Discerning the Assumption

They tell you not to assume anything. But I disagree.

I’m job hunting now, and it is (as others have told me) a demoralizing experience. But I assume at the end of the my search I’ll have a job. If not, what would be the point of continuing?

Maybe that’s faith, not an assumption.

I have a friend who’s told me she doesn’t enjoy going to movie theaters. We’ve stopped inviting her, because we know what she’ll say. It’s not that she isn’t welcome, and we frequently let her know we’re going so she can include herself if she wants to go. But why ask the question when you’ve already been told the answer?

That’s common sense, not an assumption.

When I was in college, I took a course with no prerequisites. It was, I was told, a bottom-line, basic, true beginners class — no prior experience required. It also was a graduation requirement. Turns out everyone in that class — except me — already knew these basics, so the teacher taught at a higher level and left me behind. He believed I must know more than I thought I did. After all, I was bright enough.

Now that’s an assumption. Fortunately I took the course pass/fail and he graciously passed me. I didn’t learn a thing.

There are times when we assume things based on the facts we have, yet that information isn’t complete. It seems so obvious, so clear what the situation must be, until that puzzle piece that’s been missing appears. I’ve said it before. We don’t know what we don’t know.

How do we know when it’s faith, common sense or an unfair assumption? Look at who you’re depending on for the information. That will shed some light. The rest is life experience.

Which I’m assuming you have. Just kidding. If you don’t have it now, you will soon.


Assumption

Image Credit: © Bigstock.com

A Time to Plant

Can’t see the forest for the trees.

I think that’s human nature, getting so caught up in the details of an issue that we don’t see the bigger picture. And sometimes that bigger picture is beyond the scope of our understanding. It might take years before we fully comprehend all that there is to know about a particular situation.

When multiple parties are involved, each with their own stake in what’s going on, it can be hard to understand the bigger picture. You know there’s a forest out there — heck, you’re smack dab in the middle of it — but all you can see are the trees, the facts that don’t necessarily seem to tie together.

But somehow they do.  Not necessarily in an orderly fashion, and at times the meaning remains obscure long after we leave those trees behind. That doesn’t mean there isn’t good in that forest.

It also doesn’t mean there isn’t bad. Sometimes the hard cold truth is people did things they simply shouldn’t have done, and their actions have an unfortunate impact in your life, or the life of someone you love. Sorting through that remains a challenge.

Those are the times you have to bring the good to the forest. Plant your own trees, and watch them grow. Take charge of the world around you. It doesn’t mean everything will suddenly be good and the pain will disappear, but it’s good to take control.

I know some of you are facing situations where you have little control — illness or injury, for example, that may or may not be treatable — and these words may sound trite. For that I apologize.

But few of us are 100 percent victims of our circumstances. There is a time for mourning, and a time for giving thanks. And a time for planting trees.


Image Credit: ©sara_winter – stock.adobe.com

 

Forest

Surviving a Rip Tide

God forbid I’m ever caught in a rip tide, but if I am, may God remind me how to survive it.

Sometime ago I was watching one of the news magazine programs and they talked about just that: what to do if you’re playing in the ocean and get carried away by a rip tide, or rip current. This is what I learned (and I looked it up again before writing this, so I’m confident with this information).

  • First, stay calm. Easier said than done, right? But panic is not your friend, especially when you’re being swept away.
  • Second, swim (or float on your back) parallel to shore until you escape the current. It doesn’t take as long as you might think or fear. People get themselves in trouble when they try to escape the current by swimming to the shore rather than parallel to it before the current breaks.
  • When you’re past the current. then swim to shore or float on your back until you’re rescued.

It seems to me there should be a parallel (pun intended) to difficult times in life. I tried to write one, but it came out sounding so phony — and wrong — that I gave up. Don’t panic, roll with it, move in a counterintuitive way. That’s a solution to something other than rip tides, no doubt, but I don’t know what.

So instead I’m leaving it with this, what to do if you’re pulled into a rip current. I pray you never need this information, but if you do, I pray you remember it.


Tide

Photo © Bigstockphoto.com

 

Astonish Me

I’m looking to be astonished.

