Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blessed With Bad Hair

I always start feeling sorry for myself about this time in the summer. I did not get to do half the things that I wanted to, and the summer is gone. I spent too much time doing “whatever” that I don’t even remember, and now I have to catch up all that work that I should have been doing in June. My hair has gotten so long that it just hangs limp and looks dirty, even when it is barely dry from washing, and hangs in my eyes, and the only time I had to get it cut, they were closed. It looks like I might have to start school with a bad haircut, and what will my students think? I haven’t even had a chance to visit with Daddy since Sunday. Now I don’t even have time to schedule sleep because there is too much for me to do before school starts on Monday, so I just stay up and feel sorry for myself.

Let’s add to that a summer cold. A really rotten summer cold with a sore throat. It has been 4-5 years since I have had a cold. I am certain that colds avoid me because I am such a horrid person to be around when I get one. I want to crawl into bed and have someone take care of me. Now I go and get one when taking off work is not even an option. If you can’t take off work and stay in bed, no one can possibly respect the intensity of your illness. We are much too busy at work for me to call in sick, so I just go in and feel even more sorry for myself.

Let’s add another layer to the madness and paint the office. I have never had a problem with paint before, but I did today. I could not breathe. I broke out in a rash. I got high as a kite. I am fairly certain I suffered depression as I came down off the high, and that made me REALLY feel sorry for myself. I haven’t talked to Daddy this week. I need a hair cut. I need sleep. I need 4 more hours to work every day. I need to slam that phone across the room if it rings one more time. Yes, I feel sorry for myself.

Then the phone rang one more time. It was one of my students. Rather it was a young lady who was scheduled to be one of my students beginning Monday. That makes her one of mine, just like my own child. Call her Jane, for the sake of privacy. Jane was calling from Le Bonheur Hospital in Memphis. She had been transferred around the University 3 times before she found my card and called me. Jane won’t be here next week because her 2 year old son is in critical condition. He was in a car accident on 351 last Monday. Jane’s mother and 20 year old brother were killed in that accident, and her son is in critical condition.

The rest of the afternoon I was mad at myself and mad at the world, I guess. How can life be so unfair? Why does this child, who is raising a child, have to suffer this horrific loss just as she is trying to put her life on the right track? What purpose could possibly be served in a 2 year old in ICU . . . critical condition? How does a young woman mourn her mother and brother while she sits by her child praying for his life.

I thank God that my appearance is my worst problem today. Tomorrow I shall rejoice in my rash, baggy eyes, and bad haircut because I am blessed that these are the problems God gave me for today.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Alien Invasion: Convincing the World

You know how the sky looks right at the end of summer when the heated haze has cleared? The blues and whites are crisp and clear. They are well defined and no longer blend together the way potatoes and gravy do when you have squished too much food on your plate. I love watching the sky when it looks like that.

That’s the kind of day it was. The air was as crisp as the colors of the sky. I walked through a town that looked like it came right out of the past. All the houses were white, and they were all 2 or 3 stories. The front porches were wide and long. I stopped in front of a house that had 2 rocking chairs and several ferns arranged on the neatly swept front porch. It looked like a picture postcard. The life of the house, though, was around back where there was another porch. This one was screened. It wasn’t as neat as the front porch. The glider was covered with an old worn quilt and 4 discarded throw pillows. It looked mighty comfortable to me. A small basket of apples sat perched on one of the wooden steps to the back porch. A larger basket was full of potatoes . Each side of the screen door was decorated with strings of fresh onions and garlic hanging out to dry. A large pile of purple hull pea hulls was right beside the steps. The gentle wind teased the dried and hardened hulls and threatened to blow them all over the back yard, which was decorated with bikes and trikes, as well as ball bats and other remnants of childhood.

The houses seemed to belong to another time, but the people living there were familiar. I saw friends, family, and a few acquaintances from work. Beyond the happy chirping of birds, I could hear children laughing as they played around the corner. It was a happy day. A lazy happy day.

Then I saw something strange in the sky. It looked like a train of hot air balloons. Very odd balloons, though. A covered wagon and team took the lead. A castle brought up the rear. The balloons in the middle looked like an apple tree and a boat. I told you it was strange!

