Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ordinary Thoughts

This weekend I have some catching up to do. My good old friend Kevin wrote me a real letter the other day. It was beautiful. I called Heidi on my way home from work and she said that she opened it, thinking it was something else. She said, "I don't even know Kevin very well, but it made me cry." Kevin and his love have just had a baby and he knows what a wonderful life change that is. So I got me a letter to write. It's not something I can just dash off.

In the meantime, I am going to repost the very first piece I wrote for this blog in September of 2008. My friend George said I should have called it, "Three Angels and a Truck". He's probably right.

The other day a cool thing happened. I guess it isn't just ordinary. My wife and some new friends and my son and his sweetie were helping a friend in distress. She was moving her things out of her estranged husband's place. It was hard. Not the work, the situation. She was incredibly sad. She and her husband had fixed this beautiful place up. It took years of backbreaking work. Yet, as our friend explained, it was all a labor of love.

It was a big old building. They had to tear it apart before rebuilding. Sweat. Tears. Years. The estranged husband was there while we were organizing, collecting dusty boxes, emptying out closets, getting fire ant bites. He was there sort of creeping around. Playing his symphonic music REALLY loud. We would catch peeks of him lurking.

Our friend was in pain. She took us on a lengthy tour of the place. It was magnificent. The work was brilliant, the attention to detail incredible. While there was still a lot to do on the home, her work there was finished. She was not only saying good bye to this home, this project, the years of labor and love she put into it. She was also saying good bye to years of marriage and commitment to a guy who wasn't nice for a really long time. There were lots of tears. While the morning became afternoon I was more and more angry with her husband and sadder and sadder for her. It was wretched.

In the early afternoon three guys came from Two-Men-And-A-Truck. To me they were sort of faceless. I'm embarrassed to say it but I was so absorbed in my friend's pain, and my anger at her husband, that I never even looked these men in the eye. While we had sort of organized things and pulled some of the boxes together, these three men did the real work. Dressers, wardrobes, stuffed dusty boxes. They did the physical work and I didn't even say a word to them. These strong young men were putting their backs into the real labor, while we sort of huddled around our friend. We were doing our job. They were doing theirs.

After the truck was loaded we were getting ready for the long ride back to her new place. Three cars and the moving truck. One of the young movers said, "We need to circle up." I wasn't sure what he meant at first. "C'mon, man. Why don't you go get the lady? She needs a circle." I went to get our friend. As I walked up to the door she came out into the sunlight with red-rimmed eyes and wet cheeks. She had just been saying good bye to her dog who was staying behind with the home. The rest of our group were standing in a semi-circle. Waiting. When she came over, we all closed in and held hands. The Three-Men-And-Truck guy took off his hat. His head was shiny bald and sweaty. He tucked it under his arm and held hands with one of the other guys. The Three-Men closed their eyes and bowed their heads. The rest of us followed their lead.

"God," he said reverently. "Please send down your lovin' on this good woman. She's goin' through some hard times and she needs some of your love right now. Thank you, God, for these good friends who have gathered 'round to give her comfort. Please be sure that she sees some of your kindness and mercy real soon." Long pause. The other Three-Men guys nodded their approval.

"Thanks," our friend said quietly. "That was beautiful."

I was crying and I think some of the others were as well. The words were perfect. The sentiments exactly what were needed. The blessing so pure and sweet. Of course these good men had seen the pain and sorrow there. They were hot and tired, probably not all that well paid. And yet they gave back to all of us in a way that nothing else could.

We left that place soon after. It was one of those real times, one of those lessons about human worth and dignity that just jumped out at me. When I shared this little story with some friends it occurred to me that there are small important moments that happen all the time in my life. I work with little kids. I am married to my best friend and have two wonderful sons to fill my life with joy.

It was this bright little moment that made me think I should start another blog. This one will be a combination of Just Ordinary Thoughts and stories of a life. It will also contain short stories, song lyrics and bits of fiction that I have written over the years. Since I am a teacher, it will probably contain stories of wonderful children and the lessons they teach me.

So, here is the start of my story. I hope that it has some light for you.

1 comment:

Chris Hass said...

Ha, the first of many! I'm glad you picked up blogging again because otherwise I would have far less to read each weekend, would know far less about you, and would have never started writing on my own.

I chuckled when I read how angry you were that day. Although I know you must get angry at times I can't actually imagine it. Seriously. Ever.