The Clock On The Wall


We’ve all experienced it. In fact, we literally bend, and weave, and craft our lives around it.


Waiting until we finish school, waiting until we get married and start a family, waiting until the kids finish college (and then get established without needing our help), waiting until we retire.

And then, one day, suddenly, it’s over.

The waiting. The living.

Whether we are ready – or not. Whether we have been allotted a full three score and ten – or not.

The young are sometimes inexplicably swept away through violence, or accident, or despair. As we get older, we simply find that list compounding exponentially, whether because of age, or health, or disability, or dementia.

Waiting is the natural course of life. But waiting isn’t the hard part.

The hard part is learning how to live in and through those cracks of time we’ve been handed. That’s what ultimately fixes the “who” and the “what” and the “why” of our talents and gifts (and, yes, they are gifts).

Maybe, too, that’s what distinguishes a life from simply having lived.

I have no sage advice, just a thought:

We just may need to make peace with the clock on the wall.


Copyright 2017

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One Fleeting Moment


I tried to count them at first (one, two, three . . . ). But then we started moving, quickly and noisily, headed in exactly opposite directions.

My weary, bleary, blurry, fellow passengers on the New York City Number 2 subway, in the car just across from my own as the doors on both trains opened for just a moment.

Passengers who were in as much a hurry to get uptown as I was to get downtown.

It’s not yet 6 a.m.

But questions linger:

Who are these exhausted looking, daily commuters?

What jobs are they heading in to (or heading home from)?

Will they be spending this entire day traveling on their last $2.75 (because they have no place else to go)?

What families can they not wait to get back home to (or get away from)?

What will this day be like for them (and for me): wonderful or tragic or bewildering or boring? One final day? A day of having failed to say goodbye, perhaps for the last time?

So here we are, in this dirty, cramped, smelly, underground place, sitting together, maybe a dozen feet across from each other, likely never to see each other again.

Yet here we also are: present with each other, witnesses to each others’ existence, living in each others’ space – however gently, however brief.

For one fleeting moment.


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You Are Loved


Don’t mistake your loneliness for betrayal, for you are never alone (you are loved).

Don’t believe your tears bleed through silence, for they cry to me (you are loved).

A moment’s coldness is not apathy, nor today’s darkness some inchoate death. You have been given strength enough to shake off all your temporal veils.

It’s time, now, to ease your way home. It’s time, now, to understand (you are loved).


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The Veteran


Random thoughts, confusing words.

Once a sturdy, steady man, he’s a blabbering, blubbering mess now. Engaged in one last and epic battle; this of flesh, of spirit, of will.

But fate will prevail, as it must, as it always does. Neither courage nor cowardice now dare interfere or even protest.

Your service is complete.

Well done, good and faithful servant.



Copyright 2017

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Routine, Consistency, And Choice


In theory, one should find great comfort in routine and consistency.

Knowing that tomorrow will, in all likelihood, unfold very much like today can help us soldier through. With expectations of neither existential triumph nor deadly personal disaster looming (despite any number of self-anointed Cassandras to the contrary), we can more easily lie to ourselves that the daily choices we make don’t really matter.

But of course, they do.

We are inter-connected in ways that we may never fully understand or appreciate. Perhaps not quite in a butterfly effect or karmic sort of way, but certainly in ways that deeply impact those immediately surrounding us: every person with whom we interact during the day, every word of encouragement or discouragement that we offer, every kindness or cruelty that we bestow, every ounce of beauty or ugliness that we entomb online, all help to shape and influence who we are (and, perhaps, not in ways that we were ultimately designed or meant to be).

What we do matters.

We are examples of what we profess to be.

No, we are not perfect beings. But we do embody the goals, and morals, and standards, and ideals most of us strive to achieve.

Even the most humble among us. Even when we fail to live up to them.

And when we do fail to live up to them, and we will fail, we are not hypocrites.

We are just human.

But routine and consistency should never be used to hide or excuse the truth: a truth which recognizes and accepts our power and influence over ourselves and others.

But, still, it’s daily choice, is it not?


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It hits me sometimes, as if for the first time.

A savage anguish, once bargained away for a bitter regret, returns; only to bow down before life’s grandmasters, disillusion and shame.

