These guys are in a class all by themselves. No one knows how to categorize them. Record stores don’t know where to put their albums. iTunes can’t make up its mind. If you listen, you’ll never be the same.
The are extraordinary. A definition of excellence.
Expressing gratitude for Lee is an impossible task really — though she’ll be happy I tried.
There are so many gifts that come from being married to her — many (most?) of which I’m not even aware. Here are a few of which I am conscious (sorry for all the omissions, Love. I’ll be adding over time as awareness lights upon me):
Went through considerable trouble bringing three kids into the world.
Took me to the Take 6 concert in Cain Park.
Buys little stuff at the store that she shouldn’t (chocolate and the like) because I’m on her mind.
I have no other relationship before this one. As far as I can tell, each day brings with it a little better understanding of what that means. Even so, there’s no chance I’ll have it figured out in this lifetime.
“Perfect. All the lines are straight, all the circles are round, everything is all lined up — what could go wrong?”
Troublesome words: “no plan survives contact with the enemy.”
We’re all running backs. The ball goes into motion, we get the hand off, and the plan — usually somebody else’s plan — immediately begins to degenerate. Where does that leave us? Running along the line of scrimmage looking for a hole. That’s it. See the light of day, run through the gap. That’s the formula. We’re going to get plastered, get back up, act like we know what’s going to happen next (we’ve memorized the playbook), and experience chaos all over again.
There is good in each of us — an abiding need and desire to create, contribute, help, sustain, and foster. We (all of us) desperately need this innate quality in others. Desperately. Need-for-oxygen desperately. Indeed, it is this quality upon which we depend moment-to-moment for the survival of the race.
We need more of it.
As a matter of profound practicality and sparing all platitudes, we cannot — cannot — gain access to this precious, irreplaceable resource by focusing on that which is wrong. Like the stewards we are, we must treat it like any other natural resource.
To be a little more specific, will you allow me to use an agricultural metaphor?
Weed suppression is indeed important in the gardens of our lives. Yet attacking weeds is not enough to grow that which sustains. Further, if we lose focus on what we are trying to grow, weed suppression turns into mindless violence that eventually destroys everything. If we can’t see the good, how do we know what ought, in our current frame of mind, to be discouraged or removed?
Generosity is not a bauble among character traits. We can’t live without.
Last night, to celebrate our 24th anniversary, we checked not into a bed and breakfast but into the 18th century. As I write, I’m guarded by hand-hewn log walls, sitting in a rough-cut chair, supported by creaky pine-plank floors, warmed by a oak-fired cooking hearth, and serenaded by a songbird. A picture of young George Washington sits beside a punched tin lantern on the mantle. We’re waiting for breakfast. It’s being brought to us in a basket at the kitchen dutch door.
A very dedicated, busy couple made it possible. Both working and with 4 kids, somehow they decided to buy two log homes and combine them to create a bed & breakfast. They’ve really created a live-in museum.
My local library is very popular. I often work in one of the rooms they make available to the public. If I arrive late, they’re usually full and I have to set up a stakeout.
Today, as a door to one of the occupied rooms opened, I got up hoping to grab it. The guy well-dressed was just coming out to, I don’t know, wink at the librarian or go to the bathroom or something. But he saw me stand up and look his way. “You want the room?”, he asked. He didn’t have his stuff in his hands; he wasn’t intending to leave. I said I was fine, thank you and I would just continue waiting. After giving me several options for where I might set up shop, he asked, “Why don’t you just take the room I have? I’ll use the one downstairs.” I told him I had forgotten about that other space and that I was grateful for the suggestion. He said, “It’s fine” and without another word turned back into the room, picked up his stuff, and left.
Beyond a stammered thank you, I didn’t know what to say. I still don’t. There may be 1000 interpretations of his actions — and I can’t get past my own: people care, people are generous, people go out of their way for others. Yes, there is much wrong with the human race. And a friend once told me that we get what we cheer lead. There are many people in the world I can’t help cheering. I met another one today. They’re all around us. You’re probably one yourself. I hope I’ll get to meet you someday.