On The Outside Looking In

Holly Holy and I are hanging out together.

We’re banging away on the keyboard while our buddy Neil serenades us with the words of a dream.

Might not be the same words the not so prescient Pasqualina once shared but that is ok because the story Neil is helping to weave is better.

Sometimes a man finds himself on the outside looking in, watching pictures of people he has only heard of and smiling because he is happy for someone else.

That is something we don’t do enough of, smile for others and be happy for them and the joy they are experiencing.

It is like remembering to adopt the goofy but necessary attitude of gratitude.

So when you have hard days like I did today you find that little nugget of gold that helps illuminate the shadows.

Of course it is always nice to get an unexpected surprise to help brighten your day and I did get that too.

A Whitman Teaching Moment

Teenage boys don’t particularly enjoy being called on the carpet by their fathers or being told they don’t know as much as they think they do.

Nor do they appreciate watching their almost 50-year-old father illustrate a point in the gym with brute strength they can’t yet match.

And if you dear reader are smart you’ll never tell him I took three Advil that night and used an ice pack the next day.

I may not be as good as I once was, but I am as good once as I ever was, just ask Toby Keith. 🙂

Anyhoo, there came a moment where the younger Mr. Wilner and I were engaged in something closer to debate than discussion and I grumbled “Whitman.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

I gave my best steely glare, growled “I am your father and you will take that edge out of your voice” and tried not to laugh when I saw the look in his eyes.

Not because I wanted to taunt him, but because that was me. I owned that look for years and my own father knows it well.

But back to our tale.

“There is going to come a time when some girl is going to surprise you. She is going to ask you to do something and you’ll do it, even if you don’t really want to because you won’t want to disappoint her.

I am not talking about dangerous or illegal stuff either.

It will probably be something innocuous and minor, but you’ll do it.”

He glared at me and said something that sounded like “no trucking way” and I did him the favor of not asking him to clarify what I heard.

“You don’t have to like or agree with anything I am saying now, but I want you to understand what Whitman meant.

I want you to look at someone and quote Marlowe and say something about being a passionate shepherd…”

He didn’t respond and I let the conversation end because sometimes silence is best.

Dreams V Reality

We’re talking about dreams versus reality and I am trying to figure out how hard to push against some dreams and how hard to fight for others.

I know from experience how quickly life can move from very sweet into bitter and rough.

I also know you can move from the bitter to the sweet again and the sense of satisfaction that comes with it.

Most of the time life doesn’t occupy either extreme but a place in the middle and so that is where I start.

As he tells me what it is he thinks he wants to do I encourage him to chase after it and do my best to motivate him.

But eventually I add the part about there not being safe paths in the wild and tell him he needs to have a back up plan.

I tell him he needs to focus on education and stress it is useful and something that can’t be taken from us.

Can’t say he buys into it all or believes everything I am saying, but I don’t require blind allegiance.

I just hope some of what I say soaks in.

I just hope he has heard and listened to my words, not everyone has or does, but he is not everyone.

Final Words

There are moments where I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see the future because I can’t wait to see what my kids do with their lives.

And there are moments where all I want to do is slow the world down because they are growing up too quickly.

Time is like an accordion that is squeezed out in a big rush and then again like the same accordion slowly opening up as it is filled with air.

And the best we can do is be present for the moments we can be and celebrate those we can’t.

Life is nothing but interesting.

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