Saturday, June 30, 2012

A 2-year-old's reaction to "I'm Farming and I Grow It"

Even wee ones are being drawn into the spoof video put together by three Kansas farm boys that has exploded in cyberspace in the past week. This clip starts a bit slowly, but stick with it. You'll be glad you did.

To date, the "farming" video has been seen 2.3 million times in just five days.

When a family member dies.... rips a hole in your heart...your life...your sense of belief.

In a very real way, it ends life as you know it. Your life will never be the same again. The sense of shock, of grief, of gut-wrenching pain is so intense it's as if the rest of the world fades into the distant background. Your world stops.

It can be startling ---- painful, even ---- to see the rest of the world go on as if everything was normal. "Can't you see?" you want to scream. "How can you act as if nothing has happened??? My world has been shattered!"

When you lose a loved one, you no longer know what 'normal' is - particularly if it's a child or someone with whom you were still sharing a roof. Their absence, that gaping hole in your life, is palpable.

Adapting to the way things now are is a slow, painful process filled with pitfalls and moments when your loss feels as fresh as if it happened just yesterday.

Relatives and friends can try to help. But when Dad died in 2006, most of what people said or did in trying to comfort me made me wince.

And for the first few weeks, especially, it was jarring when people would ask, "How are you doing?" I wanted to say, "How do you think I'm doing? I'm doing horribly!"

It was painful and exhausting to even try to answer the question.

I'll never forget the one long-time friend who asked me, about 6 weeks after the funeral, "So, are you about back to normal now?" When I said, "no," he acted as if I was doing something wrong.

As if losing a parent was like spraining your ankle.

A friend of mine lost a niece to a horrific, senseless traffic accident this past week. She was only 6. There was nothing anyone could do to save her, though they tried desperately.

Everyone close to her is understandably devastated. I find myself wishing I could say something to ease their overwhelming pain.

But what words can help? I'm not sure there are many.

In such times, I guess it's the ministry of presence that is the most powerful, through a hug, or holding a hand, or performing a simple household task or errand so they don't have to.

It's always a difficult journey when we have to say goodbye to a loved one, no matter how many times we've had to do it.  And it can only be managed a day at a time. Sometimes even just an hour at a time.

It's the cycle of life, they say. There's something to that, I think. Those who have endured such grief can be helpful for those who have freshly entered that dark, seemingly endless valley - simply because they've made that walk themselves.

It seems to be a natural way to have some good come out of something so painful.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

"I'm farming and I grow it"

This humorous video about life on a farm has gone viral on the web. The three brothers from a farm in north-central Kansas tinkered with "I'm Sexy and I Know It."

You'll get a kick out of it. Many others have - more than 300,000 views in three days alone.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The power of a father's words

The remarkable story of Irena Sendler has its roots in some advice her father gave her when she was a child: If someone is drowning, you must jump in and save them - even if you can't swim yourself.

With that in the back of her mind, she would go on to save 2,500 children from the Warsaw Ghetto in World War II:

All fueled by words her father shared with her.

It's a powerful example of the impact fathers can have on the lives of their children.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers around the world.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Oh, those Dutch fans

A Ukrainian television journalist desperately tries to video a piece at Euro2012 with enthusiastic Dutch fans in the background. But they turn out to be a bit too enthusiastic. It makes for entertaining video, but not in the way the broadcaster intended.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"They allowed this problem to fester into something hideous"

Journalist Buzz Bissinger spoke to Piers Morgan about the Penn State sex abuse scandal. Sadly, what he has to say resonates with truth.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ready for summer

I was on another evening walk late last month when I spotted this artwork on a sidewalk not far from where I live.

Can you tell they're ready for summer??? It gave me a big smile.

Listening to that tiny voice

I try to get a walk in most days of the week, in part to continue the rehab of my back and hips from a significant whiplash injury suffered in 2010 and also because it's simply good for you.

I vary my routes to prevent boredom from curtailing my appetite for ambulation. One of them is simply heading out the back door, across the grassy play area and into the residential area east of the complex.

Typically, I cross St. Paul and walk north on the sidewalk to First Street and then head east for several blocks. And on an early May evening, as the north wind began to flex its muscles, I started that way again.

But as I reached St. Paul, a tiny voice told me to stay on this side of the street. I paused to activate the pedometer on my Smartphone, and as I started walking north toward First a powerful gust of wind roared down the street and snapped a large tree branch off at the corner of First and St. Paul.

The branch fell right onto the sidewalk where I would have been walking, and bounced into the front yard of the house at the corner.

I paused to calculate where I would have been had I taken my normal route and not listened to that little voice. Chances are I would have been next to that tree when the branch snapped.

Do you listen to that little voice within you when it speaks? Those who are Catholic may call it their guardian angel. Others may have different explanations.

I know it's served me well countless times in my life, and this was one such occasion.