my flower

i stare at a green stem
with this small bud looking thing
growing off the top of it
someone told me to sit there
and watch this little plant
while he went to take care of other matters
he said to tend to it
water this little plant daily
and that i was to just wait and
be surprised in time
i saw him do the same with others around me
giving them a plant to care for
the weeks went by and i followed my orders
nothing seems to be happening i said
everyone else’s plants are more beautiful
than mine
i look and see the splendor and fruits of their labor
before me and i grow restless
desiring my plant to show itself off to the world
that same someone who gave me this stupid plant
said i’m supposed to wait
i asked him why i had to when everyone else’s plants
have blossomed into awe inspiring flowers
that splash the field with
blues and reds and yellows
he told me to continue to wait
that the final result would please me
and joy would fill me
so after a while longer of tending and watering
i began to see a spark of life
it was beginning to open
the glory i saw next overcame me
and joy filled so completely
it came out from my eyes
rivers running down my face
and my flower was indeed wonderful
definitely worth the work
it was a gift i did not deserve
but one i received anyway

5/1/98

March 24, 2002

Open a door to a room
peer inside to see that it contains
the images of a life that it once held
of a child, a young boy
expectations of car posters, baseball cards
and last night’s after-dinner snack plate
are all unfulfilled
what is found?
four walls that find themselves naked
empty drawers and notebooks from no childhood hobbies
a tv rarely used for anything but re-runs
seen 10 times over already
it’s unknowinlgy becoming his shield
from what much of the world others find as normal
the latest (and not so latest) movies are not on schedule
children’s rhymes and songs had no place here
and now – when this boy stands in the mirror
he sees a reflection of a life he feels few
can truly connect with
points of contact are few and far between
he knows all this is not that important in the end
yet he demands to know why it frustrates him so much

3/24/2002

Truth in Youthful Words

I posted recently about it being National Poetry Month, so I decided I should dig up some poems and writings from my past and share them here.In going through some of my journals and scribbling of words on paper from high school through now, I’ve noticed a some things:

  • I used to write a LOT more in high school, college, and even for a short while into post-college life.
  • My internal life was incredibly dramatic and full of tension. At least I thought it was.
  • I expressed that internal drama often through poems, or at least what I was calling poems, in ways that were more honest than I would be now.
  • It’s really interesting to see where I’ve come from; and more specifically, what’s different about me. (And if I’m being really honest with myself, what’s not different.)

There’s something about how we speak and write when we’re younger than tends to be so raw and full of energy and emotion. It’s as though our entire lives depended on every word we said, wrote, heard. Our feelings knew little of the “in-between” and only existed at the edges. What happened to that? We get older, wiser, more subdued, more cautious. Ultimately, these things are good for us. I would fear living that way now. But there’s something about us being real with ourselves that should never go away. Write with reckless abandon. Get thoughts down on paper and work out what’s in your mind and heart. One of the worst things you can do is bottle stuff in. I did on and off for many years and when I was holding back, I was more unhealthy.

What’s the point of this post? I’m not quite sure. Maybe just that we should be more free with our words and express those thoughts more frequently and openly, like when we were younger. Also look for a couple more poems to be posted here in the coming days!

November 5, 1999

to walk into a room and know it fully
yet himself to remain unnoticed
walking through gathering information
of the deeper intimate things
with no or little questioning into the questioner
his desires to speak but not knowing the words
he stands quiet about his heart’s condition
holding all his emotions along with
the stories told to him in his lifetime that demanded
his attention and compassion
only to understand the receiving end
of love that doesn’t ask for anything back
that is content in giving freely without complaint
to find a way to remove the emptiness that fills me
this apparent lack of connection with anything or anyone
longing to be reached out to before reaching out first
knowing how it is to be a child in a parent’s arms again

11/5/1999

Books!

In the past few months, I’ve rediscovered my love of reading as a form of learning and stretching of my mind and spirit, but also for entertainment purposes. In the near future, I will start posting some reactions to the book I just finished, “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. I certainly recommend it for people who are interested in social constructs and gaining a better understanding of why certain cultural and social waves go a a particular way, this book is a must read.

Other books currently in queue to be read, in no particular order:

  • In Pursuit of Silence by George Prochnik
  • The Hunger Games (Book 1) by Suzanne Collins
  • The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook by Ben Mezrich
  • Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman (re-reading for the 3rd or 4th time)
  • Fatherless Generation by John Sowers

What is on  your reading list? And maybe more importantly, why?

