Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#225 - When The Words All Wash Away

Toward the end of March, I posted the words to a song I had written titled "When The Words." The song was inspired by a Facebook conversation with another musician/songwriter about inspiration and how it often comes at inconvenient times, such as when we are doing dishes or taking a shower.

This post has nothing to do with that song, but the title seemed appropriate. Words are supposed to help us make sense of things good and bad, help us explain things to others, help us to communicate. There are, however, other times when words seem inadequate, even though they are all we have.

This is one of those times.

Earlier today, I got word that my brother-in-law had died suddenly, of an apparent heart attack. When such events occur, I imagine most people go through some series of reactions and emotions. First and foremost is the feeling of sadness for the family, in this case my sister and her children and grandchildren.

Second, perhaps, is a feeling of shock. My brother-in-law was my age, perhaps a year or two younger. Third for many people, though they would not want to admit it and might even be likely to deny it, is a sense of relief that it isn't them. This feeling may be stronger the further removed one is.

Right now, I suppose I am rather numb. I liked my brother-in-law and know he was a good husband to my sister and a good father to his three children, but I can't say we were particularly close. I had only seen him (and my sister) a handful of times in the last ten or 15 years. I don't know that anyone is to blame for that. It's just how things worked out.

I know my sister is hurting right now. I know her children are hurting right now. I'm not quite sure what to say to them. The words have all washed away.

At times like this, words have a tendency to become cliches or platitudes, all uttered by well-meaning well-wishers who, like me, are not sure what to say. Perhaps platitudes and cliches are exactly the things to say. Having never been much good at platitudes and cliches myself, I am left at a loss for words.

Not being a religious man myself (though hopefully a spiritual one), I have no words to offer up on high. I hope that God is watching over the family, but I don't claim to know one way or another.

There is, though, one thing I do believe and have for some time. So long as you keep the memories of a loved one close to you, hold those memories in your heart, the person is never really gone or lost. Perhaps that is the true afterlife.

I think there was a line in a movie or television show to the effect that death is but another step in the journey each of us makes. That notion appeals to me. If that is, in fact, the case, I hope my brother-in-law and I can get together for a conversation and a drink and make up for the time we lost on this side.

Until then, Godspeed, Kenny.

Friday, July 7, 2017

#224 - Where Does The Time Go?

I realized this morning it had been more than three months since my last entry on these pages. Where did the time go?

Perhaps more accurately, I should ask myself where didn't the time go? It seems it went everywhere.

Over the last several months, my wife and I have been busy at various times working to get ready for our son's graduation, preparing and performing musical gigs around town, recording and editing a self-produced CD, get ready for several house projects. Oh, and we managed to get in a couple of excursions in the RV.

I believe Einstein came up with the idea that if one were able to travel at the speed of light, he or she could then basically make time stand still. Lately, it feels as if I have been moving faster than the speed of light, but time still seems to rush past.

I'm no Einstein (and have never played one on television), but I would like to posit my own theory of time and space. It seems to me that the speed at which time passes increases in conjunction with chronological age.

When we are younger, time seems to pass so much more slowly. As a child, how many times did you or a sibling ask your parents, "Are we there yet?" As we age into adulthood, we enter the world of appointments and deadlines and the dreaded "time crunch."

A second facet of the Huntsman theory of time and space could be stated thus: The speed at which time passes increases in direct proportion to the demands placed on said time.

For instance, how many times have you said or wished there were more than 24 hours in the day in order to get everything done that needs doing? Or how many times have you gotten involved in a task you thought might take an hour only to look up at the clock and realize several hours have passed?

I'll wrap this discussion up with a complete statement of my theory of time and space:

1) Advancements in chronological age result in a quickening pace of time passing.

2) Increased demands on one's time result in time passing at a more rapid rate.

3) The speed at which time passes increases or decreases in opposition to one's physical and mental state of being. When in a place and state of relaxation and well-being, time passes more quickly. ("Where did the weekend go?") When in a place and state of agitation, anxiety, and/or stress and pressure, time slows. ("Isn't this day over yet?" "Today just seemed to drag on.")

4) Time, when viewed in retrospect, is more often than not seen as wasted or misused. ("I should have done X." or "I could have been doing Y.") This is especially true when one's use or spending of time is reviewed by another. ("What did you do with your time?")

As for the last three months without an entry on these pages, the time just got away from me.