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Having a second cup of coffee. Every day I go to a news page here on my PC, and every day I fully expect to read a news report of another major tragedy here in our country. I’m never surprised when I do see it. I am always grateful when I don’t.
But this morning the headlines made me sick, made me weep, made me angry, made me afraid, made me sad, made me search for strength, for faith, for answers. At this moment I’m looking to the heavens for the solace I need.
My thoughts first went to my own son, a gay man with a healthy long term relationship with a wonderful man. I also recalled the moment decades ago when my son shared his sexuality with me. Among other concerns I shared with him at that moment over fifteen years ago, was the possibility of him one day becoming the victim of a “hate crime”, was, and is still a very real and lingering concern of this daddy. (that’s what he still calls me to this day).
I am a man of much faith, diversity, empathy, acceptance, and love for life. Today I have just two words to encompass this sad moment in Florida, which is fast becoming a sad metaphor for what is infecting our nation and world…Tears, and sigh.
A very heavy sigh.
Momma in heaven, if you can pull any ethereal strings, please put in a strong and good word for us. God help us all. Love, Matty

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My liddul sisters. They showed up as a pair/team in an Alberta spring. A good gesture by God to give Gordy and Vimy TWO girls after having gifted them four boys in a row.

I’ve come to know over the decades just how special the girls were to our Dad as he held them close, protected them, and held them to very high standards to be “ladies” and leave a good impression. I know too that our Grandpa Norman had a special place in his heart for this bundle of girls who’d arrived at once.

I can’t remember clearly how I felt about the girlie addition to our brood, but photos and stories tell me I was good with it. I was just a year and a half old when they came to us. I know I was too young for my older brothers to much care about their scrub sibling being in tow and a pest…so I imagine I made the girls my own charge and welcomed them.

And Momma had her hands full, and I know she doted over them, gathered matching outfits, did like hairdos, and spread her love evenly to these very similar, yet very different little souls. They had after all, arrived soon after Easter and in the time of renewal and thaw in our city to the north.

At the same time, I became a big brudder for the first time. I began being a young version of who I am today. If I’m ever told I’m a good man, a good brother, a protector, a soft place to land…then I have the addition of my liddul sisters to credit for those qualities. I won’t say I was always an exemplary big brother, but during the teen years, few people are exemplary of anything.

Over the years, I think I may have been a bit inept and unaware of the place of esteem Lynn and Lori held me in their lives. But I too believe that realizing this in retrospect and sharing as much should hopefully make up for prior digressions. Today, we are fondly known as “the unit”, three of us in arms against the perils and tragedies of life, and in celebration of the joys and well-earned validations. We are a tripod together, leaning on one another to give the impression of strength where there may be little or none at times. And if one should begin to falter, the other two stand fast and help faith to be maintained…After all, faith is believing in something that can’t be seen. Support and undying dedication is one such thing in life, and we possess it in bushels for each other, come what may.

My sisters rarely need ponder what to do when life calls to them. They simply do the right thing and most Godly without hesitation, and consider themselves later. When deliberating a calling to community good, they somehow fit in the needed efforts in on top of their already full plates. Dedication is not just an option, it is a humble call to duty and a thing of honor to be answered to and gifted to those near and far.

My sisters are sentimental, proud of those who came before, and grateful for all their sacrifices. They are kind, compromising, aware, and a grade above so many…They are in fact, the loving product of Gordy and Vimy in the sense of not charity, but in doing what is right, fair, and good. In the heavens above, our Momma could not be more proud, and likely is adding to her brag book there and sharing regular updates with the celestial gatherings there.

My younger twin sisters harbor a bounty of empathy for one another. I think they would do just fine if each had only the other to turn to, but I am fortunate they allow me into the fold and I have exclusive membership in the benefits of our little trio.

That I am proud of Lori and Lynn should go without saying. That I never cease to be amazed by their strengths and compassion is yet another wonder. I marvel at their pursuit of self-betterment to let them better serve and support their beckoning causes and life’s duties. In this aspect, they emulate our Momma and Daddy to a tee. “Whatever it takes” is the common the theme.

I’ve rambled on quite enough I think. And yet have hardly scratched the surface. I need to touch on their amazing parenting, their blind charities, and extended family with no ties of blood, but huge joining bows and holding fast of heart strings of those in need of family ties where others have failed them. My sisters are able of forgiving, of the essence of the Serenity Prayer, of knowing our true reward is yet to come.

But mostly my sisters are, put most simply and eloquently; best of friends. Not just to each other, but to me, and scores of others. On the table of life, they are salt of the earth, and the kind waters that are the tears, the sweat, and the needed rains. They’re the soft breezes that keep others aloft and the guiding hands in the darkest moments and fury of the proverbial storms.

They are the best people I know, and make the world a better and more loving place to be…Today I honor, thank, prop up, and send my love and unending Big Brudder protective love into the universe for all to know. My greatest gifts in life collectively include these sisters of mine, my parents, my loved ones too. But most present in my life on a regular basis are these wunnerful liddul sisters of mine.

Love ya both to the stars and back, your big brudder, Matty.

 

 

Election Infection

Several months from now, the untruths will have been dissected. The misdirections will have been corrected. The distortions will have been focused. The hatred will have been pacified. The bullshit will be back in a pasture where it belongs. The muckraking will be superseded by the fresh clear waters. And the devil’s seed will be made dormant, never to be germinated and planted among God’s good greens.
Love will bring things back to a True North. Reason will reside and fools will be cast back into the shadows. Panic and fear mongering will be tamed and made sensible by the air of kindness that prevails.
At the moment, a raging truth is filling the air…not unlike the smoke of cannon fire and rifle shots, and the screams of the dying during the original Civil War…At this moment, those soul’s ghosts and their fury and anguish from the 1860’s are being roused and the embers kindled to a raging flame…And our enemies are licking their chops at the opportunities that are arising…
But several months from now, love will prevail and this foolishment (a fitting term from The Green Mile) will again be made silent, or at least this ignorance will be nullified.
God Bless us all…Matthew.
PS, this is about as political as I get. It will be an interesting year.