Praying for it, actually. I want God to break open the heavens and say, “here it is!!” My faith tells me it can happen, but my faith is weak right now. So I’m praying for more faith.

How often are we blessed with astonishing news? Do we remember those blessings as well as we should? I know not all my followers share my faith, so I’m putting this in the context of life, not necessarily a belief in God. Do we tend to remember the bad news and accept the good news as our right?

Or perhaps that is an American way of thinking, even a white American way of thinking. I was born into more privilege than many people on this earth. Despite my struggles at this moment (I need a job!), I still enjoy a better life than others in war-torn, destitute countries and regions of this world.

I also have had my share of troubles and setbacks, and I’m struggling with some of those now.  It is impossible to define a balance of good and bad in our lives, and compare it to others.

Last week I was part of a discussion about happiness. The core of this conversation was the concept that money buys happiness. We all agreed, it takes a certain income, an element of security to be content with your lot in your life. That amount differs from person to person, of course, and much of it depends on where you live and what your needs are at any given time.

One man asked, “if money doesn’t buy you happiness, then why don’t the people with money give it away?”

Wow, what a question, and so many answers. I remember some thirty years seeing Donald Trump in an interview on Oprah. He was still married to Ivana — that’s how long ago it was (he’s had two wives since then and, as we know, a few other relationships). Anyway, he stated that after awhile, it isn’t about what you can buy, it’s a scorecard.

The man with the biggest bank account wins.

That’s a mentality I can’t buy into, and not to worry, it’s not likely to become an issue in this lifetime. But my point with this is, it isn’t simply the money that matters. Paying your bills and buying what you need isn’t the issue for those with great wealth. To whom much is given, much is required — but many seem to lose track of that requirement.

So I’m not asking to be astonished with great wealth. Rather, surprise me with the means to live a relatively simple life, that abililty to replace my worn shoes and keep my electricity from being shut off.

I’m praying, astonish me with that. I’m scared.


Image Credit: © GraphicStock.com

Astonish

 

My Lovely Moon

Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.
― Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

The moon outside my window tonight. It’s more beautiful than any image my humble camera could capture, but it is my lovely moon.

Lovely moon, from age to age, you continue to lit our dark path, to inspire our hearts, to reflect a greater glory.

Go slowly.


Age

 

The Honor is All Mine

In honor of a former boyfriend’s birthday, I am telling the true story of the first of his birthdays we spent together, and a follow-up conversation we had after our breakup.

Honor is perhaps not the right word, unless you consider any honesty being honorable. I’m not giving real names.

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Dating Dan was a subtle seduction into becoming a verbal punching bag. The smile he initially greeted me with on our dates eventually became a disinterested glance, and I tried desperately to get us back to where we’d been. Until a pan of lasagna forced my eyes open.

It was Dan’s birthday, and I’d promised him the best lasagna he’d ever tasted. All afternoon I labored over boiling and simmering the sauce, cooking up the sausage, slicing the cheese and layering it all between the strips of pasta. I made breadsticks, watching the dough rise and twisting each piece into shape. When the cake cooled, I carefully decorated it. Add a vinaigrette dressing for the salad and a bottle of good wine. I surveyed what I had done, and was satisfied.

He arrived late, as usual, and I silently fretted that the breadsticks were no longer warm and the salad was looking a little limp. Still, my anticipation of his pleasure washed over me.

He took a bite of the lasagna, and grimaced. A few more bites were forced down.

Dinner

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“What is this meat?” he asked.

“Sausage.” Of course.

“Why would you put sausage in lasagna? You’re supposed to use hamburger.”

“Sausage is traditional in Italian cooking.”

“Who told you that? Why did you make this? Why didn’t you just go to the grocery store and buy some from the freezer?”

He continued to berate me and I stood there quietly. I was humiliated. I sought a response, but my mind went blank. Not that it mattered. Any words I could have found to defend myself would have stuck in my throat.

It didn’t stop that night. For the rest of the time we were dating, he never missed an opportunity to bring up the sausage (not hamburger) in the lasagna. Even after we broke up, on the sporadic occasions we saw each other, he continued, until one day it got out of control.

