Sunday, November 23, 2014

Met Half Way...

I think there are fears and worries that beset us all.  Why the magnitude of such things, how they hit us, how trying they are; vary from person to person and it seems to me to partially be a feature of our genetic make up, our background and conditioning, our outlook on life, our experiences and our skill set at dealing with trials and tribulations.

I am drawn to music.

Many ask me how it is that music is so significant to me?  I think it stems from my life as a kid, which I lived, relate to and correlate most of my entire life with music, its genre, the time in my life that a certain song was getting air play, things I thought about while listening to a certain tune...  those kinds of things...

For instance... my dad brought home a reel to reel tape system that he bought in a pawn shop.  At this time, many military guys spent much of their money on sound systems and back then, the best equipment seemed to be - clarity and sound wise - reel to reel equipment.  Such a clean sound!  Stereo sound was pretty new at the time.  No such thing as iPods, Bose sound, surround sound and so forth.  In fact, today's true sound aficionados have gone back to vinyl albums!  Pretty cool.  I loved my stereo system in my room, I had that thing running all the time I was home; studying, showering, dressing, cleaning my room, talking on the phone, it was my constant companion. 

Lyrics began to pierce my soul and I soon realized that just about all music was something to fan the flames of the heart; love songs, lost love, unrequited love, sought after love, broken hearts, all of the music seemed to ooze passion and would distill emotions and dreams.  All I have to do is make mention, of say, The Beach Boys, and you know immediately what I mean. 

With this back drop, I have been thinking a bunch about how these things have made me the man I am today.  As a very committed and active member of the Mormon church, you might conclude that music wouldn't be all that essential to me, unless it were a hymn or something sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  While I am certain that reverence and worship are very crucial uses of music, so are the things I mention above in terms of "heart mapping".

I am in a new and adventurous place in life...  Marrying Jackie 54 days ago has brought me to many thoughts and given me energy in life, about life...  I can't believe the miracle of hope and a reason to trust in the future again have come into my life...  At the same time, nothing has been lost or extinguished between Val, me, our life, our family and our history.  Which is a good thing.  I can't explain how these feelings work, sometimes they feel so abnormal to someone who hasn't lost their spouse.  I'm of course presuming that, because prior to Val's illness and her going away, I am sure I wouldn't have understood this new realm I am so grateful to enjoy.  I have truly been met halfway and gathered in with reasons to live, laugh and love.  This Thanksgiving, I definitely have a lot to be very, very thankful for.


In the quiet silent seconds I turned off the light switch
And I came down to meet you in the half light the moon left
While a cluster of night jars sang some songs out of tune
A mantle of bright light shone down from a room

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

Well I don't know if I should have heard her as yet
But a true love like hers is a hard love to get
And I've walked most all the way and I ain't heard her call
And I'm getting to thinking if she's coming at all

Come down in time I still hear her say
So clear in my ear like it was today
Come down in time was the message she gave
Come down in time and I'll meet you half way

There are women and women and some hold you tight
While some leave you counting the stars in the night

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Chest Fever....


Ever have something in your life that burst your heart, made you feel like you couldn't breath or that you had the wind knocked out of you?  "Bad news on the doorstep, I couldn't take one more step..." (1971, American Pie, Don McClean)  Maybe it was a lost love, an unrequited love, missed opportunity, sudden loss of a loved one or other reason that you feel the "heat" of having "chest fever".  I can tell you, its tough, all of it, but I can also tell you that because of when "chest fever" hits, it helps you, most definitely, cope with and understand the hardest pieces of life.

Well I know the affects of having "chest fever"...

I suffered my first loss at age 10...  My favorite dog, Heidi, (A black and tan dachshund) was run over and killed.  No one stopped to find the home of our dog, who ever killed her is probably not even alive anymore...  I sobbed for days...  My mother held my head in her lap...  I was to learn that life isn't worth living without great love...  But at the time, all I knew was Heidi was gone...

I have to apologize, I am so tired tonight, I will have to finish this tomorrow...

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happiness...

 
I learned recently that no matter what you plan for, you better realize that the change up pitches and the curve balls of life will keep coming at you!  So many people have plans and those plans will lead them to happiness.  What is happiness to one is misery to another.  And, by the way, happiness takes practice...  But be careful, just about when you think you can play the happiness tune by ear, without music, or better, when you can play it with your eyes closed, be heart...  That's when things begin to lean away from you, tilt against the odds and you start to see that its time to regroup, rebuild and rework your happiness plans...
 
Yet, it is possible and we are meant to have joy, pleasure even, but you have to fight for it...  I have also learned that if you are integral to spreading happiness, giving it away, you are way, way better off for it.
 
