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Archive for the ‘life lessons’ Category

There is but one opportunity to live a day. One chance to be treated to moments and precious smiles, giggles from a child over some little thing that tickles the fancy. One moment to give your ear to an aged Veteran who helped secure your future many decades before your birth. A single collection of minutes and hours to be embraced with the presence of members of the greatest generation.
Each smile or thought exchanged is a chance to possibly validate the life of another…be the person who makes that difference. It is your chance to help another to feel worthy. Lend your heart for a second…it will be rewarded in kind or greater…Be well…Matthew…

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 mll walk

When you assemble in the foyer, look into the eyes of everyone you see.

This will be the last time the lot of you will gather…

When you form those lines, know that others have taken the very same steps. Then they went forward and fed and raised you…

When you hear the music and voices of the crowd, embrace it as sweet harmony…like the same sweet sounds that lifted you over the last four years…After tonight, such a chorus will be but echoes and memories…

Entering the auditorium, you will leave behind the glorious freedom of chains that afforded you the room to grow…gave you chances to falter and still recover. Leaving the moment as a lesson learned without bridges being burned.

As you walk to your assigned chair for the night, look around and feel the pride exuded from friend and family there…embrace that kind breeze.

june 10 77

When you sit down and await the songs and salutes, awards and speeches, retirements of staff and handshakes from teachers…treasure every word, each expression and breath…There will never be a moment quite the same…You will have other such grand glimpses, but just one carries the fruit of at least thirteen years in such a cumulative harvest and grand acknowledgement.

This day is unique, and gives way to your leaving the souls gathered there as one.

Take pictures, take pride, take a moment here and there and hold it inside. For they will later at times sustain you, raise and remind you that much is possible, and that you are loved…Sign the yearbooks. Your words will be looked upon and reflected upon and perhaps even clung to over decades at special moments in time.

Inhale this day or evening as it may be…and know that when you walk away, some will move on, others are to be left behind. Some are to prosper and some to perish. But for at least this moment, appreciate the fact that you will never again be this young, nor as filled with possibility and potential…overflowing with dream and vigor.

And while you wait for your row of chairs to rise and journey to the handshake and presentation…bask in the applause, the love from theirs and yours there in the assembled oneness.

Be aware that whether they be your junior, or seniors, all in the crowd will be living through you vicariously, to dream of what will be, or what has been…regardless, for the magical glimpse in your time, you are giving them all a chance to once again, or somewhere down the road, gather and glow as individuals and as one.

diploma

Mark the year, as it will accompany you as no other. Take the time and also give it…place it all in a place of honor…whether it was marked on field or court, behind desk or podium…this is a time like no other…And mostly, give appreciation, share thanks, and immerse yourself in all that surrounds you…This is your time, your day, collectively and as one.

Here are some reflective thoughts I penned some thirty years after I made my walk, gave my speech and held my paper to the sky…For a moment it all returned to me, and again I addressed my class, wherever they may be…

“…I can still hear the echoes down the hallways of that long abandoned school, feel the warmth of your being as we brushed shoulders in a lunch line or rolled eyes at each other in the midst of a boring lecture in some ancient class on even more ancient history. Through the years as I have ventured down as many other halls, sat dutifully at other desks, broke bread with whoever was a part of my days, and toiled at the work put in front of me…And I have felt parts of our years still with me, imagined your faces in a crowd. Longed for the innocence and the unbridled joy that being there with you could bring. While I’ve always lived in the moment, I also find myself clinging to fragments and shreds of tired memories and trinkets of our times together.

Today, I’m here to replenish my supply, to fill my heart and raise my glass to you again before I resume the journey.

