but Noah found grace

Monday’s are generally difficult, but lately it seems they’ve been thick and heavy; heavier.  Actually, a lot of Thursdays and Wednesdays have also felt like Mondays.

Today, in particular, has been laden with all sorts of things a Monday is generally incapable of containing.  It’s not a good recipe.  Waking up with the distinct, disturbing phantom of a sneaking suspicion that you’re overdrawn from relationship bank accounts, and being certain that the “life” savings account is near zero, is no way to start a new week of responsibilities.

Noah must have woken up on the same side of the bed I did.  Noah is only 12.  That’s not right; a kid shouldn’t wake up feeling the world is demanding more of him than he has.

Renee called me a little after 9 this morning.  I like it when her number shows up in my office caller ID.  It’s nice to know somebody cares, especially on Monday.  As I recognize the phone number, in that second, I debate in my head whether I can talk to her about my day and how the world is turning the wrong direction for some reason.

“Hi, how are you?” I ask.

“Okay, but I’m having trouble with Noah,” she replies.

Hmmm.  I guess I won’t divulge my internal seismic pressure.  If she thinks Noah’s trouble . . .

She explains how Noah has a lot to do, and he’s struggling already.  She asks if I can help move him along.

Over the next 20 minutes, Noah and I talk through the stuff.  I am completely empathetic and understanding on this day, unusually so, and Noah responds, and it’s cathartic for me.

Noah has 12 things on his list today:

Clean the rat’s cage.  Science.  Colorado History.  Logic.  Language.  Math.  Word Study.  Literature.  Spelling.  Bible Study.  Planner update.  Read a library book.

How is it right that a 12-year-old has so much?

We talk about the rats, and how they stink and how cleaning their cage is a pain and maybe we should get rid of them and get a hermit crab instead.

We talk about how he likes Colorado History and how the homework is easiest.  His voice breaks when he talks about Science because it’s so hard and he doesn’t really understand it right now.

We talk about the things we’d rather be doing.  We talk about how much Monday’s suck.

We prioritize Noah’s list for the day.  We plan a break after he gets past number 6.

As we talked, I looked around my desk and set a few priorities for myself.  Noah unwittingly talked me back from the edge of a totally wasted day in the malaise of self-loathing, confusion and despondency.  He didn’t even know what he had done.

Still though, waves of something wash over me in some moments, and my internal voice breaks.  What is it that can make a middle-aged man choke back emotion without identifying itself?

The quote from my day-plannner notes page today says:  “Never hurry; take plenty of exercise; always be cheerful, and take all the sleep you need, and you may expect to be well.”  Apparently, a fellow named James Freeman Clarke said or wrote those words.  I don’t know what world he lived in, but he would have been a foreigner in mine.  It’s a nice sentiment, but I want to ask James, “So, what should I expect in the absence of that prescription?  Unwell?  That’s what I’ve got, James.  Unwell.”

I guess James was right.  I need to slow down, exercise, smile, sleep more.  Got it.

So, during a nonsense meeting, in which I had no valid input and nothing of substance to take away, I made a list surrounding James’s quote about the things that are disturbing me today – the things that are playing a violent game of king of the hill in my head.  None of them are work things, really, but at work is where I’m thinking about them.

34 things and people.  I don’t think it’s exhaustive, but it’s current.  Jesus is on the list.

After the meeting, I called home to check on Noah.  Renee says he’s doing great, moving right along, and he even helped prepare lunch.  He told me that he’s on number 5 – the rat’s cage cleaning – and he feels good.

I got another cup of coffee and ate some peanut butter from a spoon, and searched my iPhone for music that would respond to turmoil.  It’s difficult to find the right song for the moment sometimes.  I’m not sure the song exists.  There are glimmers of that song in other songs, like an aroma left behind when it sneaked through the melody for a moment.  It soothes a bit, like the pain of a massage on sore muscles – inflicting a painful pleasure of its own and never lasting long enough.

Who are we?  What are we?  Where are we going?  What, if any of this, matters?  Am I doing what I should be doing?  How do I know?  How do I stop doing the things I shouldn’t be doing?  How do I know?  Why does it matter?

Jesus, how is it between us?

The only lyric that keeps coming to mind is from U2, a band I hardly know:  “I want to run.  I want to hide.  I want to tear down these walls that hold me inside.”  What the heck does that mean?

