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My Chair Rocks

Are we ready for the Big One?

/ 06:21 AM August 09, 2015

I have visions of myself running and I laugh. It isn’t pretty. Heaven help us!

The other night I was at a birthday party. My firstborn celebrated. We were just family, and as usual it was noisy, bordering on boisterous. It got quiet when our pastor said a prayer before the meal. He was upstaged by the celebrant’s two-year-old grandson who offered his own. Both were beautiful.

After dinner, either deliberately or from exhaustion, I mentally retreated and tried to detach, relax and not think of unpleasant things. My decaf helped.

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I tried to decipher the conversations that whirled around me.

Someone analyzed 2016, speculating on who should take the second slot. There were guesses, some logical, others ridiculous. I wanted to ask: Will anyone respond to the call of duty?

I was glad that everyone was enthusiastic about the new battle cry, “bayan bago sarili.” I like it. It rings of genuine hope and unflinching commitment. Inspiring.

There was show-biz talk, amusing banter about legends and legacies, a brief commentary on what is or isn’t proper behavior on stage. We talked about the limits of comedy.

When does a “routine” cease being funny? When it is vulgar and offends the sensibilities of the audience, when it destroys someone’s good name, when it crosses the line between good taste and bad. It all boils down to class versus crass.

I must confess there were points I wanted to add or argue. But I was too comfortable to bother.

Do you know the feeling? Or is it just typical of my age?

Seriously, have you ever been in the middle of a crowd and yet felt disconnected, conscious only of that little safe haven of peace, designed as if by God Himself so you can see and think clearly, quietly?

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I caught sight of another son, a grandson, his mother, and even a great grandson, a bit edgy as it was close to bedtime. Across the room there was more family, young men and women, yesterday’s little boys and girls. And I marveled at how swiftly time has flown.

I sat overwhelmed by the wonder of it all, and basked in His infinite kindness, His grace!

Who can understand it? There is nothing we can do to earn it. We do not deserve it. It is unmerited favor. Given. No questions asked.

If I had not been so tired, I would have broken into song and dance. But deep in my heart, there was a waltz playing and I was dancing in three-quarter time.

 

Shake, rattle and roll

Thanks to the recent Metro-wide drill for The Big One, we know how unready we are to face a huge calamity.

I talked to my daughter about survival kits and regretted having missed our neighborhood safety seminar. They sent a circular. Where is it?

I don’t own a backpack but was happy to find my old carry-on bag on wheels. It will serve.

I made a list: my medications, laptop, my phone, a flashlight, assorted batteries, a radio, a whistle, an easy-to-open can of my favorite Delimondo corned beef, crackers, mineral water, toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap, a couple of T-shirts, bar of chocolate, Ziplock bags, sanitizer, Wet Ones, alcohol. I need a hard hat with a chin strap.

When we lived in Honolulu, we had tsunami alerts and weekly dry runs. We kept go-bags in the back of the car in case we had to flee.

In the many glorious years we were there, we had well over a dozen real alarms. Sirens wailed and announcements were made on TV and radio that a tsunami was coming. People who lived near the water were ordered to “hele on” to high ground.

Thank God we were never hit. I was scared, but the kids were excited. According to the phone directory, our designated “safe” place was up the mountain behind us where there were beautiful model homes. We had legal permission to break in, enter and occupy in case of an emergency.

It is disconcerting that during an earthquake, the ground moves wherever you may be. All you can do is drop, cover your head and hold on to something steady. You are reminded not to panic, to stay away from walls that may topple over, avoid being near glass windows and to leave high rises using the stairway.

I have visions of myself running and I laugh. It isn’t pretty. Heaven help us!

Letting it go

What do we regret most, as we grow older?

They say holding on to grudges is a big one. Can we relate? Why do we relive anger over and over again? Where’s the good in that?

Too often we pass these grudges on to our children, and they grow up resenting people they don’t even know. Will that be our legacy?

Author Shannon L. Alder writes: “Forget what hurt you in the past, but never forget what it taught you. However, if it taught you to hold onto grudges, seek revenge, not forgive or show compassion, to categorize people as good or bad, to distrust and be guarded with your feelings, then you didn’t learn a thing.

“God doesn’t bring you lessons to close your heart. He brings you lessons to open it, by developing compassion, learning to listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If he brought you perfect people, how would you ever learn to spiritually evolve?”

Learn. Forgive. Let go!

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