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BORN LUCKY

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Born Lucky

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I was born lucky.  I would have chosen my parents right from the start.  I was loved and I felt loved. Maybe they chose me and maybe I chose them.  They were a perfect fit.  I would never claim I was better than others or worse than others.  I know that I saw the world around me with a different view than others had.  When my friends and neighbors complained about their siblings or parents, I  remained silent or said I would choose the same two brothers and the  same four sisters and the same parents.

We didn’t always agree on some subjects but I  knew that our parents were special.  It wasn’t about money.  Money didn’t buy happiness. It wasn’t about material things at all.  We learned to enjoy the foods we had, mostly beans and potatoes and corn bread, and occasionally biscuits and gravy.  It wasn’t about the things we didn’t have.  We learned to use what we had and do without the things we didn’t have. Flour sacks became clothes. Hand-me-downs were common.  Time spent with family was valuable time.  Respect and truth and love were important.  Each day was part of a life-long learning experience.

Even though I didn’t have much I learned how to work, how to play, how to enjoy the world every day.  I was not perfect but I didn’t feel mean or rotten.  I wanted to help people who were hurting, sad, or lonely.  I was usually considered “nice”.  I was a good person, willing to help neighbors and friends.  I could change a tire, carry buckets of water, travel across countries, and participate in games without getting angry as long as there were rules to follow.  I believed in rules and fairness.

Lucky? Maybe I should say I was treated fairly in life. When I saw what others had, what they needed, and the conditions surrounding them, I knew I was blessed.  The world around us did not appear fair in its treatment to others.  Perhaps I was so naïve or oblivious to problems that I escaped what could have been painful experiences.

When I compared my circumstances with others, I began to wake up and observe.  When I visited a friend who  made great claims regarding things he owned, I discovered the truth.  His imagination gave him all the things he didn’t have.  He didn’t live in a mansion. He didn’t drive a fancy car.  He was surrounded by problems that he chose not to see.  He was ashamed to invite me inside his house. The house was tiny and crowded. The windows were broken and needed replacements. The floor had holes.  The house was cold and damp.

The worst of it was the human factor.  How could they survive with conditions like this? It got worse.  In another room his brother sat on a bed in dirty clothes. His eyes were glazed over, flies were clustered all over his face, and yet he was smiling.   I could not imagine living in that home.  His parents were sitting at the kitchen table, discussing the weather, waiting for some super cells to hit the area, and wondering where to go.

Maybe that is why I began volunteering, helping out when I could.  I came into this world looking to do something for others and this was my opportunity to quit talking and begin acting.  I am lucky because I got a good start in life. My life has been blessed even though I have physical problems. Physical problems will not hold me back. I am a poet and a writer.  I must encourage others to help make the world a better place. I must act quickly because death is always waiting and I don’t have time to die.

July 23, 2017

 

It’s Time to Change the World

It’s Time to Change the World
It’s the perfect time to seek out the good,
And keep the bad at bay,
Let’s learn to enjoy the simple pleasures,
That we encounter throughout the day,
It’s time to show we care for others,
Who have had their share of pain,
And try to alter their perception,
That the world shows its distain,
I know I am not the only one,
Who’s ready to change the tide,
By sending hope of love and peace,
To hurting people worldwide,
We can reach beyond our comfort zones,
To lend a helping hand,
For words alone without the deeds,
Are difficult to understand,
We’ll invest our hearts in future times,
And fight for what is right,
We’ll enjoy each day as it comes,
And kindred hearts we’ll incite,
Our resources and love we’ll extend,
To touch those who are in need,
By reaching out beyond ourselves,
We’ll be blessed indeed.

The Letter in the Bottle

The Letter
I don’t often wander along the beach in December because the cool winds howl incessantly and tear at my thin black coat. But this Thursday evening, about 7:15 a bottle caught my attention, dipping and bobbing across the crests and sliding down the troughs. It seemed destined to be opened by someone and since I was all alone I thought it might as well be me. I know the time because the tide was coming in, the last fishing boat was pulling into the harbor, and the lights in the old weathered restaurant just off the point had gone on, signifying open for business. The time would not be important except the beach was deserted and I could wait patiently for the bottle to drift in. It seemed hours before the bottle finally tumbled onto the beach but I hurried over and snatched it before the waves could take it back.
I carried it up to road where I could look it over under the street light. It was apparent the bottle had been in the water for a long time and I guessed it had traveled a long distance. Curiosity made me look closer. Inside was a note. “Another one of those teenage pranks,” I thought. “One that says boo, or I made you look, ha, ha.” With a corkscrew I pulled the cork from the bottle. The cork fell apart. Carefully I removed the note inside and unfolded the yellowed paper.
Slowly I read, “Dear Melinda, I see a rose among the thorns. You quicken my pulse when I think of you. You have a tender heart that sparkles with life. I see the complexities of being your friend and knowing the relationship can go no further. It hurts me to know you don’t love me. Saying no to my proposal cut a deep wound in my heart and silently I’ll bleed and try to ignore the pain. I’ll always love you. And do you know why? It’s because you’re so easy to talk to and so fun to be around. Perhaps I don’t always know the right things to say or I’m awkward about the things I do. Yet you have a way of putting me at ease and I like that I don’t tell you how I appreciate the kindnesses you do and the way you treat me. If I tell you that you’re beautiful too many times it could get old, although each time I see you I’m impressed both by your inner and outer beauty. You’ve been blessed and I know I’ve been blessed for just knowing you. I should tell you that sometimes my heart beats quietly and when you appear my heart pounds within my chest. In psychology class I learned that the one who loves the least or cares the least has the most power in a relationship. I feel no shame in caring so much, willing to be vulnerable, willing to take a chance. Suffering will only sharpen my understanding of love. If you could someday return that love I would be very happy. I cannot stay close by because it’s driving me mad. I’m off to the land where herons and alligators play. Perhaps I can forget you. But I think not. I know I will return just to see if you missed me.
May the love of God continue to grace your home.
With Love,
Joshua

If there had been addresses or phone numbers I would have tried to make contact. I felt I had intruded into their lives. I should have let the bottle drift and be found by someone who could ignore this letter. Yet there was nothing that could be done. Time had passed and I had no starting point. For a few minutes I stared at the outgoing tide and wondered if I should send the bottle back on its way. Instead I carried it with me back to my car. “Tomorrow,” I said out loud, “I’ll see what my friends think.”
(to be continued)