July 24, 2009

Sailing in Uncharted Waters

Sometimes I feel a bit like Max from Where The Wild Things Are. If you are a purist you may not be as appreciative of the trailer as I am, but for the purposes of this post it is excellent. It does a good job of helping to graphically illustrate some of my thoughts and feelings.

There is a feeling that sometimes comes upon me. It is a sense of being chased. I can't quite make out who or what it is, but I know that if I turn around and wait for it there is a good chance that it just might be there. I have mixed emotions about it. Sometimes it is a sense of dread and foreboding and I want to take off running.

Not unlike the way you see Max running through the woods, so I can see myself. I can smell the forest and hear the crunch of leaves and twigs beneath my feet. There are moments where I think that if I start running like that I won't ever tire and I won't ever stop. The sun will rise and the sun will set and Jack will still be running. Sunlight, moonlight or twilight- it just won't matter because I'll keep going.

But then again that feeling of dread and uncertainty makes me angry. It frustrates me and for lack of a better description, I find myself preparing for battle. I don't seek out confrontation, nor do I hide from it. And the idea of picking the time and place for battle suits me. That graphic imagination pictures me locating a place to take a stand and then doing all that it takes to hold my position for as long as I can.

It is easy to envision. I can hear the birds chirping and the sounds of animals moving through the woods. Suddenly it is silent and the air becomes still. At that moment I brace myself for the roar of the creatures that will come pouring out from the trees. The sound of birds singing will be replaced with the cacophony of swords crashing into each other and the grunting of those who swing them.

See what it is like to live with a graphic imagination.

And then again I can picture myself sailing through uncharted waters. Some days the sea will be calm and I'll gaze in wonder at a moonlit sky populated by more stars than you imagine. Other times all my skill will be devoted to surviving the raging storm. Waves will come crashing down upon me and it will be all I can do to keep from capsizing or being swept over board.

I suppose that it is fair to say that I do feel a bit like I am sailing through uncharted waters. There are things going on that are unsettling and it is harder to try to maintain balance and perspective. That is not to suggest that the challenges that I face are unique, unusual or particularly different from others.

They are not and I have never tried to paint them as being otherwise. But as I have said many times it is always easier to fix someone another person's problems. Since they belong to me they are my responsibility and consequently a bit trickier.

So here I sit peering through the fog and haze trying to determine what the best path ahead is. Someone told me that we missed our window of opportunity and I have to ask myself is that really true or is there another path that we have missed. It reminds me a bit of chess and Algebra.

Many years ago I used to play chess several times a week with a friend. Oftentimes he would lose because he would forget that not every chess piece was limited to moving front and back, or side to side. Some of them could move diagonally. In essence it meant that you always had to pay attention the full board because if you allowed yourself to ignore a section you could quickly find yourself in trouble.

The relationship to Algebra comes to mind because of an experience I had in high school. I didn't always understand how the teacher taught us to solve certain equations. But I was often able to come up with an alternative that provided the correct answer. That didn't always serve me well because my teacher liked to tell me that there were scenarios in which my solution wouldn't work but that his always would because it was more universal in nature.

I always suspected that he just didn't like my figuring out how to do it without him. I'd ask him but he apparently died at a relatively young age of heart disease.

Anyway, the real point here is this. I don't give up on things easily. I think that there are many different paths that can be taken to meet our objectives and that sometimes it just takes a bit of doing to see how to reach that place. Sometimes you don't recognize the importance of it until your air has been removed and you find yourself choking. I am not choking, but I am gasping a bit.

So now to quote my son all I need to do is figure out a solution and save the day. I kind of like that term, save the day. And given a little bit of time I think that I just might figure out how to make it happen. Life is like that chess board. I don't have to attack everything head on, sometimes coming from an angle is really all it takes.

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