The Luckiest Person in the World

Hussey-Boys-Summer-2019.jpg

The luckiest person in the world? Perhaps it’s the guy who parachuted from space and lived to tell (Felix Baumgartner), or the one lottery winner who didn’t destroy his life with his winnings.  Maybe it’s the girl who against all odds married the perfect man, the happy soul who put everything he had on Apple stock at $14 back in the day, or you, or me for that matter?

Hard work is well known to set the odds in one’s favor. However, sayings are “sayings” for a reason, and I appreciate the expression “It’s better to be lucky than good” for the sheer cheek it waves in one’s face. Some say that luck can be defined as the moment “when opportunity meets preparedness,” which I believe to be the best explanation I’ve heard to date, but that definition doesn’t account for the inherent cruelties of life.

In the last four weeks, the engine computer on my car died, relegating it to the role of the world’s largest paperweight. I wrecked hard on my mountain bike, cracking the rear axle and destroying my front forks. My employer of twenty-four years put the entire staff on notice that things were, to say the least, not looking rosy. Two friends of mine perished in freak car accidents, and my father and best friend both find themselves in the late stage throes of leukemia, options dwindling. Unluck seems to abound. Challenging, heartbreaking, costly, income free times have presented themselves. Lady Luck, are you listening? There are people out there who could use your assistance. 

It’s not me who needs the gift of luck. Those grieving needed the luck. Those besieged by disease need the luck. My trivial trials can still be wrestled into submission by hard work, by preparedness, and a dash of opportunity…for now. In spite of the rather steep downturn that’s befallen this house in the last month light still shines; dimmed a bit by recent events but glimmering none the less. Glass half empty, glass half full, glass accidentally dropped after too many glasses, whatever. Isn’t it all an elaborate brocade featuring equal parts whim of fate and the choices we make?  A bittersweet symphony.

I’ve jumped from an airplane 57 times, but never from space. I’ve purchased a lottery ticket, or two hundred, and once won $3.00. I married for love, but no amount of effort proved adequate to hold the union in place. I bought Apple stock at $200, after the split, and have no profit to show for it. On the other hand, I have a loving family, two amazing young men who I am honored to assist on their journey to adulthood. They light up the world as though every day is a fusion of the fourth of July and the summer solstice. Based on this fact alone, I consider myself, through no doing of my own, to be in the running for the title of, “Luckiest person in the world!”  

Trust

Trust web

Trust, what is it made of? Experiences, hopes, faith, thin air?  What is it that makes us trust? What causes us to lose faith in another, in humanity, in ourselves? Poor choices, misplaced hopes perhaps?  How do we find trust and keep it near as a companion to be counted on through thick and thin? Is it worthy of that status, or is distrust the more worthy companion?

Intuition may be the more important topic here. Intuition is the fulcrum against which we find leverage to raise our trust or its more skeptical fraternal twin. So then comes the question of whether we trust our intuition. In some matters, my intuition is a most faithful guide; in others, it appears to have been reading B movie horror scripts while eating Cheetos from the bag without so much as a half-hearted washing of its hands. Funny how a companion who serves so reliably in the heat of most day to day battles can take a holiday when certain seemingly ineffable subjects enter the fray.

I trust most people at a distance, but few in close proximity. My family and a handful of close friends are, to use the snowflake term, in my “trust circle.” Beyond that, my intuition seems to blur, and as yet, my optometrist has not been able to suggest a solution for this impairment. Perhaps it is the broken bits rattling around inside that make focus difficult, blurry, and unreliable. Or it’s conceivable that I have yet to fully open my eyes. Either way, once bitten, twice shy as they say. Thankfully hope, and by association, trust spring eternal. And so I wait patiently for spring.

It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn

rain storm web1

It’s always darkest before the dawn, but what if dawn never breaks? 

Optimism vs. fortitude.  One is outcome dependent, the other self-sustaining. Dark times come, and hopefully, go, but “hope” is not a strategy. The only meaningful goal then is to endure, rather than to dream of being rescued.

As the midnight storm clouds bare their icy fangs I brace for the knife blade deluge of unexpected misfortune this season demands.

Dream Home

Battery House

My dream home came up for sale today. It is not a house to which many would ascribe that moniker.  However, It is the very place where my sons did much of their growing up.  As it happened, our home was sacrificed, like so many, on the altar of marital dissolution.

