Tuesday, August 31, 2004

"Look Daddy, it's back..."

I wasn't quite sure what to be looking for after being notified by my son Leo that "it's back" on the way to school. Was it a rash, a mosquito bite, an incoming rain shower?

"Leo, what's back?"

"The 'bacon-cheese-mushroom' combo burger at Wendy's."

Leo had been reading the marquees all the way to school and this one seem to catch his eye more than others.

"Daddy, what's a 'combo'?"

I explained to Leo that it was a shortened expression for the word combination. To which his next question was, "What's a combination?"

I went into detail - with the few moments of drive time we had - on what a combination was; two elements together that create a greater whole, two words together that become compound words, etc. To which he finally replied, before exiting the car for school, "Kind of like you and Mama - you're a combo!"

I couldn't disagree with him. My wife Di and I are a combo, and a rather unique and wonderful one at that. But so is Leo and I. And so is the interaction I had with the car at the last intersection. As well as is the phone conversation I had with a friend yesterday and the prayers I whispered last night...

There comes a point in your life when you realize that there is very little of your life that is not an action upon or a reaction from another element, event or person in that same life. We are, my friend, a glorious combination of DNA, life experiences, tragedies, comedies, successes and situations. There is very little - if any - of our life that is lived in complete isolation. We are similar to a filter in a car, vacuum cleaner, or air conditioner; allowing all of Life and its energy to flow through and around us. We each personally help to filter out the unjust and inhumane of this world and leave it in better shape than when we arrived. At the same time, we are dissimilar to that same filter in a car, vacuum or air conditioner. Our mission is not simply to filter out the negative and cynical and hopeless aspects of this life and dwell on it. Ours is to filter that Life and energy flowing through us each day, remove the negative aspects, cleanse ourselves and start anew again. But this isn't always easy, by any means...

In college and on a very minimal budget, my dear friend Scott and I would always find enough ingredients in the apartment to make what we fondly called SCHTUF. Schtuf has the base ingredients of macaroni-n-cheese and pork-n-beans. From there, it is more a matter of what is in one's cupboard. We usually added sausage or some meat product, onion, spices and green pepper. Now, imagining it in your mind may leave your stomach a little upset, but remember to place this meal in the middle of a poor college student's budget. It was the right combination of ingredients for what we needed at the moment and the right combination to accent a wonderful lifetime relationship.

However, there was one time we felt like experimenting and - unfortunately - added a can of tuna to our weekly schtuf. It was a disaster; it didn't and will never belong in this particular recipe. We had to throw out the entire batch and start over.

My point is this: You and I are each a glorious and mysterious combination of Life experiences that have occurred only to ourselves. It then becomes our decision to filter all of Life and its energy, allowing all of its goodness to greatly impact and energize us... while learning from its lessons and letting some of it simply flow away. It is our choice of the ingredients we choose to combine.

It is you, my friend, that must consider the combinations and interactions you choose to make in your life... and sometimes you don't get the choice of throwing out the experimental batch and starting over. So choose wisely and allow all your interactions, deeds, and relationships bring you insight, love, peace and fulfillment. And when you get to that point, you'll need only say, "It's back..."

hoedl's haven
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