I’d taken care of his cat, Freddy, while he was on a business trip, something I was happy to do since I didn’t yet have a kitty of my own, and Freddy and I were good buds. Dan arrived home early, catching me still at his place, and almost immediately launched into a preposterous lasagna attack.

“Well, I had a free day, so I flew down to North Carolina to visit Tony,” he said, a little too casually.

I was on guard at once. “You had a free day on your business trip to New York, so you caught a flight to North Carolina?”

passenger plane

“Sure.”

“Isn’t that expensive?”

“Not if you travel roundtrip in one day. I got a special fare. It was a discount airline.”

Really. Who’s Tony?”

“Tony, my best friend from grade school. You’ve heard me talk about him.”

I knew all his friends from grade school, and none of them were named Tony.

“You’ve never mentioned him.”

“Yes, I have. Anyway, I probably never told you this, but Tony’s mom is a real famous chef in Italy. She’s from…” he paused, seeming to search his memory. “Sicily! You know, Sicily.”

“Yes, I know Sicily.”

chefs-hat-

“Anyway, she’s a real famous chef, she’s like, the Julia Child of Italy.”

“Really.” He didn’t catch the tone.

“Yeah, and she was there when I visited, and I told her…”

“Wait. Did Tony live with his dad or something? I mean, when you were kids.”

“No, he lived with his mom. And dad. Both of them.”

“In Minnesota.”

“Yeah, she took a break to raise him.”

“She took a break from being the Julia Child of Italy to raise her son in the public school system in Minnesota.”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, go on.” This was a rare opportunity. Give a man enough rope, and he’ll hang himself.

“So I told her how you’d made the lasagna with sausage, and she couldn’t stop laughing. I mean, for hours. She said that was the most ridiculous thing she’s ever heard, using sausage in Italian cooking.”

“The Julia Child of Italy has never heard of using sausage…” I shook my head.

Italian cooking

“She couldn’t stop laughing.”

“She lives in North Carolina?”

“No, she lives in Sicily. She was visiting Tony for the weekend.”

“The weekend?”

“The holiday weekend. It’s a holiday in Italy. Freedom Day or something.”

“You visited him the weekend his mother arrived from Italy? During her very short visit with her son?” He nodded. “Okay, go on.”

“She was like a second mother to me.” Chin up, challenging me to contradict him.

“What’s her name?”

“Uh, Maria, I think…but she goes by something else professionally. I forget what. Anyway, she couldn’t stop laughing. She laughed so hard and so long, she didn’t have any time to spend with Tony.”

“Or you, I’m guessing.”

“She didn’t have any time to spend with Tony.” He repeated with emphasis, and paused. “You ruined their weekend together with your lasagna.”

Now it was my turn to laugh, assuming any part of what Dan told me was true and Maria had, indeed, had uncontrollable fits of mirth at my expense. Dan was annoyed, which only made me laugh harder.

A mutual friend filled out the rest of the story for me. A year or so later, Dan starting dating an Italian woman, someone born in the U.S. of — you guessed it — Sicilian parents. She invited him to dinner and (do I need to tell the rest of the story?) when he found out her mother was serving lasagna, he jokingly asked if she’d used sausage, planning to launch into this story about his ignorant former girlfriend.

“Of course,” she replied stiffly, and the conversation went downhill from there. Dan would never tell me any part of the story himself, but I had imagined something just like it for so long, so I was pleased as punch to hear it from our friend.

But the sad thing is, I haven’t made lasagna since that birthday so long ago. And my lasagna was damn good.


One-Way

Image Credits: (Sicily Sign) gustavofrazao — stock.adobe.com; (Dinner Table) lyudinka — stock.adobe.com; (Italian Cooking stamp) squarelogo — stock.adobe.com; (Chef’s Hat) courtesy of Pixabay; (Airplane) GraphicStock

Mature Process

So often I’ve compared a given experience to learning to drive a standard. You know, with the clutch.