Somewhere, something just beyond the naming, something elusive to my vision, but present, ever-present, stirs an ache in shadowy places inside me.  It would be best if it could be ignored, I think.  Can I kill it?  What is that?  Go away.  Stop disturbing me.  I have these things, and you’re a distraction.  You’re the wind blowing through the leaves of a tree visible only when I have the strength to pull myself up and peer through the bars of my cell window.  You’re a nag.  You taunt me.  I can’t have you.  I can’t come out and play.  I don’t know how.  You hide.  If I can’t have you, why are you here?  Go away!  Then the nagging, unidentified reply, “I’m not only outside your cell, I’m in you, in the cell walls, in the tray slid under the bars.”

Does everyone hear/see/think this garbage?

What does that mean, anyway?  Is it good?  Is it evil?  Is it just my imagination?  Am I making stuff up?  Why can’t I just be normal?

Far too dramatic.  Nonsensical romantic notions. This is silly.  Stop.  Work.  Ignore.

Then, another song-aroma, a pang in my gut.  A longing.  A loathing.

Dang Mondays.

Thank God there’s Noah.  At least there’s Noah.  He should be on his break by now.  He’s making progress today.  Tomorrow’s Tuesday.  Maybe this will make more sense on Tuesday.

testing, testing, one, two, three

With his grease-covered hands plunged into the darkness of his pickup’s frozen engine compartment, his eyes straining to see the wrench’s target, and the back of his mind a million miles away among the churning history of painful memories of the same day’s events from three years earlier, Samuel was caught entirely off guard by the intrusion of an unfamiliar female voice.  He was so startled by his unexpected return to the present that his whole body jolted with the shock, and as he turned, as if he were about to instinctively fend off an assailant, he struck his head hard against the upraised hood of the pickup.  The sudden addition of the sharp pain to the moment’s whirling ingredients sent his pulse soaring, and he spun away from the pickup with a jump and a kick, threw the wrench into the gravel of the driveway, and without thinking, spat his frustration in the general direction from which he had heard the voice.

“Aoww!  For gods sakes!  Holy son-of-a . . . “, he spewed, and strained to a stop with his teeth clenched tight before gaining enough control to exhale slowly, blowing a stream of visible condensation into the frigid air.  “What the hell!” he blurted before he was able to clench his teeth again, straining to prevent himself from making a further assault on his intruder before he could identify her.

Samuel bent forward in a half-squat with his blackened hands alternating positions from his knees for support to the back of his head to grope his wound.  He was simultaneously trying to figure out if he was bleeding to death and to gain his composure, embarrassed at the possibility of a making such an introduction to someone who seemed to be a stranger.

When he finally mustered enough control over the pain to turn, squinting in the direction of the voice, but with his whole face puckered against the pain screaming through his skull, all he could see was the shadowed figure of a human enshrouded in a halo of bright light from the sun rising directly behind it, and a cloud of illuminated, white fog from the figure’s breath adding to the otherworldly effect.  Then he heard what seemed like a disembodied voice, since he couldn’t make out the face clearly enough to identify the movement of lips, pleading, “Oh!  I’m so sorry!  Are you okay? I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you!”

As she spoke, the glorified shadow moved two steps back with her arms raised to her chest and her hands forming awkward fists in front of her face like a cornered fighter in cover-up mode.  Then, lowering her hands cautiously and reaching out toward him, as if to offer some consolation, she moved a step forward again and another half step to her left before returning her hands back to her mouth for protection, flinching as if she were very likely to be struck at any moment.  From that pose, she feebly offered once again, “Are you okay?”

Samuel was still holding back a foaming stream of epithets when he glanced back toward the haloed ghost to find that some of her glory had faded as she stepped to the side and he moved equally but oppositely around the perimeter of an imaginary circle of insecure safety between them, again like fighters circling each other, measuring each other, looking for an advantage.

She remained more shadow than real, with half of her golden, blonde hair on fire from the streaming sunlight, and her face veiled in the shade of her hair.  The contrast of the darkness and light was striking, as if she were a half-moon: all glory and contour-revealing light on the sun-facing side, and all darkness and mystery on the other.  Behind her clenched hands, Samuel could see half of her teeth set in a grimace that seemed to spread over her entire expression and posture, searching him for some sign of assurance that everything would be alright.

