Slow Learner

I’ve learned a few things in this New Year, important things that will help me.

Death is NOT negotiable, so when it is accepted, life is lived daily and enjoyed rather then living in the fear.

That is fact. So, if you truly believe in another go around, what ever it is, then accept life and the fact that God is more powerful than you.

After all, it took 30 and half years for me to finally learn to deal with my fear of death. Thirty plus years of the answer to living happily and enjoying life and no one said it but, they did say it.

Several times a week, during my first years of recovery from alcoholism, then at least once a week in recent years, the answer, ACCEPTANCE, was mentioned or at times the topic of acceptance was discussed. 

It just never hit home until now.

There have been times when I was expected to die, but I didn’t. It still didn’t dawn on me.

Five bi-pass heart surgeries left me hurting so badly I cried. And, for the longest time I slept half sitting up on a chaise lounge.

An incurable non contagious, event with Central Nervous System Vasculitis was my next stop. A disease that will kill me, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that.

Oh, and I had a broken neck that was fixed in four hours of surgery without, my choice, a catheter . . .but that’s another story.

And believe it or not, I’m grateful. . .very grateful for all that God and life has given me.

Death is NOT negotiable, so when it is accepted, life is lived daily and enjoyed rather then living in the fear.

That is fact. So, if you truly believe in another go around, what ever it is, then accept life and the fact that God is more powerful than you.

RELAX AND ENJOY THIS WONDERFUL GIFT.

 * * *

Written January 8th 2018

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Impending Doom

        Impending doom crept into my being when I was very young. The fact is, probably when I was born and as I grew bigger, it grew worse all the way into adulthood.  It has caused a terrific amount of pain and I’ve lost many hours to it. I’ve said numerous times, this has got to stop but the demon did not stop.

It came from my mother, who was born to an unwed woman in 1908 and was raised in several foster homes. Never knowing her mother or father she searched for years trying to locate them and the parental love she never got.

Her tragedy was my reward and my terrible demon.

My reward?  My Mothers lack of parents helped her become a loving mother. The demon was that my mother was a control freak.

She always feared something bad had happened if I were just minutes late.She had to control absolutely everything.

As a result, all of my life, I also feared something bad had happened to my kids if I didn’t hear from them regularly.

That fear would cause worry and my imagination would run always to the negative, to the worst happenings and then I would obsess on that fear.

Impending doom stole hours of peace and replaced that with worry. I recall one time my mother was supposed to be home at a certain time and she didn’t show up. I was probably 10 years old at the time.

When she came home, it seemed like she was an hour late when in reality it was probably twenty minutes. I freaked out and started yelling and crying. I told her all the bad things I had been thinking and imagined and she told me not to worry because she was home, safe and sound. I can’t recall if she apologized or if my first session with impending doom caused her to think about her problem with the gloom of doom or not. The impending doom didn’t end. . .it grew.

I joined the army in an effort to get away from the doom. I didn’t get away from it. I married and was father to three children. The doom grew stronger and seemed to affect my daughter most of all, probably because I raised her from the time she was six years-old.

I struggle with the feeling, the belief, that life is always going to end in doom until I realize that only I can change that.

I, with the help of God.

 * * *

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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The Fury of the Sea, Friends in the Mountains

Petalidi, Greece, September

          The usual hypnotic rhythm of the sea is far from a gentle lullaby this morning. The rains came last evening, followed by heavy seas.

          Slowly at first, deceptively, the dance began. By twilight, the sea became more and more frenzied.  Sometime before midnight, the fury of the wild sea snapped the metal bracket and 1-inch-thick rope holding the jet boat to it’s mooring.  Like a toy, the sea threw the sleek yellow racing hull into the waiting rocks of the cliff.

             Somewhere out there, beyond the horizon, perhaps near Africa, deep in the bowels the Mediterranean Sea it had occurred.  Perhaps an earthquake. The earth rumbled and shook under the sea, stirring it like an over filled bathtub. As if suffering from a huge stomachache, the sea belched with a tremendous force that set forth a fury that knew no boundaries.

Just after midnight, I’d searched in the darkness for the brightness of the yellow boat. In minutes, I discovered her, capsized and trapped against the jagged rocks, each wave thrashing, battering, tearing at the body of the $22,000 ski boat.

          At dawn I find her more torn and battered. Like a fishing bobber, perhaps 10 feet from her body, a large chunk of her topside bounces up and down in the water

          By 7 a.m., under dark clouds, she’s gone.

          The scene on the beach is a frightening one. It’s as if an airliner had crashed at sea and debris washed ashore. Life preservers float aimlessly in a large tide pool. Chunks of fiber glass, foam padding, and the skeleton from one of the four seats are scattered across the wet sand.  Helplessness comes over me standing there, as the rhythm of the sea continues, a song that never ceases.

