Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pass the Salt

My Aunt Clara has died at the age of 97. Long life...3 kids, husband died in her 30s; friends long gone. Kinda sad--I miss her and plan to attend the funeral.

Ok, now the scene is set. Truth is, Aunt Clara was a WHINNER! Nothing was ever right. Much of the family avoided converations with her because she was a downer. Yet, I loved her.

To describe her Being, one would say that she was Salty! Of course, she did not use 'salty language.' A Lady, indeed, no less.

Being Salty is to say that she wasn't sweet. Nope...not a Sweet Old lady. No way--Jose.

Her way was one of extreme pragmaticism. 'What Ya See, is What ya Get!' 24/7...

Reflecting back, her Way was akin to Salt Water. Salt Water taffy--kinda. Or how about Salt Pork...here's another, 'Salt of the Earth!' Like that--we'll go with that.

Aunt Clara was salty. But salt is a good thing. In ancient times, salt was the main food preservative. Biblically, Jesus remarked that salt should be spewed-out once its lost the saltiness. What is a saltine cracker without salt?

All-in-all, it was Aunt Clara's 'SALTINESS' that I miss most. No fakery nor pretentiousness. Ranchers place blocks of salt in the pasture for their livestock. Failure to Salt the herd results in sickly animals.

Humans need salt in their lives as well. Besides chemical salts, we hunger for psychological, emotional, and spiritual salts. Aunt Clara was my salt. I've got enough sugar all around me...yet, what I really need is a double dose of an Aunt Clara Salt.

R.I.P., Aunt Clara. Love Always ~AVM.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Remain Standing

My Best Friend’s 40 year old daughter died of cancer…after a 3 week old diagnosis. Needless to say, ‘She went fast!’ What an Understatement.

Of course, I attended her funeral. The Church, Holy Family Catholic Church, was near capacity with mourners. SRO…a tribute to the esteem that the community held for my friend’s family. Reflecting on the event, this article is entitled, Remain Standing.

I was very impressed as to how well my friend held up under the weight of his oldest daughter’s demise. That evening, I attended my weekly Toastmaster speakers club meeting. Arriving early, I chatted for awhile with Real Estate Broker and Competent Communicator, Jose Segarra (JS). Jose is the Owner/Operator of Exit Realty of Killeen Texas.

Relating the day’s events to JS, I spoke of my friend’s eloquence, brevity, composure, and warmth as he addressed the mourners in attendance at Holy Family. I even said to JS, “Man—I don’t think that I personally could have held it together as well as did Ted.” He replied, “Ya Gotta, REMAIN STANDING!”

Ok…a baffled look came upon my face after JS’ response. Without missing a beat, he went on to describe the meaningful message behind the context. As the story went, there was once a man who had experienced a tragic loss of family—a death, no doubt.

The family was devastated, distraught, and depressed. Many questioned with the oh so familiar, WHY GOD…Why? The Father of the family aged 40 or so, grappled with the emotions of the moment. How could he go on…how could he comfort as well as console the others? The Patriarch, the Father’s Father, urged his son to listen to his counsel. He encouraged his son to (you guessed it) Remain Standing.

Remain Standing is girding up oneself for the difficult tasks either at hand or yet to come. Remain Standing is performing one’s duty—a badge of service. The Senior said to the Junior: “The family needs your strength, your compassion, and your encouragement… Remain Standing.”

My personal take on all of this is/was that instead of falling or folding or buckling under pressure, I need to Remain Standing. In the face of a Life Difficulty, I need to Remain Standing. When confronted by danger or uncertainty, I need to Remain Standing. Moreover, as did my friend, I need to Remain Standing although I may not feel capable of doing so.

As applicable to our careers, jobs, finances, relationships, health challenges, and ultimately, premature deaths of family, friends, loved ones, and possibly that of our own, the real challenge is this: How do we possibly garner the fortitude to Remain Standing?

No clear answer is available from this author, yet there is a great book that may be of comforting service in this regard. Located within the Holy Bible, King James Version, of the New Testament, is the Book of Mark. Turning to Chapter 10 and then scanning down to verse 19, we find this piece of scriptural context (paraphrased). “With God, All Things Are Possible!” Remain Standing…