Day 207 — As Dads

My two-week trip to see the two boys was a milestone in that it was the first time I had seen them working as adults within a short period.  Ned starred on stage .  Will leads a major logistic project with huge implications.  Both have followed different paths.  Both possess characteristics that make a father proud.

I am not the only one who has played a role in their development.  Their mother was instrumental in so much of who they are, and I am grateful for her influence and love and caring.  They were fortunate to attend a school with incredibly committed teachers who instilled values that helped to extend, round out, or even properly offset weaknesses possessed by me or their mother.  Then, there is the role played by grandparents.  The boys would not be who they are without the connections to the last generation.  I know I could not have provided for them without the help of my father (and of course my mother, but this is, after all, fathers’ day).  My values, however adjusted as I grew older, were grounded in what my father believed to be the path to adulthood.

Was this all luck of the draw?  The worldwide and domestic horrors of events that destroy families or cause children to hate or fail did not befall my family greatly (fortunately).  We recovered from whatever setbacks were presented to us, but a road forward always existed, and support was there whenever it was needed

Support.  Loneliness could be described as the door that opens toward a life of social dysfunction .  We seek not to be lonely, and wish to find meaning in what we do.  Loneliness and lack of support for our goals can cause us to turn to unacceptable behavior.  Yes, often there are situations when the parents’ goals are not what the child wants.  Revolt occurs, frequently with unfortunate results.  It is that balance of providing intergenerational guidance that makes the chore of parenting so challenging.

On this day dedicated to fathers, I do wish to compliment all individuals who end up playing the role in some vital way along the path of development: the father, the step-father, the mother (especially the single mom), the step-moms, the uncle, the grandfather, the teacher, the first boss.

The process of raising the next generation is not easy.  There are goals of personal success, but there is also the goal of being a valued contributor to society and not a thorn that disrupts all that is good about human life.  Sadly, we have evidence too often of a child whose guidance drifted away from kindness and caring and collaboration.  In its place remained hatred or violence or despair.

Dads have a responsibility.  We thank them for taking on the challenge, and we acknowledge that it is not an easy job.  To be trite, there really is no perfect manual.

I am grateful that I have been able to see my sons blossom.  Perhaps, as Dads, that is all we can ever hope for and strive for.

Michael

Day 200 — And Counting

Thank you to those who have followed my situation over these last 7 months.

I woke this morning and felt that I have nothing new or worthwhile to write.

A friend kidded last evening saying that perhaps I am like the Irish novelist, Joyce, or others who had to suffer to find the passion for writing.

Whatever the reason, I do not see or feel words to place on the screen.

We shall see what occurs out in the future.

Again, thank you.

Until the next crisis…

Day 199 — Rest Time

My last few posts suggest to me that finding meaningful topics for myself and for readers has become difficult.  And this morning, particularly so.

Thus, while I can say that I have written on this Day 199, I am going to wait til tomorrow and see what happens.  Indeed,tomorrow I may make Day 200 a milestone, and take time off.

Last night, as I fell asleep thinking about writing, I found that my typical closing of To be continued… should instead be,

Til the next crisis…

Day 198 — Normality?

Good morning.  I am sitting at Panera Bread working on courses, both current and those for the fall.  I find it close to normal, and strange.

Errands and chores to do.  Running late in the day.

But for continued caution about germs because the white count is still relatively low, is this normality?  Can I relax a bit and just forget what has happened?

Sadly, a group of sisters that often sit next to me at Panera lost one while I was gone.  They are always nice to me, and I felt their pain when they told me what had happened.

Life is normal.  Living is normal.  Death is normal.

Facing all three with courage is our never-ending test.

To be continued…

Day 197 —
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers

My first full day back was busy with a blood test, hair cut, prep fall courses, run (again 2 miles!), and dinner with a friend.  Still the road was waving in front of me, and when in the car, I can see all 3,600 miles that I traveled.

The blood numbers were very good.  two out of the three again climbed significantly.  The third – white cells – increased just a touch, but I am told those are the last to respond to treatment.  I do not need transfusions any longer, and the treatment cycle was expanded to 5 weeks, instead of 4.  The hope is that this will continue.  I will not be cured, but the bad guys will be kept in check.

Day 200 approaches.  Just before my birthday.  As I sat here, I contemplated what I do not like, and what I do like, especially for hobbies or career aspirations going forward.  I would like to discuss them in the blog, but they do feel very personal.  In general, it is realizing what I enjoy and wish to involve myself with.  The things (activities) I do not like are often popular with others.  For me, however, I just do not get turned on.  Vague that I am in this post, what is going through my head does have meaning.

I guess one final thought today.

What is hardship?

I have no answer to that question, but it does seem relevant in the course of human development and happiness.

To be continued…

Day 196 — Home Again

The ride was long — 12 hours — but I did avoid the accident tie-up on I-78 west of Allentown.  When I left Nashville, the delay was 2 hours, even by late afternoon, the road had not opened.