          The sun begins to warm the coast, and, as the salty mist start to lift, so does my mood, as I recall the afternoon before.

          I’d driven south from the villa. Rolling along the narrow road, passing through a village, I spotted a side road almost hidden between two ancient buildings.  Looking like a road less traveled I took it, and started a climb that led into the clouds and to the top of a mountain in the southern most part of Peloponnese, Greece.

         Entering a village not on any map, I’d come upon ancient houses made of stone and mud lining each side of a narrow road, a road wide enough for only one car. I turn a corner and I am in front of the only store in the village. An old woman sits on a rickety chair in front of the door.

         A huge grapevine covers the one story building. A trunk as thick as a big mans thigh grows up the side of the store. The vines cover the roof almost hiding the Coca-Cola sign. Big, deep purple bunches of grapes hang above our heads.

          “Kalispera,” (Good evening) I say and smile.

          “Kalispera,” she replies matching my smile.

           Inside, I reach into a cooler and take a coke, then notice another woman, a smaller woman, standing behind an ancient cooler in the back of the single room. Behind her lined up on a shelf are dust-covered bottles of Ouzo and other spirits.

          “Yassus,” I say. She answers with the same hello.

          The coke and a bottle of water is 90 cents.

          She follows me outside to where the other woman has now been joined by an old man with a cane. The woman gestures to an empty chair and I sit. I drink, she smiles, and the storeowner comes out and says something. She too smiles.  I smile back.

          I point to the grapes above and give them thumbs up sign, they all respond with something said in Greek and more smiles. We are communicating.

          I grab my digital camera and take a picture of the three. In seconds, I show it to them. As the picture fades in, the brightest smiles appear on all three and their smiles light the darkness of the overcast day.

             They are amazed. They are delighted. We have become friends.

 * * *

 Jerry writes on personal growth, happiness and life, including lowering stress in the work world. His book “Life is a Joke and God Wrote it” can be ordered through www.jerrystanecki.com

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Don’t Invite Trouble

Daisy Mae was curled up asleep at the foot of the green easy chair that sits in my living room. But just minutes before she was running away from my squirt gun. I shot in her direction in an effort to teach this cat not to run into the garage.

Watching her sleep apparently without fear, without any concern about dashing into the garage, with no worry about getting squirted, made me wonder if. . .

If humans can learn to do something one minute and then completely shift to being relaxed without worry the next minute.

Maybe you’ll never be like Daisy Mae but you sure can rid yourself of anxiety, fear and worry.

How?

By the way and what you think.

Learn from Daisy Mae don’t think too much and when something bad happens stop thinking about the bad and start thinking about good.

Shift your thought from the negative to the positive.

Simply choose to.

When I do the best I can do at a job, I can chose to relax and do what I want to do.

My trouble is my brain. Thinking too much about doing the best that I can do. Was that THE BEST or can I do better?

I tend to let my brain run wild. Sometimes, I think too much. . .and I get in emotional trouble. My life becomes worrisome, anxiety rises, and I find fear growing faster than a weed.

I’ve learned that most of the time, I amplify to the hills the negative of what’s happening.

My negativity usually is a hell of a lot worse than what’s really happening.

That is. . .until. . .I chose to think differently and replace the negative with positive thoughts,

I don’t know if Daisy Mae does this or not, but I can. . .then I can become Daisy Mae, in trouble one minute, relaxed the next.

Can you do it?

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©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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The Secret: Enjoy the journey and have faith

            “I feel sorry for people who can’t cry,” Verdie  McGee said over the phone from 800 miles away. “I really think crying makes you live longer.”

            Verdie is living proof.  She’s one of the best criers I know, and I’ve known her 35 years.

            Verdie Dempsey McGee, my former mother-in-law, is  telling me how she is struggling with the demons of (feeling) down.

            “ I thought I was over with those feelings, but every time I think of mother and daddy, I get sad. I woke up this morning and said I wasn’t  gonna’ cry. . .but I did. I laid there and had a big cry.”

            Verdie sounded like she might cry right then.

            “I’ll bet your felt better after,” I said.

            “I did.”

            The conversation switched to talk of what wonderful experiences Verdie’s life has brought. She talked of childhood in the mountains of North Georgia, when the Buttermilk Road was just a dirt passage that wagons and horses rumbled over. She told me of the time she first saw her first automobile— probably from one of “them” big cities nearby like, Cedartown or Rome, Georgia. And the time, on a bright sunny day, she stood there with her brothers and sisters as an “aeroplane” landed right there in front of them in the cotton fields. The pilot offering $2 rides to anyone brave and adventurous to go.

            Verdie talked of her teen years and Saturday night dances in Cave Spring, Ga., still a tiny town today. We talked of the days before radio and television and the marvel of those inventions that brought glorious sound and sight.