When I leave here this time, I will have looked each of you more deeply in the eye, held an embrace longer than in the past, and let your words, your expressions, your collective essence embed a little more meaningfully into my soul…”

award

Tonight I pray that God blesses and accompanies each of you, now and following your moment and this momentous occasion…

Take care with you as you go. And remember, when you walk, walk on air…

Yours, Matthew Lyle Landsman

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It occurs to me…In Oklahoma…during the storm, I can hardly imagine the only storm cellar around, and a soul choosing to remain out in the wind because the owner of the storm shelter voted for Romney…And on the same note, after the winds died down and folks are lifting debris off of trapped souls, and from under the rubble a voice would be unlikely be heard to to say, “if you voted for Obama, just leave me here to die.
And in the months to come, I can hardly imagine a Republican home or business owner refusing help and aid from the federal government, nor would a Democrat citizen turn State or local support away.
Mother nature doesn’t vote along party lines, nor religious denominations, or race, or age or social standing…Mother nature creates a level playing field…a flat, destroyed, tragedy struck playing field.
God bless the good folks in Oklahoma and the entire tornado alley. God help us and bless us all. MLL

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Today there is no rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox, the Knicks and Celtics, the Rangers and Bruins, Jets/Giants and Patriots…For today, and forever more, these two grand cities will be forever linked and sadly have terror and profound loss and pain in common.
For today, there may be a lack of criticism and bickering between our citizens, and less finger pointing by our politicians…For today I will pray to my idea of God, and I will also pray to yours…for tolerance and oneness and a collective embrace…
It was not a mixed up boy that killed in Newtown…or a collection of terrorists that came to prey on us on 9-11, and 4-15 in New York City and Boston…It was Satan himself wearing the shoes and hats of many murky souls…
For today, while we are down on our knees to pick up the pieces, to scrub the bloodstains off of sidewalks and our memories…for today and forever more, let’s pray the Devil gets a one way ticket on a hell-bound subway, and that prayers and serenity fill that void…
For today, and the rest of my days, I shall weep for the loss of serenity and life in kind…Matthew Landsman

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Good friends…like shoes and jeans and plaid shirts…The longer you keep them, the more comfortable they are, the more they grow on you, and even when they are near to the end of their run…you reserve them for weekends, gardening, and over time you mend them, mix them with new ones, and if you’re lucky…they can comfort your kids and friends or family…long after you’re gone…

A good friend is like a dusty piano…even when a piano sits unused and silent, it still has the potential to bring music to your heart and put a song in the air and accompany you…

A good friend is like concrete. A foundation for a life or a dwelling is likely to endure and stand up to weather and adversity much better and much longer than a relationship without substance, or a house built on plain earth that sits susceptible to the elements, not conducive of longevity. Over time, true friendships and concrete foundations are likely to solidify and become sturdier through the years and over decades.

A great friend is like a mighty Douglas fir tree. One can shelter you from sleet and storms…give you material to build a hospitable spiritual or literal abode. And even after the tree or friend has been felled and called back to the life giving earth…the simple memory or remains is kindling and fuel for warmth through fond recollections, or the flames there in your hearth. Whether metaphoric or in your abode…A great fir or great friend never stops giving, even when life has dwindled.

A good friend is a smattering of special songs that sustain and remain and blossom in your heart…whether it’s midnight and moonlight or the advent of a new day at dawn. When the melody lifts you sweetly as the day makes its start. A friend in your soul will accompany you come what may…

A good friend stays with you, prays with you, and will go the distance for you. And they will know by the look in your eye and a subtle hint in your tone that in fact is what they need do…

And a true friend has a long memory to recall the glory, and a short memory to shed the shames…and has a place inside that is safe harbor…but even in a place of refuge, they will tell you what you need to hear, rather than what you wish uttered…

And true friends lean against each other and never let the world know, that if either should shift, the other would fall…and so there is strength even when there is none…

A friend is a gift from God, sent to watch over the other, share in the laughter and sooth the brewing storm. And a friend won’t scoff and scold if you’ve not enough sense to come in from the rain, but will join you because you’ve the strength to endure foul weather while tending to those wandered lambs lost in the elements…and help you guide them to kinder times and warmer surroundings and brighter days.

A friend usually understands, but even when they can’t, they listen and linger for another cup or two…and a friend always watches you till you’ve gone from sight…and then misses you and prays for safe passage and a gentle wind at your back till you return.

