Finding Floyd

GREEN EYES

green eyes
These eyes don’t have the depth of my dad’s…

Repost from September of 2011.

They were green eyes… I realized with time his eyes really did most of the talking for him during his lifetime. It wasn’t as much the look or expression on his face as it was the focus or emotion in his eyes. They could portray any sense of emotion he had.

They were his mom’s eyes. His dad was half Native American, or at least that’s what he told everyone. His dad looked Indian. In fact, to say he looked full blood would be an exaggeration.

His eyes were strong first. They showed intent in everything he did, but they also carried in them peace and joy. Long after I first began to understand the strength in those eyes, I would slowly, with time, realize in those green eyes were comfort.

As I peered out over my guard, which was identical to his due to his teaching, I saw joy. Those green eyes told me he was having fun. I also saw intent, but alas my age, speed, skill, strength, and quickness would be a bit too much for the man behind those haunting green eyes…

As we moved, sidestepped quickly, carefully positioned the members of our bodies to best the other, I saw something else in those green eyes; I saw extreme joy mixed with intensity… I didn’t see a shred of doubt…

The confidence in his green eyes caught me a bit off-guard. The man behind them was underestimating the skill behind mine. The time had come; I knew I was physically superior. I had longer, quicker and stronger arms.

It was all in fun, we weren’t going to throw full punches, just a stinging pulled slap in order to prove who would be the best for that day.

The confidence in his eyes was backed up by, not the grin on his face, but the full blown smile. I was smiling too. His boxing career in the Air Force and Elks Lodges for extra money when his kids were babies was twenty-five years in his rear view mirror. Those were days before I existed.

What those green eyes couldn’t see was my skill that had been developed. “You have any idea how fast I am?” I asked as we moved around each other having already started sparring.

“I bet you’re really fast,” he said almost laughing.

Then he said something like, “Why don’t you show me some of that speed,” while he smiled. Right before he could get the last syllable out I launched a lightning left jab to “slap” his right cheek… It never got there…

He parried my jab with his right hand and landed two straight jabs to the side of my face that I thought was well protected. It went on for another 20 or 30 seconds as the kind green eyes pummeled me gently.

By that time his eyes were pouring emotion. He laughed his perfect laugh. I laughed too… He grabbed and hugged me. “Son – your faster than I thought you were!” He laughed, but sincere in his assessment.

His green eyes were proud, not of himself, he didn’t matter to himself. He was proud of me for really nothing, just for belonging to him.

I was proud for who he was as a man. His eyes hid no intention other than the truth of God he lived his life by. And that could be clearly seen in his green eyes.

As time goes on and God reveals to and in me who I am in this world, it changes me from not only the inside but the outside as well.

On a rare occasion, and the light and angle are just right, as I glance in the mirror – I can see them, faintly. Deep inside I spot them; my father’s eyes. I remember his green eyes looking back at me, reminding me of the man I can still be.

When God took my dad home He took a piece of my heart with them. Through the sorrow I’ve learned it was His way of preparing me for when it’s my turn to be taken home.

I’m left with the memory and the love I will always carry with me… captured in those green eyes…

FOR GRANTED

I guess everyone is at least a little guilty of taking their fair share of things for granted in our society. A decent example would be each time the engine starts in our cars or trucks and we don’t give it a second thought. We put it in drive and our minds in neutral and off we go.

I’m not saying that I miss the by-gone days of driving hunk-uh-junks. I think part of these wrinkles are from my brow being creased in the old days while I tried to will those old cars and trucks to start. As if that was gonna help…

I had a flashback as I stood in front of the TV monitor like an almost drooling zombie. I pushed the gas nozzle into the gas tank and locked down the auto hold on the pump. Then I turned to watch the TV advertisements and useless information on the screen that captivated me like a fish gazing at a shiny lure. The gallons and dollars rolled by on the digital read out below it.

