Lately, I feel like every time I open up a news feed it is full of ‘prayers for …’
I haven’t wrapped my head around the severity of this one tragedy or disaster and there is this brand new horrific incident that is swirling around in front of me.
I am fearful that we are becoming numb to this because of its regularity. I do not think we need more calls to prayers. I do not think we need to be sorrowful and distraught. I do not think we need to be pessimistic and cynical.
We need to realize and appreciate with full understanding that we have a very finite amount of time on this planet.
That most of our worries and concerns are ridiculous in their pettiness. We do so much worrying about things that will make no difference in a year, a month, hell even a week.
The present is all we have. Dive into it. In the famous words from the movie Wayne’s World, ‘Live in the now!’
I have been trying. Trying very hard to be present.
It takes a great deal of effort for me to have that much presence and awareness to bring myself back to the now if I start to drift.
Yesterday, by our typical American standards, was mundane. For me it was spectacular.
We have a rule that my son cannot come downstairs until 6:00am. It was an adjustment for him but he does a great job of staying asleep or maybe just hanging out up there, I don’t know.
Around 6:25 yesterday I heard his footsteps. He was making his way into our bedroom. He tip toes in, and I’m sitting up in the dark putting on my pants and sweatshirt.
He creeps up and whispers ‘is it time?’
We have created a Sunday morning routine of hiking and the previous night we painted some rocks to hide for others along our hike. He was extremely excited.
I quietly responded ‘yes, go get dressed.’
He ran out in a flash and back upstairs. Moments later he was fully dressed asking if I thought he had a good outfit.
We chatted quietly while my girlfriend Emily and our dog Carlo continued to sleep.
Then we laced up our shoes and began our morning adventure. Out the door by 6:45am.
In the car we have started listening to the final book of the Harry Potter series and my son’s favorite part is in this book. It’s when Harry’s six companions all drink poly juice potion to become Harry temporarily.
My son loves it. I look back in the rear view mirror while this is unfolding and see a smile beaming across his face that is only match by the sunrise we get to see later that morning.
We arrive at the park and there is only one other car.
We park and get situated before taking off on the trail. I have never taken Dennis to Chestnut Ridge Park, so he is excited for this new hike.
Instantly he is in love with its more secluded ‘nature’ feel. He says he likes hiking here more for that very reason as well as all the trees and animals he can see.
On our hike I tell him I had hid a rock there and I’ll give him the same clues and if it’s there and he finds it he can keep it. Unsurprisingly he found it rather quickly.
We continued to have little life chats which are always wonderful to understand his thought process and where his brain gravitates.
It was cold yesterday morning, upper 30’s and we only had thick sweatshirts and jeans on. I was holding his one hand and then was teaching him to put his free hand in his pocket. Typically this is a no no for our hikes so he doesn’t trip with his hands in pockets but I told him it was ok for this hike.
I suggested we get a hot chocolate after and his face managed to become more engulfed with joy and he began bursting out lyrics from the hot chocolate song in the Polar Express.
Finishing the hike and reading the parking lot Dennis commented on the number of cars in the lot. We both agreed it’s good to get there early before everyone else, it’s quieter and the animals arent scared away yet.
Heading to find a coffee shop to grab his drink we were jamming to hard knock life and little girls both from Annie (2014). It has to be that version for him.
We stumbled upon Spot Coffee in Orchard Park and ordered his drink. He asked to sit upstairs. It was nice to sit for a few minutes with the warm sun bringing blood back to our faces as he kept getting whip cream on his nose.
We headed home for a quick bite before he went to spend the rest of his day with his mom!
After dropping him off I went and got an oil change, then a quick run around Delaware Park.
Emily and I made plans to go to her grandmas for her 81st birthday. She told me that they would be watching the Bill’s game, I hadn’t watched a split second of Bill’s football or any actually this year.
When we arrived my girlfriend’s 88 year old grandfather offered me to sit and watch the game. It may have just been being cordial but I felt as though I could not refuse the offer.
New plan, enjoy this game. That wasn’t hard. The Bill’s played well and I had good conversation.
At the end of the game before we left I was asked if I had ever seen her grandfather’s gun collection (bb guns). I said no and he offered to show me.
It was like I was on one of those antique shows. I knew nothing about the guns but he showed me all sorts of interesting pieces made famous by different western stars. I had never seen anything like it and I was getting to see his passion.
I know I took longer than I probably should have but it was cool to see and appreciate, the history, the stories, and the craftsmanship.
Then to the grocery store. We went to Whole Foods on the way home. If was a mini gym reunion and it was fun to chat about all of our upcoming meals.
We made it home right around 7 and I began making a crock pot beef stew and some taco meat. I used leftover top round and made a dinner with that, eggs, mushrooms and onions.
After dinner we quickly cleaned the house and sat down at 9:30 to watch and hear the soothing voice of Morgan Freeman in Kiss The Girls. I fell asleep snuggling Emily and Carlo.
Around 11 we sleepily made it into bed.
It was a simple and mundane day but I was present. I enjoyed it. I don’t know how often I will be that present. It is a work in progress that I am always working on.
The point though is that I made the very most of that day. I was engaged. I was making memories with all of those people.
These are definitely try things I struggled with in the past and I’m sure will challenge me again.
There is very little I can do about these tragedies happening around us. I cannot make huge waves. I can only send out ripples through the people that I impact.
We cannot try to rationalize the irrational. We cannot make sense out of the insane. These situations call for us to realize how precious of a gift we all have in our own lives. To realize that it is much more ephemeral than we give it credit for.
I have been quick to judge. Quick to speculate. Quick to throw blame or cast shade. I heard a great quote from Brene Brown today, ‘its hard to hate someone up close.’
We cannot overcome negativity and hate with more of it.
‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.’ – Martin Luther King Jr