Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Friday, July 19, 2013

A REEL CONVERSATION: conversing is a bit like fishing

In a day when people have the ability to be more connected than ever, I keep hearing people claim that statistics show people feel less connected than ever before. The quick culprit to blame for the disconnect is usually technology, particularly social media and cell phones. Yet, I wonder if people would still feel as disconnected without these advances?  We really are more busy and more in contact with people today than we have ever been.  Should we feel more connected?

Technology aside and other cultural cues the same, I think we would still feel a disconnect. In our contacts with others, we  speak fewer words of meaning from our depth and soul.  We formulate agendas and checklists with our conversations rather than bonds.  Can we blame that on technology?

Think about the phrase used years ago by people, I will take you at your word.   Your words were weighted heavily; they were a buoy to who you were. They were your bond. We spat into our hands, looked into another's eyes, meant what we said and said what we meant, framed a verbal contract, and it was gospel.  If not that, then we pinky swore. Contracts and business were agreed upon verbally.   Today, our words are lightly framed in confusion, manipulation, doubt, and  indifference.  Words whether in print, in outright verbal conversation, on Twitter, Facebook, text, email, newscasts,  are not as  thoughtfully considered or received with genuine sincerity.  Today, we have the ability to express ourselves through words with a greater variety of technology than ever before.  So why the disconnect? Blaming technology, let's the user off he hook.
Conversing in any manner, I daresay is a bit like fishing---a hunt.  Think about how fishermen prepare for their discourse with nature.  I am not a fisherman, but I do know that at least at the start there must be bait.  If free night crawlers can't be dug up, the cheap white bread can catch the fish willing to be top dwellers.  Those victims get caught readily because they are willing to respond quickly.  At times, this simple bait lacking substance often merely falls off the hook as it sits in the water.  What response should we expect from a conversation that was prepared with  cheap, quick, easy words?  Is the quick, easy response off the top of our heads often the most rewarding or nourishing? Does the bait elicit  what the fisherman sought?  It might just be what he sought: quick, surface answers rather than delving deep.

Ah...Fancier  lures might attract more specific, elite, or specialty fish.  Some of these lures (even GPS tracking of fish) can be quite expensive. I suppose fishermen have to decide if the catch is worth the investment.  This is definitely a more advanced and intentional fisherman who  seeks an expected outcome.  These trackers can even reveal depth and size of fish.  I remember being on my Uncle Denny's boat and seeing one of these in action.  Somehow it seemed like cheating in this sport because we had an added advantage over the fish,  but the excitement did escalate with  the greater certainty of a catch.. These anglers have an agenda; they assuredly want a desired outcome. Sometimes, it feels that these more grandiose luring words could be misused  or intended to be more for show, effect, or to manipulate a  preconceived  answer. Somehow what is related can feel disingenuous.  Artificial tools and words can make us wonder if what we hear was a genuine exchange of sincerity. Doesn't the real fisherman play along with the laws of nature, not above them? However, with these more savvy lures, catching fish isn't a certainty, yet there is greater potential.  Is behooves the fisherman to know how to use these more costly tools well.   Maybe we just have to realize that our words are worth the investment and choose them well in order to increase the probability for real connection no matter what technology we use to relay them.

The art of fishing for me lies in the catch and release. There isn't a fishing for success or a desired outcome, but rather to experience a captured reverence for nature, the exchange of solitude, awe, a feeling one with nature, not separated from it, a give and take.  My hope is not  a successful kind or number of  fish but the enjoyment of the process. Fishermen capture many on some days and on few on others; little pee-wees on some days and whoppers on others.  Either way, I enjoy the fishing when these hunters carefully unhook without harming the fish and release it to its pond to only again enjoy the next flick of the wrist to release the line for more catch.  This capture and release and recast is how we  use words with others: throwing out words, being heard and seen by the other fish in this big pond, and responding to the bait as being willing to enter into a reel conversation.

I have never really enjoyed fishing.  Truthfully, I confess that I don't like  baiting the hook or wriggling the fish off the hook or seeing it endure the pain I am succumbing it too even though I don't mean to.  I hear there is a way to do that through which the fish don't feel pain. I don't like the long experience only to be excited by the fishing pole bending to a catch of unexpected trash and weeds. I don't like luring people into a conversation with dynamics and drama.  I don't like being baited in conversations.  I don't like the compulsion to have to chase down an idea that won't surface. I don't like someone fishing for an expected outcome.
 I do, however, enjoy the still, peaceful water while watching people fish. I do like the warmth and comfort of being able to cast  my idea that wasn't quite hooked well in my head back into the water and seek to find another. I do like the  time allowed to really discover the words that I mean.  I do like the patient peace of being able to come back to the moment if nothing surfaces. I do like the treasure of finding the beauty and joy in both the small and large finds. And the weeds, I am really okay with those occasionally because I expect some of those to surface on my pole at times.  Eventually, I laugh at myself when my anticipation reveals a  hard fought for weed.

Murky or clear water, early morning or evening, sun or shine, if you are able to reel this kind of conversation, there's a keeper to be found at the end of your line no matter how heavy it is at weigh-in.  If you know these kind of fish are biting, my advice is to post the sign "Gone Fishing!"


Wednesday, July 10, 2013


With the immediate combination grunt of "oh" and "ugh," I fell to my knees on the hot, black parking lot to rescue the tumbling, scattering blueberries I had just purchased. My right knee (having just injured the ligaments and tendons days before) quickly reminded me that this squat retrieval position would definitely cost an endurance of pain. Nevertheless, in my mind,  it was quickly evident that there could be only one possible response to this difficult dilemma.  

