jimowenswrites

Reflections on Life, Leadership, Mindfulness, Change, and other Important Stuff

Month: November, 2015

There’s beauty all around

There’s beauty all around,

In every sight and every sound.

 

In thunder’s startling boom,

And the glowing silver moon;

 

In pain and or loss

Within the boiling cauldron’s dross;

 

In sickness or fine health,

Behold, what extraordinary wealth;

 

Or in the child’s moist tear,

When filled with desperate trembling fear;

 

Bitter wind or sunshine upon my back,

There’s nothing in this world to lack;

 

If we but open soul’s wide eyes,

To see the treasure of life’s surprise;

 

In hot coffee’s whispering steam;

Awakened to watch this glorious dream.

 

Not lost, although I often wander,

No seconds of this day shall I squander;

 

And let not one moment ever pass,

Just walk barefoot upon time’s grass;

 

Wrinkled face and graying hair,

Why should this simple soul despair?

 

Or aching back and creaking bone,

Turn some heart to hardened stone;

 

There’s beauty all around,

In every sight and every sound.

I Wait

I wait

and wonder;

 

 

And stare into

The horizon

Of desire;

 

 

A child

Of helpless

Longing;

 

 

Straining

In echoes

Of loss;

 

 

Warmed alone

by dim

memories;

 

 

How far

and long

this wandering?

 

 

Return

now

quickly.

 

 

Redeem

this orphaned

heart;

 

 

I wait

and wonder.

Of Renaissance Men: Forrest Gump

Given the current state of world affairs, I’ve given a great deal of thought to role models and leadership (or the lack of it) recently.  I’ve seen zealots of all persuasions rant on Facebook and listened to them on television and the radio as I drive the speed limit in my wildly sexy four door Passat TDI.  I’ve wondered about how Ghandi, or King, Jesus or The Buddha might have responded, how they might have guided their followers in such a time as this.  It seems everyone has an opinion, but as we all know, opinions are like….well, since I’m trying to be nice, elbows. Everybody has one. Actually, I guess they have two.  But you get the idea.

Now let’s be clear, because some of you will react to these words and somehow decide I’m making light of all the pain and fear and tumult that has resulting from the tragic events in Paris or so many other places around the planet.  I’m not.  That said, I’ve happened upon a question:  What would Forrest do?  I know.  I’m sorry.  My brain is a noisy place.  Bear with me.

Last night, I had the privilege of hearing Winston Groom talk about his newest book, The Generals.  While others were asking intelligent questions about history, questions about Patton, Macarthur, and Marshall, I was trying to work up the courage to ask my own.  But it wasn’t about Groom’s remarkable works of history. The man’s work includes a Pulitzer Prize nominated work for heaven’s sake.  I wanted to ask him about Forrest Gump.  It’s a very personal book for me, you see.  So hang on while I take a little detour.

In the late 1980s, or as I like to say, about forty pounds ago, when all my hair was dark and my body didn’t make disturbing noises when I arose from bed, I shared the reading of this book with my then 70-something year old grandmother, Mizz Bishop.  We were reading the book at roughly the same time and we shared deep belly laughs over the story of Forrest and his exploits.  I can still see her smile and hear her laugh.  And I miss her.  But I would note she had a propensity to tell me what I had not yet read in the book which wasn’t really something I altogether appreciated.  Now I find it a treasured memory.  So when I was handed the microphone my first words to Groom were of gratitude for what Groom had given my Grandmother and me.  Then I asked him if he had laughed as hard writing the book as me and Mizz Bishop had when we read it.  Wait?  What?

Now, when an aspiring writer has the opportunity to ask the author of 19 books a question, you must understand I was hoping Groom wouldn’t gaze across the room and dismiss me with the words “next question.”  He didn’t.  He was gracious and generous and said in the twenty-five years since he’d written the tale no one had ever asked him that question.  Then he admitted he had laughed and that there were days when he sat down to write that he wondered, “What’s this idiot (Forrest, not me) going to get himself into today?”  He actually told me it was the best question he had ever been asked about the book. Despite my grand achievement I had to wait in line just like everyone else to get my three books autographed.  So much for my fifteen minutes of fame.  But enough of that.  Let’s talk about Forrest.

If Forrest where here today and we had the chance to ask him how to respond to the condition of our world, I suppose he would say, “Life is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you’re gonna get.”  Then I think he would tell us to be kind to everyone, to stand up for what’s right and to fight for the people you love.  I think he would tell us to run until your braces fall off and keep running.  I think Forrest would acknowledge it hurts to see people mistreated and that responding to injustice means not doing it out of fear but out of loyalty.  I think he would be brave and that he would tell us to help our friends.  He would tell us to love our Mammas. Now, despite having had an imaginary friend as a child, I realize Forrest is the creative genius of an author I could never hope to be.  I know he’s not real.  But I think something in Forrest is within us all.  At least I hope he’s in me.

Now before I close this meandering tome, I need to address something else.  Some of you are drawing the conclusion that I’m arguing for some violent strike against people who seem to want to drag the world into medievalism.  Some of you have read these words and think I’m suggesting we should all just be nice to each other and the world’s problems will simply fade away.  If you’ve drawn either conclusion, you’re wrong.  I simply don’t know how to solve the problems all the problems the world is facing today.  I think Forrest might be a little humble too.  For now, I’m just trying to be like Forrest, the Renaissance Man. Because life really is like a box of chocolates.

P.S.  I love you Mom.

Today

Today,

I stopped looking

for things

to make me happy;

I stopped looking

for people

to make me whole;

I stopped looking

to do

some great thing;

I stopped looking

to never

feel deep pain;

I stopped looking

to answer

all my questions;

I stopped looking

to make

my life perfect;

I stopped looking

then found

it was always there;

While I was looking.

What’s The Good In Worryin’?

What’s the good in worryin’?
I find it not to be,
The answer to the problem
That’s a troublin’ me

What’s the good in worryin’?
It’s really just cain’t solve
No trouble that I got
Nor sumpin’ else resolve.

What’s the good in worryin’?
To git all fulla fret.
Jus’ won’t do no more,
I think I’ll let ‘er set.

What’s the good in worryin’?
Have had enough ya see.
Won’t waste another minute,
Jus, got this day to be.

What’s the good in worryin’?