If only, if only, if only.

Acrid words.

Words of pity, of paralysis, of death.

Words that have mercilessly defined my life.

No, they have plainly broken it.

I need a side hustle to reorder,

to rearrange, to reconnect.

I need time to plan my escape.

But mostly, I realize now,

I just need you.


Copyright 2017

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Ruminations And Necessities


I carry around a lot of baggage.

Not the emotional kind, the mental constraints that always seem to impair my ability to enjoy God’s creative beauty and His unrelenting, abundant grace.

I’ve got plenty of that for sure.

No, I am referring to the physical kind.

The stuff.

The dust-collecting, never-seem-to-use, wasteful, take-up-too-much-space stuff.

It overwhelms my house, it complicates my life.

While I’m not particularly flashy or a big spender, I do have some luxurious gadgets that have come to feel like necessities (an iPhone, an iPad, an iPod, a Kindle). But that fancy watch given to me when I left my old law firm last year? It lies fallow, still, in its original container, unopened, unused, unneeded.

Still, I’ve managed to accumulate far more then I could ever use or need. Mostly because I am so slow to get rid of anything.

I’ve got files, and records, and suits, and winter coats, and sports jackets that are older than my two grown kids.

And books.

Lots and lots of books: some read, some half-read, some unread, some never-to-be-read.

As I have gotten older, as I have witnessed so many property liquidations following the death of loved ones, I’ve come to realize, more and more, that what is really necessary – what is truly essential – is far less than I had ever imagined.

And I can no longer picture my stuff having to be junked after I’m gone – leaving so many burdensome decisions, so much of a mess, to others. That’s unfair.

It’s time to clean house. Literally.

It’s time to make room for me to breath. And to live.

And to dance that cosmic dance.

After all, it’s not always all about me.

Whoever has two tunics should share with the person who has none. And whoever has food should do likewise. Luke 3:11


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Sometimes, we find ourselves lost in the most familiar of places.

Like a dream suddenly swapping the visible road ahead for a bird’s eye view – only to then cast us deep into the bowels of earth below – our daily routines can summon up the darkest despair. Reminders of the losses that have carried us to this place (and those that are yet to be), can still our hearts and enflame our minds.

Still, we soldier on, as we must.

Lives depend upon our finding our way back, not the least our own.

So we search for the map, decipher its key, and, with a faith full of doubt and gaping holes (but a faith nonetheless), we wander back, much in the way that a blind man navigates unfamiliar territory.

And we pray that there’s time enough for the return, and time enough for the routine.


Copyright 2017

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Into The Stillness Of Time


The hardest part, and often the scariest, is the silence.

Being alone with my own thoughts – here I am, free now, to mentally transport myself into any situation anywhere in the universe – and yet I choose the limits of a few ancient psychological meanderings: whether of fear, or of doubt, or of impending old age and infirmity.

So I retreat by retweeting, update my Facebook status, and then, literally, turn up the volume of whatever it is that I’m watching or listening to.

And then I fall asleep.

All in an effort to avoid the hard work of . . . being me.

It is hard work. In fact, it’s exhausting work:

Life must continually be re-scripted; usually with a pretentious nod towards some declining realism – much in the way that our physical bodies finally grasp the necessity of their own, once unimaginable, daily decline (who is that old man in the mirror?).

Work often assails us. But we need to work. Both because we need to earn a living for ourselves and our families, and because it is within our very nature and dignity to be so occupied.

And nothing can grieve us more or drain us more completely and thoroughly than family. Still, family is likely more essential to our well being and mortal existence than anything else that we might attempt to connect with during our lifetime.

In the end, though, we were imbued with a need for silence, and for contemplation, and for stillness.

No, not every waking minute.

But, surely, some small part of each day. Perhaps it’s just a deep moment or two that helps re-connect us to the God-given love, and power, and beauty that envelops us – rather than to some juvenile celebrity’s first-world Twitter rants.

This is all hard and scary and impractical.

I get that.

But heck, my life is already like that: hard and scary and impractical.

Maybe it’s time for me to get over my fear of the silence and to embrace the stillness.

Check back with me next week, and let’s see how far I’ve gotten.


Copyright 2017

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