             She reminisced with stories of honeysuckle vines and springtime, of whippoorwills calling at night and thoughts of the great country singer Hank William’s being, “so lonesome he could cry.”

            She’s weathered tornadoes and the creek arisin’ and watched men fight world wars and men walk on the moon. In her lifetime, she’s seen more U.S.  President then she have fingers.

            It’s been rich, exciting life for this woman who still lives on the Buttermilk Road in the shadow of bald mountain and Pea Ridge.

            Amazingly, most of  Verdie’s  brothers and sisters are still alive, still livin’ within a stones throw—which is pretty close, ‘cause Verdie ain’t pitchin so hard anymore.

            One of the bad times in Verdie’s life was when doctors told her she had six months  “at best” to live. Lets see—that was about three years ago.  We talked about that prediction recently. “The doctor who told you that is probably dead, ” I said, and Verdie laughed hard.

            “I’ll be there for your 90th birthday and we’ll dance,” I told her.

             But, plans change, and I couldn’t make it to the Buttermilk Road.  I felt poorly about not making the celebration.  A big party was planned.

            When I called to say I’d be down in a few weeks Verdie was sleeping. Carolyn, my former wife, said she’d told her mom I couldn’t make it.

            “Mother says anytime you want to come is fine with her— if she is living.”

            That sounds like Verdie.

            Actually, it wouldn’t have done any good if I could have gone to Georgia because Verdie’s not there. She and Carolyn jumped in the car and drove 700 miles to Fort Lauderdale to visit my daughter Annie, sit by the sea and celebrate Verdie’s 90th birthday.

            Happy Birthday Verdie.*

*Editors note: This is a column Jerry wrote in 1999. Verdie McGee passed at age 91.

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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Dear John…

Dear John,

It’s been a lot of years since we’ve seen each other so I thought I’d write.

The last time I saw you was at your home in Milwaukee. Your wife was there, but your daughter wasn’t.

You looked rough and told me about the job you were working. It was a physical job cutting metal, and you worked using your hands a lot.

I felt badly because I was making a lot more than you by using my brain and mouth.

Today, I’m retired working on my 2nd book, still kinda liberal although I’m not a Democrat or Republican and think pretty much all of the “peoples?” representatives are full of shit,

Come to think of it, you sounded very Republican. But, I forgave you.

2.

John, when we were young boys, and were seeing each other daily, besides being in love with your sister, I pretty much saw you as a hero.

In fact, when you quit Sacred Heart School to go to Immaculate Conception so you could play football, I did the same.

I wanted to be where you were and wanted to play football. . .all 65 pounds of me. I did play football, badly compared to you, but I got to hang around with you. yes, I was pretty fearless in those days. But today is a different story.

I’m afraid of death. . .mine, maybe you can help me out with that fear since you died a couple years ago.

Warmest regards,

Jerry Stanecki

PS. If I get a response from you, I think I’ll die. (Not literally, I hope)

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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A Gift to Start Your Day

      I walked out the front door this morning; it was a few minutes after five.  Instantly, the force struck me. It was absolute, complete and total silence.  So quiet, it was actually deafening.   It was incredible.

      Never before. . . ever. . .have I experienced silence like this?  It was almost like a scene from a science fiction movie. That’s it. . .it was eerie.

       There was nothing. No distant hum of traffic, no birds, no wind, nothing.   It was magnificence and a little scary.

       This is the city, for God’s sake, I thought.  There has to be noise. Any noise. Some noise. There was none.

      Even though it’s a Saturday morning, it can’t be this quiet, I thought.

     I’d been in the desert, hundreds of miles from any town, any human and still, there had been noise.

     I’d been alone 10,000 feet high in the mountains on the great continental divide, and still there was noise.

     Now, in my front yard, in the clear cool dawn nothing.

     I looked up and was instantly humbled.

      The heavens were crystal clear and filled with tens of millions of lights. . . souls that had walked this way before, souls who wait to walk this way once more.

     I stood there in absolute awe, for this was one of the rarest moments of life.  You could feel the power, the energy of the stillness, of the total silence.  So thick it was almost suffocating. It was incredible.

     I stood there for five minutes—- I swear, five minute in the darkness—- in awe.

     There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of energy could never be created by mere man. I felt faith.

     I looked to the west and saw the Big Dipper. I looked to the north and thought, it’s always darkest before the dawn.   I turned to the east and saw a promise, a soft pink glow on the horizon. I felt hope.

     Suddenly, in the distance, softy, ever so softy, I heard; “coo coo coo “ and though I could not see it, I knew it was a beautiful morning dove.

     The bird of peace, I thought as I walked to the house. What a wonderful gift to start the day.

*

©Stanecki 2018

If you enjoy reading this blog please tell your friends and everybody else about this blog.

Thanks, Jerry

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