Keeping his distance but softening at the curious and gradual unveiling before him, Samuel forced himself to stand upright, instinctively pulled a cloth rag from his back pocket and began wiping his hands nervously, as he stepped again to his left, away from the pickup, around the imaginary circle between them, subconsciously hoping this phantom in his driveway would step further in the opposite direction, closer to the pickup so he could get a view of her suitable for a more thorough assessment.  As he did so, he muttered through teeth still set against the now throbbing pain, but with wide-open eyes, willing himself to calm his voice, “No, no.  I’m fine.  I’m fine.  It’s okay.”

She repeated her apology, as she stepped, as Samuel had hoped, around the circle where her face suddenly became entirely, beautifully human.  “I’m so, so sorry.  I really didn’t mean to startle you,” she said, still pleading but this time with a lighter tone.

Samuel spoke again, “No, no, no.  It’s fine.  No worries.  I just wasn’t expecting anyone, and . . . and,” he went on with a flurry and a chuckle busting out through an awkward grin, “and, you just about gave me a heart attack!”  Then, reminded by a piercing sting, moved his right hand to his wound again and added, “and a concussion, to boot!”

“Oh!  I’m so sorry!  Is it okay, really?” she asked again, but with slightly more confidence betrayed by a cautious giggle.  “Yes,” he said, “I assure you, I’ll be fine!  Really.  My head’s too hard to get damaged so easily.  I just wasn’t expecting anybody, really, and you surprised me.”

“I’m sorry, I was just going to ask for directions,” she said.  “I’m not from around here, and, well, I just got here and . . . and . . .” she hesitated, there, realizing that even in such a small town she ought to be leery of offering too much information to a stranger, and becoming suddenly aware that she wasn’t even sure enough of her own mission, what had brought her to this tiny town in the middle of the Kansas plains, to confidently offer an explanation.  She felt as if she were some kind of ghost, a non-entity – mostly unseen, unheard, unknown and intangible – searching for ghosts of her own, and she certainly couldn’t just blurt out such nonsense in the middle of asking for directions.  “Well, I was just looking for a place to stay.  I was hoping to find a hotel here, or nearby, and I just saw you there, and thought I’d ask if you knew of a place.”

“Oh, yes!  Yes, of course.  Miss Sherry’s got a place, a little hotel, with some nice rooms, just up the block on main street, right there,” Samuel said, pointing now back out the driveway to his left, then shaking his extended forefinger a few times to the north for emphasis.  “Miss Sherry’s place, The Marston Inn, that’s what you’re looking for,” he continued nodding as he spoke, invigorated by the change in subject and the chance to be helpful.  “Real nice place, and she’ll fix you up.  I mean, I’ve never stayed in one of her rooms, but I’ve seen ’em, and they’re real nice.  Good food, too.  Miss Sherry’s one of the best cooks in town; maybe the best!”

“Miss Sherry’s?  Okay.  The Marston Inn,”  she repeated, confirming the name with a nod and forced frown, and her lower-lip slightly protruding to show she was seriously weighing this new information.  “Right up there on main street?”  She waved her right arm in the same direction Samuel had just pointed.

“Yep,” Samuel assured, gallantly, “right up there.”  He pointed again out the driveway and motioned to something in the general direction of north.

“Okay,” she said, now moving back down the driveway in the direction Samuel had pointed.  “Thanks, and I’m sorry, again, about that . . . you know.”  She pointed to the back of her head and then at him, grimacing slightly as she said it while taking a few backward steps in the direction from which she had come so quietly only moments before.

“Oh, you’re welcome, and no worries.  I’m fine.” Samuel said, waving her off, as if to assure her that this kind of thing happened to him all the time, and he was never bothered by any of it.

There was an awkward pause there, as each of the fighters seemed to wait for the bell to release them to their corners.  Slowly, as they each worked through the wondering if there were any obligation to more conversational formalities, to more action in this round of their surprise bout.  Two complete strangers who had never intended to meet, much less be more friendly than a polite directional inquiry should require, thrust into each other’s personal spaces by the imposition of unexpected pain and apologies, forced by the circumstances to at least feign concern for the other beyond what their topic demanded, were now working to extract themselves from the interchange.  As if by unspoken, unrecognized, mutual consent, they averted their eyes away from each other and moved hesitantly toward their starting places.

“Thanks, again!” the ghostly, glorious, golden-blonde shadow pronounced as she stepped into her escorting sunlight again, then vanished around the corner of the hedgerow which bordered Samuel’s driveway.

