Humility

Some would be scantily clad if only clothed in humility.”
Author unknown.

Inspiration indeed comes from many places. The above quote was displayed on the local church billboard. It’s not original, but it’s great.

Humility is a virtue. It is a value. It is a moral construct. It is also woefully absent in today’s world.

Webster defines humility as a modest or low view of one’s own importance. How many people do you know that act in accordance with this?

It’s difficult today. We live in the “selfie” era. The age of “look at me”. Social media has created an atmosphere of constant exposure, of the creation of celebrity, which is merely the status of being famous for being famous. No merit requested or required. We measure our worth by the number of followers we have, many of them not unlike WordPress.com followers…I follow you in hopes that you will follow me.

Sigh…

I find myself wanting to reach out to some people and tell them to “get over themselves”. Explain to them that I know who they are, what I want to know is what do they do? Do you contribute to society at large or do you use society to contribute to you? The least accomplished generation is also the most documented.

I am a firm believer that our deeds define us. I believe in Service. I believe that we are, in large part, here for the benefit of each other. Sure, some cynic will ask, “if we’re here for others than what are others here for”. That is when I am forced to amend it and say, “we are here for each other.”

I used to be an enormous follower of Ayn Rand. Her philosophy of Objectivism appealed to my conservative sensibilities. She taught that man is innately a creature of reason, craving accomplishment and achievement. She consequently dismissed the less accomplished in our world as victims of their own choices and should be left to pull themselves up and only then will they be worthy. I broke with her on this. By that logic, screw the addict, screw the homeless and screw anyone else who made a mistake in life. She called for the embracing of selfishness. While I do understand what she meant, that we owe it to ourselves to chase our own happiness, she neglected to touch on the value-added proposition of the achievement felt when helping someone. Most especially those that have nothing to offer you in return. I have experienced this and it is an achievement indeed. It made me a better person.

Today, people will step over a bleeding body in the street. They will film a person getting beaten and bullied and not attempt to help. The “hits” on the YouTube video matter more than helping another human being. They will blame the media, the video game, the music of the era but will never acknowledge that they only care about something in relation to how it affects them. They would be naked and cold if only clad in their humility.

Chase your goals. Work towards your dream. Achieve and accomplish. But remember that as you climb the ladder it is important that you remember not to kick on the way up what you may have to kiss on the way down. People are not stepping stones, they are our fellow residents on this earth. Our deeds are forever, and they are how we are remembered. The best deeds are anonymous ones, they are the embodiment of charity. It doesn’t matter how many people know what it is that you did…you’ll know. If someone finds out, be humble. Think less about yourself and more for others.

Think of your upcoming funeral. Will someone say, in hushed tones, “I can’t believe there are so few people here, she had a huge Instagram following and thousands of FB friends.”

Stay humble and fully clothed my friends, it’s worth it in the end.


Don’t let him win

A team of doctors frantically work to save the life of the patient on the table. One of the doctors yells “Don’t let the bastard win!”
Later, an observer to the scene leaned in to a doctor and asked “What did he mean, ‘Don’t let the bastard win?’ Who was he talking about?”
The doctor calmly replied, “Death. The bastard is Death.”

This was a scene from MASH, one of my all time favorite shows. The doctor was none other than “Hawkeye” Pierce. The part of Death was played by, well, Death of course. A character that transcends a TV show, it is a very real thing.

And it is a Bastard.

I remember the first time I saw that episode, it resonated deeply with me. I caught it on re-runs the other night and it knocked me out of my chair. It spoke to me.

I have been a obstinate, stubborn, insanely driven lover of a good fight my entire life. The best way to get me to do something, my father always joked, was to tell me that I couldn’t do it. Through the years I became known for it, and as my health deteriorated, it became my calling card. When I met a challenge, I overcame it. I found that it inspired people, and that was a role that I could live with.

Now, I don’t have a lot of challenges or enemies. Not much is staring me in the face. With the possible exception of my mortality. It’s taunting me, telling me to lie down and accept its inevitability. To just go with it. After all, it says teasingly, it’s only a matter of time after all.

Fuck you, you bastard. I’m not listening.

I see people every day that have given up. They are just going through the motions, waiting for death. Not me, man. I’m scouring for donors, I’m exercising, I’m being positive because it’s only one of the two choices I have.

So many days I have felt tired and weak. So many days I have sat on the sofa unable to do anything. So many nights I have laid in my bed, sleepless and exhausted counting reasons to go on vs giving up. The term “quality of life” bounces around in your head during those moments. When you don’t feel well, life can not feel like it’s worth living. You can even begin to welcome the sweet release of death.

I’ve been close to death 3 times in my life. I’m not scared of it. I’m also not ready for it. I have a lot of people in my corner who want me around. So it’s up to me to get myself in a place in which I want to be around.

