What You Need & What You Want

What's in my bag?-8

This is not Felix’s Magic Bag Of Tricks

It is not an exaggeration to say that we come from different worlds. He is a single man from the Congo and I am a father from Los Angeles. We are standing next to each other watching children swim and just talking about life.

He has a fantastic accent that is melodious and full of life. He tells me that he loves the spirit of the children here and I smile. He is talking about all of the kids at the party but he is pointing to my daughter.

We’re almost 9,000 miles from his home. The equator runs through the village he grew up in. You can wear a t-shirt and shorts year round. I am not 9,000 miles from home. We’re miles away from the home I grew up in. I can walk down the main streets and provide you with forty years of background.

He speaks seven languages. I am humbled by that. I grew up in a house where language was important. I am a Peace Corps baby. My folks met in Ecuador. When we were kids if my parents wanted to have a private conversation they spoke Spanish. We all picked up on it. I learned how to read/write speak Hebrew, but the truth is that my Hebrew has gotten pretty rough.

He speaks seven languages, but I can curse in 12. That counts for something but I am not sure what. ( Needs/Wants)


Early afternoon on a Friday and The Lumineers are singing Ho Hey and I am smiling, thinking about how much of this song makes sense to me.

Thinking about life in Los Angeles and life in Texas, thinking about what it is I want and what it is I need. Two years ago the man in the story and shared a very pleasant moment and laughed in the most genuine way people do when they are truly happy.

It wasn’t a courtesy laugh or imagined humor. We didn’t smile to be polite or courteous because we didn’t have to. We just got along and enjoyed the ease that comes when you connect naturally with someone else.

Got a million thoughts floating through my head about how to be the best father and the best man I can be. Got a million thoughts about making sure we…I understand the difference between what we want and what we need because it is important.

It is meaningful, significant and critical.

“Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
― Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

I am thinking about this because I have been here before. I have been the watcher that stood by and witnessed someone else slip away. Seen people I love move through this world and slide into another place, heading off to where ever it is we go after we are here.

We buried ‘D.’

Not the men that work at the cemetery but his friends, the people who loved him and who would have done whatever we could to have helped him hang on longer.

We did it because there wasn’t anything else we could do and we were desperate to give some comfort to his family and so we took off our jackets and grabbed the shovels hoping that it would somehow ease their pain in some way.

I remember those endless blue skies and so much more. It was an August day that seared itself into my soul and it changed me or maybe it is more fitting to see the entire experience changed me.

There is the me who lived before it all and the me that came after.

One knew that bad things, inexplicable things could happen but he never really expected to see them and the other, well he lived through a few so he knew things.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

When you have seen some of these things and traveled along the twilight roads you make choices about how you want to be and what you want to do.

You figure out what is important and you do things to hold onto it knowing you will never have or keep it all the way it is for as long as you want.

It is ok because along those twilight roads you can also learn how to just roll with what comes along and that gives you stability and strength to bend but not break and to accept the changes that come.

But that doesn’t mean you don’t stand up for what is important and you don’t fight to keep those safe and close.

“Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Golden slumbers fill your eyes
Smiles awake you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby

Once there was a way to get back homeward
Once there was a way to get back home
Sleep pretty darling do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby”

Golden Slumbers- The Beatles

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  1. Lardavbern March 23, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    There’s a whole lot of people who don’t understand the difference between need and want. I wish it was just kids. Anyway, it might be true of most of our society. Marketers have done their job well.

  2. Tam March 22, 2014 at 3:05 am

    My mother died so quickly; so unexpectedly, I was somehow left with this sense that my job was not yet done; that I hadn’t done enough for her, so all these small tasks associated with her life and death gave me a little solace. It’s all I can do with all the love and care I never had the chance to bestow on her.

  3. Robin March 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Needs versus wants. Life versus death. What is really important in life? So much to think about in this post. I like the idea of bending; not breaking – and – standing up for what is important.

  4. Natalie DeYoung March 21, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I forgot about that Beatles song. And that Dylan Thomas poem always got to me in college.
    There’s a lot going on in this post. It feels a bit like my brain of late.

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