Posts Tagged ‘ hope ’

Zika

I could not make it, if I did not believe in GOD. I have known pain, and I would have taken my own life years ago; very much a case of “there, but for the grace of GOD, go I.” I came across an MSN.com photo spread on the Zika Babies, and while I was able to click on all 20 slides in the article, it was thru tears that not only welled up, but cascaded down my cheeks.

You see, my own Twins have just passed the seven-month mark, and they are delightfully, incredibly, thankfully “completely normal.” Meaning, I suppose they will have a life very similar to my own. From what I can understand, the Zika Babies will have a life unlike any other – any other “normal.”

When my wife became pregnant, my daily prayer was for the health of the baby (babies, it turned out). Thru-out the almost nine months that the Twins got to know each other, and their mother, long before they knew either oxygen or me, I prayed for health. What parent would not? Me, personally, I was remarkably unremarkable.

Yes, once again, I nearly lost my wife during delivery; but the children are, normal, or average, by any measure. (And, in this day and age, where technology lets us indulge in our obsession of numbers, “any measure” is quite a lot of numbers.)

There are days when the mundane routine of daily life takes center stage, and so it can be difficult to remember that our little boy and our little girl are the most important “things” in our lives. They are our First Loves, our Eternal Loves, our Reasons for Living. Altho rather late in life (better late than never), I have learned that my life is not about me. And, I thank GOD.

More tears.

Looking at those photos of those babies who have been stricken with the Zika virus reminds me of all of those babies who are born into this world with a Cross I will never know. Whether it be a disease wrought by Nature (i.e., permitted by GOD), or a burden imposed by men (again, permitted by GOD, but wrought by the hand of evil men – and women too: the devil is an equal opportunity employer). In any case, babies who will never know the beauty of THIS world. Babies unlike my own, who with GOD’s will, will know the beauty of this world.

But, when it’s all said and done, and we have all returned to dust, the Zika Babies, and my own Twins will have the reward of Eternal Life with GOD. Me? Well, the jury is still out on me. But, I could not make it, not another day, if I didn’t believe in GOD and Eternal Life.

If this is all there is, then the suffering I see on the internet would be overwhelming. There would be no point in going on. I would have to stop the deluge of pain and suffering I see in the world.

However. However, I have been given the Gift of Faith. No, I have no idea why. It’s not like I am going to do very much with my life – GOD knows I haven’t done very much at all so far. And the Twins have given me the gift of Hope. How could I bring new life into this world, if I didn’t have hope? I’m sorry for those who have none.

The Zika Babies remind me that this life on this world is not all skittles and beer. There are those we get too much of (Trump and Clinton come to mind), and there are those we never hear of (name one, just one, Zika Baby). There are those who raise the bar on what this world can possibly provide (Paul Allen and his yacht, Octopus), and those who can’t even dream of whether they will make it thru the night, or where their next meal is coming from.

So, for me, there absolutely must be a GOD. If there wasn’t, the Earth would spin off its axis. And, then there’s that Faith thing. I know – I am absolutely, totally convinced that GOD will balance the life of the Zika Babies. But, that conviction doesn’t stop the tears.

 

 

Emma, 14

My brother’s in-laws have endured another painful life and death.  Last year, a 20-something daughter died from brain cancer; yesterday, a 14 year old grand-daughter also died from brain cancer.  (I use the general term “brain cancer” because I don’t know specifics.)  And, considering that our Twins have just celebrated six months, it seems appropriate to ask the question, “Why?”

As in, “Why have children, if they might have a very difficult life and die young?”  Or, as another, unrelated, couple that I know has put it, “How can you bring children into this awful world?”  Pretty much the same question, really.  And very much the same answer.

A year ago, or two years ago (more like it), I could not have answered anything other than, “Good question.”  I certainly was not thinking of bringing any more children into this world, and so I could (thankfully) avoid any difficult answers.  Knowing what Mother Nature can do to us, and what our fellow man (this would be the very generic “man” to include men, women and those who are confused) can do to us, it would seem that bringing more children into this life would be selfish at best (“someone to adore and take care of me”), and damned stupid at worst (the worst doesn’t always happen to the other guy – sometimes it is closer to home than that, like my brother’s home).

But, since July 1, I have discovered inexpressible joy.  Altho I think “happiness” is over-rated, I really couldn’t get my arms around “joy” – was it a synonym for happy, or something else entirely ?  (Always slinking away, mumbling, “Good question.”)

Yes, CS Lewis’ title, “Surprised by Joy,” comes to mind, and maybe there are some similarities I am not thinking of (altho my wife’s name is most definitely not “Joy”).  But, “surprised” is definitely the word here – six months later, I am still surprised.

Every day, I thank GOD for the gift of these two, new lives – very little lives, but already growing faster than I can imagine.  I cannot frankly, think of a greater gift; for with these two lives, I feel HOPE.

GOD called me back to the One, True Church about ten years ago with the Gift of Faith.  Just last year, He gave me the Gift of Hope.

Those two girls lived very difficult and very short lives.  For all I know, our Twins will fare no better.  But, in the lives of those two girls and in their passing, I believe I will be a better father.

You see, I believe GOD gives us all opportunities and then lets us choose.  The parents of those two girls chose hope.  The family and extended family can choose to remember how those two little ones lived, and they can choose to remember the love and the hope.  Or they can get angry.  They can turn toward GOD, or they can turn away from GOD.

I was certainly aware of the “dark side” of Life long ago.  And, I was marching down the road of turning away from it.  Had I not married my wife and had we not been blessed with these two little lives, my own life would be far less stressful (I sure wouldn’t be working this job and driving an hour or two each way to do it).  And I never would have known what I was missing.

So yes, I continue to pray for Emma and her aunt, as I pray for my Twins.

 

 

 

The damn island

The good news is: I survived the plane crash. The bad news is: I am all alone on this island. Of course I am thinking of Tom Hanks in “Cast Away.” But, why? Every year about this time, as everyone I know is getting excited about Christmas, I take the time to review the calendar year that is coming to a close and think about the year that lies just over the horizon.

It has been a good run. I found employment as a field representative, which was absolutely perfect for me, for a time. I loved the globetrotting. I loved actually being helpful to customers. And, there was ample pay to grease the wheels of the constant relocations (about every 30 months, on average). On the one hand, it was a sad day when I was assigned to the company’s central call center because that was the end of a life that I dearly loved. On the other hand, I was overseas when my father died, and I felt I needed to be near my mother. So, for the past five years, I have been spending a lot of time with her – this, a very good thing.

But, for purely political reasons, and not the financial reasons which might be easier to accept, the call center is moving, and I am not moving with it. I do hate this call center job. With a passion. Mostly for all the politics that I am subject to (after nearly 17 years in the field, I was blissfully distant from the petty machinations of the people who were more concerned about their own careers than doing the right thing). It has, however, been a paycheck, which has allowed a life-style that I have grown accustomed to.

Consequently, 29 years with the company are coming to an ignominious end at the first of the year. The good news is that I have not lost my paycheck just before the Holidays.

Back to the movie. At one point, Tom tried to hang himself; I’m certainly not there (I would never give the company the satisfaction of knowing it had destroyed me). At the end of the movie, Tom has lost the girl that kept him alive for the four years he was on the island. But, he’s standing at a crossroads, somewhere in the middle of Texas, with possibilities that extend beyond the horizon. On the island, his future converged and it looked like a hopeless dead end. Having survived his ordeal, he is looking at a future that diverges – unlimited possibilities.

The bad news is: I can’t see beyond the damn island.

True, no one in my work group has yet gotten a lay-off notice; and management keeps up a constant litany of “we will do everything we can to make sure everyone has a job.” If I had any respect at all for management, that would be reassuring. Unfortunately, if I have learned anything in my very long tenure, I have learned not to trust management. They think they walk on water, and don’t realize they’re not wearing any clothes.

I do have enough time with the company to retire; but wasn’t planning on taking that step this soon, so financially I can’t swing it. How much is enough? With a daughter who has returned (can we say “boomerang”?) and is expecting in January, and a wife who is expecting in July; whatever it was I had planned will be about four mouths short.

So, at this festive time of year, I am immediately confronted with the choice between pulling out the stops for Christmas, or hunkering down. My wife and I have tickets to the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s long-standing tradition of “The Nutcracker.” I made this a holiday tradition when I moved to Seattle back in 1985. Why this will be the last performance, I don’t know; but it is another ending. That will be our Christmas present to each other. Our daughter gets baby clothes.

There are some who look at a personal tragedy and say it’s the best thing that ever happened to them. Hard to imagine Tom’s character saying the island experience fell into that category. And, being forced out of a job I hate is not exactly a tragedy; but, what am I to do now? Dunno. I have absolutely no clue in the world.

After the debacle of trying to hang himself, Tom’s character made a life for himself on the island, and he was open to new ideas. He monitored the seasons, and specifically the winds. He was able to envision a sail in part of porta-potty. (Quite a stretch; something to keep in mind.) It has been said that “good luck” is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. For non-believers, “good luck” is all there is.

Christmas is, more than anything, a beginning. A new, radical, unheard of beginning. For some, completely unexpected. Maybe this Christmas for me will not be more eggnog and fruitcake, but something worth getting out of bed for? Gotta keep that possibility in mind.

But first, I’ve got to get off this damn island.