Tag Archive | life

Life and Root Canals

I had a root canal the other day.

*hangs head in shame*

I’m not proud of it. Honestly, I hesitated to write this post.

Root canals should be kept secret, like an addiction to coffee enemas or collecting belly button lint.

People look at you differently when they find out. One minute you’re a lovely human being, and the next you’re the guy who doesn’t brush his teeth. People assume that you gargle with Mountain Dew and eat candy for every meal, that you seldom brush. I understand.

But that’s not me. I hate Mountain Dew, and while I enjoy candy as much as the next person, I brush and floss daily. I never go to bed with food in my teeth. I like to think I have good oral hygiene. In fact, at my last appointment—the one where they made this orally damning discovery—the dental assistant commented on how well I brush.

Yes I do, thank you very much.

So why the bad tooth? Perhaps because it has been a while since my last professional cleaning. Or perhaps I’m a sleep eater; maybe I wander into the kitchen in the middle of the night and snack out on peanut butter Oreo’s and grape soda.

Who knows? Does it matter? You are still probably judging me right now. So, why am I telling you this? Read More…

Takeoff and Landing and Life

Flying—sitting in a tiny chair suspended at 30,000 feet—has a way of narrowing my focus to important matters; it puts me in deep thought. I think about the loved ones I left safe on the ground below; I worry that they’re worried.

I think about deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that can form in the legs of frequent flyers and, according to an article I once read in an in-flight magazine, aspirate to the lungs and cause death. But, mostly I think about life.

It’s fragile and painful and wonderful.

To me, flying highlights the experience of living. It represents the journey, the ups and downs, the turbulence of the everyday, the shared vulnerability with complete strangers.

The most beautiful metaphor for life I have experienced on an airplane was on a flight to Pensacola, Florida a few years ago. My mother sat on the aisle, my wife in the middle, and I sat by the window on a crowded plane headed south.

Tanya, my wife, does not enjoy flying, but her least favorite part is the takeoff. And as the pilot issued final call and headed towards the runway, I felt Tanya’s fingers clamp around my knee, eyes shut, teeth clenched. The faster we went, the more she tensed up, and as I looked over to comfort her, I noticed my mother placing her hand into Tanya’s sweaty palm, giving her something else to squeeze.

Eventually, the plane leveled out and reached cruising altitude and Tanya’s fear subsided. However, when we approached our destination, as the plane drew closer to the ground, fear set in again, but this time not for Tanya.

My mother’s neck stiffened and she forced her head deep into the headrest and closed her eyes, preparing for impact. Tanya, calm and alert, noticed this and, without hesitation, reached for my mother’s hand. She held it until the plane landed and slowed to a stop.

The roles had reversed. In less than two hours, the comforted became the comforter, and vice versa. Read More…

Don’t waste the last hour.

Life is short. Really short. Even if a person lives to see 100 years, he or she will only have flirted with time on this spinning ball of crust and iron.

We don’t believe this as kids. The message is drowned out by the sound of swirling hormones and daydreams of the future. Death is something that happens later. Much later. For now, we focus on graduation, and love and marriage, and a house, and car insurance.

But, as you read this line, you are closer to death than you were when you clicked the link that brought you here. There you sit, exhaling breath that will never return. Skin cells flake from your body and begin to settle into the carpet. Seconds melt from the clock like a Salvador Dali painting.

You get the point.

These are the thoughts that only show up after a funeral. Last night, I attended the “going home” service of an incredible woman. Vicki Leininger—Aunt Vic as I knew her—was awesome. Tender, but tough when it mattered. She could sing your heart out of your chest. And she led me to believe I wasn’t half bad myself.

But that was how she lived, always encouraging, choosing to see the best in people. As I sat in the packed sanctuary, I considered the impact she had on every person in the room.

She didn’t waste her life.

I have to be honest. I was there to honor Aunt Vic, but I spent a great deal of time thinking about myself. I looked around at the crowd, young and old, some with teary eyes, and many with smiles on their faces, and thought about the impact of one life. Read More…

Why you might be a Satanist

Growing up, I was given the impression that a Satanist was a person who listened to AC/DC, bit the heads off baby chickens, and openly worshiped Diablo.

I never met one, that I’m aware of, but I pictured them to be people of the gothic persuasion—white make-up, dark eyes, and chains hanging from clothing and/or body parts. The thought of Satan, and his followers kept me up at night. My youth group watched a video called Hells Bells on the evil of Rock music that literally gave me nightmares.

So, it became easy to separate light from darkness. Michael W. Smith: Good. Ozzy Osbourne: Evil. Just avoid MTV and all is well.

However, experience has taught me that real life is never that black and white. A few years ago, while researching for a sermon, I found myself on the official Church of Satan website. Word of advice: Never find yourself on the church of Satan website, but if you must, bring a friend. Or two. And keep the lights on.

It was legitimately creepy, black screens and bizarre photos, but the weirdest thing was what I found in the churches guidelines.

One of the rules completely blew me away, and shattered a stereotype.

Read More…

Fly whenever you get the chance.

My flying experiences always begin the same way:

  1. Sit down and enjoy my last few moments of social media.
  2. Text the wife and/or family. Phone off.
  3. Buckle up.
  4. Think to myself, “This might be it. This plane may go down and be the end of me.”

It happens that way every time, without fail. And then I usually fall asleep before the flight attendants teach us simpletons how to properly operate a seat belt—thank God for them.

Striking thoughts of death and dismemberment followed by careless sleep.

When I wake up, usually caused by the thrust of my neighbor’s elbow or the aching of my crowded knees, I glance out the window to see how we’re doing.

Often, we’re among the clouds, no ground in sight, but I enjoy the times when I can see the earth below. I am always struck by the tight organization of the landscape, the order. Read More…

What stays when you leave?

Every so often, I hear a story about someone who became a millionaire overnight, not by winning Mega Millions or because they bought into one of those Make money in your jammies infomercials that come on at 2 a.m., but by the death of a wealthy family member.

The moment dear old Granny passed, several million dollars were transferred into the account of a fortunate grandchild, a tragedy-made millionaire. How amazing is that? Of course, not the death part, the instant wealth part.

Sadly, my Grandpa passed away yesterday afternoon. He stepped from this life to the next, and he didn’t leave me one red cent. Ridiculous. Read More…

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