What do you do when you need to regroup or hit the reset button? Sometimes my schedule gets crowded with too many things. Yesterday was one of those days when I had the thought that I was on a runaway mine train. Actually, I remember the runaway mine train from the first time I went to Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. The year was 1968.
Actually the ride was something just short of a roller coaster, but it careened in and out of places including tunnels and a water feature that I found enjoyable and something other than the routine or ordinary. Hey, I was just a kid from West Texas and I didn’t have that much experience with roller coasters; however, I liked the sense of adventure and the lack of predictability in not knowing what was around the next turn.
I said I was a kid. At the time I thought I was an adult who had a good sense of all I needed to know to negotiate life and be successful. Shall we say: “I simply didn’t have the maturity level to even begin knowing what I didn’t know?”
Treva and I were newlyweds and we were at Six Flags Over Texas on our honeymoon. We were as poor as church mice and having the time of our lives. At least I was. It never occurred to me that Treva wouldn’t find the runaway mine train as enjoyable as I did. After all, who wouldn’t like something that resembled a quasi-rollercoaster?
Maybe that or something similar is where the expression “different strokes for different folks” originated. One man’s experience doesn’t necessarily duplicate that of another even when they are at the same place at the same time. Trust me, my perception of the runaway mine train differed fairly substantiality from Treva’s perception. It is hard to believe, but she really doesn’t enjoy those kinds of rides. She doesn’t have the sense of felt safety during the experience.
Several years later, we returned to Six Flags and discovered a real roller coaster. I couldn’t have been more elated. Of course, I was trustworthy and convincing. I promised Treva that she’d enjoy the ride as much as I would. This was going to be great!
They say a man is only as good as his word. By the time we emerged from the roller coaster, to say that I was “no good” would only be edging her experience of reality. I say this tongue-in-cheek, but it may have been the first time in her life that the General wanted to kill me. To say that I was not in her good graces is an understatement. Actually, I felt really badly that she felt so badly. With the exception of the fact that she was terrified and in tears, the ride had the potential to be exhilarating. You can take me at my word when I tell you it was the last roller coaster the General has ridden. Bottom line, that kind of experience is not for her.
When I referenced earlier that yesterday was one of those days when I had the thought that I was on a runaway mine train, my perception of the experience wasn’t all that favorable. Bottom line: “I was tired”. For weeks I’ve gone 90 miles an hour and filled every waking hour with some kind of activity. For example, I left for church at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday morning and I didn’t return to the house until 9:30 p.m. It was a full day. All of my days are full days. Full and overflowing is normally how I like to roll, but sometimes you need to carve out time to do nothing.
When I left the office yesterday, I felt exhausted. I stopped at Sonic, purchased a large cup of ice and I was good to go. It is impossible to be asleep at the wheel when you are munching on ice. The commute time was just under two hours. I was tired.
A couple of things took place before I got home and I found them amazingly energizing. For one thing, my son telephoned me while he was making his commute home from work. He always has “kid stories” to share with me and he was upbeat and positive about everything taking place in his world. He absolutely loves life.
After our conversation, I had the sense that I am a very fortunate man. I have regular contact with both of my children. Despite what could be reality, neither of my kids thinks of me as a grouchy old man. Actually, the General doesn’t think of me as a grouchy old man either. She just thinks of me as an old man. I know, I know: “It is what it is.”
As I neared the outskirts of Henly, I opted to stop by and visit briefly with a man who is at death’s door. Actually, until his illness, we had never met. As it turns out, we’ve connected. I can truthfully say that over the past couple or three months, we’ve become good friends and I am grateful for the experience. I sense he is as well. In terms of things that are important, the twenty minutes we shared yesterday were important for both of us.
When I got in from work, the General and I took the time to sit on the sun porch and just talk. I can’t think of a better spot in our home to regroup or to hit the reset button. By the end of the day, I was at a place of complete calm. I once again felt energized and at peace. The runaway mine train was once again a venue of enjoyment and predictability rather than the cause for concern and alarm. I felt safe.
I even went to bed early last night. I didn’t opt to chronicle my thoughts until this morning. I am grateful for the beginning of a new day. I feel alive and refreshed. My world is good and I am grateful.
All My Best!