Tag Archives: hope

Summer Camp

I do one 'kids show' a year, and I wish I could do many more, as long as they were as gratifying, as heartwarming, as the Charlotte MDA Summer Camp. Every summer for the past 11 years, I've been invited to entertain the campers and the counselors one evening, and every time I leave, I'm struck by how lucky I am to have been there.

The children and youth that attend have various forms of muscular dystrophy, but their enthusiasm is unmatched in any audience I've had the privilege to work for. Yes, it's your typical summer camp. There are multiple activities and campfires and sing alongs and home sickness and stomach bugs and everything that makes camp a silver memory that many of us treasure for our lifetime. It's so much more than that, though. As you might imagine, working with the individual challenges of each camper is a daunting endeavor, yet it's done with humor, energy, and style. So much grace …

And there's love. Man, the love in that place is so thick you could spread it on toast. The staff and the counselors bring their best for the campers and everyone looks out for everyone else. Maybe I'm gushing a little, but I'm sincere.

The past three years I arrived wrapped up in my own troubles, and they vanish within the first few minutes. I leave invigorated, happy, and hopeful. And moved. Lifted so high, emotionally.

I'm not …. writing about this to brag, or promote my image. I want to impress on you the value of giving of your ability. Taking your talent, your time, your vitality and using it to enrich the lives of those who need it and see so little in their world. It could be anything, any cause, listen to your heart. Believe this: it's been worth any 'sacrifice' I've had to make in order to be there.

The love you need is where you plant it.

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June 25, 2017

Tampa, Florida

Masters of Magic show at the Magic Emporium

Afterward, as I’m chatting with people and packing up, a lady approached. She took my hand and shook it, then pulled me close for a hug. As she did so, she said nothing, but she held my gaze and the expression in her eyes was so meaningful that I felt tears welling up in my own. You could feel it through the room, and all around us, for a moment, everyone was quiet.

My words have reached deep inside some people, and sometimes they just want to let me know. Some people can say more with their eyes than their mouths. And I can listen with my eyes –often better than with my ears.

I hope she felt my mutual gratitude.

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1/7/17

Very chilly night, but here I am. Sitting on my back porch, sipping lemon tea and nibbling a raspberry Pop-Tart. Foolish man.

I’ve come to terms with being alone and not being lonely. My work helps. I’m marketing and spreading my brand in order to secure the work I need in the future. Lately I’ve been paying dearly for not planning, for letting sadness and depression keep me down. Little steps, I’m going to be okay.

There was snow last night and into the daylight. My green backyard is white and glittery, sparkling in the light from the street lamps.

My best friend’s sister had babies today. Twins, one of each. Born on (to me) a lucky numbered date. They are beautiful and pure and perfect. Touched me a bit …

Today, look for the pure and innocent. The virgin snow, the burning, constant light from the stars.
The human sunrises being born every day.

The world is you.
The world is me.
We will make of it what we please.

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Tea and Honey

Chilly night, and I’m substituting the warmth of Her touch with green tea and the sweetness of Her kiss with honey. They are ghosts of the real thing, but the memory is still clear. Sharp and silver.
Good memories. Happy memories.
I’m not broken, I’m not fragile. I found strength and love within, and I’m building on that foundation.
The smell of fall in the air and in my mind I’m back home.
Alone, but not lonely. Discovering myself (again) in the solitude.
Tea and Honey.

And it’s enough.

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Christmas

On the idea of Jesus:

Love your enemies, because love is the most powerful force in the universe. Yes, it’s okay to have enemies, because: you are going to have enemies if you truly live your life. Just love them.

Love your neighbor and OMG, Love Yourself. You are beautiful.

Water is good, there should be plenty on hand at all times. Wine is better. Bring me some water, I want to show you something….

Sacrifice for those you love. Do it without keeping a record.

Love with everything you have.

Forgive with every ion of love you can muster.

If the things you consider holy are being prostituted by pimps, politicians or preachers in the name of money or power – flip some tables and whip the guilty. With whips.

Walk. Talk. Feed. Love.

Make friends with fishermen and Magdalenes. The stories, man … the STORIES.

Heal, don’t wound.

Am I making myself clear? You don’t have to believe in Jesus to understand that the concept is a pretty clear. If you find yourself carrying a sign or a bullhorn to declare that ANY human being should be hurt or unloved: you’re wrong.

Be kind. Be Love. Be Jesus because … he’s not here right now and someone you know needs him desperately. So Be the Jesus your neighbor needs.

h

 

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Fishing

Someone earlier asked my about my ‘happy place’, my ‘peaceful, thoughtful spot’.
I’m young … just starting to have questions about the world around me. My parents were still happy with each other. Grandpa Jack is still alive.

We’re sitting in his usual, favorite spot. Three quarters of the way down Scotch Bonnet Pier. It’s a hot summer day, but the breeze coming off the ocean is cool. I can feel the power of the sea, moving the pier and tugging gently on my fishing line.

Moving water. Distant sound of the surf.

I can smell the sea salt, the fresh fish we just caught, now chilling in ice.

I can tilt my face up and feel warm sunshine. I try to imagine how high the sky is …

Lately I’ve forced myself to be alone. A lot. I think about You. A lot.

The ocean is still there, the sky is still there. Everything else has faded into time. The horizon … is no closer.

There is peace in these memories. Hope.

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… will take you there. (Thursday, February 19. End of the day)

Having hauled my overstuffed bags up three flights I settled into my suite. Literally a 10 foot by 15 foot room. Cozy. I love it unsarcastically. If I sit on the extreme corner of the bed, I have a WiFi connection. I took an hour long power nap and then hauled said bags BACK down the stairs and walked over to the venue at Winter Gardens,

Winter Gardens reminds me somewhat of ‘Boardwalk Empire’. It’s a strange combo of modern world and carnival style architecture. Grand, sweeping ceilings and old, musty carpeting. Hundreds of lights and vanity style arches. Fun. After some searching I found my little vendors table and unpacked. There’s a few familiar faces and we exchanged some initial hellos with promises to dine later on the weekend and catch up.

On a recommendation from Garrett Thomas a few of us went to a nearby Thai restaurant: Wannee Wah Wah’s. (Due to a pernicious spellcheck it took me four tries to write that name down) According to veterans the food in Blackbook is hit and miss, but this was delightful. Extra spicy Chicken Pad Thai with curry and fresh vegetable spring rolls. The gourmet (glutton) is happy.

Jon Allen introduced a new prop, and it’s quite simply incredible. We hashed around a few ideas and a kind of impromptu jam session started up. Being full and at once overtaken by the length of the day and travel, I excused myself and wandered out to find my way back to my room. Apparently I took a wrong turn, because I found myself at the beach. The streetlights reflecting off the clouds and the moon made the surf appear glittery. Each wave pulling back on the sand left a sparkling wash, like diamonds on black velvet. Reminds me of you … somehow.

I turned around and walked back to where I thought I started, but came to realize I was totally lost. It was dark and of course I had no way to call anyone so I just wandered, seeing what I could see. I looked into shop windows and restaurants, bars and bakeries. I watched the people. Playing children under a statue. The families, the lovers and the loners. It was kind of like a play, set in 1970s England a few days before Christmas. I kept anticipating a musical number. I almost got one: I passed by a very narrow Irish bar. Very vintage looking but featuring karaoke. Ultra surreal.

My journey through the streets solidified in me the feeling that we all have our own place, our own path to follow. I have a purpose and a gift and all of my loneliness and self doubt does not diminish the gift or the responsibility that comes with it. Not one little bit. I’m me. I’m being me and living my life. Even getting lost in Blackbook was a good thing. And if you know me, entirely predictable.

I stopped under a blue streetlight. Not kidding. A for real as it gets BLUE streetlight. I daydreamed there for a little while, groggy and oddly not at all anxious for my lost state. I remembered a Dylan quote Dawn once painted on a jacket of mine. “Some of our greatest discoveries come from a state of being lost.” They certainly do, and I certainly was. When I realized I was in danger of falling asleep on my feet, I moved on. I decided not to long after that the best course of action would be to swallow my pride and hail a taxi.

I stepped off the curb and looked up and down the street … and there was my hotel. Just three or four buildings down. Just perfect. I came in, shook off the cold, spoke with the owner for a few pleasant minutes and came up. Took the time to write the first part of this missive, then took a sleep (for about 7 hours, off and on) and finished. Now … here we are.

I’m going down for the English breakfast I’ve conjured in my mind, then off for a day full of magic stuff. I’m on a new road and I kind of know where I’m going, but I’m more excited for the journey than the destination.

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