Samuel said nothing more, as he moved back toward the pickup, absent-mindedly stooping to pick up his wrench along the way.  Thoughtlessly, he put his right hand to his head and gently explored the swelling knot there beneath his hair, and the small, moist opening at its peak which stung as his finger swept across it.  He winced and jerked his hand away.  That would smart for a few days, he thought.

He leaned his elbows onto the pickup’s right fender, staring into the engine compartment as if trying to remember what he had been doing before being interrupted.  He wasn’t thinking about that, though.  As far as he was aware, there was no engine before him.  His mind was swept away with curiosity about the blonde-headed stranger who had just left his driveway, and then he felt his face flush red as he realized what a foolish first impression he must have just made.  He hadn’t introduced himself.  He didn’t even know her name.  Then he realized, caught unaware by a kind of surging emotional intrigue which had long ago become unfamiliar to him, that none of that little interaction mattered anyway.  He bristled at his folly, like he had been caught up in some reckless teenage prank, and with a kick his thoughts sank abruptly away from that unwelcomed interruption to his day, and came crashing back to the reality of the tasks, and memories, at hand.  Real memories of real people, and the losses he had yet to finish rehearsing.

thankful for things

I’m uncertain and hesitant about publishing this. Being thankful can be so annoying to those who are assaulted by it when unprepared for its celebratory intrusions. I certainly am annoyed by it on a regular basis; like I am when a bee is trying to get a chunk of my watermelon when I’m eating my leftovers out on the deck.

Nonetheless, Renee and I have attempted to be more intentional about noticing thanks-worthy things.  So, in August, we started a new blog.  I know, I know . . .

But, it was just private at first. Just the two of us. We wanted to get comfortable about the idea of being so blatantly thankful. It’s kind of weird.

Maybe it will make you feel better to know we don’t post something every day.  Sometimes we’re just too tired to be thankful.  It can be draining.

Anyway, we’re more comfortable now, so we’ve made it public. You don’t have to read it. It’s more of a personal journal of goodness, but we decided that even though it may be awkward, it also may be inspiring, and occasionally, we’re all about that.  So maybe you could check it out, occasionally.  We’d be thankful.

Read the “About” page, if you want to know more about what it’s about.

Click the following link to go there:  www.gr8ful4eyes.wordpress.com

reflecting: highly effective daily planner notes revisited

I came across this page of “notes” from my 7 Habits of Highly Effective People daily planner from May 13, 2011.

It’s ironic that such notes are found in the context of such a page.  Makes me chuckle a bit, sardonically.

(By the way, I had to look up “sardonically”, and found it interesting that dictionary.com says the root word alludes to “a Sardinian plant which when eaten was supposed to produce convulsive laughter ending in death.”  Insert more sardonic chuckling here.)

It’s also enlightening that, though I have no idea what events were taking place on May 13, 2011, such churning below the surface is happening again, or continuing still, behind the scenes of other equally insignificant events happening today.

The churning.  The inner turmoil, bubbling and boiling and stirring and disturbing.

I hope to God (literally) that it’s productive.

The quote at the bottom of the page from Arnold Palmer also seems ironically suitable.  Concentration on what, may I ask, and what exactly is the nature of the challenge?  Is it just getting through today’s daily planner to-do list?  Is it achieving some competitive goal and attaining consequential rewards?  Is it humbly submitting to the direction and power of Christ working within us?  Is it just surviving?

When we reach inside, what do we really discover about our personal resources?  Can we view the same resources from different perspectives and conclude, depending on the angle of the view, that they are either woefully inadequate or exceedingly abundant?  Can they be both simultaneously?

I don’t know, but I am comforted by what must have been supernatural insight (or desperation?) poking through the mist of stirrings back in May, as evidenced by the final words I wrote at the bottom of the page.

I’m hanging on to those again today:  hoping against hope, crying for redemption, confident in invisible things.  May it be so, Oh, may be it so.

poking a hole in this barrier just to see if anything happens

I just decided to post something here to this long-ignored virtual reality.  Sometimes you just have to break a rule, or run through a wall that has gradually encroached upon your life through some unintended habit or omission, just to see if it matters.

I’m pretty sure this blog thing doesn’t need to be some mental mountain, imposing itself in my brain-space like Mordor.  Poke it in the eye, and I think it will whimper and slink away.

Welcome to the dog-days of summer – middle August.  (I read a story recently about how August got that “dog-days” moniker.  I don’t recall the details, and it really doesn’t matter, anyway.  But I did.  It’s always interesting to me that we use phrases that we don’t really understand just because they’ve always been used, and they have a story that we don’t know.)