Today’s new drivers aren’t as likely to learn to drive this way, since most new cars today are automatic (and have been for a long time). But once upon a time, at least in my neighborhood, if you were a teenager and wanted a car, you took your official driving lessons in an automatic (the school provided  lessons once you passed Safety Ed.) and a family member took on the task of teaching you to drive a 5-speed.

You learned because a standard cost about 25 percent less than an automatic. That’s a lot of money with that price tag. Besides, there’s more power in shifting gears. More control. More attitude.

However, it’s a frustrating process. You know what you’re supposed to do, you swear you’re doing it and still it doesn’t work. That’s not the only swearing, typically. Your first teacher gives up after sharing a few choice words and passes the task on to the next unsuspecting volunteer.

frustrationThen one day, you get it. It works. You no longer are stopped at a green light, praying you won’t stall again. There’s the occasional slip-up, sure, but you now know how to drive a standard.

Other learning experiences mimic that process. For me, it was math.  Particularly algebra. I struggled and struggled until miraculously, the light broke through. Lucky for me, my high school math teacher watched my process and understood why I went from Ds to As, virtually overnight.

I wasn’t so lucky in college, but that’s another story for another day.

I’ve seen men and women take on knitting, something that is second nature to me, and talk themselves through every labored stitch. “I’ll never get it,” they might moan, but I assure them, it will happen. Just keep breaking in those new pathways in the brain.

Driving, calculating, knitting.  It takes time, but the battle is part of the joy. By the way, I impressed the heck out of a KFC worker a few years back when I pulled up in my 5-speed Corolla. “I’ve never seen a woman drive a standard,” he marveled. Ah, the passing of time. The needs, and therefore the skills, change.

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So whatever you’re learning, stay with it until that breakthrough.  Actually, I’m not going to say never give up. There is always a time to move on. Just don’t give up before the process is complete, and your frustration has matured and born fruit.


Clutch

Image Credits: (Light Bulbs) © Dmitry Guzhanin – stock.adobe.com; (Frustrated Woman) © ivector — stock.adobe.com; (Woman in Car) courtesy of Pixabay.

 

Finding Home

The other day I was getting my hair cut, and I commented on the casual Friday attire of the stylists.

In the past, they always wore black, and the color was more important than style. There’s a new owner now, and she believes given the nature of the salon — creating an image — the individuals responsible for the changes for their clients should be able to express their own style.

I have to agree, and I liked the change.

The new owner is a long-time employee of the salon, who started out as a receptionist, and worked long, hard hours to get to where she is today. She can be abrupt, but you get used to that, because she cares about both her employees and her clients.

She’s been cutting my hair for the last seven years, and does a damn good job. She also colors it (too much grey for my comfort) and — lucky for me — charges me a small portion of the typical cost for color. That’s not something she does for too many people, and I’m not sure what motivated her to do it for me. I don’t question it.

The longer you live somewhere, the more roots you establish, the more small benefits accrue. You know the back routes to beat traffic, you’ve discovered the quiet groups of people who share your interests. You’re in on the local secrets.

I’ve lived in my current location for 14 years, which is nearly as long as I’ve lived anywhere in my life. Granted, I haven’t been in the same home the whole time, but most of it’s been spent in the same city.

I like it here.

I’ve lived in cities where, despite all my efforts, I never felt at home. I’ve lived in places I once loved, but now find to be uncomfortable. The pace here suits me.

There are things I don’t like. The job opportunities in my field are exceptionally limited. The political and justice systems are somewhat backwoods. Yet despite those issues, I’ve found a community of supportive people of like mind.

Including my stylist. Okay, her political views are diametrically opposed to mine, so we don’t discuss the current state of affairs in our government. But we share many of the same values.

When she leaned in and whispered how much it cost the parents of one 17-year-old to have extensions put in her hair, I was shocked. This girl had gone to a cut-rate salon that had fried her hair with bad color and an equally pathetic cut. Her long, beautiful blonde tresses had to be trimmed to a short bob. After one weekend, her parents gave in to her sobs, and shelled out the $4,000 it cost to have extensions.

You read that right. Four. Thousand. Dollars. That’s before the tip.

