Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when youre sittin at the table.
Therell be time enough for countin when the dealings done.”
Kenny Rogers- The Gambler
I have always loved this song. I can’t remember exactly when I first heard it, but I do know that I once saw an episode of The Muppet Show in which this was acted out. At the time I didn’t really understand it but in the years or should I say decades that have passed I have learned to have a deeper appreciation of this.
During some of the more stressful moments of my life I have taken the words of the song to heart. I know, it sounds kind of campy, a bit cliche but there is ever so much truth to them. It is not merely a song about playing cards. It is sound advice about life. Right now I feel like I could use some of that.
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought that I’d see you, baby, one more time again, now .”
James Taylor- Fire and Rain
I learned the hard way that life doesn’t always play out the way you expect, let alone the way that you want. Some of my friends have told me to just accept that it is all part of some grand plan. Some have said that when we pray for help that we should accept that sometimes silence is its own answer. I don’t like that. I can’t accept that. It doesn’t sit well with me. When I look heavenwards I half expect to see God shrugging his shoulders at me. Really, I do.
So call it contradictory when I say that I believe that there is such a thing as karma. Send out good vibes and you can receive them back. Give out negative and you might get those too. Maybe it is because I am superstitious, or maybe it is because I learned to use my gut to make some decisions. I am not sure.
What I do know is that part of my support system was fractured. I lost some of the key players. Cancer robbed me of one, old age of another. I don’t ask what happened. Life happened. The truth is that a part of me has always felt like a man apart. I can be in a room full of people and feel like I am the only person in the world. I don’t know if that means that a part of me is depressed or walking in the shadows.
I suppose that is part of what I miss about my grandfather. He and I shared a lot in common. There were some real similarities in our personalities. I miss my uncle for similar reasons. My uncle died 13 years ago…today. I didn’t realize that until just now. He died just as I was becoming an adult, just as I was developing a more mature relationship with him.
Maybe that is part of why today was hard. Try telling a parent that they have lost a child. Try telling your grandfather that his younger son has died. I don’t have to close my eyes to see the look of pain on his face. Just as I don’t have to close my eyes to remember the sound of my father’s voice when I told him that his father had died.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not scarred nor haunted by those experiences. In some ways I am glad that I was the one that had to do it. My folks were out of town when my grandfather died. I am the oldest son, for that matter the oldest child. Who else was going to do it, Maybe that is unfair to my younger siblings but it is something that I take seriously.
More in the next post.