Imagining what if?

Buenos días de Bloomsburg,,

Mientras yo estaba esperando que las cosas podrían calmarse un poco cuando el semestre terminado, el primer mes del verano se ha hecho nada, pero asentarse. De hecho, de alguna manera las cosas se han acelerado. La semana pasada ha sido una pesadilla tecnológica y esto ha tomado una semana entera para regresar a normal. Perdí tanto computadora como el acceso telefónico, entonces fui más o menos pegado. Asombroso como dependiente estamos en nuestra tecnología. Esta mañana desperté hasta un agujero de gas en la casa entonces yo tenía UGI para manejar esto antes de que yo pudiera hacer algo. Tengo mucho quiero hacer este fin de semana, pero soy literalmente una semana detrás en una clase de una 5 semana, entonces espero a ver lo que ellos harán y si ellos permitirán que yo siga. También quiero hacer un poco de trabajo alrededor de la casa principalmente en la limpieza del exterior y haciendo tan pequeño repintar después del invierno largo. Ha sido un poco loco y hay tanto también en el horizonte. Okay, this took some time and I think I will return to English. but this was good work. The following is a translation of what is above. While I was hoping things would calm down a bit when the semester ended, the first month of summer has been anything but settled. In fact, in some ways things have accelerated. The past week has been a technological nightmare and it has taken an entire week to get back to normal. I lost both computer and phone access, so I was pretty much stuck. Amazing how dependent we are on our technology. This morning I woke up to a gas leak at the house so I had UGI out to manage that before I could do anything. I have a lot I want to do this weekend, but I am literally a week behind in a 5 week class, so I am waiting to see what they will do and whether they will allow me to continue. I also want to do some work around the house primarily in cleaning the outside and doing so small repainting after the long winter. It has been a bit crazy and there is so much also on the horizon.

As I am finishing up the things in Wisconsin, I am forced to see how much my life has been changed because of a little character. She was a force and she told me from time to time that she would make sure I was okay. I told her the last days I saw her how blessed I was and how much she had changed my life. I do not think I can put into words how much she has changed what I expected in my life. As I have been working on the last pieces of what she set up, I am realizing the reality of what she has done. It is really amazing what she and many in her generation did. I wonder what a different world, a better world, in my opinion. They planned (and I know she is extraordinary in some ways); they saved and they invested and thought about later. It is because of that she and George accomplished what they did. I think even my parents did the same, but somehow, they did not instill in me the focus to do the same. I think there were times in my life where I worked to do so, but I was not consistent. That is probably one of my worst maladies. I need to be disciplined all of the time not just in fits and starts. It is not the easiest to be honest with your own failings, but it is essential if you are going to change them. It is always amazing to me that in spite of my successes, and there have been some important ones, I have a tendency to focus on the things I have not accomplished or the things that have somehow been outside the realm of what I would call successful. I have had one of those weeks. When I look around, I am not feeling unfortunate, nor am I even feeling unblessed, but I am feeling like I could have done so much more. More likely that I should have done so much more. What is the more? you might ask . . . perhaps it is because I feel I failed as a husband, twice. Perhaps it is because as we approach Father’s Day, it is because I never had a child of my own . . . and I know there are other ways to be a father and I feel I have done some of that. Perhaps it is because I am trying to figure out my purpose or I am trying to understand why some of the things that have happened in my three score years of life do not make that much sense to me. I understand that it is not always about making sense, but those of you know me, know I have to always figure out the “why” of something. I know that I began life with the deck stacked against me in terms of my health, and even because of those who brought me into the world, but, as I have also noted, I have been given many opportunities and helped by many people; not because I deserved help, but rather because of the graciousness of so many people.