I told my stylist my parents would never have done that, even if they could have afforded it. Your hair will grow out, they would have said. She agreed, and she has four children, so she knows the pressures.

It takes awhile for even the most verbose of reputable stylists to tell that kind of story to a client. I like being one of the favored, someone whose responses she can predict, someone she can trust.

I like being a long-time client, long-time patient, long-time resident. I’m not moving any time soon.


 

Images © Graphic Stock

Black

A Handful of Tips and Tricks

The best flavoring a hostess can add to her entrees?

Hungry guests.

Tricks of the trade can give anyone an edge. Here are a few I’ve learned. For some of you, at least some of this information is old hat, but hopefully I can pass along some useful trivia to help make your life a little brighter.

Use triangles in photo composition.

background-2516984_1280They don’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, of course, but three points in a photo that create a triangle make for a pleasing image.

Use parsley to get rid of garlic breath.

Ever wonder what the sprig of parsley is doing on your plate? It’s not just decorative. It’s nature’s breath mint (well, a couple of mint leaves will help too).

Call TV news stations after lunch but before your afternoon siesta.

ReporterWant your local news to cover your event? Generally speaking — and on any given day, this can change — your local television news staff has the most time between 12:30 and 2:30. The morning news program is over, and they still have plenty of time to pull together the evening news. So they have time to listen to your pitch.

Rub a walnut on scratched wood furniture.

walnuts-1049558_640It’s basically the oil in the walnut that does it, of course, but you feel so ingenious doing this.

Baking soda does wonderful things.

Scour out your kitchen sink. Mix it with hydrogen peroxide and gob it on insect bites. Sprinkle it in your shoes. The list goes on and on…

And I’ll say it again, hungry guests are happy eaters.

Any helpful tips you’d like to add?


Image Credits: Triangles, Walnuts and Tip icon courtesy of Pixabay; Background on header © Dreamstime; Reporter © Bigstock.

Flavorful

A Swing and A Smile

Last night the temperature dropped considerably, and when I left for work today, I needed a sweater. First time this season, and much earlier than I anticipated.

It was a mild summer, and now I’m wondering what winter will look like. The snow I can do without — we have so few snow plows in this area, a few flakes and we’re homebound for days. However, I wouldn’t mind some brisk weather.

A good cold snap and beautiful fall leaves. A winning team. A steady paycheck. I’d like to walk around the block with a swing in my step and a smile in my eyes.

I’d like my nails to grow out a bit, instead of constantly tearing off just as they reach a decent length. If I can keep my hair just the way it is… (okay, that won’t happen, but at least I know where I want it).

Cat sniffing flowersA new sofa would be so nice…books pouring out of my bookcase…a solid savings account.

It can happen, it really can. The end of an era is drawing near, and a new one is beginning.

I can’t wait.


Anticipate

Image Credits: © geosap — stock.adobe.com

By any other name…

In 1966, Neil Diamond had his first big hit with “Solitary Man.” I’ve listened to the song a hundred times and more, and while the official lyrics will tell you the first line is, “Melinda was mine…” I still swear he’s singing, “Belinda…”

It makes sense. A hard consonant like “B” is easier to punch than a soft consonant like “M.” Now, Melinda is the more common name (although in 1966 “Belinda” was still in the top 2000 names for girls), but I don’t know that that should really matter.

And this is xxx, our director of consumer relations
And this is Buffy, our director of consumer relations…

Over the years I’ve watched characters with my name for the image they project, and for a very long time anyone who showed up on a television show or movie with the name “Belinda” was a nasty piece of work or a prostitute. Shelly Long played a call girl named Belinda in the 1982 comedy “Night Shift,” and in any number of television programs over the years there have been some real witches with my name.

The current sitcom “The Middle” had an overweight, shall we say athletic-looking woman named Belinda on one episode a couple of years ago, and on “Younger” we met an elderly woman named Belinda O’Shea who wrote romance novels, kind of a Danielle Steel character, earlier this summer.

When you have a less-than-common name, you notice things like this.

Several years ago, while I worked in a bookstore, I read a guide to naming your child that told me people think of girls named Belinda as overweight, overly shy and somewhat pathetic.