It was usually hot, at least that’s the way the playback went in my mind. I pried my eyes loose of the screen. I briefly eyed the gallons and amount of money being spent. I turned and studied the billowing rain clouds building in the east. I recall being deep in thought some thirty plus years ago now.

I always looked around while I was filling my gas tanks. As I looked around I was always pondering something, sometimes personal, sometimes work related. It wasn’t a religious moment or anything like that, but it was quiet time to contemplate. Of course there was no way to know at the time… I took it for granted.

Nowadays if my eyes aren’t locked on a TV monitor while I’m getting gas I’m on the phone or catching up on text messages.

Back in those days I would have never been suspected or accused of being a Joni Mitchell fan. But that didn’t keep any of us from being exposed to her biggest hit; Big Yellow Taxi. Even as a kid I knew that those simple lyrics were profound and very wise.

“Don’t it always seem to go, that YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE… they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”

image courtesy of discog.com

I also remember some wise person warning me that “For all you get in this life, you have to give up something.”

The cars have TV’s in the back of the headrests… Air conditioning, that used to be a luxury, is now piped into the seats, as well as heat for the chilly winter days. The radio has graduated from AM then FM to satellite now. Even a heater on the steering wheel for crying out loud…

If those aren’t enough to keep us occupied we have our cell phones. And if by the long shot chance we’re not on them when we’re getting gas, we have the TV monitor at the gas pump…

All of these technological advances are awesome in their own right. But that person was right; for all we’ve gained… we’ve lost much.

All the luxury items we now count as necessity pale in comparison to the miracle of life and this earth that it distracts us from.

“The earth declares His majesty”. But we can’t see it… we’re too busy looking at screens… and taking God’s greatest gifts for granted…

DUMB THINGS

It’s impossible to forget some of the really dumb things we’ve done along the way… The 8,000 pound forklift was cruising along in second gear, not exceptionally fast, but a whole lot faster than an easy jog.

I was in dire need of more studs and plate (long 2x4s). Instinct is a peculiar thing, especially for young people, young men in particular. My survival instinct was being measured by a teenager’s warped perspective.

The forklift driver, who was being hounded by more than just me, ignored me and drove on by. Without thinking I dropped my nail bags and quickly sprinted to match the speed of the forklift. I launched off the earth toward the moving forklift like I was going up for a lay-up.

Mid jump the forklift turned…

My foot grazed the worn metal step on the side of the forklift. Just as I hit the dirt the back tire of forklift, where all the counterweight is, ran me over…

That’s the kind of dumb thing a fella just never forgets… the resulting aches and pains serve as a reminder.

You’d think that after over thirty five years later I’d be finished doing dumb things…

dumb things
image courtesy of imdb.com

We had a get together New Year’s Eve. A couple times a year I light the fire feature on top of the water feature in the backyard. It’s a little hard to get to due to the fact that the features are located with a water slide around them… and it was raining… See where I’m going here?

I was pressed for time, but more importantly I still have some dumb notion that I’m invincible, even after having been shown the contrary a zillion times since the forklift incident.

Yes, I stepped cautiously, it’s even hard to type this, down a slide that is designed to be slick when wet in my rubber soled tennis shoes.

My back and wrist were what hit the tile covered concrete slide first. Blood, bruises, and a freshly aching back. My lifelong friends.

I could be a little more dull than most, but I think that most of us are prone to make the same type of mistakes over and over. We assume that we’re physically strong enough, or worse, spiritually strong enough to avoid doing dumb things.

Without the guidance and wisdom from God we do dumb things. Even after a lifetime of learning, we’re prone to wander.

It’s a New Year and I’m hoping and praying for you and me both to have one that will bring fewer dumb things that we’re all prone to… 😉

1999

Back in the early eighties there was a popular song titled “1999”. Even if you’re not a Prince fan you’ve probably heard the song. There’s a good chance that you’ve even sung along or hummed the catchy hook, “Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999”.

When that song came out the year 1999 seemed like an eternity away… now that year that seemed like a millennium in the future is close to half a lifetime behind me.

