Saturday, February 21, 2009

family and friends

My father is recovering slowly and now comes the hard part. Lots of things must change to help him adapt.

I'm reminded of something said to me a long time back by someone I used to be close to. Something about the importance of family loyalty.

As I see it, it's a never a simple thing sticking by your family. They frequently don't listen to you and vice versa. We all want to help each other but we individually believe we have the right answers. And this family loyalty gets tested according to life's schedule, not your own. So you do what you can, hopefully find the right path through the challenges.

After checking up on my Dad and looking in on my Mom yesterday, I went out for a little bit to see some folks at the Fifth Anniversary party for NJYP. Saw lots of faces I'd come to know over the past few years.

On the wall last night they posted the names of friends people said they made through the organization since it got started.

That same someone I used to be close to was at the top of the list. It was alphabetical and when your first name starts with "A", you are guaranteed top billing. She was always something of a rock star. ;-)

These days she and I scarcely cross paths. It's how things go, especially given my past foolishness. It's funny though that I only became aware of NJYP through her.

My own name popped up farther down the list of friends. I guess all the cooking I've done at barbecues help folks remember my name.

What I take from all this is an understanding that we choose how we keep folks in our personal space or not. Thanks to social networking, we have many tools for seeking friends and even relatives you have not heard from in years. My $5 says someone is scheduling their family reunion completely through Facebook right now.

But phone calls and getting out to see folks remains very important. With my Dad being in the hospital, his brothers and sisters have come out a lot to see him, keeping him focused. It's the being there in the now, that's how you help each other.

I am who I am through the people around me, to paraphrase the Ubuntu philosophy.

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Flame and Bone

When I was made from fire
Poured into the tender vessel of caution
That keeps my smoke from rising
Quickly did I discover that apart from crisp drizzles or falling snow
The world chilled my touched
Walking the narrow cornered gap between girders and cut stone
One learns to tuck his shoulders in or risk
Jostling a neighbor passing by rapt with want
For a clear path without the distraction
Of another man's boiling eyes
The tip of a finger
That oldest of all weapons
Grown deadlier and pristine in its invention
Gathers a mote of a cinder on its bare flesh
And turns pondering how best to scratch the impious itch
Prying open the tender seam
Where the oil of thought dews
Offering a new wick to ignite
Squirming alive as a salamander of mischief
That yearns for a taste of air it is so ready to devour
The steam of breath betrays me
Before the glint of orange spreads
In popping bright waves
Eroding the fibers feeding it
Leaving naught but ash
As my shell of quietude falls away