April is National Poetry Month

I just heard this 11 days into the month, but it’s time to celebrate it nevertheless. When back on my personal computer, I will dig up some writings from my more sensitive days in high school and college to share with you all during the rest of this month. Anyone have any poems they’d like to share, written by you or a favorite author?

Home renovations are coming!

I’ve been in my house for a little over 6 months so far. It’s been a mostly positive experience outside of a couple minor issues with the sump pump in the fall/early winter. Oh, the joys of basements!

 

Shortly after I moved in, I had some windows replaced. You can see them in the Calm Friday Morning blog post. From there, you can also see the accent wall in the dining room and the light gray living room walls. However, the first really big change that’s currently being planned is an upgrade to the 1/2 bath in the master bedroom. If you walk in there now, you are presented with an orange countertop sink with a complimentary pink sink, orange curtains, and a pink toilet. Oh, and the walls are all medium dark wood paneling. The best part? There’s a 3 ball and chain lighting “system”! I will devote a future blog post to some before shots of the bathroom before the renovation.

What I have to do before getting the project kicked off:

  • Pick a toilet
  • Pick a sink and matching countertop
  • Pick a faucet
  • Pick a mirror/vanity
  • Pick lighting
  • Pick colors for the accents in the room (towel rails, toilet paper holder, etc.)
  • Pick out tile color for the shower
  • Pick out tile color for the floor

I’m a bit overwhelmed by the choices right now, but am very excited for the finished product! Stay tuned for progress reports over the coming weeks. The goal is to be done by summer. Yay for home ownership!

Interactive and Thoughtful Discourse: Part 2

In a recent blog post, I began sharing some thoughts on challenges and the lack of depth present in our communication. I’d like to share more on this topic and maybe even open up a dialog here on how we can work to improve how we interact with one another.

It’s a two-way street, people. One of my growing frustrations with “conversations” is how infrequently we’re able to have them in a manner that hasn’t devolved to mere statements of information about your life. I’ve overheard and been part of so many chats with friends that are comprised of one-off statements that have typically have little to no connection to what was just said. Person A says, “I was thinking about trying out this new burger place this week.” Person B replies, “That’s cool. I went for a 3 mile run last night. Man, it was tough, but felt really great to finish it.” I’m saddened that we are so focused on getting our thought out that we don’t even process or acknowledge what our friend is trying to share.

What would be so difficult about Person B pausing to ask about this burger place and why his friend wants to go there before changing topics and talking about his run? Honestly, very little at the surface. However, what it requires is that you put your own needs aside for a second and engage in what interests your friend. Who knows, if you stop to learn more about what your friend is sharing, you may find that it actually interests you too! What’s the lesson here? Listen to people once in a while. Ask questions that clarify and confirm that you hear what’s being said. You may also find a level of depth in others that may surprise and delight you. There’s a lot more to people than they’re willing to let on until they’re asked a couple simple questions.

Is there an echo? A bigger challenge in finding enjoyable and thoughtful discourse with others is watching and listening to people talking about stuff they read online or see on TV without a thought to call their own. Call it The Echo Effect. Most frequently I see this effect take hold in the tech world, mostly because that’s where I spend a lot of my time and energy. Countless blogs and Twitter accounts find one piece of news, post about it and all link back to the original source or link to one of the other “news” blogs. I’m pretty convinced that if you were to remove all content that duplicated the original source, you could save over 50% of that vast wealth of information on the Internet. We don’t need more parrots echoing what’s still ringing in my ear from 3 days ago.

I don’t want regurgitated data; I want analysis and interpretation and a fresh perspective.  I want to see us be capable of have meaningful conversation about politics, tech, culture, religion, and whatever you want to talk about. I want us to have original thought. The next time some news article or TV show catches your eye and you want to share it with me, be prepared to tell me why it caught your eye. What resonated with you, whether it be positive or negative? What kind of impact do you think it will have your life? Or mine? Or on the surrounding culture?

So what can we can take away from my ramblings? Here’s the bulleted version for the article skimmers:

  • Listen to people.
  • Ask questions of others. Don’t just talk about yourself.
  • Analyze the information you take in. Have your own thoughts! Don’t just repeat it to others. You’re not helping anybody.

We don’t have time to waste babbling on about nothing. Let’s make our time interacting and conversing worthwhile to both of us. I hope you join me in wanting and practicing interactive and thoughtful discourse.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.