Time is a peculiar thing. We wish it away as children and try to hoard every last drop as adults. But much like trying to lasso the air, time is mostly beyond our control.

Even further back in time, and what seemed like another eternity between the early 70’s and the pop music of the early 80’s, only nine years before the Prince song hit the charts, there was a song about time. That song was sung by a guy named Jim Croce.

image courtesy of cat45.com

Croce’s “Time in a Bottle” was included on the album “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”. It was released in April of 1972. My years on this planet at that time was still being measured in single digits.

On September 20th 1973 Jim Croce’s time on this earth ended.

I recall as a kid listening and pondering that song. By the time it was released as a single the singer/songwriter was deceased.

“But there never seems to be enough time

To do the things you want to do

Once you find them…

I’ve looked around enough to know

That you’re the one I want to go

Through time with…”

What a wonderful love song… but in the end the writer’s greatest desire ended less than a year and a half later. He wasn’t going through time with the one he had in mind when he penned the song.

Before those catchy secular songs hit the airwaves I heard James 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

I got the meaning of the verse back then… but not nearly as deeply as I do today…

Time is a gift. We don’t get to choose the amount of days we’re given. God knows the number of sunrises and sunsets we’re allotted. In the end no one stays in this dimension forever.

Jim Croce and Prince are gone. So are many of our loved ones. And as another year rolls around it’s a good time to ponder the limited number of days we all get.

In the end one could argue that the purpose of this life is simply to choose where we’re going to spend eternity. And that verse from the Good Book is sounding more wise as the years stack up.

I pray you and your loved ones a blessed year in 2019. I pray that you and them would know the Truth that calls to our hearts throughout our lives… every single year.

Happy New Year!!!

Oh, and I hope you’ve gained enough wisdom to not party like it’s 1999.


CHRISTMAS

It’s Christmas Eve tomorrow. That means a lot of different things, not the most important one being I need to start getting some Christmas shopping done.

The Christmas season has it’s own set of generic questions. The ones I hear the most are, “You staying home for Christmas?”

“Hanging out with your family this Christmas?”

“What’s on the menu for Christmas dinner?”

“You got all your shopping done?” (Yes, the people I rub elbows with don’t have the finest of grammar… then again, neither do I when it comes to talkin’…)

I have my generic answers too; “Yeah, stayin’ close to home.” – “Yeah, the kids are coming over.” – “Italian – it’s our family tradition.”

And my favorite answer to the generic holiday question of having my shopping done, “Not yet, I don’t wanna rush into anything,” I chuckle, usually by myself. I’m not near as amusing as think I am…

Then there are the Christmas complaints; “The traffic is horrible.”

“I hate this time of year, people are so rude, especially in parking lots.” I usually nod, ’cause folks are vicious animals in parking lots this time of year.

“I’m scaling back this Christmas,” but few seldom do.

But the first Christmas complaint starts way back in October when stores and a few radio stations start playing Christmas music before Halloween… I’m in a grumbling agreement.

Since I don’t frequent stores too often and I have satellite radio in my truck, I can navigate my way around Christmas music till I’m good and ready to hear it.

Since this Christmas season snuck on me, and most of you, I haven’t heard but a couple of Christmas songs. I’ve only heard one of my old favorites so far this year; “Come Home For Christmas” by the Eagles.

Of all the Christmas songs that I look forward to hearing around Christmas time, my all time favorite is “The Little Drummer Boy”, by Bob Seger. I never thought much of the song as a kid, but words were wasted on the young.

Christmas
Christmas image courtesy of youtube

I believe that everyone has a God given gift. And I also think that the gifts He’s given us, if used in the proper way, bring Him joy. I love that part of the song that goes, “Then HE smiled at me Puh-Rum-Puh-Pum-Pum… me and my drum.”

The thought of God smiling down upon His children brings me a great peace and warmth in my soul.

May we all use our gift this year to bring a smile to the face of our Father. And may He bless you and your’s and I pray you have a very Merry Christmas.