Week 10 Recap

I completed week ten with the omission of yesterday’s post. No matter how much I read over it, reworded it, completely changed it, I just couldn’t get it to the point where it clearly conveyed what I wanted to say. Therefore, it was scrapped. It did, however, prompt me to address the issue of “Quantity or Quality?”, which will be posted next week.

Last week was much needed as far as blogging was concerned. I had not had a relaxed week of fun rambling, since week six. As far as Perspective Park the blog goes, I never want to become so involved in social issues that I neglect the imaginative and strictly fun sides of writing. Writing for me was a hobby first; through storytelling and creating. This week, I got back around to it even though the last blog was not posted.

I did the previous recap a day late, on Monday the 17th. On Wednesday, the 19th, I discussed the importance of keeping friendships strong with those that we do not see as often as our day-to-day friends. For most people that have those relationships though, you may not need that type of attention because that’s the chemistry of it, but check on it to make sure. True friends are not always easy to come by and it would be silly to lose ones that you already have because of lack of communication. I can’t tell you how to treat your friends, but I know you don’t want to lose any.

On Thursday, November 20th, I did a “Thirty Seconds Ago…” post recalling that weird moment when my dad discovered something about me that he hadn’t noticed previously. It’s a good read and I would hate to give away the punchline. So if you are interested, check it out — “Thirty Seconds Ago… Transitional Awkwardness”. I don’t mind laughing at myself and accepting my flaws. I find that it plays a part in keeping one with a sense of humility, and it’s funny! Side note: If it is not rude, crude, or nude and in good spirits — I WILL LAUGH AT YOU! Laughter is a part of life that I will continue to enjoy… thoroughly. I will not be stripped of it, even at my own expense.

Unfortunately, the occurrences taking place in Ferguson, Missouri are no laughing matter. Depending on the outcome of the case in the shooting death of Michael Brown by a white police officer, Ferguson could see many dark days ahead. That goes either way too, whether the decision is guilty or not guilty. Whatever the outcome is, will cause waves across the nation. It would be nice if we could keep the city, both families, and the residents of Missouri in our thoughts and prayers as the time of decision draws near.

No matter what happens next week, try to keep a positive perspective and show compassion wherever you can. Another thing too, is that it may not always be easy to stay encouraged drawing strength from within yourself. Make sure you have a friend or two that will encourage you and support you with the love of Christ. You may be surprised at how much easier it makes your day.

Ninja Friends

I think we all have those one or two (maybe three) people, that no matter what, you know they will always be there for you… Even though you only talk every blue moon. These are not your normal friends. You don’t see them every day; every week; or every month. I don’t even think “friend” is a proper term for them. The relationship is weird. It’s a strong bond though that’s held together by… practically nothing.

In my case though, I have two friends from high school — a guy and a girl — that I hardly ever talk to and rarely see. The girl, I haven’t seen for maybe four or five years now! She moved out of the state and out of respect of our dating relationships, our talk time had become nearly nonexistent. She has since gotten engaged and had a child (BUT she and her fiancé thought I would be an excellent Godfather; Yay me!). The guy friend, I may see once or twice a year, but when we get together it’s like we never spent any time apart. He is now married with two kids. I’ve seen him a few times since he’s been married, but not his kids. That’s how bad it is, and I really don’t understand it. Through all the space and time between both these friends we remain separated, but inseparable.

I texted a friend for some help today, and the response I got was, “Well my phone says this is Reggie but nahhhh. Reggie doesn’t text me.” So I’ve accepted the fact that maybe I’m a bad, but loyal friend. I’ve heard other people say they have friendships like this, but now I’m considering that maybe me and those people have problems in nurturing friendships.

I first thought about this one night about a month ago when my brother came over. Now my brother and I are pretty close — the kind of close that can be exhausting — like Shawn and Marlon. However, over the last two (nearly three) years, we have not spent any time together where it was only us two. So that particular night we talked from 10pm until 6am the next morning… and we realized we are no longer as similar as we once were. Since that’s my brother though, we still understand each other and know why our views are the way they are, even though they may differ now.

Shawn and Marlon Wayans in "White Chicks"
Shawn and Marlon Wayans in “White Chicks”

Now let’s consider these two friends that I have. If we really sat down to catch up, what would happen? Not at a birthday dinner, or a wedding, or some group reunion… Just one-on-one and eyeball to eyeball; what would happen?

