Monday, April 27, 2009

Love? part 4B

Well, I was already half-asleep when inspiration struck. One of those things that I can't let wait, or what I want to say will be gone.

To review, the definition of "love" being examined is:

13) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

I initially addressed the "parent" aspect, and the "child" aspect does not currently apply. Thus we arrive at the "friend" aspect. Here goes (GULP)...

Do the people for whom I feel this attachment know that I feel this? Honestly I don't know. I believe they do, but only those people could answer that. As I stated before, I trust I have not been shy about expressing this feeling, despite my tendency to privacy. Those I consider friends are for me very close (some might even say too close). But how that feeling is both expressed by me and interpreted by others is, well, best expressed by them. Which is a very long-winded way of saying, again, I don't know.

Have I felt truly, unequivocally "loved" by someone? Yes, whether intended or not by the other. But one, actually two, incidents will forever stand out in my mind. These acts were by the same person, roughly within a six-month period. They were so out-of-the-blue, seemingly insignificant and yet so generous, that they became unforgettable.

First was the very simple act of making for me a fried-egg sandwich lunch, then showing me the trick of how to do this in a microwave. We would enjoy many of these over the next year, each cooking for the other in turn.

Second was helping me solve a particularly nasty software problem, aggravated by a receding cold. When I returned from a meeting that day, a surprise awaited me on my whiteboard. Thereon was written the solution to the problem, surrounded by a border of hearts.

Have I felt this way about the acts of others? Probably, but none so memorable as those. Her selflessness (at least as I felt it) was a joy. Have others felt this way about my actions? I wish I could say. I hope to someday be as uplifting to others as she was to me.

In sum, for this definition I guess "love" is in the heart of the beholder.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Six-mile migration

Another sign of spring is my mother's "moving" from her townhouse to the lake cabin. I will be helping her this weekend with the first part of that move, which isn't complete until mid-May (too cold yet!). On the lake, ice is out and loons are in. None too soon for my psyche!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Haven't forgotten...

...just too pooped lately to write. Love these change-of-weather colds! Still contemplating the last definition and a half, and will expound thoroughly when the right words happen along.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Love? part 4A

As the reader can tell, the last definitions of the word "love" are terribly difficult to be open and honest about. Not just with you, but with myself. It would be wonderful to say that every situation in my life is nothing but endless love in all its definitions. Perhaps if I could have been in San Francisco in 1967. This being a small condo in the Twin Cities suburbs in 2009, more likely not.

My penultimate answer must again be broken into an easy and difficult part. Even the easy may contain an item that is difficult to say. The definition is:

13) a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend.

As no children have come forward as yet, I will stick with parents and friends/misc (could be pets or something, after all) as the subject matter. The "easier" part about parents shall come first.

As to my mother, yes. This feeling did not come easily. As to my father, not yet. And this is a very difficult thing to admit. But after their divorce in 1966 (I was 10 at the time), my mother raised me. My father went on to a very productive life in Toronto, London, Brussels then back to Toronto.

For many years, dad Charles' input to my life was to relive his side of that divorce. Only after his stroke in 1986, then his "triple tragedy" in 1994 (his mother, wife and ex-father-in-law all dying within a few weeks) did the relationship start to repair. We are finally somewhat friends again, but it has not been an easy hill to climb. With perseverance, I still hope to someday love him as my father.

Probably leftover uncertainty clouded my relationship with mom Jean for the first few years after 1966. Amongst the memorable lines during those formative years was my balking at mowing the lawn: "Who was your slave before I came along?" And yet we persevered. We managed to find a mutual interest in birds and the outdoors which has persisted to this day. Above all, we kept communicating (both speaking and listening), even if one didn't like what the other had to say.

It might only be one factor, but "love" must have two-way communications to live. Always.

The other part to this answer will be soon. I just want to know I'm saying what I want to say.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mediocrates strikes again!

Apparently I really baffled someone today with this tidbit:

Unfortunately I can't choose a subworld...

Well, it made sense to me!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Love? part 3

I'm not sure how well I can really tackle this tonight, so I'm choosing what for me is the easiest of the remaining 3 definitions:

12) affectionate concern for the well-being of others

This is a definite yes. I must qualify it slightly in that my relationships seem, for better or worse, to be "all or nothing". I am a very private person, although less so with advancing years; a Sydney Harris column explains this well. I'm not much for the partying with strangers scene. Even the Birds and Beers which I now fondly attend started as a "Well, OK, only because so-and-so will be there" affair.

That said, my friends know that for them I will (if possible) drop everything to help them if needed. And I mean 24/7. A sample moment was paying $1000 for an immediate flight to San Francisco because a friend had tried suicide. Perhaps this is a sign more of obsession than devotion, but it is who I am.

I also remember a time that bugs me to this day. I was visiting my college town when thoughts turned to a fellow student. It was as though she was with me, calling for my assistance. I ignored this, as "I had to get home". As I found out later, she was needing a ride to MSP airport (on my way home) because her mother had died. Those of you that wish to scream "coincidence" may do so now.

Yes I do have concern for those close to me, and want to help in any way I can. Hopefully they all know that because I've actually told them, rather than by reading it here.

Then again, does it only qualify as "love" if I have that same 24/7 concern for people I do not know? Therein lies a very difficult question, for which I have no answer right now. Perhaps someday...

Happy Easter to all...

If not the rest of the year, this is a time to reflect upon what Christianity is truly all about. And I do not mean the cheap imitation seen so much these days.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Love? part 2

Continuing yesterday's entry with the four definitions of the word "love" that have been the deepest experiences in my 53 years. I do not know if others share the same, or a different combination. I can only speak for me.