The mornings are darker later, and the evenings are getting shorter.  The days are still hot, but the nights are cooling.  The kids are excitedly dreading the start of school, and in some cases, so are the parents.

I’ve hit the August lull in workload – just after finishing July reports, just before beginning budgets for next year – and I’ve got a few days with few meetings and few deadlines and I feel like I can catch my breath.  Breathe in, breathe out.  See a little more clearly.

It won’t last, so I need to milk it while it’s producing for me.

I had a vacation in Vermont with my lovely wife:  6 days and 5 nights in a town with no cellular service and no restaurants, sleeping in a house built in 1846 with a 10-step walk across the grass lawn to the front door of a church also about that old, like every other church we saw in every tiny village of Vermont back-country with white clapboard siding, black shutters and a steeple reaching to the high heavens.

Raspberries and blueberries were at their peak.  We purchased fresh raspberries from an untended roadside stand in some friendly stranger’s front yard by putting a few bucks in a can, and ate them with our fingers as we drove, and we ate fresh blueberry cobbler in a gourmet restaurant in a tiny town in which we just happened to find ourselves along the way.

I read good books in bed until my rear-end was sore from lack of movement, rolled over and took a nap without even glancing at the clock, then stretched and slipped my flip-flops on and took my wife for a drive on what the map shows as the little gray unidentified roads with no numbers to find our next adventure.

Have I told you lately how much I love my wife?  Of course not, since I haven’t told you anything lately, so let me say it plainly here:  I really love Renee.  Really.  After 22 years, she’s still the person with whom I’d rather spend my time, bar none.  We laugh, we cry, we share and just hold hands for the comfort of knowing the other is near.  She’s God’s pain-reliever gift to whatever pain is vexing me from day to day.  Thank God for her.

Speaking of giving thanks, I read a book recently called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and let me say I just highly recommend it.  All the more so if you’re struggling a bit with finding eyes of gratitude amongst what can often seem monotonous and futile daily-grind kinds of days.  In response, I’ve been praying for God to improve my eyesight, to let me see the trail of him in my days, and to appreciate the colors he’s sprinkled about to keep them from blending into some gray soup.  Guess what?  He’s been answering my prayer with unexpected enthusiasm.

Seeing him more regularly is almost as gratifying as holding Renee’s hand.

outweighing the contrasts (by Hannah)

I thought Hannah’s recently posted poem from there’s just no sense in that deserved at least a little more attention (which is all I could hope to offer it from this sorely neglected site) so I’m re-posting it here.  Feel free to send her accolades.

a wink later:
a cartoon
may best explain the theory
that the similarities
outweigh the contrasts
between the religious community and THE WARREN COMMISSION
considering that:
a glance took place,
as we moved on.
i believe you may be great!
if such a thing could be real.
really REAL.
my vocabulary is small
my thoughts are blunt and bland and come pre-punned.
a turn took place:
placing me in another room
still eating
always consuming
trying for considering
pros and cons and
objects of affection
lost in all of it.
prescribing none of it.
the similarities
outweigh the contrasts:
a tired body, a ruined car
a scribbly mess, a patched up relationship
a list of accomplishments, a list of requirements
but for a grin later:
i spun around and found something.
something lovely.

wonders never cease

Lord, your wonders never cease. I scarcely behold a fraction of them. Yet, when I do, I’m overwhelmed by the extent of your engagement in the affairs of this world.

I’m persuaded there’s no place, no life unaffected by your intervention, your care and invested love.

As a gardener perceives every inch and aspect of his garden, touches it all with pruning, planting, cultivating, pervasive care, weighing each element and it’s relation to the whole – the threats, the nourishment, the slope, the shade and light, the weeds, the pests, the healthy and the ill.

The gardener takes everything into consideration and becomes invested in every part for the overall well-being and benefit of the whole – invested heart and soul: physically, mentally, spiritually, presenting the garden as a poetic expression of the essence of his own being.

Lord, there’s nothing you haven’t touched, contemplated, known and loved; even in acts of discipline, scourging, and purifying.

All things work together for good . . . you make it so.

Yet, we see in part and know in part.

We testify to your presence in the small, infrequent, more obvious ways.