Today, I started week 3 of my workout routine. Treadmill, kettlebells, pushups and resistance bands. My strength is pathetic, my stamina is woeful and my body begs me to stop. I pushed through and now I feel like I have accomplished something. I did more than I was able to on week 1. That is forward progress.

If death is coming for me, he needs to know that it won’t be without a fight. I’m not letting the bastard win.

Just Jot it January day #29–Dirty

The prompt word, “dirty,” for today’s post is brought to you by Jim! Thanks, Jim! To find his “dirty” post, click here. And say hi while you’re there!

There is so much talk about “Toxic Masculinity” these days. Guys my age struggle with this. I was raised with the words “be a man”, coming from my father, society, and my own recollections.

“Being a man” wasn’t a difficult concept to live by. Boys don’t cry was a common mantra. I was encouraged to be strong, to open and hold doors for a woman, to always pick up the check, to not drive off until my date was safely inside. Of course, I was also encouraged to be a lothario.

I witnessed my male counterparts as they cat-called, crotch grabbed, whistled and otherwise made fools out of themselves in front of women. I always knew the line and when it was crossed. I was (and still am) flirty, but not dirty, and I am respectful of women.

In turn, I also have expectations of women to be strong and able to handle themselves. When a man crosses the bridge from flirtatious to inappropriate I expect, and have seen it on many occasions, a woman to put a man in his place. I love those women. There is never an excuse for a man to offer unwanted advances or lay a hand upon a woman.

See, I know that a woman can open her own door. I know that she has her own coat and umbrella on a cold or rainy day. I may not need to follow her home to make sure she is safe. But I still do these things, because that’s how I was raised.

It’s not toxic. It’s part of being a man.

Just Jot it January day # 28–Testify

Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 28th is brought to you by Dan! Click here to find his last post and say hi while you’re there! Dan’s word for our prompt today is “testify.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

tes·ti·fy
serve as evidence or proof of something’s existing or being the case
.

It took mere seconds to say “I love you.”
It took me an hour to explain it
It takes a lifetime to prove it

We are no longer together
couldn’t withstand the weather
I did not abandon you
did what I said I would do
and kept promises made

I am aware of our status
I’m currently persona non gratis
although I don’t live near
I will always be here

My friends don’t get it
but I don’t regret it
This is how I testify to the oath I made
on our wedding day




Just Jot it January day # 27–Cathartic

Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 27th is brought to you by Enthralling Journey! Click here to find her last post and say hi while you’re there! Enthralling Journey’s word for our prompt today is “cathartic.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

Time spent having an amazing conversation with good people is one of the great, free experiences in life.

We spend an awful lot of time talking and an unfortunate amount of time waiting our turn to speak again. This occurs at the expense of actually listening to the other person. When you speak, you regurgitate that which you already know. When you listen, you learn something you didn’t. When you have an amazing conversation everyone leaves different than when they went in. Sometimes we learn something about ourselves.

It’s downright cathartic.

SoCS & Just Jot it January day # 26

Your prompt for #JusJoJan and Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “ad/add/AD (Anno Domini).” Use one, use ’em all–bonus points if you fit them all into your post. Have fun!

I was having breakfast this morning and our server was a very lovely young lady who was, how should I say, as pretty walking towards me as she was walking away. As I watched her in mute admiration, I realized that she was young enough to be my daughter.

It logically followed that I would take stock of my situation and I concluded that women like her were not realistic but I should make an effort to meet someone.

I composed in my head the AD, in the yet to be determined outlet.

“recently divorced guy, balding, one testicle, on dialysis with no future prospects of success or moving out of my mother’s house seeks…well SHIT…anyone. Note, in exchange for physical intimacy I will be the most grateful motherfucker EVER.”

I’ve heard honesty is a turn-on.
We’ll see.

Just Jot it January #25–Balance

Your prompt for JusJoJan 2019, January 25th is brought to you by JP! Click here to find her last post (honestly, I’m assuming JP’s a her–sorry, JP, if I’m wrong) and say hi while you’re there! JP’s word for our prompt today is “balance.” Use it anywhere in your post or make it the theme of your post. Have fun!

For years I spent every minute of my life worrying.
I worried about money.
I worried about my health.
I worried about being a good parent.
I worried about the consequences of failure.

The last 2 years have taken so much from me that I have learned a whole new way of life. Life was once analogous to walking a tight rope. One slip and I would lose everything. A fall would be into a pit of alligators and razor blades.

Now, looking from the base of the canyon up, I have such an appreciation for the joys of life that don’t revolve around money and success, that a fall from the tightrope may be a fall into a pit of rubber balls and puppies.

Walking that tightrope, I wouldn’t be so worried should I lose my balance.