It looked like the balloons were going to land, so I cut out running in that direction. They were descending over a freshly cut rice field just outside of town. I stood watching them in awe as they slowly came closer and closer. Can you believe no one else was around? Where were all the people? Surely someone besides me had seen this curiosity in the sky! No one else was about, though. I was all alone, but it never occurred to me that I should be frightened.

Until they landed.

It turns out that they were not hot air balloons at all. They were alien spacecraft. The doors to the castle opened first. Out stepped Dorothy and Toto. I wanted to rush towar
ds her in excitement, but something was not right. Dorothy’s face had no emotion, and her eyes were dull - like a robot She was quickly followed by another Dorothy and Toto. And then another. Soon there must have been 50 of them standing in the field, facing the town.

The Scarecrow stepped down from the driver’s seat of the covered wagon and team. Immediately after Scarecrow joined the first Dorothy, many more robot-like Scarecrows disembarked from the back of the covered wagon. Dorothy, Toto, and Scarecrow were soon joined by Tinmen jumping from the apple tree and Cowardly Lions climbing out of the boat. As soon as the group assembled in teams of 5 (Dorothy, Toto, Scarecrow, Tinman, and Cowardly Lion), they began a slow march towards town. All of them had emotionless faces and dull blank eyes. They advanced with a slow methodic pace.

I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew they were evil. I knew they were coming to kill us all, and I knew it would not be painless. I ran back to town harder than I have ever run in my life. My legs were shaking. My chest ached with every single breath. My throat burned from screaming.

Now let me ask you, how easy do you think it is to convince folks that the town is being invaded by aliens from the Land of OZ?

I wish they would come loosen these straps. My arms are aching.

I never have any visitors . . .

Tuesday, August 4, 2009



Sometimes it eludes us. Sometimes it is there, and we do not even know why. We suck up vitamins, smoothies, and caffeine hoping to boost our energy. If you asked me from where I draw my energy, I would probably say my family. Daddy, my children, my GRANDchildren, my brothers, my BEST friend. My energy comes from the love we share.
There is little truth in that, though. These people give me a reason for living, not the energy to do so.

We had a retreat at work today. I might mention that I will soon be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the BEST job I have ever had. Unlike all of the other events of this type that I have attended before, this one energized me. Why? I am working with energized and HAPPY people. I think my Director and Dean sleep in little pink bunny suits. They keep going and going and going. They don’t run off and leave you eating their fluffy pink dust. They prop you up on their little drums and carry you along with them. They make you WANT to live your life WITH them, as opposed to FOR them.

We are all responsible for our own energy. We cannot buy it in a bottle at the drug store or on the beverage isle of the supermarket. Energy is contagious. We get it from other people, not from things we put in our mouths. I don’t believe that I have ever had so much enthusiasm about a job. I am excited about every day. I am happy to help out my colleagues, and I know I can count on them if I am in a bind. At the end of the day, we might be tired, but we leave laughing and happy. Full of energy. . .

A long time ago I heard the expression, “if you hang around with bank robbers, you become a bank robber.”

I want to be an Energizer Bunny!

"You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."
– Robin Williams

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's Time to Soar

When I went out to open up The Outhouse today (which only means unzip the screens), I discovered a hummingbird trapped inside The Outhouse. God had a good idea when he blessed us with the hummingbird. They are beautiful creatures, but they are so frail. It looks like it would take no more than a strong wind to change, if not destroy, the life of a hummingbird.

This soft creature was panicked, as she flew up and down the screen walls of The Outhouse, trying desperately to escape. The room is large, so the little bird had plenty of room to fly. She instinctually knew that she must escape her rather large prison if she ever wanted to soar again. There was no happiness in the middle of the room for her.

I have lived most of my life in the safety of the middle of the room. I have been content with the restrictions that security place upon me. There is nothing wrong with that, but like the hummingbird, people have an instinctual need to soar. God gave us that. It would be a shame not to fight for it.

The hummingbird is a timid and frail creature, yet she knows soaring is worth risking her life.

I feel the gentle wind beneath my wings.

It is time