Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Sunday musings May 25, 2014

Sunday musings (on time)…

1) Timing I. Musings is caught in the filter most Sunday mornings. I try to write and post on Saturday night, but I never have anything to say until morning.

Seems the “Sunday” part is as important as the “musings” part.

2) Timing II. Whether pessimist or optimist, grumpy or garrulous, we all seem to be more cognizant of the gloomy than the gleeful. In “A Man Without a Country” a Vonnegut character laments the fact that people fail to notice when they are happy. I think he’s on to something.

Just as there are moments of despair in the midst of a joyous occasion (think tiny slip in giving a toast at a wedding), so too are there tiny embers of joy in an otherwise stonecold firepit of despondence. To dwell on the slip in the middle of a party steals some or all of the happiness from the moment; one can revisit that tiny sorrow another time if need be.

Likewise, whether suffering or simply surfing the hours of a day, one should be ever mindful of even the tiniest moment of happiness right then and there, at the exact moment they occur. Catch them, each one, right when they happen. Feel them as deeply as possible. They, too, can be revisited at another time if need be, but they should be heralded and cherished on arrival.

3) Timing III. It’s Memorial Day weekend. We are prompted to recall the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers, Marines, sailors, and airmen, to be ever thankful for the lives they led and lost in the service of their fellow citizens. Men like SSgt. Povilaitis, age 47, today and Corporal Ryan McGhee, age 21, 2 days ago.  The loss of both men is tragic, but the timing of their loss speaks to a different kind of tragedy, one that is a particularly painful part of Memorial Day and all it stands for.

Our War dead are often buried by their parents.

This weekend Mrs. bingo and I are attending to my Dad so that my Mom can be at my nephew’s college graduation. All of the timing here seems to be pretty much standard fare: a much older parent with his son preparing for loss coming sooner than later, while a much younger nephew/grandson prepares for his life ahead, loss only theoretical for all involved. Alas, the losses we remember on Memorial Day are upside down, with parents and sometimes grandparents the ones in mourning. The loss is all the more stunning for its lack of warning, the inability to even perceive its possibility let alone prepare for its arrival. A part of me “pre-mourns” my Dad each time I see him, but the men and women we remember on Memorial Day were ripped from families that saw only the future when they gazed upon their sons and daughters.

Here then lays our focus today, to attend to the survivors. Remember the fallen to be sure, but do so in the context of remembering what their loss meant to those left behind, and attend to the survivors.

4) Timing IV. It’s graduation season. All manner of young people graduating from all manner of circumstances and headed toward all manner of “who knows what”. At this time of year all manner of invited speakers dust off their trusty graduation platitudes as they send the graduates off to “who knows where”.  Have you been to a graduation recently? If so, you’ve been to almost EVERY graduation recently. With the exception of the University of Texas (addressed by the Commander of U.S. Special Forces, a Navy SEAL), each and every graduation speech constitutes a kind of  simultaneous Groundhog Day, each graduate hearing some version of the same speech, all likely to be told some version of “Just Breathe”.

Throw the flag. Blow the whistle. Clock violation (get it? Timing?). It’s too soon to “Just Breathe”. It’s time to hold your breath and jump in! Sure, sure…I know…take your own pulse first in an emergency…remember to breath…I get all that. All well and good, and probably decent advice on its face, but that’s all the grads are ever told. Sure, do all that, but only after you’ve jumped right in to the deep end! You stand on the edge looking at the wide open vista of tomorrow and at some point you have trust that parachute on your back, to yell “GeroniMOOOOOH” and jump.

You can breathe when you land.

I’ll see you next week…

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