“Wow! You were lucky. Not all dads are like that.”

“I didn’t have a dad – and I needed one badly. I think he caught that. Same with the others. He did what he could to set us, and his own boys, on a better path.” He fell silent and his smile told Finch he was remembering those good times.

“And maybe you got an education today, if you take it that way.”

“Huh! So what have I learned? I’m a loser? Nobody wants me on their team?”

“You found out you can’t just jump in and be awesome. You can’t be a fast runner if you don’t regularly run. You can’t be a great hitter if you don’t regularly work at it. Have you got a friend or kid brother or sister that’ll play ball with you sometimes so you can get some practice pitching and hitting?”

“Maybe…”

“And take up running. Work at it when you have some free time and you’ll get faster. I promise you. What that dad told me back then has held true for everything I’ve tried so far. Playing ball. Good grades. Making friends. Staying out of trouble. Life isn’t going to hand it to you; you gotta work for it.”

“Yeah, I suppose.”

“So don’t let today get you down. Call it an education. Do something with what you’ve learned.” He reached down to give her a hand up.

A fresh wave of courage washed over Finch. She was ready to begin again. She reached up and took his hand. “I’ll try.” She let him pull her to her feet. “Thanks a lot…for what you said…and for caring.”

“Sure. See you around.” With a quick wave he headed off.

If Finch hadn’t seen him on the senior boys’ team, she could almost have believed he was an angel.

Rosy Outlook in the Distance

Good morning everyone,

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is ROSY HUES

I arose just before 6 am this morning, but the rosy hues of dawn were long gone. The sky was bright, the birds going about their business, and the temp was just above freezing. But the predicted high is 25 C and the sky is blue above us: the makings of a warm spring day.

Perhaps the prompt-giver was thinking of other ROSY HUES — figurative ones — which I also thought of this morning. A few days ago my husband informed me his favorite book store in the city plans to open next week, along with other stores. Access limited to fifteen people at a time, but still.. The dawning of a new era.

one by one restrictions lift
people begin to breathe
to move about, to gather
cautiously at first

stores open their doors
employees take their places
the world faces a new dawn
its
rosy hues
still in the distance

Dawn.analogicus
             Image by analogicus from Pixabay

“Yes I Can!”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning was BRAVADO

A word that took my mind back to a comment a smoker once made. I think I’d asked him if he ever tried quitting and he assured me, “I can quit anytime I want. I just don’t want to.”

In this particular case, he may have been truthful; maybe he wasn’t addicted to the nicotine and could quit whenever he chose to do so. But I’ve heard this same thought from different ones and it seems mostly bravado. The “I don’t want to” has a lot of fear of failure embedded in it.

Peacock

Bravado is a bold statement or manner done for show, bragging not backed up by true courage. A pretense of bravery.

Bold ones may say, “I can fight the lion and I’ll easily win,” when the lion isn’t roaring in their face and clawing at them. But if a lion were to actually savage them a bit, they’d disappear ASAP.

Like the boy I overheard bragging about how he could make a fancy dive off the high diving board at the pool. He dared one girl to do it and she executed a beautiful dive, doing a complete flip on the way down. But when it was his turn, he found some reason to avoid showing what he could do.

New Year’s resolutions often have a bit of this bravado in their makeup. People say, “This year I’m going to lose ten pounds, give up —, work out twice a week, or whatever.” But when the time comes — a craving hits, it’s time to go to the gym — the roaring lion isn’t so easily defeated after all.

Real determination, the kind that faces the challenge and wins, doesn’t usually bluster. Determined souls admit that the battle will be hard, sweaty, and laced with pain, and there’s no turning back. They grit their teeth and firmly say “I will do this if it kills me.”

And from the testimonies I’ve heard from ex-substance abusers, I gather it just about does.

Musing on Psalm 46

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is TRUST. A comforting word. Is there any more secure feeling in life than having a friend or spouse we know we can trust?

Here’s my response to the prompt:

Storm + Psalm. Tobias
       Storm photo: Tobias Hämmer  —  Pixabay

Psalm 46: 1-5 — With notes by a modern reader:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
He’s our storm shelter when menacing storms of life want to bash us and whirl us dizzy. He’s the one Who stands beside us, supports us when we are weak, covers us with his hand so we don’t have to take the brunt of enemy bombardment.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
With our Father by our side, we can face whatever life throws at us.
Though the stock market crash, the latest plague spreads, wildfires rage, governments threaten each other with nuclear attacks, health issues and expenses come up, my neighbour’s furious with me, my teens are bullied at school — or rebel against the stupid rules of us “totally out of it” parents, or my so–called friend spreads a life-shattering rumor about me.
Yes, I will quake because I am human, but He is still there, standing by to help me navigate the raging sea.

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
So many things are blown way out of proportion by the media and scare-mongers on Facebook may all be saying we’ll never get through this coming disaster. But even if worst comes to worst and the solid rocks around me are shaking, I can still hold His hand and hear His voice over the storm.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
A river of peace I can stay beside, being refreshed, in a city of refuge where I can live a holy life in the presence of God in spite of the racket going on in the world outside.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
Precious promise! Even though we may wobble at times from the force of the blast and life may be far from perfect, the children of God can stand. Our Father will come to our rescue and hold us up, come what may.