When Val got sick, especially when her passing became imminent, I never thought I would ever be happy again.  I wasn't even sure if  knew what happiness was.  And yet, without filling in details of the past over 18 months of my journey to where I am today, I can tell you one thing, I am so happy.  Finding Jacqueline was itself a miracle, having her fall in love with me was something I never in a million years thought would be real.  It was easy for me, I saw so many things in her that I thought were long gone from my life.  I saw new things in her that I never believed could still exist after Val went away.  Oh trust me, I am a man, and a very human man, making stupid mistakes, but one that I am not just sure about, but feel like heaven's hand reached down and blessed me in an immeasurable way was finding Jackie and the gift of her being in my life as my wife.  My being open to a new varied, different happiness led me to her.
 
I am so happy...  There is hope for all who wish to find happiness...  First in Christ, then in the future...  I am the poster boy of hope...
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Love In Mortality....


We live in Mortality...  We were born into it...  Its the only way into this life and the only way out is going through a physical death...  A mortal life ends...  Thats it...  Along with these incomplete, least understood facets of this mortal life, I am learning that we are really lacking when it comes to understanding what LOVE is...  We want to box it up, keep it in bubble wrap, we want to not think about the expansive potential of a God like love...  No, we want to keep it neat, tidy, excluding most everyone but who we have been taught to accept into our love circle...  It can be very confusing...  At least it has been for me...

We have crushes, puppy love, first loves and sometimes we are lucky enough, like Val and I were, to have those "childhood sweetheart" loves be enough...  I have met people though, who some many years later, still wonder about those early on love experiences...  Funny, they forgot how much drama there was in them, they only remember what they felt the first time they got or gave flowers, shared an ice cream cone or walked this new young love to class...  Oh my, real love is so much more than THAT stuff!

Could it be that love knows no boundaries?  Could it be that the 2nd great commandment to love others really IS the 2nd greatest of the commandments?  Right after loving and putting God first, we love others?  I think so...  I imagine a world thriving on love...  Where it is understood and accepted that LOVE is all there really is to getting along in this life...???  Think of a human family without abuse, hatred, devoid of cheating, lying, stealing, coveting, jealousies, all the negatives that thrash us to pieces...  GONE!  Because we have chosen to LOVE!?  What an amazing concept...

Now that I am remarried, people ask me, "Dan how do you feel?"  "You seem so happy, why is that?"  "Have your feelings toward Val changed?"  (Yes, believe it or not, I get some pretty intrusive questions!)  And the list goes on and I am sure it will...  This can only be, because people see love inside a limiting thing, no room for love, but for one person, and if you love someone beyond that, oh boy, you're having an affair or you are being disloyal...  I am not talking about the 70s mantra, "Love the one you're with..."  I am trying to explore a deeper meaning of love, one that opens your wallet when you see people in need, one that devotes time to the fatherless, one that allows you to serve and not seek a reward...  Could it be that the Savior really was hoping that we would love, serve the least of all, open our hearts and our minds to something greater than self?  I am certain of it...  How is it I am so certain?  Because I have felt these things intensely over the last 30-45 days...  I do NOT question any of it...






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Page Has Been Turned...


About the time one feels anchored and that there won't be much change in life, like an avalanche the page turns, those same pages you once kept neat, crisp and like new, get dog-eared, because you keep thumbing through them and suddenly you find you're in an entirely new chapter in your life. I wish I could explain this.  There are people who love me, who are feeling like I'm an unknown to them, the speed of these new changes has baffled most everyone, and that includes me.  But I will tell you, it's right.  I followed my gut, I followed my heart, I followed my brain and I watched very carefully the path markers and not once did I feel or see a warning to yield.  What you may ask has happened?  Just what turn has come in the road of my life?  Why the spontaneity and the urgent, sudden move?  Because the hints, the tugs, the pushes, the chimes, the bells and whistles all went off. Not a single thing was "cause for me to bolt" and I saw a way for me to love Val and hold onto our eternal marriage, keeping entirely intact our 52 year history, without compromise or guilt.  I fell in love... a love that I cannot fully describe, because I am not sure I understand it completely...  Check that, I found a friend, who like me, lost her eternal husband and we understood together, between us, just what "that" means.  We are now married.  We have gifted the rest of our lives to one another and are keeping all we had - with Val and Clint - prior to our meeting one another, intact and solidly secure.  I cannot explain it, for it doesn't not add up.  It does not make any sense.  None.  But, I can tell you that it is as if angels have stood in place, surrounded this needful event... and all is well.  Very well.  Turn the page.  We both have turned the page.  Her name is Jacqueline.  I adore her.  I have learned that "love" has more meanings than I ever imagined, understood or dreamed I would get my head around.  Its ok.  Its a whole new vista, this life all around me.  Dinner tonight with a dear pal who lost his wife to cancer 23 months ago...  He marvels at my new chapter in life, he applauds me...  He is now hopeful for a life that doesn't feel so alone and incomplete, yet, keeping his own love alive.  It is possible.  I am sure of it.




Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My Way...


My twin sisters and my oldest brother and I drove to Reno, NV last Sunday to be there for our dad's last surviving brother, Lloyd Dyer's memorial service...  Wow!  What a legacy and what a terrific guy he was!  As I was driving down, it dawned on me, Lloyd was my favorite uncle...  He was always full of life, love, laughter...  the "3" L's...  and now, what seems like a man who was "gone too soon" is now into and beyond that veil that separates us here in mortality from those who we love as they have voyaged on into eternity...

Here I sit...  60+ years old... I have lived alone and without Val now for nearly a year and a half...  Along the way, I have learned much about myself, mostly that I can "do anything" in the "living alone" arena (I have always been confident enough to do anything business wise, or task oriented) and I have grown accustomed to unilateral decisions, hip shooting and not having to worry about anyone's elses feelings or the downsides to my own poor choices.  Nor can I share the upside and the beauty of achievements...  It all falls to me...

My way, my time, my singular life...

But, the happiest I have ever been was when I was serving Val, making her happy, seeing to it that her own peaceful living was what I really used to lived for...  No wonder Val wanted me to find someone, remarry and share myself with another...  Val was so smart that way...  I found a card a little bit ago that Val had hidden away for me to find...  It read; "Danny Boy, Have you found her yet?!  I love you, Valerie!"  A nudge from the other side of the veil...  I am constantly reminded of how deeply connected we remain...


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Got Any Truth...?


What is truth? 

All around us is a world full of flattery, double speak, lies, passive aggressions that confuse everyone of us... But why? 

This world is a world of evil, hate and mismanaged, disposable trust...  Oh I know what you are thinking?  Its not all that bad and you could be right...  It could be that the badness in the land is accentuated do to the noise level, the volume of the terrible, under belly of life...  It wouldn't surprise me in the least...

Okay, now that "that" is all laid out on the table...  What do we have to work with here?


They say that a dog is man's best friend...  I would agree...  Here's a picture of my loyal chocolate Labrador retriever, Scout...  My how I miss her...  She was sweet, loving and a gentle friend...  Not just to me, but to my whole family...  Even when the little ones would lay down and roll all over her, she would look at them as if they were her own puppies and let them do to her what any toddler will...

So what does this have to do with truth...  Well, I will tell you...  Scout saved my life once...  She also blessed my life every single day...  I would look at her and see love and care...  And I would wonder why it is that a dog has this inborn quality and man, who is more able than any animal to give love, show love, is inward and self motivated...  Why?  What sense does that make?


Now here's purity...  A grandson, James...  He is a cherished heart and I am sure he will be like his dad, a man of God and goodness...  He has such a peaceful, sturdy way about him...  He's been born into a loving home and I don't think the world will splash any taint upon him...


Then, there is me...  I'm 60...  I have had a charmed life...  I have met people who have taught me many good things...  They gave me truth...  I have met scoundrels who selfishly were like the robber and thieves that we all fall among from time to time, and they are intent on one thing, destroying you, taking you soul...  Yes, I have known some like this...

I look into my rearview mirror and I think, what now?  Val is gone away from me...  What now?  I am constantly blessed with the "truths" Val left behind for me...  I have now located 5 journals of hers...  I knew of two before she passed away...  I've found notes, letters, "instructions" from her...  When she was diagnosed "terminal" in a nano second, her life was no longer about her...  She was focused on me...  Me?  What?  How so?  "Dan, do not be alone.  Find someone that you can make happy, like you did me.  God has a work for you to do, I know it, you know it, but mostly our Father in Heaven knows it.  AND, my darling, I know you...  I know you will sit silently alone in the corner and that is NOT what is intended for you...  If you love me, if you trust me, you will share your life with someone...  No rush honey, but DO IT!"  Is that truth?  Oh my!


Our hands had been together for 47 years...  I recall the first time I took her hand as we walked in a horse pasture to pick some apples... We talked like we knew what love was...  We didn't, but we felt what we thought was love...  We grew into love, when you marry as kids, you have a lot of learning to do and with truth, you can learn all things...

And now, well now, those hands that I am so delicately holding, as Val's mortality was slipping away from me, the only thing I left to hold onto was her truth...  So, yes!  I have truth!  Yes, her truth has set me free...  What is next?  More truth...  I tripped on a few fallen timbers in my path, but I kept going...  I am seeking truth...  more and more truth...  Each morning now I am teaching 16 sophomores in seminary...  All we talk about is truth...  What an amazing thing to constantly find!


I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
Ive had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
Money for dope
Money for rope

I'm sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mamas little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I've had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of soap
Its money for dope
Money for rope

Ah, I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

Ive had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now

All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth now
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth