heroes on the high speed train in france

I’ve ridden the TGV in France more than a few times. All I can say today is thank God for heroes.


lunch and heroes

My team had a good bye lunch for one of the fellows who’s rolling off. Eventually the talk turned to everyone’s favorite meals growing up. Since some of the guys are quiet, I try to draw them out a bit.

We had Irish, Slovak, Hispanic and Indian ideas offered up.

“What’s your favorite family meal?” I asked J.

“We just ate whatever there was, there usually wasn’t much.”

Silence from the rest of the team.

J continued, “It was the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and my parents were taken from the university and placed on a farm to be laborers. In fact, I had developed a fever that wouldn’t subside and my family took me to the hospital, but there were no doctors. As they left to return home one of the janitors followed them out of the building. He told them that their baby was very sick, and he would die if he did not receive medicine. It turns out the janitor was a doctor who had been reassigned, and by speaking to J’s parents the doctor was risking his life.”

J’s parents got the medicine and herbs the doctor advised and the little boy was saved.

We all sat for a minute, and I felt how precious life is, and how fragile it can be. I am often reminded that when the world looks bleakest, that heroes and goodness remain.

Here’s to everyday heroes who do good, you chance might be right around the corner.


Polonius-isms

When I was in seventh grade, Mr Batanian – psychology teacher, athletic director of the school, car salesman, father of a large number of really fine kids, stood up in the auditorium and said: “You kids and all this I don’t know who I am. Well I’ve got news for you. Find out who you are and where you’re going and get there by the time you’re thirty-five.”

I’ve always remembered that advice, though it took me a bit longer, and it might be time once again for some more traveling. But I’ve altered it a bit to:

“Life is a journey, try to find some comfortable shoes by thirty-five.”

Happy travels.


a little miracle

Not sure if you remember Gabe ( here’s the link to his arrival as a preemie )

We had to do a spot of babysitting and I found he’s thriving. I was supposed to tire him out, but I think we agreed on mutually assured exhaustion.

Who's tiring out who ?

Who’s tiring out who ?

Children are hope. Children are miracles.


the power of a child

Little acts can change our day. Today I found this in my mailbox.

If I interpret this correctly, in the eyes of a child I'm skinny - what's not to like

If I interpret this correctly, in the eyes of a child I’m skinny – what’s not to like?

It was from Tessa our neighbor’s six year old daughter. I learned a lesson too. Small sincere acts of kindness really do lift our spirits. Thanks Tessa, we’re never too old to learn.

Thanks Tessa, love is infectious, but it's something that's good to catch.

Thanks Tessa, love is infectious, but it’s something that’s good to catch.

Pass it on.


let your hair down

I happened to come across a post where someone labeled another who had differing views. Of course I violated the “blogging prime directive” – don’t throw gasoline on someone else’s fire, it’s their blog, their belief, and one snarky comment won’t do a darn thing to open their eyes.

Still, I am reminded of Gimli the dwarf words from Tolkien: “The words of this wizard stand on their heads.”

When we dehumanize or vilify an opponent we take the first step of the path toward justifying violence.

While I am sure this tower is not so grand as Orthanc where Gimli and Sauron bandied words, if you ride your bicycle down the Illinois Prairie Trail as it lazily parallels the Fox river, you can catch a glimpse of this modern day castle built in the 1930’s by the Pratt family.

Built in the 1930's by an engineer.

Built in the 1930’s by an engineer.

Maybe just the place to let down your hair….


my story

My story is: Poetry assuages anger, talking turns aside violence, and love really does conquer hate.

Dad loves Megan,
Dad loves Shannon,
Bill Loves Jan

Bill Loves Nancy,
Bill Loves Paula,
Bill Loves Kelly.


song birds and hope

The winter has been long here, long and bitterly cold. Today I went for a bike ride through the park nearby, where just a day or two ago the snow rendered it impassable.

The landscape was grim and brown, trampled down under the weight of the heavy winter. But as I rolled along the rutted path I heard singing. It was a red-winged black bird. Not so pretty, some might say a junk bird.

His song cheered me, told me that eventually spring comes. I suppose that’s the lesson of the spring – the song birds always return.


straight and narrow

Instructions are the opposite of expectations. So often the lack of one leads to failure in the other.

When one of my daughters was learning to drive we decided to let her take a stint on the highway in Wyoming. I pulled off, she took the wheel, buckled up and proceeded to drive and start to turn onto the highway into the oncoming traffic, leading me to scream “Straight, straight, straight” at the top of my lungs. It was traumatic at the time though we laugh about it now. But the failure was on me for not ensuring she knew what was expected of her.

Often in life, work and love we have expectations that are unmet because we never clearly state what is wanted. Don’t count on anyone to read your mind, you’ll almost always be disappointed.


of fires and miles

I was thinking about love the other day, not sure why, but my curse seems to be to ponder things I cannot understand.

A friend emailed me about loss and pain, and I was struck how we think that love that burns fiercely and brightly for a short time transcends all, but I realized that

Perhaps love is really measured in the distance we’ve come together – which is what makes it so precious.

and the love that burns long and true is hot enough to change our hearts forever. Which is truer ? I wish you the opportunity to discern the difference.