Loyalty vs. Respect

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…..


I sat on a bench watching two teams play. It was so cold my posterior froze to the wooden board of a bench. Bundled against the elements, facing the virtues of nature’s wrath. I could hardly predict the outcome. The teams fought hard, made some good plays and scored some points; but they walked away with arms wrapped around the opposing players. It was the only thing heartwarming on that bitter, brutal Sunday afternoon. The fans, too, huddled their way out of the bleachers. It didn’t matter whose side you were on. Just fighting to stay warm was worth its weight.

As we walked away, it wasn’t so much about who won or who lost. It was the sportsmanship displayed. “Loyalty ( strongly supporting each other) and respect (ability to admire someone for the abilities and achievements) goes a long way when two oppose one another”, I said to the father of one of boys on the opposing team. He smiled, shook my hand and said ” Good game!”. I guess he understood. Happy to be warm from the frigid winter winds, my heart steadily pumped 98.3 degree blood in this minus zero body.

I think about that game every now and then and the camaraderie we felt. I almost wish for a reunion of sorts; call it the coldest respect loyaltygame in Hades!!! But as I stop and tap my pencil eraser on the tabletop, I’ve come to want the same with everyone I know. It’s not just a wife or child but the guy I’m walking out of a stadium with as well. Loyalty and respect go hand and hand; you can’t have one without the other. My heart pales for those that try to live eliminating one or the other. Should I tear into the heartless as they rejoice with the absence of loyalty?  That surely is not respectful.

So tomorrow comes. Will things change? Will God intervene? Will you have patience and understanding? Can you allow the loyalty from love abound? And what about respect? Do you have the same on the scale for a janitor as you do for our Lord? I wonder….

 
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Loyalty: Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Loyalty: Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. (Proverbs 21:21)

Loyalty: Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)

Respect: So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Respect: Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:2)

Respect: We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13)

Gifts Untold

I lost a gift from God…


It is 5:30 a.m. on a crisp, cool morning. God has granted the serenity to life, just like a calm before a storm. I am meeting you at the edge where two fronts collide. We chat over useless matters, like the weather. A smile is resonating from our soul as feelings of respect has grown.

We take turns surprising one another while trying to outwit each other’s spirit; laughing and joking about our day; and the immaterial worldly events. Sometimes, we exchange a secret or two about something we heard. Then one more under-the-collar comment and it’s off to our responsible lives. Oh the memories we have! Love is like a hobby – always there if we have time; and if we are too busy, it’s okay. We silently understand.

As the evening arrives, a surreal moment penetrates life. I surprisingly find that you are gone with not even a good-bye. My head hangs low, like standing at a memorial. What once was, is now gone. I’m shedding a tear for my dear friend, whom unbeknownst to me, has moved away.

The next day, I stand where we used to congregate. Like a tomb, it’s an empty house. The sky seems dark as even the sun shares in gloom too. I lost a gift from God… my dear friend is here no more.

You see, sometimes in life, God gives us untold gifts to enjoy. Perhaps it’s an ability to draw or write; maybe it’s a neighbor across the street; a friend who closes your door or takes out the trash when you are running late; the one who has your back when you aren’t watching. Yes, today and henceforth, I’ll miss the comradery, that lovingly formed, as our paths crossed in life.

But for now, it’s a void; an empty house of brick and wood that used to be a home…..that which will always be our friendship…..

Where The Dogwoods Blossomed

…piece of history dedicated to things that will never change – Severna Park memories


My father bought a project, in a faraway place, around the bay in Maryland. I was three years old. It looked like we were moving out of the big city to a little community where I knew no one. One cold day, I packed my toys and some clothes, disgruntled that I had to move. My life caved. I was moving away from my best friend. I saw little importance of being stuck on a cliff and all the rules that implied.

Unaware of the significance of growing up in a little place called “Round Bay”, my father took on the challenge of remodeling a turn-of-the century covered dance floor on Eagles Nest Point. Sitting on a cliff, overlooking the water, our weekends became filled with hammers and saws. Mom, I remember, wasn’t very happy living on the old wooden floor, so she would cover it with rugs. It wasn’t much to look at, as I recall; just a roof and a floor but my father was planning to turn it into our home.

It took many months to rebuild that old pavilion. The story goes that in the summer, rich people would come to dance the night away overlooking the Severn.

Eventually… trying to make my mother happy, which was never easy, my father, then bought and constructed a house next door. Bless his soul! Most knew it as the “Smith’s”, but it was the “Bick’s” home first.

