Archive for February, 2009
I am a guitar string waiting to be plucked.
back and forth.
a pen to write on me.
I am a candle waiting to burst into flame.
When will it happen?
When will I see the clouds break?
When will the sun rain down golden drops
of life-sustaining energy upon the fields?
When will the baby shoots push their heads
above the soil?
When will the gates of heaven open?
When will the smile of God cause
every living thing to grow straight and tall?
Not before I am ready for it to happen.
I heard his footsteps enter the kitchen. I sat at the breakfast table, afraid to glimpse the advancing Bengal tiger, my father.
I didn’t have the stomach to gaze into his piercing green eyes. My mind saw those eyes jumping from the bushy, long hair straggling down the back of my neck, to the rumpled, black T-shirt I had pulled on shortly after stumbling out of bed. Those X-Ray lamps of his would finally come to rest on the doodles and paint droppings on the blue jeans I had worn for most of the past year in art school.
The footsteps halted. I imagined the Bengal tiger crouching on all fours, sizing up its prey. Minutes passed. The silence became unbearable. There was nowhere to run. The tiger had me cornered. I turned in my seat, almost like a revolving door. I held my breath as well as the awkward position.
My father leaned on the kitchen counter dressed in a navy, pinstripe suit accented by a red silk tie and powder blue business shirt. His eyes focused not on me, but on his perfectly manicured nails, like a high-priced trial attorney adopting a nonchalant pose before tearing into a hostile witness. He looked up at me suddenly.
His eyes always darted back and forth when he was angry. My father’s gaze was rock steady on this day. I did not perceive him to be calm, however. His slack posture spoke to me of something else, something entirely new, and horribly unexpected. My legs grew numb, perhaps from the ridiculous position I sat frozen in.
“Please say something,” I managed to blurt out.
His face held no expression now, as if a gremlin somewhere inside his body had flipped off an electrical switch.
“When you finish art school,” he said, “my responsibility for you will be finished. You’ll be on your own. If you end up nowheresville, it will be your unhappiness, not mine.”
My father continued to regard me with that terrible, neutral expression. His keen eyes bore into mine. I was certain he could hear my heart beating double-time inside my chest.
“I have to go to work now,” he said, and marched with a purposeful stride out of the room.
I turned and stared vacantly out the kitchen window into the back yard. I saw myself as a teenager, smashing golf wiffle-balls across the lawn for hours with the rusty seven-iron my father had given me from an old set. I blinked. The memory vanished.
It took a full five minutes to convince my legs to lift me up from the table.
In the next few days, I realized my father had done me a favor by bluntly pointing out what the consequences of my actions were apt to be, at least as far as my relationship with him was concerned.
His words shed a cold, clear light on my attempted escape from the pain of growing from a boy into a man. This recollection may have made my father seem cruel, but he was never an unkind man. Perhaps he could have “gilded the lily” more in his advice to me while growing up, but not on this occasion. He did not speak to me with malice or hurtful intent. He spoke honestly and with deep concern, and his words altered my future indelibly for the better.
What you believe to be your upper limit is only the cracked ceiling you have been staring at for too long. You can go higher—Guaranteed.
Surrendering to self-doubt is the same thing as making a deal with the devil. Instead, make a deal with your dream and soar.
God never says, “I hear ya’ knockin’ but you can’t come in.” Keep knocking.
If you want to be great, stop trying to fit in.
The greatest challenge is to enjoy the process of getting from here to there.
Don’t judge yourself by the bad things you’ve done. Focus on the good thing you are about to begin.
Get to know the genius inside you on a first name basis.
It is necessary to develop a tough mind as we mature, but not at the expense of a sensitive heart.
The secret to lasting happiness is a heart full of love connected to a mind full of positive thoughts.