Well, you can just jump in a lake of fire with that thought.

Peggy, right...am I right or what
This is Peggy, right?

It’s somewhat strange to me that we have stereotypes for names, yet when I think of someone named “Veronica,” she is slender, with a sweet smile and long, straight hair, and “Giselle” is offbeat, with a sophisticated cap of hair and a throaty laugh. I’ve never known anyone with either of those names, by the way, so the image is purely from popular culture.

When you send out a resume, what image do others form of you from your name in bold letters at the top? Some of my fellow bloggers from other nations or with different ethnicities may fear (or hope) they’ll be identified by race by their name.

Curiously, according to this same book, the name “Jason” has a distinct image of a likable, happy guy, everyone’s friend, despite being the most popular name for baby boys for many years (you’d think commonness would diminish a stereotype), and a rather nasty character in a series of films some time back.

We know and can trace the origins of many stereotypes, and some even have a basis in truth that makes them more difficult to dispel. Judging someone sight-unseen by their name is a subtle prejudice, and makes me wonder what other quiet ways we judge our world, our neighbors, our co-workers without realizing it.

And if I could change my name, what would I choose?

Solitary

Image Credits: © ivector — stock.adobe.com

Katydid–and died

As I was pulling out of the parking lot at the local Walmart today, I noticed this big, beautiful Katydid on my window.

bugOkay, beautiful is relative. I do not like bugs. No matter how remarkable they may be, down to the veins in their leaf-like wings. Or how tenacious.

This little guy hung on for the six-mile ride, with speeds at times of 50 mph, only to give out shortly after we arrived home (well, my home). Now his body lies on my car window.

It makes me sad to think of just brushing it off and tossing it on the pavement, or even throwing it in the garbage. I’m likely to drive off and let the carcass blow away.

But if one of these shows up inside my home, beware. The cats would be ecstatic. The. best. toy. ever.


Pest

A Great Day for Boating

On Election Day 1996, my then-boyfriend and I deliberately misheard the weather forecast.

“It’ll be a great day for voting!” the meteoroligist said enthusiastically.

“Should be a fantastic turnout at the polls!” the news anchor responded.

Well, maybe short two people. Mark and I both heard, “it’ll be a great day for boating!” and decided that indeed, we should spend the day on the lake. I was between jobs and Election Day was a holiday at his company (seriously), so we were free to do as we pleased.

We fully intended to make it to the polls, but I truly don’t remember if either of us did or not. My memory is better focused on the fact that Mark let me take over the wheel of his beloved boat for a time, in fact, until I no longer wanted to steer.

This was remarkable for two reasons: one, the law required I take a safety class first, which I hadn’t yet completed, and Mark was strict about those rules. Two, Mark didn’t let anyone, I mean ANYONE, save himself steer that boat.

Great Day for Boating Nov 1996

Our relationship had already hit a rocky point, and we broke up a few months later, but that was a good day. We were one of a very few boats on the lake that afternoon, making the lazy, rocking feel of slow cruising ideal.

We had our routine with the boating; he would start out at the wheel, while I stood on the dock and tossed the rope that tethered the boat when it wasn’t in use. After the rope was in the boat, I would leap into the back as it was pulling away. There was no room for error, but I never failed to safely make that jump.

We each had our soft drinks, and I think that day I had brought a book. The sky was clear, and a light breeze added to the comfort. We talked about inconsequential things, stayed away from politics, although we were (excuse the pun) on the same boat there. After a couple of hours, we headed back to his place for a barbeque.

Memories are a funny thing. After a breakup, it can be easy to forget what drew us in to the relationship in the first place. But that was a great day for boating.


Sail

Photo Credit — Header (Lake View) © Kagenmi – stock.adobe.com

The Gift

Last summer I received an adoption announcement from a friend of mine, Brock. He and his partner, Dan, had a new little girl. Her name was Allison, but they called her Sunny.

I hadn’t heard from Brock in several years. We’d worked together ages ago, before he and Dan had met, but at a time when Brock was anxious to start his own family. It was a challenge, since he’s gay, and at the time, decidedly single.