I guess I was five, when I was the only one to survive going over the cliff, on my tricycle. That was enough for mom! Things were sketchy and not long afterwards, mom and dad split up. My dad left and we moved to our third home on Waters Road in Round Bay. It was perfect because in the interim, my buddy and his family, moved from Randallstown to just down the road.

My good memories are plentiful. On the 4th of July, fire engines would parade through the neighborhood; in December, folks would gather to canvas the community singing Christmas carols; and then there was Yardley’s annual telephone book – which we now wish we’d held on to!

I watched as Round Bay blossomed after 1953. The swimming meets and festivities at Main beach; and boats turning from wood to fiberglass. Just a brief funny memory…. some years later, after mom remarried, My stepfather, Skip and I went to the Eastern Shore. He had a 12 foot row boat built for me for $125.00. Made of spruce, it sank every season until it swelled.

About 7 years old, we moved away from Waters Road. This time, my dad bought a house for mom, my brother and I, on Riggs Avenue in Olde Severna Park. He paid $12,500 in cash. Moving from Sunset Knoll, in Pasadena, we headed back to Severna Park.

Thanksgiving 1958, mom remarried. It was my stepfather, Skip’s birthday. I guess they chose that date so he wouldn’t forget. Confusing times back then… my dad disappeared; I didn’t know why.

Somewhere around 1960, we moved back to Round Bay onto Laurel Rd, right above “dead man’s curve”. My little brother was born in 1962. I was at Bea and Larry Cranes house – great friends of my parents. I’ll never forget when Mrs. Crane came running outside. I was on my bike, and she was yelling, “It’s a boy! It’s a boy! And it’s on my birthday!”. The stupid things you remember…

The Cranes and my stepfather’s family, the Carr’s, played a large part in St. Martin’s in the Field Episcopal Church. Ironically, there silently stood in the vestibule, my dad’s name engraved on the golden shovel.

My dad passed away in ’65 – a terrible loss to any child. Now I commemorate his life. A man with such vision who played an intricate part in the community. Very few know that. Someday, I hope to retrieve the golden shovel. It no longer stands in the entrance of the original church.

Skip, my stepfather, was a great man; one I could say that his reputation preceded him. He started out in real estate in 1958, moving into a little red house up on the hill, behind Dawson’s store. Skip started working for Tommy and Cliff at the age of 14. He helped support his mother after his father passed away. Born in a house on the B&A, outside of Berrywood, there remains a statue to his legacy.

In 1971 or ’72, mom and Skip bought their final home at the water’s edge by the pier. He thought he was getting ripped off, paying that much money for a house. Looking back, I can’t help but laugh. What an investment!

Proudly, I’ve spent a large part of my life as a little piece of Severna Park. I graduated from Severna Park High School in 1969 and was raised in a wonderful environment. This is an honor to share my true story with you, my friends and family…..dogwood blogThis little piece of history is dedicated to the things that will never change, my memories.

 

Reflections in the Lily Pads

A special dedication to Kirk….


The sun peeks above the trees; it glistens in the creek between me and another shore. It’s a beautiful morning to contemplate on thoughts that run like a road map. Some roads I’ve traveled and some I’ve never seen. Standing in the middle of my meditating, God bears my aches and pains. Memories, like autumn leaves, fall around my body; I wander on repeatedly ….

Life is as delicate as the pristine mornings; I sit and watch life come alive. I feel the warmth of the morning glare that pierces where I love. God grant me the serenity where evil looms in the minds of many. I’d rather not be on a road where darkness resides. This is where God intends me to be – in a place to reflect on life; the maybe’s, hopes and disillusionments that make us stronger in faith every day. Last month was no exception….

A dear friend I lost in time, has found me – a reunion of enormous proportion! Memories of our childhood exhilarates a gift; God, somehow knew, life’s altercations would never sever the ties. Two boys that played from the time they could walk, found diversity in puberty. Now life turns a corner; for what was forgotten, is born again in the minds of two old men.

God grant us grace as hearts reunite for the first time in years; for what should have been the end, is really just the beginning. It’s now ‘our time’ to share and enjoy in our parents’ blessings.

Kirk and Dana

Keepsakes

..my heart is still loyal to my childhood home


KeepsakeIt’s a rainy 4th. I watch the world majestically turn, at a little table for two, on Main Street. The air is filled with festivities as patriotism runs deep. Some bump into others accidentally, smile, and reply “excuse me”. A little town nestled in the foothills of the Ozarks howls with history. Watching the rain as the sun brightens, it reminds me of summer showers where I grew up; the things you never forget as a kid, in your own hometown, while your wishes and dreams evolve into color. But, the rain makes me wander off, as I’m darn glad I am dry and not stuck out in the middle of a lake, somewhere.

