There are days … I think you probably know the kind of days I speak of.
I have days when I know I need to get to work putting words on paper for an upcoming deadline; moments when I think “now is the time” and by the time I fire up the computer my mind fills up with thoughts that won’t line up into a train that takes me where I think I want to go.
I think about all the weeks (since sometime in 1994 when I started writing The Shepherd’s Heart for The Cleburne Sun-Times in Heber Springs, Arkansas) when I looked at a blank piece of paper on a typewriter or a blank computer screen with no idea what I was going to write. During those times, my mind always started playing tricks with me, asking questions I didn’t want to answer, or making statements I believed absolutely no one would want to hear.
The most recent occurrence was, well, today. I started to put together a column for this week and my mind started to fill with so many questions and thoughts.
I thought about the 63-plus years I’ve spent on this planet; about all the places I’ve been; about all the faces I’ve been. I thought about all the people I’ve known and the faces I’ve seen along the paths I’ve traveled.
I thought about my parents. Had I been a good son to them? Had I accomplished anything that would have made them proud that I was their son? Some days I wish they were still around so I could just flat out ask them. And I think about my brothers. There were three: one I didn’t understand so I kept my distance from him; another who I respected and wanted to be like — but we just lived different lives far from one another as adults; and the youngest one who worked his tail off since he was in high school and is still pressing on. Two have passed and the younger one is hanging in there.
I thought about my own immediate family: my wonderful wife, three daughters and a son. Throw in a couple of hard working sons-in-law, a hard working daughter-in-law, a few grandsons and a granddaughter, and you have a good picture of what we have been blessed with. But with the expansion of the family comes other questions: have I been — or am I — a good husband, father, father-in-law, and grandpa?
I suppose I’m just trying to be transparent, letting y’all know it doesn’t always just flow freely. Sometimes my mind gets in the way. I’m not looking for answers. I’m not wanting someone to say “you’ve done well” or anything like that.
At least not on this planet.