“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” Revelations 22:1-2

 

 

Buoyant isn’t the Word

Hello Everyone,

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was BUOYANT. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling buoyant enough to write anything — even though it was the prompt word I chose.

I did get some suitable pictures from Pixabay to illustrate the concept, like this cute hot air balloon:
air-balloon-festival-954908_640

Thankfully, I’m feeling much more buoyant today and almost completely recovered from the cold & sinus woes that laid me low for almost two weeks.

But life hasn’t been bubbles of joy this month for other reasons, too, as my sister has been in hospital for over three weeks now. She went in with pneumonia & infection and had a rough time of it, according to her husband. But things were looking up; last week he thought she’d be out by the end of the week. However, when I talked to him last night, he said she’d caught another infection and would remain in hospital until the end of this week for sure, right through Christmas.

Rose had treatment for lung cancer and reacted to the first chemo, so was in hospital most of December last year. To them and their family this is going to seem like a sad repeat. I’d love to visit her but, being sick as I was, I decided it wouldn’t be a kindness. and this week I have to work more shifts. So I’ll continue to send good wishes through her husband and hope next week will bring a good day to go.

I’ve tried to contact my sister Donna several times in the last few months, but she’s either moved or cancelled her phone service. It’s during seasons of “family visits and goodwill” that I really wish for closer ties with my siblings, but we did grow up apart and live such different lives now, too. Though we always had contact and spent the summers together, I was raised by my Uncle & Aunt Forsyth from the time I was three months old, mostly several hours away from my family.

In case anyone reader is interested: My brother Jim is 11 months older than me; as children we were really close. I come second; Donna is 3 1/2 years younger. We were close, too. Rose is 5 years younger, but lived with my Aunt and Uncle, too, for three of her preschool years because of her health issues. Wilma is 6 years younger than me and Lorraine 11 years younger than me. I’ve had very little contact with the youngest two.

Now back to the present: I’m breathing easier, hacking less, and I have the day to myself. Maybe I can get some things accomplished here at home, including posting something for this morning’s Ragtag daily prompt. Here’s wishing you all vim, vigor, and a buoyant holiday week.

balloons-1018299_640

Life In A Dark Bubble

Yesterday’s Word of the Day prompt was BUBBLE. I’m coming in rather late here, but this is my response.

paranoia
life in a dark bubble
everybody hates me

mind-767584_640
Image by Gerd Altmann

Not long before this prompt came up, I’d an account I wrote some years ago about a woman I met on a trip we took. She likely would have been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic — if she’d ever sought medical help. It sounds like her doctors had suggested mental illness, but why should she listen to doctors when they’ve all been ordered by the government to destroy people like her? Another man friend tried drugs, but hated the side effects.

I’ve visited with several afflicted ones over the years, enough to give me some picture of what their world must be like. I know there’s a wide range of symptoms and reactions to treatment, but here’s my non-medical insight, for what it’s worth.

“When I was in the hospital,” this woman explained to me, her eyes shining, “they did experiments on me. They poison a person with mercury. The mercury slowly comes out of you through your skin, you know; I see little silver drops on my carpet all the time.”

What could I say? You’re imagining this? But she wasn’t. She actually saw these drops. Just as someone else saw an upside-down cross on a hospital curtain one night — a sure omen of evil to come. Who can understand why or how the mind perceives silver drops, or beetles on all the plants, or people pulling their hair in the night? For the sufferer, the only “logical” explanation is that someone is trying to drive them mad. Once mad, they’ll be taken to the psych ward and quietly disposed of.

“There are two kinds of people in this world,” another fearful person told me years ago. “Those who wish I was dead, and those who think I already am.”

“Most of the people in this world don’t even know you exist,” I replied. However, that’s reality, and reality usually doesn’t cut through such fear. I wasted my breath.

Many, many times people trying to help a person through their hallucinations waste their breath trying to explain that, “No, it isn’t what you imagine. You still have all your hair; no one has pulled it out.”

I’ve learned that my rational explanations will never combat paranoia; they just can’t pierce that bubble of fear. The afflicted, be they on welfare, members of ethnic minorities, Christians, or whatever else makes them unique, see themselves as slated for destruction — and no one recognizes the danger they’re in. If you don’t agree, if you won’t see how the government is out to destroy people like them, you are either burying your head in the sand or you’re delusional.

Sadly, some misguided religious people see all mental illness as “demonic” and their answer is some type of exorcism. This is usually a double whammy for the sufferers. Not only are they NOT cured by this ritual, plus now they live with the guilt of being possessed by evil spirits, and/or the thought that God must have given up on them, too.

From what I’ve observed, medication has had limited success in treating this type of mental illness. Some works great — for a time. There is some healing in the aging process. I once read that schizophrenia loses some of its grip on a person’s mind after age fifty. The problem is the dangerous situations they tend to live in, often being homeless and isolating themselves.

Another friend of mine who has suffered from fears very much through the years became a Christian in her twenties and the words that help her the most are the scriptures about God looking after his own. He does see, He does care, and He has looked after her amazingly well in her circumstances. When she calls me, greatly distressed because something suspicious happened, or someone said something threatening, we talk about the day when the trials of this life will be behind us and we’ll live in Heaven, safe from evil, free from care. Focusing on that better place makes the troubles of this world more bearable.