After all, it was to save two pounds of blueberries--TWO POUNDS! The cost alone of those berries impelled me to save them --over $6.  I realized the loss of 1/3 of them seemed minimal compared to the value of the many other grocery items I had purchased.   Yet, there they lay contaminated by all that had touched that same rainy pavement.  So much for organic! 


I contemplated just leaving them to the torture of the tires. But to me, they appeared still usable. They weren't totally ruined or smashed--a mere tumble.  Couldn't they just be washed off?    After all, that's what I would need to do anyway before eating them: a good washing.

Honestly, some of the compulsion to save them was because they were my grocery extravagance. No one else used or wanted them or even recognized their presence in the fridge or their healthy value. I could have ignored the fallen blueberries and nothing would have changed for our family.  Yet, the fact that I would know they were wasted nagged at me. And why was I willing to entertain the idea of not saving them?  convenience, ease, time, disgust, apathy, embarrassment?

So there I knelt...hastily recovering  fallen blueberries and wondering what the couple that sat in the car in front of me was thinking: "Ew, who would eat those?  Look at her, crazy lady, on her hands and knees for a few blueberries." Yet, it still felt right to recover them in the container and take them home.

After plenty of washing and hope for these blueberries, they were added as originally intended, along with walnuts, to my yogurt.  None were the wiser that they spent time on a previous path except me--one of sure loss.  
I enjoyed every moment of my rescued berries!

--Groceries aside--- 
The wind moves through our hearts in everyday moments to feel God's presence and see the picture He paints of the seemingly insignificant to remind us of His love. We are His rescued berries!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

a fragmented, molded caressed life

Just ME

a fragmented, molded caressed life

an enveloped, ethereal sieved glimpses heart
a sweet, stolen soft-wind breath
a quiet, lonely, needing beating
closed-eye brain filtered words
fade with light opened eyes
a captured corner heart-soul
a steady clumsy rock life

a hole, heart, healing, Hope
a soul, sacrifice, sanctuary, Savior
a tear, torture, time, transformation
a pain, path, praise, Promise
a broken, blood,  Builder, blessings
a failing, forgiveness, fool, faith
a loss, longing, losing, Life
a tumult, trying, telling, Truth
a mangled, message, Maker, mercy
a  suffering, searching, sowing, Seed
a worry, wavering, wanderer, Word
a hollow, hand,  honor, home
an exhaustion, emptiness,  example,  eternity

a fragmented, molded caressed life

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A few photos my son posted on Vine the other day  gave me instant giggles.  I  looked twice to see  it was really him.   I love these fun images after they are distorted, especially when the person is morphed so that the image reminds me of someone else in real  life or a cartoon character.   
Sometimes the way we are perceived is not the way we intend. Maybe the image we project to others is not what they are receiving, and yet it might be exactly what they are perceiving. 
One day a few students came into my classroom without saying anything to me.  They began whispering to one another about my mood, discussing how they thought I was in a bad mood. (Imagine the dread of starting a class with a teacher already in a bad mood! Yipes.) I had been in deep concentration grading a four page writing.  I asked them what made them jump to that conclusion so readily. They said I looked like I was mad which was exactly the opposite of what I had been feeling inside.  (It was a great writing that I was reading!)
So, I created an experiment. I asked them what mood they thought I was in when they entered the room. We discussed what made them think that. I gave them some of my traditional faces and positions of concentration, and then I showed them angry so they could differentiate.
In turn, I asked them to look around the room to show their faces to their peers when  they are happy, sad, bored, angry, concentrating, and listening.  As our discussion grew, they were surprised that  so many of their peers' faces seemed very similar in each of these moods.  We decided that with little to go on except the facial expression that we better just ask someone how they were feeling.  A couple kids learned to just ask, "Hey, Mrs. Roberson, how are you doing today?"   
Sometimes, the way we are perceived is not the way we intend, and yet it is still exactly what others may be perceiving.  I've had many contradictory remarks on my image, as I think we all have, from others.  I have heard, "You are the hardest person to get to know"  and "You are the most real person I know."  Likewise, I have heard, "You are the best person I know" and "You are a liar." I have heard "You have made such a difference in my child's life" and "I don't think you really care."
Sometimes, the way we are perceived is not the way we intend, and yet it might be exactly what we intend. Now is where I could wax theoretical and throw out profundities about how I don't care about what others think; I am just going to be true to myself.    If others don't get me, then it isn't my fault but theirs.  It doesn't matter what I am doing because all that really matters is how others are perceiving me.   I would have to say, "YES and NO!" 
Like many people I imagine, I do care what others think of me! Not caring about that seems  like saying to others, "Hey, don't bother getting to know me. Who I am doesn't matter. I have nothing to offer you."  I didn't say I was going to change my image to be what someone wants me to be or change who I am to make others happy, but I do care that what I project invites people in rather than offends.  I would rather be a comfortable couch than a wobbly chair.  I guess I would rather be the French vanilla candle than the rotting trash.
Sometimes, the image we project to others is not what they are receiving, and yet with a deeper study and analysis, others' perceptions might turn out to be exactly what we are intending to say. 
These pictures of Daniel reveal his personality accurately.(This is no stretch, really!)  If you just met him, you might find him with very little to say.  You might perceive him in a 1000 different ways. But having hung out with him for awhile now, I know this: he has always been my child that wants to enjoy a good laugh.  He would choose a comedy a 100 times over a hardcore action movie. At 18, he still finds laughter in SpongeBob.  
More deeply, I also perceive another of his commentaries from his distorted pictures because this I also admire about him:  He hates when people judge other people. One of his best traits is that he learns about others and lets them be who they are.
First and foremost, I am pretty sure Daniel intended to have fun with these pictures because that is who he is!  Even more,  I love that the pictures he used to have fun were of HIM and not a distortion of others for someone to judge!