It’s like witnessing the presence of water only when we turn on the faucet. The water – in the pipes in our homes, the rivers and reservoirs, or in the springs and aquifers hidden in the earth – is always present and flowing, available regardless of our awareness or access of it.

I’m grateful for this reality.

The truth and power of your unseen involvement, persistent presence, a force always exerted in every moment: the air we breathe, life and death, the hope and sorrow, the grief and joy, the struggle and pain, the power and glory.

Beauty. Inherent, ubiquitous, permeating, persuasive, constant, unfailing.

rich mineral deposits and grand aquifers

Oh God, I’m not sure you’re a blog reader, but what if you are?

I just wanted to tell you, in this public space, that if there’s any way you could open our eyes a bit, even temporarily, and allow us to see a bit of the deeper things of what you’re doing, that might help us.

It seems we go about assessing the value and weighing the outcome of your influence based on the circumstantial and tangible.

I’m pretty sure that’s hardly a glimmer of what’s really going on, and subject to vast misinterpretation, if nothing else, just due to the constant discomfort such things bring to our lives, even if they’re offering temporary pleasure.

Moreover, I’m pretty sure that what’s really going on, and what really matters, and what really draws us into this saga of your reigning power, is active in deeper places; mostly dark, unseen, cavernous depths where the foundations of your creation are moored and alive beyond imagination.  And I’m pretty sure the chiefest elements of those depths are in us.

We get confused.  We start to believe the evidence of boiling water – the unwieldy, random, violent bubbles rising to the surface – are also the intended product of the boiling.  That can’t be true.  They’re just the by-product of the heat.  The heat, and its effects, are producing the transformation.  The bubbles are just evidence that something’s happening, and they’re subject to vast misinterpretation.

They’re like a dying man on a cross.

If that’s all we see, then when the earthquake comes and the rain starts to fall, we run to our homes without a concern other than keeping our heads dry and making sure our favorite knickknacks didn’t fall off the shelves.

So, it would be great if you could just let us see more for a bit, or feel more, and then maybe we could shake ourselves free enough to be a bit more enthusiastic about what you’re doing.

We get weary and confused, Lord.  I’m sure I’m telling you nothing new with this.  You get it, I’m sure.

I’m glad you’re gracious about it.

Thanks.

Amen.

waiting

“He watched the handful of people who stood motionless in the silvery air, waiting, as he found himself waiting . . . for more than the time when he would step up with his ancient words to the neat, square hole where a mat of artificial grass covered the raw earth and the urn had already been placed down inside by the undertaker and his assistant who stood at a tactful distance now, also waiting. Waiting for it to rain perhaps, waiting for it to be time at last to go home and forget . . . Waiting for you, he thought, always you, though half the time we hardly know it’s you or that we’re waiting. Come be with the living here and the dead and the ones it’s hard to tell about.”  –  from The Final Beast by Frederick Buechner

Please Lord, come and be with us. Please.

Help us to live like the truth is true and like it matters. Like we matter. Like life matters.

baking in the heat of the moment

The heat necessary
to bake the ingredients of our lives
into something worthwhile
out of all of its well-beaten batter
comes from the friction
created by the moments
flying by us
and pushing past us.

 

We ought to seek to embrace
their slippery substance
more forcefully
to take advantage
of the friction more desperately,
so that we become edifying earlier
rather than living most of our lives,
if not all,
as half-baked messes.

 

Given an adequate awareness
and sense of desperation for life,
we are supremely capable
of having well-baked,
warm, and nutritious offerings
harvested from the ovens of our hearts
not just once in our lives,
as if only some grand opus
were all that mattered,
but several times a day;
here a little, there a little,
but always good
and comforting
and nourishing.

 

These thoughts were inspired by a conversation in an orange-vinyl-covered booth in a diner over a table covered with eggs, pancakes, gyros, french toast, sausage, coffee, and little pitchers of syrup surrounded by foil-wrapped rectangles of real butter with my friends Seth and Max, who happen to be wonderfully tasty treats of inspiration, of whose substance the world is scarcely worthy.

 

These thoughts were written in an email message to my lovely, soon-to-be-seventeen-year-old daughter, Hannah, who happens to be someone I aspire to be like, someday, of whose substance the world shall surely never be worthy, in which I apologized for the pitiful and grievous mistake of squandering moments which were offering opportunities to hear the overflow of her heart’s music.

 

I could write a thousand words, or two, more and hardly exhaust my longing to relate all that stirs here, but I think I’ll go home instead.