The picture that came with the notice showed Brock standing next to a beaming Dan, cradling a baby I guessed to be about six months old. While Brock was smiling, there was a sadness in his eyes. Ever curious, I decided to call my one-time close friend. After all, he’d included his phone number in the announcement.

“HELLO!” He cried out when he heard my name. “I was hoping you’d call! I found your address, but couldn’t track down your phone number.”

In the background a baby was crying. “I hear sounds of a family,” I said. “I’ll keep this short.”

That call, however, was destined to be longer. While Dan comforted Sunny, Brock told me how she came into their lives.

Brock, you see, had an identical twin brother, Calvin. Calvin was straight, and like his twin, took his time settling down. Four years earlier he’d married a woman Brock was thrilled with, Anna.
Tiny Baby

Calvin and Anna had wanted children right away, but it took them several years to finally carry a baby to full-term. That baby was Allison, which, it turns out, is Anna’s middle name. As soon as she was born, Brock flew out to meet her, and he was the one who started calling her Sunny.

Sunny, however, was anything but a happy baby. She cried constantly, and while doctors initially dismissed it as first-time parental concern, a nurse finally took note and convinced Sunny’s pediatrician to run some tests. They discovered a heart defect and immediately took her in for surgery.

The surgery was successful and Sunny’s recovery was complete, but Calvin and Anna had a hard time leaving her side. Finally, when she was four months old (and by this time, a truly sunny baby), they left her in the care of Anna’s sister, who herself has four children.

It was a terribly windy night, and Calvin and Anna cut their evening short, concerned the weather was going to get worse. Three miles from their home, their sporty little Miata swerved or was blown across the median, and was hit by a semi. Both Calvin and Anna were dead at the scene.

Brock got the call, and flew out immediately. He desperately wanted to adopt Sunny, and after all, he was the godfather, but Anna’s sister was the godmother, and he was certain if there were a legal battle, he would lose.

Anna’s sister, however, liked Brock, and told him while she would happily adopt Sunny, she felt strongly he was meant to be her father. Sunny, you see, looks just like Calvin and Brock did at that age.

More than that, Anna’s sister knew this was perhaps the best opportunity for Brock and Dan to become parents. She only asked that she remain Sunny’s godmother. Brock eagerly agreed, and adoption proceedings were nearly immediate.

But there remains sadness in Brock’s eyes. He lost his brother, his closest friend, his twin. He is overjoyed at having a baby, and one who carries his DNA, no less, but is working through the pain.

I told him Sunny is a lucky little girl to have so many people who love her. I told him I was sorry for his loss, and I knew his emotions would be complicated.

Every day is a gift, Brock told me. Growing up, he had Calvin.

Today his gift is Sunny.


Sunny

Image Credit: Header © Bigstock; Baby Feet © Zbyszek Nowak – Fotolia

The Foggy Path

Science, it turns out, is sometimes just an illusion.

I was listening to a well-respected scientist speak to that issue today, telling his listeners that in previous years, what seemed to be truth rooted in science, the irrefutable, undeniable truth of science, was in fact a fatal error based on the technology used to obtain the facts.

People suffered, some died, because of that erroneous science. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in science. I’m fascinated by it, in fact, and of course science covers a myriad of sub-topics, some of which are less susceptible to the follies of technology than others.

Some place their faith in science, others place their faith in religion. I place my faith in God, believing that no one organized religion has all the facts, and ultimately we must accept the limitations of our own finite selves.

I know of some people who don’t believe in God because they don’t believe any being can be omniscient, omnipresent and all the rest that comes with the essence of the Almighty. I believe in God for somewhat the opposite reason — I believe the truth must be found somewhere, and that truth is God.

Is it possible all truth bears the possibility of being an illusion? Probably not all, but much of does. If two sides in a battle each believe they are fighting on the side of truth, they can’t both be right. Truth is a foggy path at times.

I could lie awake with eyes wide open each night if I thought too deeply about truth and illusion. There are societal norms, cultural standards and an innate understanding of how we must live our lives to guide us, as well as faith, hope and love.

And as the good book says, the greatest of these is love.


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Illusion