So what is it that I am lamenting? What is it that I wished I had that I did not? Is it merely my humanness coming out and wishing that I had the things I do not? I wish it were that easy to pinpoint. I think it is something deeper. It is that sort of melancholy that seems to invade me from time to time and causes me to wish for more. It is not more stuff or more money or more success. I have too much stuff; I am blessed with certainly enough money; and as noted, I have been successful at some pretty amazing things. I am respected (generally); I enjoy what I do every day; and I have more than what I might have ever imagined. Still there is this longing for something else. There is this wish I think that I wish I had something else or someone else. I am really not sure which it is. I am often content to be in my house by myself and I have grown more introverted as I have aged. I have this sort of vagabond nature that makes it hard for me to be involved with people beyond a certain level or degree. While I am terrifically open on some fronts, I am tremendously cautious on others. It is sort of a oxymoronic way to manage things. In someways it is a sort of rhetoric of misdirection, which is the basis of my dissertation. I do not think I ever put that together until just this instance. I used to be much more comfortable in a crowd and with others than I am now. I used to be more self assured (perhaps then it was foolish to be so), but now it seems I am always wondering the “what if?” While I know quite well what caused my marriages to fail, and I know my part in those failures, there is a part of me that wishes I had not failed. That is a rather ridiculous wish, but it is there nonetheless. Then on the other hand, I have little reason that I would want to return to either person, and this is not to impugn their character because both persons have a number of very positive things and I was certainly part of the problem (they might argue the main part). It is interesting what I have learned in the time I have been single again. I am pretty sure that my first wife and I should not have gotten married. We were good friends and I think we knew each other pretty well. What I realize now is that we did not have the foundation that was needed to create a strong marriage. We had some of the things, but perhaps not the most important thing, or more accurately, I did not. I should not speak for her, but I am not sure now that I really loved her. I loved the thought of being married I think more than the person. That is my mistake, and it was a big one. In the case of my second marriage, I did love her, and, in fact, probably always will to some degree or in some way. There were other issues, on both sides.

In the fifteen years since, I have met a couple of people that I have appreciated and admired, cared for and wondered again, “what if?” Yet, I have not been as close as I probably needed to be though I did once think there was a possibility. I am still reminded of my former counselor’s admonishment at one point. He said, “Michael, if you are interested in someone, you should probably run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.” Not a stellar recommendation for any sort of future relationship. There are things I have learned or been forced to realize about myself. While I think I have moderated some of those tendencies, there is always the fear of falling into that particular pattern. There is so much that can be said about how relationships are managed (and I know that term itself will raise eyebrows), but when we are older, any person we are willing to spend any length of time with is a potential mate, if you will. There is the first question of whether or not I want to even go down that road again. It will take someone extraordinary. And then, lately, I have worried that I am going to end up like my Uncle Clare. I will be the person that people invite over for the holidays because they do not want you to be alone. I will be the Norman Thayer of On Golden Pond that I have always threatened to be. What will I be is not something that I question as much as what or who am I now? Who have I become? I think I am a good professor; I think I am a loyal friend; I think I am a caring and giving person. I am reminded that way back when I was doing my Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE), I was told for the first time that I needed to develop a sense of humor and take things less seriously. At that time, I was working through a lot of things with my adoptive family and some of the many things that I have noted in my earlier blogs (especially last summer). I am not sure I was in the best place. Now in many ways, I am in a much better place, albeit a place that I could have never imagined or predicted. I have so many positive things. Maybe I just need to relax and be content. I wish I knew what that meant. I wish I could let things go and not worry about the next thing I still have to do. Somehow, I need to learn to let go.

What if I did? What might it be like? What I know is that overall, I cannot complain, and I should not. What I know overall is that I have been blessed and gifted in so many ways. For those reasons again, I cannot complain and I should not. What I know is that I have amazing friends, colleagues, and family, although most are far away. For those reasons I cannot complain and should not. Can I talk myself out of my lament? Perhaps . . . perhaps it is merely my own personal propensity for melancholy. Perhaps I am more a Dane than a Norwegian. Perhaps I need to read Soren Kirkegaard once again.  We’ll see.

Thanks for reading.



Published by thewritingprofessor55

As I move toward the end of a teaching career in the academy, I find myself questioning the value and worth of so many things in our changing world. My blog is the place I am able to ponder, question, and share my thoughts about a variety of topics. It is the place I make sense of our sometimes senseless world. I believe in a caring and compassionate creator, but struggle to know how to be faithful to the same. I hope you find what is shared here something that might resonate with you and give you hope.

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