No dessert in the desert

Here we are as February is coming to a fast end, two months will soon be over in 2012. I’m going to sound old, heck, I feel old while I’m sitting here hanging in traction but time always marches on, ready or not. It seems I just decided what I was giving up last year for Lent and now I’m in the midst of another. Last year I tried this sort of funky thing where instead of giving up something I told myself I’d do more. I tried to study more, pray more, give more, do more, you get the idea, the things that were difficult I tried more, not less. It sort of fundamentally sounded like it went against the sacrificial aspect of Lent but it truly was supposed to be a penance to do “more of” the things I didn’t like or at least, felt like the things that didn’t like me.

That was too complicated in the end so I’m going traditional this year, I’m just trying to show up for Lent, I’m going to try to remember it’s Lent. When I want to go to the drive thru to pick up something quick and easy to eat I’m going to try to remember I do have food at home and I can eat that when I get there. When I want something I’m going to try to remember my little girl friend in the orphanage in Port-au-Prince that would literally find a crumb on the floor and instead of gobbling it down she would divide by however many others were in the room. A small child and she knew more about sharing and giving of herself than I’ll ever know. This might sound selfish and delusional but traction it seems to me is like Lent, it is about showing up, remembering, completing the task at hand, no room for BS, no forgetting, no I’m too tired, no I don’t feel like it, no, it’s not fair. In addition, Lent is doing what you said you’d do but not making a big deal about it, or as my Mom would say, “no broadcasting it.” There’s no need to go on about saying no thanks to dessert, passing on seconds or giving up the fancy morning coffee. Lent is being out there on your own, no fuss, no frills, no extras, no pity parties, real life stuff, just you and God. AND, the last time I checked there wasn’t any chocolate growing in the desert.

Yep, I’ve not found sacrifice a bowl full of fun but if you stick with it you do find something new. I owe Lent for any ability I have to sit here in traction, the more I grow to understand Lent the easier the traction gig is for me. When it comes down to it really, isn’t it just about taking away life’s distractions and excuses, learning more about your true self, therefore, knowing more about God.

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Alix

I’ve been thinking about a person today that went about his life doing what he thought was expected of him. He was the kind of individual who’s always there to help you but you rarely see him, he’s quiet and in the background and seems to prefer it.

He’ll open a door for you and carry your groceries up the steps, before you have a chance to know he’s even there. He’ll make sure everyone is safe and accounted for, he magically appears at your car to carry the heaviest thing and drop it at your door without even knowing you wondered how you would even get it out of the car. He’ll water your plants and clean up the yard, he knows who belongs and who doesn’t.

The world might ignore someone as them, we seem to care about other things. There will always be someone more educated, smarter, with plenty more money, but I dare you to find a harder worker and someone who did their job any better.

The person I’m thinking about is no longer living, he died in the earthquake two years ago in Haiti. Alix was his name and if you haven’t ever known a man like I’ve described then you’re at a great loss. Alix would suddenly make a five gallon jug of water appear at your door early in the morning when you were still sleeping and he somehow remembered that you were running low. He did this all the while he had a large growth on his back the size of a grapefruit that he couldn’t afford to have removed. He’d watch the court-yard at night as everyone slept and somehow managed to work his job all day keeping everything going. Alix also had a family and when he did take a break from work he was there for them, from my understanding that is how he died. He had survived the initial quake but ran home to check on his family and died in the aftermath as a wall collapsed on him. He bled to death in his yard.

The world needs more Alix, a man who would answer the community telephone, track you down, all the while doing his best to try to understand a language he didn’t speak so you could talk to your family you were so missing in the States. I’m sitting here in traction Alix thinking about you and what a wonderful man you were and all these days after your death you are still very much missed.

There should be a Super Bowl for this!

As I sit in traction today listening to all the Super Bowl coverage I’m thinking about how many of the NFL players may have ever been in traction. It’s bad enough with all the scary talk about concussions, what their brains are like down the road, I don’t think they need damaged spinal columns too, no one does. But for a profession that shows their love for one by hitting each other in the head with their helmets it wouldn’t be surprising if they didn’t end up having traction troubles or plenty of other issues.

We as a population make such a big deal out of stuff, it leaves me wondering why all the fuss? Halloween is now practically a National Holiday, I think more adults now dress in costume to celebrate than children, when you drive down the street the morning of St. Patrick’s Day it doesn’t take long before you see folks showing up to the local O’Brien’s bar, no matter what day of the week it falls, no wonder in the middle of winter we go crazy for the Super Bowl. Are we really that bored to go overboard for everything?

How dare I diss such a big day in the sports world, a day where if you’ve never watched a game in your life you are invited to a television party. So I’ve been thinking, if I connect with other folks also doing traction we could have regional matches, who sits up the straightest, for the longest, looks the best in the gizmo, best attitude, that might be tough to judge, but give me some time. Once we get competition categories, we go regional, then the nationals are only a few years a way! Could you imagine what the trophy would look like for a cervical traction competition?! The height of it, we’d have to celebrate height since we are all shrinking! It would have to be light in weight or none of the recipients could carry it out of the ceremony. In fact I think it should be a sit down ceremony. Just wait, gives us another five years and we will be on the airwaves, singing the National Anthem, all strapped in, waiting for the opening whistle to start the annual Traction Games. Us traction folks work hard, we have the potential to become professionals at pain and fortitude. I dare any competition to challenge our dedication, our drive for success is intense, only thing, after a big play, you won’t see any of the competitors hit another in the head for fun.