Unsell

A long time ago I had a service company and when we had a particularly opinionated customer we had a technique we called the unsell. I stole the idea from a 7up commercial. Back then it was unusual to mention a competitor’s name in your commercial.  They went way beyond that, they used the competitor’s product to define theirs. They were calling 7up the uncola. The unsell technique consisted of causally mentioning what it was you wanted to sell and then quickly assuring them they wouldn’t be interested. The key was you had to act like you didn’t really want to do it. A surprising number of times they would insist that it would be right for them; after a quick sigh, I would smile and tell them of course, I’ll get right on that. Everybody was happy.

Being a typical male I spent much of my life  explaining to people who cared about me, how they could best be of use. Somewhere along the lines there was a general mutiny and I found myself spending most of my time in my own company. This wasn’t all bad, after all who better to talk to. The flaw in the plan became apparent when I found out I had cancer. I was really going to need some help and it seemed I had already used up my allotted portion of goodwill. In a stroke of brilliance I came up with the unself. You need to remember I was desperate, scared and had very limited options. So I decided to become concerned with other peoples welfare. You probably thinking you mean pretending like your concerned, I know I would be. The fact of the matter is it was easier to be genuine. My situation sucked so why not concentrate on helping others. It worked amazingly well. People were incredibly kind and it really helped my anxiety. Recently, the country has experienced some major tragedies. The scope of the misery is really hard to comprehend; both mother nature and man can be cruel. Amid the devastation it is good to remember the heroic acts of kindness that both unite and remind us that there is hope for us has a society. For an individual there will come a time in your life when hope will run out. Maybe it is a good time to pray.

Flawed Messenger

I am currently trying to lead, teach, maybe head a conversation would be more accurate; on the gospels. This exchange of ideas through spoken words takes place at our church.  I don’t know what to call what I do, but I am aware that my remarks too often fall short of their mission. I am not a teacher, I lack the knowledge. I am more of an explorer asking  people to join me on my journey of discovery. This is an expedition in search of understanding. We have no ship to help us travel to the island where wisdom sits about, still, for all to grasp. We have no shovels to find the meaning buried beneath. This pilgrimage requires us to step outside our current space/time and experience through words and inspiration a very different place and existence. Meaning cannot be taught; instead it must rise up almost on his own accord and is revealed, found through personal experience. If my message does not touch, not in the same way, but in some way the members of our merry band; I have failed. It must become an occurrence before it can become a point of reference. Meaning once captured will not remain hidden; it will shine through our actions and even our thoughts. Meaning is external only in its visible effects because it resides internally, like an organ, no, a compass that alway points north. If used properly it can help the lost find their direction. 

Before I scurry to far from the path let me get back to the point. How do I convey a message? I come to this task, first, as a little child finding wonder in the familiar, also as an adult endeavoring to make the strange familiar. I doubt less my purpose or selection of ideas, no friends, it is my presentation. My words lack vitality, they do not stir the imagination without which we are bound to a short distance; we cannot travel far. Perhaps, I have yet to escape my own confines. There may remain remnants of scales clouding my vision. I will continue to look for the narrative, its setting and the people within each gospel. That’s where meaning is found. Yet, even if I gain deeper understanding, I might still be a too flawed messenger. 

What now Grey Seal? asked the Survivor.

I am a cancer survivor. I know because I have a hat and tee shirt that says so. Actually, the shirt says, me 1, cancer 0. The hat says, “My to do List: beat cancer, conquer the world,” cancer is checked, conquer the world is not. It will remain unchecked. I have no desire to conquer, only make my little space a tad better. It has been less than a year since my last treatment so It might be a little early to call the game. I still fight fatigue and other effects that stem from the treatment more than the disease. I don’t feel like a winner, I feel like a survivor. Most days I have a new appreciation for life. My lack of wealth and status seem like such a small thing now. Overall, it is easier to be happy. I worry less about the things I can’t give my kids and more about what I can. I love my wife again and I think, just maybe, she loves me. Other times I want to, sometimes I do cry for the people who didn’t make it and the ones I know who suffer now. My perception has changed and I have a clearer understanding. Certain words are no longer concepts, but have a reality, a presence. These words have many faces. While, they may take different forms; they evoke similar responses in those they have an intimate relationship with. Words such as fear, death, suffering, mercy and maybe God?  Like many, if not most survivors I feel a need. This need is new only in its intensity and quality, not in its existence. It is driven not only by the words mention, but through the awareness that life is lived in the moment and those moments are limited At first, I wondered why me? But that is a dead-end street. The question is, “What now Grey Seal? I think this question is what fueled the greatest generation and can even help a guy like me find meaning in the life I have left. I have an ear and I will listen, maybe that is why I am here. 