And a friend forgives others for having grown old, for needing help to scale the porch or time to just sit and be glad for as many yesterdays…when there are a finite number of tomorrows left to share. And a friend holds your heart in their hands…and it is safe there, as are your secrets and frailties…and then…a friend rescues you, so you can rescue them right back…and the circle though unbroken…is rarely a proper round one, but a precious wandering journey none the less…and a friend seldom looks at the clock when the phone rings, because regardless of the hour, a friend is a friend, is a friend. Amen

Love, Matthew Lyle…son of Gordon and Vimy, which pretty much explains it all.

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I wake up in the wee hours sometimes,

when most of the world is asleep,

and listen to the peace over much of the land.

And I feel the lonely souls,

and smell the un-brewed coffee,

and feel the chill of the untended fires,

and await the dawn that few wait for,

and I listen to all night radio,

and wonder about the isolated souls in hospital rooms.

But then the gentle breeze rises to a howling fury,

and rearranges what can’t hold fast,

accompanies her primal roar

with a chorus of tumbling and skidding chorus there.

So while the tranquility has been shattered…

And taken away the essence of that which matters,

In but an instant…and a siren’s wail fills the night.

Power and the illusion of control are lost at once…

And too, while we sleep, or wish to be,

Much is lost somewhere along the way.

But I know that regardless of the solitude,

I’m never alone, abandoned…

For regardless of what happens around me,

Faith resides, abides, and dwells within…

And cradles me in an a sweet embrace,

till sleep again finds me.

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In This House…

Lives love,

Compassion thrives,

Laughter grows,

Happiness exudes within these walls.

Joy happens within the property lines.

Great food and its glad aromas invite.

Memorable times and motorcycle rides see their beginnings.

Life is treasured, measured, hugged and healed.

Two beautiful, vital, healthy souls call one another best friend here.

The future and prosperity come to fruition.

Two of my best friends make a life together,

And blessings are bestowed and embraced here.

Best of all, Jeff, Emily, and mighty Koda

All live in this house built of wood and plaster,

But it’s a place truly worthy of being called

Home.

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Weekend of October 27, 2012
I traveled back to my youth this weekend…to the Oregon coast, Oregon Highway 30 and US 101.
I drove past the first running track (at Neahkahnie High School in Rockaway Beach Oregon) I attempted to compete on. I’m not sure I even finished that lap. I also passed by a few others…I ran the (then) 440 yard dash. It taught me of life…as it was also called a “gut race”. That first track looks much smaller now than it did then. I have no doubt I could no longer run them at any speed, but if I choose to walk, I could circle them for hours…Life teaches you that…slow but steady. Take your time, be on the ready. The key is being present at the end…and being effective as you journey.

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My little girl looked up at me and said, “I love you daddy. Do you love me back?”

I said, “Do I love you back? I DO love you back…and you front and you sides too!”

She looked up at me with a question in her eyes and said, “What about the top and the bottom? Do you love them too?”

I thought about it for a minute and finally said, “But what happens if you stand on your head, and your top ends up on the bottom, and your bottom winds up on the top? How will I know which end is which? And how will I know how to love your downside up bottom and upside down top ?”

She looked at me with a frown, sighed a heavy sigh and told me, “It doesn’t really matter at all, which side is up and which side is down. The top and the bottom are all still me. Even if you turn them upside down or downside up. No matter which way they are pointing, they are still me to love.”

I thought really hard…and then I got all confused and had to ask, “But what about your favorite cup? If I turn the top to the bottom, and the bottom to the top, then there are just sides and a bottom, but there is no top. And then there is no inside to fill up. I just don’t understand. Then is it still really a cup? If there is no place to put milk, or water, or juice to drink up?

My girl thought for a bit and finally said, “Even if my favorite cup is just a bottom without a top…there is still a place for the drink to be…but now it is just underneath, can’t you see?

I told her, “Kinda…I kinda can see.”

