Wednesday, May 26, 2010
"HAS THE BEER ALWAYS BEEN THIS COLD"
Yesterday was my first day of not being a business owner. It didn't feel much different, but it did allow me time to reflect on how my own life and house have been neglected. Keeping the three bed and breakfasts in top notch shape left my home wanting. Wanting the garage cleaned, wanting the bar fridge fixed, wanting the Oriental carpet in the living room cleaned, wanting closets decluttered, faucets replaced, weeds pulled and the typical woman thing...moving the furniture all over the place and ultimately returning it to the same place it was originally!
But in the midst of this realization came a different reality. Does it really matter? Sure we want our lives all neat and tidy and predictible, and arranged to our liking, but is that necessary to enjoy the journey? Is it necessary to put crystal paperweights on all the piles of paperwork that need attention or does that simply make them prettier to look at?
Maybe we are focusing on the wrong things. Maybe the things that need our attention are much more important than tidying up our lives, which we all know deep down inside really can't be done. My garage is brim full of remnants of bed and breakfasts just sold, 'stuff' stuffed where there is no where else to put it, boxes of tax documents that must be kept, paint cans, boxes of 'this and that' unlabled and unnecessary, and then there are the bags and boxes of supplies to send to our deployed military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Donated toys bound for our troops for humanitarian aid, baby wipes. Hundreds of tubes of toothpaste line the walls of the garage, making access to my car nearly impossible. But these are the things of vast importance. These are the things that make a difference. Yes, it would be nice to have a tidy garage and life, but in the vast scheme of things is this important?
A soldier called me yesterday from Albuquerque to ask my help on something. He has severe PTSD and TBI. Jim can't remember how to tie his shoes or what he had for breakfast twenty minutes earlier, but what he does know is that his responsibility and obligation and dedication to his Army buddies is still, and always will be, paramount. He wants to form an organization to provide service dogs to those returning from harm's way and wants my help. I wonder if he will remember he called me.
His garage of boxes of horror stories of 911 and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom is a mess, but he knows what is important. None of us are going to care in a hundred years if the garages of our lives are tidy, but people will remember us for what we did for them and how we made them feel. Perhaps putting own frivolous wants and needs in the background and focusing on the good we can do others is what it is all about.
I just opened an email from a Marine who just returned home from an undisclosed 'outpost.' He wrote me to tell me he was safe and that he was back 'home.' Perhaps this home is not neat and tidy and the garage is a mess but he is home. Perhaps we don't realize that those things that matter are those things that need our attention. My Marine does. He ended his email to me with seven words that summed it all up, "Has the beer always been this cold?"
Perhaps he has the answer. Consider, everything we are searching for is right under our noses and has been all along. We all have the ability to make a difference, to change a life, to do the right thing. Perhaps we don't realize how blessed we truly are. Blessed because young men and women leave home to fight so that we have a choice to clean our garages, our messes, or not.
Today I honor them, their courage, their integrity, their strength and their love of country. Today I say thank you and Godspeed!