Words

Have you ever spoken when no one heard

Have you ever spoken and no one to share 

Have you ever spoken and wondered how did we get here 

Do you ever wonder why should I speak and be afraid of a time when you can’t 

I want to exchange thoughts and experiences 

I want to feel communications outside my room. Outside myself 

Prove to me I am alive and this is not hell

Do a dear friend who’s abilities are only matched by her limitations

Story about Stories 


This is a story about the stories. There are stories people tell us about us and people like us. They tell us these stories in many different ways, by what they say, by where they go and what they buy, sometimes it’s more about what we can’t buy and where we can’t go. It can be a look that gives us a window into what they’re thinking. Although, we really don’t know what they are thinking. Sometimes it all about what we think they are thinking. These stories are important, but not crucial. The stories I want to talk about is the ones we tell ourselves.  Stories tend to change with age, but the importance and even fundamentals change less than we might think. My observation about aging is that people become more of whatever their dominant trait was. If this is true the most repeated or at least, most comfortable story we tell ourselves becomes exaggerated. Comfortable is an interesting word choice. It indicates it’s easier to think negative than positive for some people, some of the time.When I am unhappy about my situation I tell myself it is too late and I have blown it. At my age there are few options, limited energy and a time factor. These are very real obstacles and are in large part due to my age. Although the young may not share my limiting factors; it appears they tell themselves the same bottom line. If my memories are accurate and judging by my observations of current teenagers, they share this reaction to life’s failures and rejections. It seems they perceive life as they have previously known it is over and the outlook for the future is bleak.Some stories are ageless. The young are better equipped to recover and dart off again and it is a little harder for those with more experience. There are elements of time that become more similar to the young has we age. Our horizons are shorter and the nights are longer. On the front end you have yet to experience enough time to see past the immediate future and on the back end there is not enough productive time left you can count on. This is my take, each day is precious and if it sucks remember this too shall pass. Listen to the stories you tell yourself. If they don’t lead to a brighter day stop them. They will come back, but the more you listen the quicker you can stop them. When you do I don’t suggest you replace them with how great you are, instead, practice telling yourself stories of love, faith, and hope. Then reflect these thoughts in your actions. 

                              Just thinking, wade  

Fathers Love 

  1. It is my daughter’s birthday today so I texted her a message. A year ago, on her last birthday, I had never sent a text. I could receive them but that was a rare. That’s pretty much the way it was with the best word love. I strongly feel that it’s presence was demonstrated, but not by speech or touch. Sometimes old men can change. When you have faced mortality you begin to question not just what you have said, but what you haven’t. Love requires both affect and action; action is shown in all the things we do and have done. Affect is invisible, kept it the heart, I would suggest that you communicate your love with words ands my daughter’s birthday today so I text her a message. A year ago on her last birthday I had never sent a text. I could receive them but very seldom and I never sent text. That’s pretty much the way it was with the word word love. I strongly feel that it’s presence was demonstrated, but not by word or touch. When you have faced mortality you begin to question not just what you have said, but what you haven’t. Love requires both affect and action, action is shown in all the things we do and have done. Affect is invisible, kept it the heart, I would suggest that use you words and touch to prove it’s existence.  Be careful someone could roll their eyes.

Raw Emotion 

  1. My pastor and best friend told me to be honest. That is what I am best at. My question is what should I do if I think I am going to live. What if I don’t know what do do. My children have refined many of my understandings. That doesn’t mean that there is isn’t a core right and wrong. I refuse to believe I am without foundational beliefs. I will live believing that there are things that separate people.  I have accepted so many things that were outside my paradigm, but that doesn’t mean anything goes. When you lie to me, please know I remember.  I don’t regret the times I didn’t take advantage but the times I did. My child lied and has been, I was their teacher and parent. I failed, I will die without knowing success. Maybe someday they’ll understand. I measure people in the currency of honor. I am without worldly success, I will not submit to you I will cry out even if my voice is unworthy and unheard.

Regrets 

Regrets, I am at the stage in life when I start pondering regrets. Really, I don’t think so, I guess I really mean I do think so , I’m just saying I have had regrets for a good portion of my life. The thought comes to mind, not when I was young, OK, I mean I really young, infant maybe. I wonder how old I was the first time I realized I shouldn’t thrown that in their face. Some of my first recollections are of thinking I wish I wouldn’t of said or done that. Fortunately, most people are not like me. I am not a particularly good person. Speaking of regrets, my computer crashed, So I got my child’s old lap that I used in Mayo. I can’t get it to let me in. It says I don’t know the password. On the bright side before long I might not remember anything. That could solve the whole regretting issue. Therefore I am writing this without seeing what I am typing. I have the app on my phone and I bought a 20$ keyboard which enables to type or read, but I lack the eyesight and skill to try and do both at the same time. Being I am prone to all kinds of mistakes which anyone who knows me, knows; editing will be interesting. Don’t get excited I am not talking about something new, I am just referring to the hap hazard proofreading I always kind of do. It does seem a little magically, I type and look on my phone and words are there. Wonder if my life would have been different if people, well teachers, could have read what I wrote. Is that a regret, nay. You see on the topic of regretting I have a different point of view. I try to either avoid or forget. I find simple phrases are the easiest to remember. I am finding out I can type and read the words on my phone at the same time. It hurts my eyes and my neck so I choose not to. That what I am talking about with regret, I choose not to. I was listening to either Fresh Air or This American Life and a guy was talking about how he left both his parents in the hospital when they were dying He left his mom because she was mean and the only way they could get along was from a far. He left his dad because he left him when he was young. It must have been Fresh Air because Teri asked him if he was Ok with that decision and I thought his answer was great, “Yes, but I anticipate growing regret.” That is what I want to avoid; doing things that will cause growing regret. I am talking in the present and future tense, while my writing may not show it I am familiar with these terms. To all the people I have wronged in the past I am truly sorry. I put the word truly in so you would know I am not just saying it to be nice, although I seldom get accused of that. In short, people I have wronged, get over it, I have. It will be best for everyone if we just move on thinking I am OK. So my advice to everyone is to just move on thinking your OK.

Hey god, I’m Waiting 

Hello it’s me, can you help? 

I want to know, but then again do I?

To think or not to think, that is the question. 

Is it nobler to ignore this rock hanging over my head? 

Many bosses, many answers, all fall short of my true interest.

Hey God, why do you remain silent? Am just not listening?

I wonder if the waiting is worse?

If you are waiting with me please remember my dignity.

It is even more important now.

I don’t need to feel more helpless,

I need a friend more than an advisor.

If I have a question I will ask.

Mostly I wait on Gods answer.

It tends to come in a small voice and gives meaning to the verdict.

Hey God I am waiting.

For a friend who waits for a biopsy.