In fairness, I don’t know what kind of person I would be. I don’t know who I would be in combat or behind enemy lines. I am fortunate to say this and yet, I am fortunate to say that I will never know this. And yet, still, I am someone who loves my country.
I am someone who still believes in the beating heart and the souls, the lives, the hope and the dreams of our Nation. I believe in the standards, which I have been told about since a young age. Although I understand that changes need to be made, America, I love you with all of my heart.
What do you want?
Do you mean me?
Yes you. It’s really a simple question.
What do you want?
I have a question. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
I think the question is simple. Then again, I don’t know if there is a way to quantify the best or most beautiful because beauty is relative. Then again, everything is relative. There are so many beautiful things that go unmentioned. There are beautiful things that go unnoticed. We take this for granted.
I don’t know what beauty looks like outside of my own influence. I’ve been to different places to see different things. I’ve never seen the sun go down over the French Riviera. I’ve been to Europe. I’ve seen pictures though. And some of the pictures I’ve seen are almost enough to be the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Almost . . .
There is the idea that no one gets it. Nobody understands. In some cases, there’s the idea that nobody even cares because no matter what’s happening in our head, life keeps moving.
All the pressures and all the tensions; all the crap that floods our thinking and yet, meanwhile, the rest of the world is still moving, which means we still have to show up. We still have to co-exist. We have to interact with co-workers and the supervisors that say idiotic or insensitive things.
There are times when life seems like some crazy competition. There’s always someone looking to get something. Someone always has an angle or an agenda. And then there’s us, just trying to get by.
Sunrise, and ah. I have to get myself ready. I have things to do and places to go. I have a job. I have a life happening right before my eyes. Some of this is easy and some is challenging. I have people who I can count on and people who I contend with. Put simply, I am like you or anyone else here.
I have my cup of coffee with me now. I have quiet music playing in the background. I have me and I have you. I only say this because I like to break things down and keep them simple. I see this as a benefit to me. Otherwise, it’s easy to overthink. It’s easy to react or better yet, it’s easy to overreact. Life is complicated enough without my input. And therefore, I write this for both you and I and the overly critical. I write this for us, the people who feel too much and dissect too many things. This is for us, the ones that could use a little extra push to get the day going.
Whatever happened or whatever the instance was that changed us, the truth is there’s another side to everyone. There is something below the layers upon layers of added life. There’s another side to me and to you as well. There is however the world in front of us.
There are the people we know and the people we meet. There’s the news on television, which of course, is not the most helpful. There’s always something going on in this world. Isn’t there?
There’s always some kind of fight or finger pointing. There’s always someone looking to push the blame. Then there’s the bills we pay. There’s the work we do and the life we live. And then there’s something like the traffic on the Cross-Bronx, the Belt Parkway or the Long Island Expressway, which is enough to make anyone crazy. As for me, I’m on a different side of the bridges now. My stressors are on the FDR and the Harlem River Drive to merge onto and cross over the George Washington Bridge.
I have other stressors though. I have more than my frustrations behind the wheel. I have different connections that link my thoughts to different events. I have insecurities that derail my hopes and challenge my dreams. I swear, the most truthful and brilliant statement I’ve ever heard is when I heard about our ability to think ourselves sick.
The nerves alone were enough to cause an attack. I was waiting outside and sifting through my nerves to stay calm. What I was about to see and experience was something that was going to change my life. This was my first official assignment as a specialist, or whatever that meant.
In fairness, I have to admit I thought the word, “Specialist” was a little much. I thought the word was reaching for something or trying to make me out as someone other than myself. To qualify my feelings, I had to admit that I gave into the mental obstacles that had plagued me for most of my life. I struggled with the ideas that I was uneducated, that I was not a professional by any means, that I was educationally challenged and that my life’s experience alone was not enough to help as an interactive support. Hence, the anxiety. Hence, the insecurity and hence the fear that I was out of my league.
There is a hilltop away from the world in a place from my past. I dream about this place sometimes. There is a tree on top of the hill. The tree is not tall per se. The tree is more wide than anything else with its limbs spreading out in such a way. I view this as a safe place. Life was different for me then. Summer mornings were a different type of quiet. The breeze that swept through the tall grass was calm and peaceful.
In winter, the grass turned the color of light tan. Snow covered the ground and the special tree gave up its leaves. The limbs were empty and gnarled like old fingers pointing in sideways directions. In spring color returned and whether the season was winter, spring, summer or fall, there was a distinct look to each season. I view this in my memory as a place of peace. I dream of this place.
It was the late comedian Mitch Hedberg who told a joke about a friend that showed him a picture and said, “Here’s a picture of me when I was younger.” Hedberg responded, “Every picture is a picture of you when you’re younger.”
I think this is brilliant. I think the truth is everything we did is something we did when we were younger. I say this because the world moves. We might not feel this happening. We can see it though. Either way, nothing ever stops. Time is the most awesome vehicle of all.
I was never much of a golfer. Mainly because I was never able to hit the ball straight. I never hit the ball very far or played very well. I played when I was much younger. This was during early mornings on the weekends when The Old Man would take me. The idea was to play a quick nine holes, which was never quick.
The game we played was called long-ball, short-ball. We played this because my golf swing was poor and my shots never landed very close to the green. On the other hand The Old Man played well. His shots were always closer to the green. So, in an effort to speed the game up and not jam up the people who played behind us, I would play the ball that was closest to the green. The Old Man would play the ball furthest from the hole. This allowed me to move quicker and gave The Old Man a chance to play the ball from the fairway.