Thursday, January 21, 2016

I Think I Lost My Scope

The high tone Health Club to which I belong sends me a magazine every couple of months encouraging me to live a healthy lifestyle. In truth, it's not a bad publication. But I will not name it nor endorse it because they keep raising my membership dues. There's actually a story there. I would have NEVER joined this club. But they bought out the locally owned gym I belonged to and they have grandfathered my rates at a much lower price than new members pay. I digress....

In the recent issue, an article entitled "True Joy" features a Q&A with some hippie yoga instructor (not the Denton Yogi) that is trying to convince me the path to true joy is a path lined with yoga mats. I don't totally discount her assertions. But that's a whole story within itself. I might address that topic one day. I could have won the $100K on America's Funniest Home Videos if someone had ran tape on my attempts at yoga. In a "not so obvious" stifled laugh, the Denton Yogi finally queried, "Just WHAT is going on down there on the blue mat on the end?" I digress....

One of the statements I cannot get out of my mind concerns this lady seeking comfort in the stories of the strong and independent Greek goddess Artemis. She explains how she came across a prayer that said, "Artemis, huntress of the moon, make my aim true."

Needless to say, this request to a pagan god, has entered my mind, almost daily now, for three weeks. Lying in bed that night, I knew I had a topic. I just had NO IDEA how to address it. And I still don't.

Make my aim true. Make my aim true. Make my aim true.

Naturally, I get the most joy out of dissecting your aim and feeling oh so superior because, at least, my aim is not as bad as yours. Your aim, as mentioned before, is a veritable smorgasbord of shallowness and offers me great opportunities to practice silent scorn and hold contempt for you. Then I am reminded of "shared human experience" and I must dredge up at least enough humility to confess that often my aim is an exact duplicate of yours.

Our collective aim is so misguided and so SMALL. It's wrapped up in  relationships, kids, degrees, jobs, houses, cars, vacations, cabins, boats, hobbies. The list goes on and on and on. But just pick any one of the above. Make it your sole aim. Convince yourself that True Joy is found in that and that alone. Lacking is the only word that comes to mind.

The question is real and the challenge is monumental. Just what are we aiming for?

I spent most of 2015 wondering if I made the right decision at the end of 2014. I got 100%, complete affirmation, that indeed I had, late last year. But where do I focus my aim in 2016?

The Preacher has said for years, that the literal meaning of the word "sin" in the original language means to "miss the mark." Some days, the scope won't come into focus. Other days, the scope seems broken. And on bad days, I can't even find my scope.

But in my heart of hearts, it is my sincere intention to AIM TRUE. Intention. Intention. It's been experience, that you guys aren't really looking at my intentions. You are only witness to my actions.

Friday, January 1, 2016

NO One Was as Cool as Jack

I missed a phone call from the Old Man this morning while I was meditating. (For those of you keeping score, it was Day 160 in row).

When I returned the call, I was informed of the overnight passing of my Uncle Jack. Evidently, his health had been failing of late, and he died peacefully in his sleep.

Jack was the husband of my Dad's sister, my Aunt Joyce. Joyce died several years ago following decades of poor health. As I understand it, he had been living with his daughter, my cousin, Connie for quite some time.

It's amazing how my mind has been racing since I got this phone call. And it's just a flood of memories back to my youth. I only have memories from my youth because we have been gone from that area for so long and I haven't been back in years. It's been at least 15 years since I saw my Uncle Jack.

When I was a kid, Jack was larger than life! He had jet black hair, combed straight back. He was a sharp dresser. I remember the leather coats. I remember walking along beside him and running my hand into a pocket on one of those leather coats and feeling a gun. "Boy, don't put your hand in that pocket" was all he said.

He had big cars. Anyone remember those 98 Oldsmobiles in the 70's? On the Interstate, the gas pedal was always to the floor. I would be sitting in the middle. Of course, we weren't wearing seat belts! He would tap me on the leg and point to the speedometer. The needle would be be buried!

I remember the motorcycles. It's likely that at point, he owned almost every type of motorcycle ever manufactured. Of course there was the Harley. But the greatest story was when he, my Dad, and a few other guys all bought Honda 350's to ride on Saturday mornings. Well, most of them bought 350's. Jack bought a 450 and had 350 emblems put on it! Jack's good friend, Tom Gordy was possibly the best mechanic in North Georgia. Jack just loved to terrorize Tom because Tom could never seem to get his 350 tuned up quite well enough to keep up with Jack's "350."

Jack was the King of CB Radio before CB was even cool. He had a 60' Tower in his back yard that had a 40' long antenna on top of it! When he keyed the Mic, everybody had to listen! His CB handle, you ask? Of course, it was Cracker Jack!

For years, he drove fully loaded International Scout. When he would take me running around with him, we would always stop by his friend's Jeep Dealership. Jack would drive right up to the Service Door. He would sit on the horn until somebody raised the bay door. He would then drive right into the service garage, screech the tires and yell, "All you Jeep drivers, eat your hearts out!"

He loved to laugh! He loved to have a good time! His impact on me as a 10 year old is simply unforgettable.

His wife, my aunt, got sick in the 70's and never regained her health. He served her faithfully, and spared no expense, making sure she was comfortable until her death. This was all done in their house. He would never have even considered putting her into a long term care facility. I expressed my admiration to him in a letter when she died. I told him that his example to me of a faithful, serving husband would never be erased from my mind.

I've only lost one Uncle prior to Jack and that was nearly 30 years ago. And by no means is this post meant to "rank the uncles." I've got an Uncle in North Georgia who is the definition of mellow and laid back. I would be so much a better man if I could be more like him. I've got an Uncle in South Carolina who is the ultimate, rugged outdoorsman. He's a Man's man! A kind of man I could never hope to be.

But today, my mind is on Jack. And NO ONE was as cool as Jack!