Like the shrouds that chime against a sailboat mast, steadfast, your spirit recalls. The sounds are imbedded in your spirit, like a Christmas carol on the tip of your tongue. I’d open a window and listen, as the boats tossed and turned, in the middle of the night. I tried to sleep but I couldn’t. My dreams were clouded, overcast, as I worried about things that little kids shouldn’t.

While experiencing the pouring rain, I watch, as it washes down the tiny streets and my mind is full of wonder. Where will I be in fifty years? Will I make it, as the competition is fierce?

Looking at lunch, the flies have beat me to it!  I must stop and enjoy the moment, but, my heart is still loyal to my childhood home. I think about you and where you lived. I wonder if you’re still in contact with your closest, oldest friend. Did you marry straight out of school and start a family, or, did you push off to another world, where miles and war were about the same? I can’t help but wonder if you’re okay, complacent with the dreams you had when you were little. I hope so. God knows, you deserve it!

To those who’ve lost in life, my deepest sympathy. God has a purpose for everyone – living or not – we both serve Him. Counting my blessings, I’ll add one more… ‘cause in my happiness, I now have you.

Sitting here, watching it rain……

 

God’s Way

……peace is granted, by only God


Safe within the domain of my soul, I hear the storms as they roll in. My heart is content, though Satan tries to rule; God has given me the resilience to protect my spirit. Sheltered from the hell of life, I sit quietly, thanking God for everything. The loves I have comfort me – memories that I gather like a bouquet of flowers. Though my life was riddled with abuse, I’ve had time to heal and give the hurt to God. I hear the thunder of a disgruntled sky; there’s no peace in the heavens. Angels won’t fly in stormy weather; we all must heartsguard ourselves from nature’s wrath.

Promising in the eleventh hour, God adheres to calm my stormy life. The strength of prayer, I share with Him, the one who holds us so dear. I think about my mother…. I wish you knew I except your apology. My father, who I dearly loved, was robbed of life early, to sit above. Though it’s an early rainy day, I mourn for the times of my early childhood.

Thanking God for what I have, I count my blessings one by one. God never promised my life would be easy. Saddled in worries, this too shall pass. Like thunder and lightning that reigns in hell, I will stand against the evil forces!

Blessed with a love that’s unexplainable, God knows my heart and He listens to my prayers. I look at your youth, as I reflect on the years past, and wonder, why now does He orchestrate our souls to join? There in the morning storms that brew into the night, peace is granted – by only God. Never questioning his plans, and knowing it was meant to be, we walk together hand-in-hand. Sharing the hell, like lightning in a family tree, we both must grow where God leads us.

Praying to God that angels arrive; like asking permission from a mother, we navigate in our spirits and pray the same. Though the rains may linger outside and nourish the flowers, I hold you tight under God’s umbrella. We will succeed and be protected!

When I see your smile, it reminds me of the sun as it peeks out from beyond the storm clouds. Your touch has reached my spirit that, I only, share with God. You’re there. I just thank my Jesus, for sending this love.

Taking the Helm

We wander away, sailing in the moonlight, dreaming our life away…..


Taking the HelmIn the summer moon, a refreshing breeze filters into a romantic evening.  Untying the dock lines, I push us off, as we drift out with the tide. I raise the sails and take the helm; listening to the bow breaking the waves from an approaching boat. A gentle spray catches in the wind and we are reminded that it’s still not summer.

Almost like being born again, our youthfulness is blessed as salt permeates the air. Like Christopher Columbus setting out to explore, we never see where God leads us.  I, for one, don’t care as long as you are here beside me.

The moon’s glow glistens over the ocean while we sail off into its direction. Heaven knows where we are headed, as God leads us out of temptation. We share our dreams as land drifts further away. Marooned, millions of miles from Earth, we forget we are on the ocean. The stars are so close we can reach out and touch them; make a wish before they fall!  The oceans now rest as gentle swells remind me more of Oklahoma. Our sails are luffing as the breeze settles over the sovereign seas; they, too, are waiting on the moon to shine.

I lean over and give you a kiss on your cheek. “Look”! A shooting star magically appears out of nowhere. God is blowing us a kiss as the breeze begins to stir again. A quarter moon is all we see – majestically tinted in a shade of amber. Tacking about, we must head back as reality waits on distant shores. How nice to enjoy a little slice of heaven as we watch the lights twinkle along the beach!

I thank our heavenly Father for our memorable night and the rolling hills of Oklahoma. It takes me back to the summer swells. We wander away, sailing in the moonlight; dreaming our life away; and praying God will watch over us.  Praying, I only ask for His will to be done while we remain ever cognizant of giving God the helm.