Calming an impatient heart

At the first spot I stopped, an old man clasp his hands together across his chest, casually leaned his head back, and closed his eyes. In the next stop, packed with people nudged up against each other in tiny chairs, the teen next to me bent forward with his headphones on and scrolled through his music playlist.

I had to make a number of stops a couple weeks ago to my local garage to get my car worked on and then to the barbershop and I couldn’t help but notice that everyone else seemed to be dealing with “the wait” better than me.

Besides the old man and teenager, two men talked lazily about what they planned for the upcoming weekend and a guy my age whistled a show tune like he had all the time in the world.

And then there was me, my right leg restlessly moving up and down and my eyes bouncing up every few seconds to try to make eye contact to see if it was my turn. I’d sit for a few minutes and then stand-up abruptly to walk to the door to look out the window. I couldn’t go anywhere. My phone was dying and I couldn’t call anyone. Where did I think I was going? Who did I think I was going to call?

amazing-736888_640

Continue reading “Calming an impatient heart”

Advertisements

The wisdom of Solomon

In the Bible, God comes to King Solomon in a dream and offers him whatever he wants. The mind explodes with possibilities: wealth, jewels, power, fame, and status all come quickly to mind.

cloud-97453_640

If in Solomon’s position, knowing me, I’d probably snicker or take on the “doubting Thomas” role, suggesting that God’s offer had to be a joke.  I would more than likely say something sarcastic like: “God asking me what I want? Yea right, when pigs fly.” I would assume it was a mixture of insomnia and a very active imagination.

Continue reading “The wisdom of Solomon”

The art of the negotiation: The shootout at the O.K. Corral

I look him over coldly, head to toe. I pay close attention to the little beads of sweat forming on his brow and the twitch of his hands. He does the same to me. We’re both trying to read each other, to get a sense of the other guy.

We’re two cold-hearted gunslingers from the American Old West. In another time, we would have been in Dodge City, Kansas, or Tombstone, Arizona, facing off in a real life duel. Instead, we’re two men facing off in, well, a mattress store in suburbia.

arizona-113684_640

He’s a salesman, looking to add to his weekly sales total and push up his commission. I’m a customer looking to make the best possible deal. If we walked outside right now guns drawn, we’d probably get run over on this hot 90-degree day by a pimply-faced teenager fighting for a parking spot in front of the new frozen yogurt stand or by a soccer mom or dad in a huge tank-like SUV going to the LA Fitness gym. Continue reading “The art of the negotiation: The shootout at the O.K. Corral”

Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen

When the military releases their names, it’s just ink on a page.

Two Army Rangers, Sgt. Joshua Rodgers, of Bloomington, Illinois, and Sgt. Cameron Thomas, of Kettering, Ohio, were killed while conducting a night raid against an ISIS-led group in eastern Afghanistan in late April.

You continue reading and the names start to have more meaning. You look at their ages and see that Rodgers was 22, Thomas 23. You find out that the two Rangers, who had each served three deployments overseas were struck possibly by friendly fire in the opening minutes of a three-hour firefight in the Achin district of the Nangahar province. The district is a primary base of operations for ISIS in Afghanistan and has been the site of multiple joint counterterrorism missions.

memorial day photo

You pick up another story and you learn that both men joined the Army shortly after graduating high school in 2013. Rodgers’ former track and assistant football coach said he talked often in high school of his dream of becoming a Ranger. They both quickly progressed up the ranks, earning numerous decorations, and were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Benning, Georgia.

Continue reading “Memorial Day: Honoring the fallen”

The dreaded group project

I hated two words in high school.

It wasn’t test day, SATs, detention or demerit. Everyone hated the thought of exams or getting in trouble, but I hated something else completely. What could be worse? I hated group projects.

“I need you to find a partner,” the teacher would say. Every part of my being would start to panic and dread the work. I panicked for a variety of reasons:

test-986935_640

Continue reading “The dreaded group project”

Operating on fumes

The minute I step outside the door the crisp air hits me with the force of jackhammer drilling into my sidewalk. It’s hard, it’s with a jolt, and it’s with definitive force and power. I wrap my overcoat tighter around my body and walk briskly to my car.

For the past several weeks, I’ve been rushing into work in the middle of the night to help train my European coworkers via video conference on a new piece of technology. It hasn’t exactly been the middle of the night and I’ve burnt a bigger chunk of the candle in other stages of my life, but the late nights and early morning hours have still taken a toll.  

animal-931355_640

Continue reading “Operating on fumes”

Uncharted territory: Taking a leap of faith

A coworker ran up to me in the parking lot in a panic. I’ve been helping her prepare for a job interview for a new position with our company. She wanted my advice on how to approach a sensitive question.

A friend I worked with years ago has been considering a career switch. He’s unhappy in his job and is close to quitting and going into business for himself. Fortunately he’s in the financial position to make the move, but wants to be sure before he makes the jump. Another friend is struggling with what to do with a sick parent, whether a visiting nurse will be enough or if she should consider admitting her to a nursing home.

To top it off, my 17-year-old son and many of his friends are thinking about their options next year. He’s applied and been accepted to several colleges, but also is thinking about serving in the armed forces.

It must be that time of year. I feel like everyone I’ve come across lately is burdened down by a challenging decision related to career, college or the future.

dark-336584_640

Continue reading “Uncharted territory: Taking a leap of faith”

Selfish play

I’m not much of a betting man. When I was 8, I traded away a 1975 Roberto Clemente baseball card, now valued anywhere from $20 to $700, and I learned the hard way that betting and bartering have consequences.

However, I’ll bet a small fortune that come Sunday in Super Bowl LI one fortunate wide receiver or running back for either the Atlanta Falcons or New England Patriots will run a short corner route and leap up and make the game winning touchdown catch. He’ll thump his chest like he just beat the other team all on his own. He’ll strut and gloat over top of the defensive back on the ground, play some more to the camera, and then finally spike the ball.

It could be a star player or a player you’ve never heard of in your life. It won’t matter.

one-against-all-1744086_640

Continue reading “Selfish play”

Who put me in charge of these kids?

My son placed his report card on the table underneath a pile of papers, routine, run-of-the-mill stuff that you find each day in your kid’s backpack. I think he hoped that the report card would skip our attention and disappear in a pile of minutia, never to be seen or discussed again.

His disappearing magic act worked. 

My wife and I completely forgot that report cards were coming home that night. It worked another night and another night.

Finally four days later, we mentioned that we were surprised our son’s teacher didn’t say anything about report cards being late. When we questioned him, he stuttered and stammered and came clean that he had put the report card on the table.

Busted.

huskies-273409_640 Continue reading “Who put me in charge of these kids?”