11) the benevolent affection of God, or the reverent affection due God.

Many would find me lacking in the latter and not appreciative enough of the former. And yet...

Whether attributable to God, good fortune, unbelievable luck, beating Darwinism or whatever you wish, I should probably not be alive today. The four incidents that stand out the most:
- The old-style (think 1960) garage door that fell on me. Not just coming down, but dropping out of the track and landing flat. As the doctor said, if my head had not gone through that window...
- The 1968 mystery illness that was never diagnosed. To quote Monty Python, "...got better..."
- The 1981 pea-soup fog-shrouded highway drive, finding a stalled car in the middle of the road. It was two lengths ahead of me and I was going highway speed (idiot).
- The 1995 drive through a construction zone when a deer jumped the J-barrier and headed straight for my windshield.

So have I felt the love of a higher power in my life? Very much so in those cases. In just mundane everyday life? Yes I do. Friends more learned than I may scoff; that does not matter to me.

Do I consider myself a Christian? Yes I do. Would other Christians consider me a Christian? Probably not. I don't have my Bible memorized. I consider "being saved" as something to strive for in one's life every day, not just the "I'm saved and you're not, nanner-nanner boo-boo" mentality which seems so prevalent. I consider all of us God's children, even those of us that have "done horrible things". I have too many of my own sins to castigate any supposed sins of others. I consider Jesus' teachings the most right for me, but I cannot belittle how others find their path to God. Two recently-made friends have brought forth that God-sense within me so much; I hope I have in some small way done the same for them.

My favorite Bible verses shall always be the Beatitudes, Ecclesiastes and Psalm 103. Even if Psalm 23 is the only chapter I sorta-kinda know by heart.

I could write about one of the other three definitions, but I think this is enough for tonight. Blessings and love to you all.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Love? part 1

Out of curiosity, I checked the definition of the word "love" today. I was just wondering if anything I've experienced in life qualifies, especially with fellow human beings. I was surprised that, noun-wise, fourteen definitions are given; I was actually expecting more. Just for fun, I'm going to delve into each definition and see what comes up.

The first few are easy:

1) [Chiefly Tennis] a score of zero; nothing. The few times I've played tennis (not table tennis), that's been my score. So yes, I've experienced this kind of love.
2) a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter L. I probably used this when trying to spell things out in my Customer Support days at IBM. So yes for this also.
3) strong predilection, enthusiasm, or liking for anything. This would probably qualify for hobbies such as bird banding, photography and Sudoku. Another yes.
4) the object or thing so liked [relating to 3 above]. By extension, yes!
5) a term of endearment. While I think I've used this myself, I know I have received it. A definite yes.
6) when capitalized, the personification of affection, such as Eros or Cupid. I don't think I've used this in my own writing (some may disagree), but I've certainly read others' works. A qualified yes here.
7) a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart. I don't quite like the self referential definition, but another yes is in store.
8) sexual passion or desire. Um, yeah...
9) sexual intercourse or copulation. About as base a definition as possible, but oh well. The reader can guess...
10) an affair or intensely amorous incident; amour. I do like the last word in this definition. Again, to the reader...

At which point, because for me the depth of my sense of "love" is in definitions 11 through 14, I'm stopping. Longer answers to come...

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Beautiful day 2...

...although it did not start that way. Woke up feeling quite queasy, source unknown but most likely food-related (although a close co-worker just returned from a few sick days, so perhaps he was more contagious than he thought). Dragged myself out of bed and headed to Lowry Nature Center.

Once there the queasiness vanished and had a wonderful morning with friend (and, hopefully next year, banding subpermittee) Amber. I did some banding training with her and she did an excellent job. I know she complained of "sweaty palm syndrome" but, having had that myself, I knew the cure: practice, practice, practice! Below I give the reader a photo she took at today's session. Best bud Roger showed up later and we all had a grand lunch at the usual spot in Victoria.

This afternoon I enjoyed a beautiful (albeit slightly chilly) time with new friend Kathy. Chatting with her just comes so easily, a comfort level to be cherished. Sometimes people come into your life at just the right time...

I must also mention the starting point of this wonderful day (actually 24 hours). On Friday night, friend Sue Plankis invited me at 6PM for a woodcock/snipe watch at Cliff Fen Park at 7PM with her, hubby Joe and mutual friend Linda Whyte. What fun to have a rotund ball of feathers flutter right over our heads!

A sweet, sweet time. Thanks to all!

Fox Sparrow

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Beautiful day...

...and I do swear on a stack of whatever you have handy (Bibles to pancakes) that these are not April Fools' pranks. These all happened today, running precisely contrary to the thread of previous weeks. Therefore in celebration, I'm noting these happenings and going to bed. Yippee!

1) The contact that caused me so much Internet frustration has been established, and I could not be happier. This person is a treasure.

2) I was officially welcomed into the world of banding birds with auxiliary markers. Granted this is not an earth-shattering change for me (just colored and coded leg bands, as opposed to the huger change of radio telemetry), but every new skill helps. Now if I could just steady myself enough to band hummingbirds!

3) The co-worker who a few weeks ago referred to me as "worthless to the organization" this afternoon referred to me as "a genius". Granted I might still be worthless, but at least I know something of the process...

4) Another co-worker might have provided me my first memorable laugh moment; we were both in stitches afterward. This meek and mild person noted her increasing frustration with the work environment, and without hesitation said

"Maybe I should be a pole dancer!"

I about keeled over right there. We agreed, laughing all the way, that she'd get good exercise, make lots of people happy and make better money...

Can't ask for more than those! I'm a happy boy this April 1st...