You never know

I’m going to try not to ramble, but I can’t promise that I won’t. We just got some devastating news: a young friend of ours committed suicide. We have no details at this point. I was hesitant to write anything so soon; however, I have these feelings that are bouncing around in my soul and I must get them out.

I won’t name any names here, because I want to respect the privacy of our friend’s family. For those of you who read my musings, you can tell that I’m a person of faith. I don’t write with too much of an evangelical bent, and I do that intentionally. I am however an active member in my church and the natural extension (through service) from those four walls that define my faith community. Our friend was a member of that community, too.

I can hear the questions already from many. I’m asking them myself: Why would he do this? He had it all together. He was a preacher; he was well educated; he had a well-paying professional job; he had a network of friends that obviously loved him; he was a person who served his community; he had a lovely family, nuclear and extended. Yes. He had it altogether, but did he? Something was amiss somewhere. I can’t help but wonder if someone saw something but was too afraid to approach our beloved friend.

I’m trying my best to not appear to be selfish. When someone dies from some reason other than suicide, we naturally think about ourselves and how much we’re going to miss them. In this case, it’s important to know, if possible, what led our friend to commit such an irreversible act. It’s important to be available to the lovely wife and children who have been left behind. They will have to deal with this tragedy of death, not by natural causes, not by accident, but by the hands of their loved one. This is the first time I’ve had someone in my network commit suicide; something tells me that this will be a unique grieving experience for our friend’s family.

Please pardon me; however, I redundantly proclaim that I’m trying my best to not be selfish. It’s hard for me to do so. This has been a rough end of the year (from October until now). I’ve lost several people who meant a lot to me. I often wonder why this happens during this time of year, when we want to mark the times with festivities, not visits by the grim reaper.

I can’t help but wonder if our friend felt the love that, by my observation, that many had for him. Our faith community and the community at-large has lost a lovely person. One can’t help but wonder what will go undone, as the result of our friend’s passing.

And so, I’ve taken several minutes to jot down a few thoughts about our friend. I don’t feel any better. I have more thoughts; however, I think I’ll leave it here.

You never know, and you never will by looking at the outside only.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

                  It’s been a bad year

It’s November 21, the year of our Lord, 2021. I’m reviewing the year and it’s been a bad one. For a while, the covid-19 pandemic seemed to have lessened its grip. I saw a bright light at the end of the tunnel with the rollout of the vaccines. With my underlying health conditions, I was one of the first to get the shot. I’ve also had the booster. There are yet hot spots around the globe, where surges in new infections are having their way. I can’t help but wonder if some of this increase could’ve been prevented if people would just take the shot. A lot of the infections are of people who’ve not been vaccinated. As much as I hate to admit it, I find it difficult to feel compassion for those who have not had the shot then find themselves suffering from some of the worst symptoms, in a hospital ICU ward. I’ve seen many news reports of interviews from patients who didn’t get the shot, extolling the importance of getting vaccinated. These folks usually make some comment to the effect that if they had known what they know now, they would’ve gotten the shot.

Do you buy groceries and gasoline (petrel to my friends east of the pond)? I buy them both, and I’m wondering when the prices of these essentials will level off. Inflation is the culprit. We need these items, so we’re so we suck it up and make these necessary purchases.

Politicians are just as crazy as ever. They find the most mundane of things to politicize. Who would’ve thought a small piece of cloth that doesn’t even move the numbers on a scale, would be one of the most controversial items of the year? A face mask is just that, a face mask. Most of us wear it without too much difficulty. The medical experts have told us that wearing a face mask is an effectual method for preventing the spread of the coronavirus. Some people just don’t want anyone telling them what to do; they don’t seem to want to be bothered by sound facts surrounding the benefits of wearing a mask. And so, some politicians react to that sentiment and run to the public square to speak loudly in support of the folks who can vote them out of office.

We continue to see lady justice meting out her worst by peeking through the so-called blindfold she wears and shaving off a few ounces on one side of her scale. The Rittenhouse verdict is a perfect example of that. How can a jury not find anyone innocent of murder, manslaughter, or something unlawful when they’ve crossed state lines, armed illegally with a weapon, shot, and killed a couple of folks and claim they were defending themselves?

Politics. I think I ‘ve mentioned enough about that already. Let’s just say, things would be a whole lot better for all of us if politicians would reason together and come to the wise conclusion that they are in office to serve, not be served.

Wait a minute, this year hasn’t been any worse than most. What’s that old saying about this too shall pass? Despite it all, I’m still blessed. If you’re reading this and you’re honest with yourself, so are you.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.

            Am I too dependent?

I started my morning early today, as I normally do. I was out of bed at 5:00 this morning to take my bicycle ride. This is an important start to my day that I’ve been doing for over twenty years. It was a bit cool, 45 degrees Fahrenheit but that’s not too cool to stop me. I simply bundled up in clothing that’s good at blocking the effects of the wind beating against me. My fingers usually suffer the most when the temperature is below 50. After my one-hour ride, I came back to the house where Ari, my faithful Shi-Tzu was waiting for me to let her outside to do her business and to serve her breakfast. After that bit of business, I went back outside to the back deck to finish my cooldown with a few calisthenics and a little weightlifting. I won’t share any more of the boring details of my morning constitutional. I ended with entering my office.

As I entered my office, I picked up my iPad, which is just to the right charging up, waiting for me to click on the icon to read my local newspaper. Well, I clicked the icon and the only thing to happen was the annoying little circle. You know the circle that tells you the device is working its little heart out to connect to the site you want. The circle never stopped. I picked up my iPhone, thinking I could read my newspaper there. The same little circle was there also. I turned on my laptop and there was no WI-FI symbol in the ribbon at the bottom of the screen. After tinkering in that space for a while, I checked my cable connections to the modem, still nothing.

To say the least, I was sufficiently frustrated at this point. I had no connection to the outside world. I had no access to the plethora of useful and useless information that I fuel myself with to prepare me for withstanding the slings and arrows that are bound to come my way each day. I tried to sign on to the internet at reasonable intervals of time for the next two hours with no success.

After three hours and more coffee than I normally consume, I decided to call my internet service provider (ISP). I rarely call any organization that provides services to my home. I have little love for the recorded voices that efficiently and coldly tell me to enter this or that number. After experiencing disconnection with the outside world for three hours, you would think a warm-blooded human being would be the least my ISP could offer. The efficient recorded voice identified my house address and asked me why I was calling, offering several options from which I could choose. I chose technical support. The voice, in quick response, informed me that there was maintenance work being done in my service area and that I wouldn’t have access to the internet until 4:00 pm. Although efficient, the recorded voice offered no sympathy, no apology for my plight.

Lack of access to the internet, forced me to write this blog and to notice a couple of books I picked up recently while browsing at a local bookstore. Reading seemed like a decent pastime since I couldn’t post this blog until the internet was up and running.

Am I too dependent (on the internet)? I ask you to think before answering that question.

I’m old and blessed…hope you will be too.