However, by 5:30, the road had reopened, and I had the opportunity to see the crash site.  What a mess it must have been all day.

So, I am back.  Visited the hospital this morning for my next blood test.  Two weeks had passed, the longest spell throughout the past 6 months.  Happiness!  All levels continued to climb.  Two are ever closer to normal.  :)

I have not run since Friday.  Will do so this afternoon.  Curious how I feel.  Would like to run 2 miles, again.

Other than that, working on fall courses and need to grade my summer classes.

Am I back to normal?  Appears close.

To be continued…

Day 194 — Nashville

Good morning.  As I closed my eyes last night, I knew exactly what I was going to write today, and then “poof,” the thought disappeared.  :(

I remember that it was about the idea of caring, and even passion, in my writing.  The topic whisked by and was lost.  Perhaps putting words to screen without stopping will bring it back.  I hope so.  There was meaning.  A clue, perhaps, to next steps.

Maybe, it was just the thought of letting go to find words.  Nothing surfaces.  That’s ok.

I have wandered through the city this morning. Breakfast at a neat little place.  Did not think much of the omelette I had, though.  The city is setting up for a the CMA Music Festival starting on the 11th.  Fortunately, I will be heading home and don’t have to fight the crowds.  I am going to walk Broadway and choose a place for lunch.  Then wander a bit more before  finding a place to listen to music this evening.

Tomorrow, I head home, satisfied with a good trip and happy times.

To be continued…

Day 193 —
Evangelical, Shiloh, and Caring

On the way home with a 2 night stop in Nashville.  Lots to see along the way.

First, was crossing another border into Alabama.  Soon, I was passing a GIGANTIC Mercedes manufacturing plant.  Very big.  Later, when reaching Birmingham, several large foundries were scattered about.

Back out into the rural countryside, I seemed to pass an Evangelical or Baptist Church every half-mile.  Yes, this is the land of Christianity.  Billboards celebrating religion every mile.

An interesting sighting was a man leaning against a tree in his front yard while a woman (I’ll assume his wife) was pushing a mower — up hill a bit.  And the temperature was 92 degrees.

Drove by Helen Keller’s birthplace.

Finally, I crossed into Tennessee and on to Shiloh Battlefield where I explored the Sunken 20150607_152114[1]Road and the Shiloh Church.  Explored the grounds a bit.  Very dramatic.  Different than Gettysburg.  The battleground was spread over greater distance.  At this site, though, imagine thousands of soldiers defending and attacking along this dirt road.


20150607_195417[1]
I drove on through the countryside to reach Nashville.  Decided to treat myself so I am staying at the renovated Union Station Hotel, operated by Marriott.  Quite beautiful.

But I want to close about writing.  I have noticed that since enjoying the news that the Leukemia has been fought with some success, my ability to write with ease has diminished.  I have talked about this before, I know, but while driving today I had some insight to why this has happened.

You see, when I was sick and scared, I was writing deeply from the heart with no hold barred.  The words just flowed.  No effort.  Emotions were easy to identify and express.

And then it got harder.  It was like I should not talk about anything else.  Should not expose whatever else I should feel.  Yes, occasionally I have talked about Allentown politics, but other topics seemed taboo. (I still care about Allentown’s leaders being unable to consider reality.  Others are taking on the activist role, which is fine with me.)  The feelings would just not come to the surface.

So, now, I realize that writing from the heart is a critical step.  Finding the words to express accurately and deeply require just letting go.

That is the next step.

To care.

To be continued…

 

Day 192 —
The Deep South

20150606_160544[1]Well, I have now traveled in one more state — Mississippi.  Crossed through Louisiana, but have been to New Orleans a few years back.  The drive was easy, though long.  7 1/2 hours.  Again, the commercial world seems the same, no matter where one goes.  Crossed the great Mississippi River, again.

So, as I head back East, I feel great about seeing my two boys, an old friend, and simply taking time for myself to consider the country, and my luck.  Yes, luck.  When I think about what occurred six months ago, and where I was, and what was possible, I am lucky.  I am thankful.

Yesterday, I ran a mile on the TCU track (93 degrees!).  It was the first time I have run on a 9 lane track, and what was more impressive, a track that laid claim to 15 Olympians.  There was a banner listing those who had attended the University and were members of the Olympic team in track and field.   I was impressed.  Will, my friend, and his girlfriend explored Fort Worth with me.  We had a great dinner then went to a jazz club.20150605_213305[1]

IMG_1839

 

 

 

I have pictures, but right now I cannot upload.  Will do so later.  Indeed, I have one that shows that I am in Mississippi.

1506[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150605_235722[1]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to Shiloh Civil War Memorial tomorrow.  Then to Nashville.  20150606_183034[1]Looking forward to both.

Meanwhile,

To be continued…