Answer…

We would leave thinking about how awkward it was. If my own brother and I are having to relearn each other after a short three years of not living together, how much have my friends and I differed since we’ve been apart? We don’t know each other anymore. Our lives have taken different routes, and experiences have taught us different lessons. Yes, it’s a part of life and growing, but there has been no constant communications between us to make us aware of each other’s changes. It’s like seeing your friends in the sixth grade after fifth grade summer break: “Dang you got tall!” It would be to drastic and the thought of it has actually made me paranoid about getting to know my friends as full grown adults.

I believe we all have cases like this. Yours may not be as extreme as mine, but you can relate. Partake in my perspective, will you? I say all of that to say, that relationships of all kinds, have to be strengthened. It’s easy for us to focus on strengthening that bond in a dating relationship because your are fighting to keep that person. We have to do the same for siblings, childhood friends, good friends we made on the job, or wherever. If we don’t that bond that you think is there, just may not be.

The reason that this is important to me, is because I truly believe that the types of relationships you build in life will play a dominant role in determining your measure of happiness in the end. People are your greatest investment. Try not to burn any bridges and stay in good standings with everyone. Now if it can’t be done, then it can’t be done. But a lot of times we give up on people, and possibly good friends, over something as little as lack of communication.

I hear people talk about how they don’t need friends. Well you may not need friends, but everyone needs love… and you can find a lot of love in friends. So if you got throwback friends, or ninja friends (can’t see ‘em, but you know they’re there), call and tell them you appreciate them. Hang out if you can. Keep in contact and keep the relationship what it should be. I mean, I have friends in my favorites list that I don’t even remember what they look like. I’m a bad case, so don’t be like me. Call your friends now… before you realize the number you have saved for them is their pager number.

Take It From an Old Person

When was the last time you have had a conversation with an old person? When I say old, I don’t mean older; I mean over 65 years old. Considering that “old” is in fact a relative term, 65 is still 37 years older than myself. The point that I’m making is, talk to an old person. The things that they say can range from rude and humorous to wise and profound. Depending on your sensitivity level and state of mind, talking to an older person can be painfully awakening. You have to keep an open mind a lot of times, because they will say whatever they feel they need to say or you need to hear. Some kind of way though, when they say what it is they have to say, no matter how offensive, often times you will listen.

Why?

This is because most people who have lived to that age, have come to realize what is important in life and what is not. The silliness of getting what someone else has simply because they have it, has passed years ago. At this point in their life, keeping up with the Jones’ is the last thing on their mind… They watched Mr. Jones die of a heart attack working overtime to keep Ms. Jones happy. So they know that enjoying each other is what’s important, instead of trying to make life’s enjoyment out of the accumulation of material things. Therefore, anything they say to you, will be simply that which was said. There will be no drama behind their statements. They will not be in competition with you, or striving with you, or will have any ulterior motives behind whatever they say. When you hear honesty on that level, and don’t have to consider where or why it is being said, it’s easier for you to listen.

Now I know that every person 65 or older will not be this way. It has to be someone who is content with being where they are in life and can truly appreciate the journey that they had to take to get there. If they speak from that point of view, they will only say things to advise well, or warn you of pitfalls. For example, if an older lady tells you, “I don’t think you should pay $500 for those shoes,” she saying that probably because she knows better the value of $500 than you do. Now if a peer told you the exact same thing, you may think, “She just don’t want me to have them because she can’t afford them.” Now this may not be true at all, but the receptiveness of the same message from an older person versus a peer makes the world of difference. There are plenty of older people though who have not accepted their roles in life as being advisors and examples to the youth, and instead want to stay in the runnings with them; these are not the ones I’m talking about and you can tell the difference.

The good part is the amount of information you can learn from them. They basically give life lessons for free and look forward to conversing and sharing with young people. There are Big Brother and Big Sister clubs all about the nation. I would be an advocate for a similar program where young adults were paired with a eligible senior citizens to simply talk to a couple times a month. Because with the generational gaps being blurred by the family breakdowns, Stellas getting their grooves back, Cougar towns, and Papa’s stones rolling all over the place, the respect and reverence for older people are slowly disappearing. Preserving that respect is key to the cycle of building a successful society/culture. If children really are the future, there has to be a clear cut difference between generations so that the youth will know who to learn from and go to for life advice. Some things can not be taught from a peer; so I, personally, spend every chance I get asking and probing older people for information. What I want to happen is that I learn as much as possible from a senior citizen as young as I can. That way, by the time I make it to their age, not only will I know what they knew, but maybe I will have learned even more to pass down to the generation beneath me.

