My Mom calls the GPS system in the car "Annie." I know it drives my Dad crazy. A "woman" who gives directions is probably hard enough for him to swallow, but then to have my Mom give this mystery woman a name just makes things worse. He puts up with it though. He is just happy that GPS "Annie" gets them and their emerald blue Ford Focus where they need to go, especially when they are out of town. My Dad is pretty good with technology, maybe about a C+ (and I don't mean the programming language for those of you who are A+), but he still uses his keys to tap the screen of the GPS to input data. I am not sure if it is because he doesn't know that he can simply use his finger on the touchscreen or if he uses his keys because, frankly, he uses his keys for everything. He cuts open Frito-Lay chip bags with his keys.He slices open CDs. Saws through plastic zip ties on new purchases. He opens just about everything with his keys because, like most men, they are always jingle-jangling in his front pocket. So he just pulls them out and taps them on the touchscreen until the satellites align and Annie gives her first command.
"Continue on North Harbor Drive for 3.3 miles."
"In 100 feet, turn right on Nibitz Blvd."
"You have arrived at your destination."
My Dad pulls into the parking lot and coasts into the first open spot.
"Thank you Annie!" My Mom squeals.
I can almost hear my Dad mumble in his head,"Annie's not real, honey; Annie's not real. You don't have to thank her."
But he keeps his mouth shut.
Because he is kind.
And it makes my Mom happy.
Oh, and thanks to "Annie" they get where they are going.
And darn it, if that isn't what love is? -- Keeping your mouth shut when your partner is happy over something you think is silly.
And keeping your eye on the big picture.
If my partner wants to name the GPS device after a curly red head who had a hard knock life - fine. She's smiling and we're where we're supposed to be.
I'm glad I'm here.
I'm glad you're here.
I'm glad we're together.
Both of us, ur...ALL of us.
You too, Annie.
-Hope A. Horner, 2013
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Saturday, November 23, 2013
Think about it.
All that painting was in vain--wasted time & energy. The countless hours of aching shoulders and cramped hands lifting a brush to those hard to reach places, ensuring just the right shade, making sure no spot was missed--all for not. He might as well have painted the Titanic bright neon green with orange polka dots or drawn little squiggly lines all over it. Heck, he could have tagged it up graffiti-style with big fat bubble letters. What did it matter? Sure, people would admire it from the harbor as it pulled away and those on board would eat, sleep and party in it for awhile, but ultimately, that big, beautiful boat was going DOWN. Though he didn't know it at the time, he was basically painting a fish play toy--a giant, fancy metal coral reef. Today, the "unsinkable" Titanic sits at the bottom of the sea near Newfoundland--split in two, it's colors faded, covered in mud and surrounded by total darkness. No one can see the black, red, gold and white my grandfather painted on the stern, the bow, in the Captain's room and on the balconies.
What a shame.
Yesterday, my neighbor and I stood in my garage talking about death. Don't worry, it wasn't the first thing we talked about, but since our dear friend and neighbor is dying of cancer, our conversation eventually headed in that direction. She warned me that she likes to talk about it, not in a morbid way, but in a "circle of life" kind of way. I said I didn't mind. We talked about how this whole world is really meaningless if this is all there is. I mean, if all life is about is getting up every day and trying to make the best of it by acquiring as many toys as you can, isn't that a little bit like painting the Titanic? Let's say you have all the "creature comforts" this life can give--you have money in the bank, two cars in the garage, a big house on the hill and a tennis club membership. Then you die tragically in Belize in a naked hang gliding accident or you die not so tragically - you die of old age. Whatever it is - YOU DIE. So who cares about all your goodies? As the old saying goes - you never see a U-haul truck behind a hearse.
So trying to make myself as happy as possible in this life is a little like painting the Titanic. My ship is going down. Why am I trying to fill it up with stuff and make it so pretty? If I live for something bigger, better, above all this - then even when I die, my handiwork lasts. This is why we are all driven to make a difference, leave a legacy. We want proof our life counted for something. It's a little bit like scrawling "I was here" on the world. The thought that "my music will live on forever" or "my name is on that building" or "I found the cure for x disease" - is what drives us to do something that will stand the test of time. We want to paint a ship that isn't going to sink.
But it is so easy to get caught up in decorating and furnishing the Titanic. It's so alluring! It seems so permanent! So enormously important! We invest our time, energy and money to make our ship as fun, comfortable and pleasurable as possible. We want smooth sailing! Nothing wrong with comfort and happiness. But is that the focus of my life? What am I doing that is going to stand the test of time? Who am I living for? Am I talking to people about my faith and giving them hope, or am I just letting them paint the Titanic right alongside me? Am I acting like my ship is never going down? Is my ship the only one that matters? Am I dancing on my party yacht while others are bailing water out of their rowboats? Or am I helping? Serving? Praying? Loving? Sharing? Giving?
Not enough I am afraid.
It's time to put down the brush.
-Hope Horner, 2013, from www.hopehorner.com
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