A couple of weeks ago we had our last short cold spell. The wind howled out of the north and the temperature dropped to 39 degrees. I grabbed my jacket and went out back by the pool and laid on the cold cement deck and spent some time just staring upwards. I was depressed.
Fort twenty-five years of my life I have traveled with my friends the first weekend in May. It’s a long tradition and has involved over 100 friends. Each year about 35 of us make the journey, and I have never missed a trip. Until now; and this year we will all miss the trip.
Something great is happening in this new environment. We are learning.
We are learning more ways to serve those around us, and we are learning to be responsible for serving those in our local communities. We are learning our neighbors’ names. We are learning the value of nature and the value of touch. We are learning what family, fellow workers and leaders are made of; who has the ability to endure hardship, overcome obstacles, creatively adapt, serve and press through. We are learning patience. We are learning the importance of good communication. We are learning of our fragility and...
“Life is a journey that's measured not in miles or years
but in experiences, and the route your life takes is built not of roads but of songs.”
― Jimmy Buffett, (A Pirate Looks at Fifty)
I went to sleep one night and woke up fifty. Wasn’t it yesterday I jumped the waves of Wilmington Beach with my brother? Minutes ago I walked along Willow Creek next to Danae with sweaty palms as she tossed her strawberry blonde hair. Seconds ago I sat with our kids under the shadow of the Sawatch Mountains in the cool air of Labor Day Weekend.
It was freezing outside in Northern Michigan last summer as Trevor Sabsook and I stepped outside to stare up the night sky. It was early September and we had a weekend of adventure planned with friends from Texas and Michigan in and around Charlevoix. As we looked up, we both saw something different. We would not agree on the birth place of the stars. Our worldviews didn’t match. Such differences would send most people in different directions.
Marcus Tullius Cicero wrote one of the great treatises on friendship two thousand years ago. He...
“There’s people been friendly, but they’ll never be your friend. Sometimes this has bent me to the ground.” – Rich Mullins “Elijah”
Each time I hear this lyric sung it drags up a wealth of memories and it stings a little. I am reminded of people that are no longer in my life that I thought were friends, and I am reminded of times where my actions with others were damnable.
I have recently been engaged in a continuing discussion with a mentor concerning friends, or people I thought to be friends, and the way they have faded out of my circles or only sit on the far fringes. I’ve also...
Alexis de Tocqueville ends his 1840 review of American society “Democracy in America” by writing, “I feel full of fears and full of hopes,” as he looks into the future of the great experiment. Tocqueville understood the American psyche then and little has changed in the last 176 years. “I know of no other country with less independence of mind...than in America.”
Alexis de Tocqueville
He in great detail shares what should concern us in a democracy that is unlike any other in history. Many of his concerns have come true, and others closer to reality in our day. No matter the list of negatives, h...
The rain lifted after 48 hours and I was able to leave my musty hotel room for a walk. I stepped out onto the wet pavement with my mind frozen on the last words of a book I spent the weekend reading. It read:
“Avoid vice, Therefore, and cultivate virtues; lift up your mind to the right kind of hope, and put forth humble prayers on high. A great necessity is laid upon you, if you will be honest with yourself, a great necessity to be good, since you live in the sight of a judge who sees all things.”
I’d never had even a verse from the Bible strike me so directly. The...
Sit quietly in a room alone and eventually you’ll encounter the dark recesses of your soul. Blaise Pascal said this is why people filled their lives with busyness. Reading Oscar Wilde’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” will take us to the dark places inside ourselves.
The leering Lord Henry Wotton is the dark whispering voice in our ear pushing us to seek excess, leisure, and gain with no regard of the means. Unlike Dorian Gray, when we follow his advice the adversity it creates in our soul is soon recognizable with no hope of a surrogate painting.
Of the things I have from my father after his death, there is none I prize more than his old shoe shine rag.
My dad, Donald Owens Jr. spent thirty years working in the automotive aftermarket industry and twenty years in petroleum products. He lead sales departments within those industries over his 50 year career and worked until two weeks before his passing.
As a child I remember countless Sunday evenings wandering into my parents room and dad would be on the floor with some newspaper spread over the carpet and his dress shoes lined up. His shoes would be in felt sleeves and each shoe with...