The most recent bit of information that I received from an older person was simple, but extremely relevant to common socializing. It’s something that nearly all of us go through with our friends. We have all had that friend who continually does the same dumb things over and over, right? The advice that I was given to that type of situation was:

“If a person’s conscience don’t whip them, then you can’t whip them. You can’t change a person’s mind; they have to do that on their own.” So basically, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You hear cliche´ phrases growing up without ever really knowing what they mean or how to apply them— but if you talk to an older person, who has been where you are, you might be able to learn that lesson a few years ahead of schedule if instead of waiting on experience to teach you.

Another thing I heard just last week was: “Those are some ugly shoes.” He just forgot to turn off the filter that connects the brain to the mouth. I laughed because that’s truly how he felt about the shoes I was wearing. Even though I felt as though they were fashionably acceptable and appropriate, none of that meant a hill of beans to an old man who knows that life is more than vainglorious coverings. Now if someone my own age had said the same thing, I would have probably had a totally different reaction. A man of seventy plus years has earned the right to at least say what’s on his mind, and if I can’t humbly take his statement as an vocalized opinion of an elder and someone that I should learn from, then I may be the one with the real problem. I pray that in my old age, I carry more tact in my speaking though. Maybe that is what I can add to the chain for the next generation.

Bottom line— Try to spend more time talking to older people, especially if you have some easily accessible to you. You may be surprised at what your eyes can be opened up to or what you can learn. That way, when we all get to be old, we will have actually accumulated valuable life lessons to pass down to the next generations, and not just material things that can neither add or take away integrity, honor or moral value.

Daniel and The Romantic (Part 1)

“So, if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly did you learn from all of this?” The stubble-faced man had his eyes intently trained on his colleague as he awaited an answer. The two had been sitting here for a while; one obviously going through relationship problems, and the other just lending an ear. I was being entertained by their randomness and mood changes. They were two decent fellows, both kind of reserved but comically witty – even in their state of melancholy.

“What do you mean, Daniel?” He knew exactly what his colleague meant. He just wasn’t prepared to answer such a question. He also seemed to be a bit offended by the question and the look he gave him as he asked it. I had to admit though, he had a right to ask; he had been listening to him vent, ramble, and gripe for the last hour at least.

“I mean, like… None of this really means anything if you didn’t learn anything,” the guy named Daniel said. He seemed to be very reasonable and was making it his business to make sense of everything. “Like, you’re a really smart guy, and confusion doesn’t suit you well.”

“Hmm… What did I learn from it?” The romantic pondered on this question for a few seconds. Then he smiled and started with…

“I learned that night can be as bright as the day.” 

He then sipped from his glass and gave his friend a crooked smile.  Daniel grimaced at the romantic’s poetic tenderness. “Please just stop! Forget I asked!” Nonetheless, the romantic continued on.

“I learned that great pain is only a loss of great gain.

I learned that simply holding hands can change lifelong plans. 

Shadows only lie where her smile doesn’t shine,

And sleep is merely to be with her in another place and time.

I learned that love travels on the winds that carry her scent,

And that there is much more love than time to be spent.” 

I laughed a bit as the love-sick patron annoyed his friend. He then put his arm around the shoulder of his buddy and asked, “You know the feeling, right?” and laughed at his discomfort.

“C’mon, just stop! Go and tell her! Just get off of me!” He threw the arm off of him as he jumped from his stool. “I don’t even want my last wings.” His friendly time of lending an ear had come to an end. His trust in the Guy Code had failed him as he was forced to listen to free versed poetry from who I could now tell was his best friend; and that’s why he wouldn’t leave him. They were close, and one was in need of the other right now.

“I learned that arguing doesn’t fix as well as a kiss,

and apologies are necessities when hearts are at risk.”

As Daniel turned and walked toward the exit, the poetic reject burst into laughter and followed after him. They grabbed their coats from the hangers and continued out into the night.

“The first time I saw her, I knew love was at hand…”

I cleared the tables where they were sitting and wiped the area clean. As I poured the liquid from their abandoned glasses, it occurred to me that they had only drank soda. I said a prayer for their continued sobriety, and went on to wait the next table.