Too much this’n and not enough that’n
Too much pitchin’ and not enough battin’
All that bare headin’, and too little hattin’
Too much mud slingin’, and not enough back pattin’
All this finger pointin’ and very little hand shakin’
We need more singin’ and a passel more caring
A lot less cringin’ and a whole lot more daring
A bunch more listening and no more cursin’ and swearing
Less walkin’ alone and instead, strollin’ with a hand to hold
Too much hatin’…too much of even the liberal use of that word
More compassion, more holdin’ and givin’
Less livin’ like we’re dyin’ and best to be dyin’ to be livin’, and lovin’…and cherishing
Too much gamblin’, and too little faithin’
Way more mindless chatter than old fashioned prayin’
Too much leavin’, and not near enough stayin’
All this actin’ up and hardly any behavin’
Hey friends…I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin…

(a fresh original, ’cause I was a little bored, Matty)

Sometime next week will mark the passing of a very relevant occasion in this life of mine. On January 31, 1987 I was arrested for a DUI on my way home from a birthday celebration for a friend. Several days later, facing all the collateral damage of accepting the charges, losing my license, and also favor of my status as custodial parent to my then five year old son…I chose to plea for a deferred sentence, a two year program to heal my soul, and make a fresh start. On or about February 9th, 1987 I was at lunch with an old friend. I turned down a cocktail with my meal and instead had a simple soda water with a twist of lime. I informed the waitress in a private moment that I’d decided to be clean and sober. She said she had recently done the same…So began my journey of real life, real emotions, real tilling of the soul that had been my home for growth, or the lack thereof.
I knew without a doubt that if I had chosen to continue on the way I had been, that my life at a mere 28 years would soon be over and my child would have been fatherless.
And I never touched another drop. Not for 29 years now, over half of my life. Is my life great? Sometimes. Is my life easy? Rarely. Is my life a windfall of great earnings and opulence? Hardly. Have I found the love of my life? Many times. What I do have in the bank and in my heart is life itself. One day, sometimes one hour at a time. I have no guarantees other than the fact time will continue to pass, with or without me.
Is my health well and worry free? Far from it. But it is MY health to be concerned over and struggle with, come what may. Good or bad, it is me, alive and among those walking above ground. I have overcome much difficulty and challenge. Much adversity and frustration. I still am. But the key here, is that I’m alive, striving, trying, and trying to make the world around me better. The lives of those around me better.
I still have issues with alcohol. More specifically; those in my life who drink and are overflowing with issues and toxicity because of their intake. Without having had a drop in near to thirty years, I have fought with the demons of those others. I have used their ineptitude as my incentive to continue on sober. I have no issues with happy drinkers. I actually prefer some folks loosen up a tad and join me in my mostly jovial state…and a couple libations often do the trick.
I’m not against alcohol per se. What I am against is its abusers, and their ultimate abuse of others. I hate mean drunks. Remorseless drunks. Rationalizing drunks. Blame passing drunks. Omniscient drunks (who by the way are anything but). Belligerence drunks. Controlling, bullying drunks. Angry drunks. Drunks in vehement denial that they are in fact drunks, and are of the opinion they have their drinking “under control”. There is a word for that state. And I call it, “BULLSHIT”.
February is the month I celebrate my most relevant birthday. The one that I chose healing, more sound mental health, kindness to others, to listen, to care, to be a part of the solutions, and not the problem. But mostly, for the past twenty nine years, I have chosen LIFE itself, over certain death and the collateral damage that mine would put upon others. My life is far from pain free, but it is in fact; life. And that’s a fine place to begin again, every morning. Matthew Lyle.

In my corner, it is often dark, mostly simple, chilled and stark. In my corner, I’m not so sure what to think of it all…or whether to look to the distance or turn and face the wall. In my corner I wonder if I ought to seek refuge there, or to seek escape.
In my corner, I often see you and some others there. And I make note of those absentees. Like a storm cloud off in the distance, some avoid the idea of weathering the storm, and yet others seek it and offer shelter from the deluge…and wait it out with the others.
In my corner there are seldom tears. But in the quiet might go unnoticed, a silent wail and a quiet vigil there. In my corner lays a stack of words…some I’ve shared and some unheard. In my corner one sits on the floor and stands by chair.
In my corner, I’m often not there. Instead I can be found in yours, where I see all these things and even more. In my corner, you are welcome, but you may have to linger in wait, until I return from theirs…Matthew.

She: I’ve been working hard to not fall down. It’s been tough.
he: I felt broken today. Took the night off of work
she: I know the feeling. I took two days off last week. Spent one of the days mostly just crying.

he: …and you know, when we’re doing God’s work and do fall sometimes…we land very softly. Angels keep us from crashing down.
Then, just act as if you meant to be there…like you were picking something up. And a feather will appear in your hand.
Angels lose feathers. Especially Grandma Angels. I found one in the dash of my little car.

feather

she: I like that
he: Of course you do…because it is true. AND I just now wrote it just for you.
But I may share it with the world. ‘Cause that’s how God works.
Go and have a good night. Your Uncle loves you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much! (arms opened all the way)
she: Ditto. Sleep well.

he: Of Angels and feathers; that’s all the proof I need.