My little girl just smiled…and she said to me, “You know about my feet and you know about my head. You still know what they are even if my feet point to the up and my head points to the down. EVEN if my pointing down face gets red, you can still see my nose and my eyes and the other parts of my head. All my parts are still there for you to love. And my heart is always right there where it should be, and it always belongs to you… You are still you, and I am still me. Please always remember what I just said. I’m still me no matter which way you see. ”

And I thought and I fought to remember what she had just said. And I was afraid I might have forgot…but just to be sure, I asked her this to help me remember what I was afraid I had not.

I said, “So even if the lights go off or we’re outside in the dark, and I can’t see your back or your front, or your bottom and your top? Even if I can’t see your eyes and your nose and your ears and the other parts? And if I’m not really sure if all the parts are still in the right places, are all of the things I cannot see, still your back, front, top, bottom, and face? Even if my eyes don’t see, are you still you and am I still me?”

She was quiet for a while, because she knew I had to have a minute before I could see the parts about all of this inside the thinking place in me…And then she looked up again, and asked if I could kneel down so I could see her better, and she could better see me…and she told me to “listen real good cause this is the way things are and the way things always will be…”

She put one hand on each side of my cheeks, and looked into my eyes and said to me;

“Pay close attention, cause this is the last time I’m going to mention…That even if I’m in another place where you can’t see me, it won’t really matter if you can’t see my back or my top or my face or my feet…Even if my bottom is on top, or my top is on the bottom…You’ll still be you and I’ll still be me…and you can still love what you cannot see. That is the way it always was, and always will be. So now you know that I will always love you and you can always love me.”

And then I told her, “I would always remember what she had just said, but now I was tired, so it was time for her to go to bed.”

Then my little girl looked at me with a frown, but then she winked and turned the frown down side up to be a smile and said, “I’m tired too from untangling things in your upside down head, so good night mixed up man. I love you back, and you front and you bottom and top too. Good night to all of you daddy, I’m going to bed.”

I told her, “I kinda already knew what she had just said, cause girls love their daddies, and daddies love their girls. That is the way it always was and always will be.”

My little girl is really smart. Smart as can be.

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I know a quilter. When there is a rough patch in the life of a friend, she fashions a handmade quilt with colors and patterns befitting of the soul in need of comfort and a safe place to wrap up and mend whatever ails them.

She is selfless and dedicates time best spent on sleep and other life callings, but regardless…the quilts are created, lives are made to be filled with the things conducive to peace of mind, healing, and a general feeling of being embraced and cradled with love…

A couple years ago, she prepared one such quilt for a dear friend of both of us who was fighting the good fight, and eventually received his reward at an age much too young. He did in fact sleep under this quilt until the end…

Safe harbor from life’s storms …in our school colors.

I wrote this piece to introduce him to the gift from her…

This quilt…

This quilt is a river, it is a song. Every stitch is a ripple, a line that soothes your soul. This quilt is a memory within every square…a moment in time when you need us there. The colors are smiles and laughter…midnights and dawn. This quilt is a promise, a wish, and prayer.

There ought not be a time when you feel abandoned…the proof of love from your friends is folded right there…and when you perhaps need a little more, lay it over your needs, your questions…and fears…

There is love in every stitch, a moment in time can be found in the patches…This is meant to close in the miles, draw together the years…to shelter you from the gathering clouds if a storm should be near.

This quilt is a comfort when you might need refuge from any doubt…it is a place where your friends gather and keep you close, keep you safe, and keep you warm.

This is a buffer for you come chills of winter or trials of life…like the presence of family or friend from the descending of night to the approach of morn…

This quilt is a river like the one near which you grew…This quilt is a song to keep in your heart, so you know God is on vigil watching over you. In the dead of winter, or the long days of summer…be it for warmth or a picnic on the ground…keep it near to you, to keep us near to you…and remember…This quilt is yours to keep always…as is the silence of your forest, the flow of that river…and the love of your friends…Keep it nearby…and be assured our bond is without end..     M&B

Whether you make home on a mountain or the flats by the sea, there is a patchwork of reassurance and comfort there folded and ready to bring a hug from afar, no matter where you are…

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