The boys and I have spoken often of the dream of one day buying it back, of reclaiming our ‘home.’ Sure the brick facade has been painted over and someone else has imprinted it with their concept of ‘home,’ but with some blood, sweat, and tears, we would make it ours again.

After hours on the phone with bankers, it appears those hopes have been dashed by the advent of ‘market appreciation’ relative to my income. Dreams are fickle things. My heart, though full with the bounty of my good fortune, is a bit heavy today.

Bad Santa

Rudolph-the-Red-Nosed-Reindeer-with-Santa-770x581

Current front-runner for ‘line of the week’ at my house:

“Never watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with my dad. He pauses the video every five minutes to point out when Santa is being a dismissive, disrespectful, self-serving ass, and that such behavior is totally unacceptable!”

My eldest, issued this warning his girlfriend on an early June afternoon. 😂

#teachablemoment

 

The More Things Same, the More They Stay the Change

The more things same web

Time is an illusion, or so say theoretical physicists, some Buddhists, and a few uncredentialed randos. Change, on the other hand, is palpable. On the cosmic continuum, our human lives are laughably short, unless of course one throws caring for a newborn baby into the mix at which point each moment takes on the guise of eternity.  

What to do with such a minuscule timeframe?  Establish an identity?  Wear it as a mantle, or suit of armor?  Perhaps.  On a more interesting tack, might we open our minds to the so-called illusion of time and embrace the challenge of change? 

That sound we hear at night when we cannot fall asleep, that jarring metaphorical thunder strike that suddenly and unexpectedly transgresses our imagined force field of normalcy, that ominous silence which becomes deafening during unwanted moments of solitude; that is the sound of inevitability.  It is the specter or the hope of change. It knocks at the door when we do not expect a visitor, or claws at the window on a stormy night as we toss and turn, tangled in our sweat-soaked sheets.  It is the ‘inescapable,’ taunting the prisoner.

Some folks make peace with change, even crave it. Others purposefully oppose it in archetypal ‘arch-rival’ fashion. One path leads to some manner of peace with what is going to be, the other leads to voluntary disappointment. Each is a fine perspective, though one opens new doors while the other bars them. Either way, the drama is short lived.

A dam with no floodgate cannot contain a relentless downpour forever.  So it is with the ‘illusory’ incubus we call ‘time.’  The waters will crest, the dam will fail, the future will wrench historical normalcy from the hands of every true believer and cleanse the land with the as yet unknown.  

Holding tight to the past, or even the present will give the illusion of effectiveness for a decade or two. ‘The more things same, the more they stay the change,’ but only for so long.  Nostalgia is bittersweet as is the inevitability of change, but only one of them is optional. Onward!

Namaste

In Memoriam

G3 Uncle John web

On this Memorial Day, I give humble thanks to all that have given their lives in the service of our country. I give specific thanks to my great great great uncle John Hussey, who enlisted with the Union as a Corporal on September 18th, 1861, Company F, 10th Infantry Regiment Indiana. He died in Tennessee far from his home, the very state where I now live, far from mine. Uncle John gave his life during the Civil War at the Battle of Chickamauga, on Sept. 19, 1863, at the age of 20. He is buried among the unknown in National Cemetery, Chattanooga.

Curiously we share not only the same name but also the same birthday, February 15. I am the 15th John Hussey in our line; my uncle was John the 12th. He was the oldest of eight children born to Joseph and Sarah Hussey in the Indiana township now known as Zionsville. He volunteered in service to a cause for which he felt great passion, and to which he made the ultimate sacrifice.

Rest in peace, Uncle John and all who have served.

Heaven & Hell

Heaven and hell web

The expression, “The world is going to hell, (sometimes in a handbag)” implies that some of us haven’t already been there. In my experience, heaven too gracefully finds its way into everyday moments.

Last Saturday, while racing our mountain bikes through the lush spring woods, my eldest son asked me, “Do you believe in heaven and hell?”

“I do,” I said. “Right now, here with you, I believe I am in heaven, though on my journey to this moment I have at times passed through what surely seemed to be the heart of hell.”

He smiled and offered, “Yeah, that’s what I think too.”

Heaven!  At least for now, in this precious moment.

Namaste