Door Knobs Available

“The long and winding road, that leads, to your door will never disappear, I’ve seen that road before.  It always leads me here, lead me to your door.” – Composers:  McCartney and Lennon (1970)

Jerry Van Dyke passed away last week at the age of 86.  I was so sorry to hear of yet another master at comic relief leaving us with a bit less laughter than before.  His brother, Dick Van Dyke, released a statement revealing a couple of unknown facts to me.  After mentioning that Jerry had been born with a severe birth defect, an enlarged funny bone, he went on to say Jerry was in a car accident back in 2015 that began a health spiral.  As a side note, which I wholeheartedly agree with, he added that Jerry was brilliant in comedic timing to the nanosecond.  Dick Van Dyke went on to say that his brother deserved more, in that he was underrated.  I gasped when he mentioned that Jerry had turned down the role of Gilligan for a then new series entitled, “Gilligan’s Island.”  What a mistake that was.  Yet, Jerry walked through many doors to great success.  Come to think of it, in retrospect, I’ve made similar mistakes.  How about you?

A few posts ago I had mentioned that my mom inherited her parents house after they had passed away.  It was built in the 1840’s.  I know that house like the back of my hand.  One of the unique structures in the house are the cut glass door knobs.  My fingerprints can be found on every one of them going back more than five decades.  I’ve always loved how they look.  Each one has it’s own skeleton key.  Here at our house we have three from that era hanging on the wall.  The antique door knobs are great for conversation pieces.  We use them for coat hangers.  For me, they also represent a sweet and innocent part of my life with my grandparents.

For a short time, between radio gigs, I once attempted to pay my bills in the home improvement sales industry, while living in Buffalo, NY.  It placed me in many old world homes built in the days of yore, by American standards.  Some of which were mansions with four floors, pocket doors, wide hallways and high ceilings.  As you wander through those old homes, it’s easy to lose count of how many rooms the old Victorian and pre-Victorian homes have.  I don’t think I will ever forget those places I was privileged to see and experience.

As I write this line, we are in mid January of 2018.  My last two posts I had compared 2018 to a blank sheet of paper to write on, as well as a long adventurous highway.  Why not think of 2018 as a very large house that will take you 12 months to explore?  If you enter a large house with many rooms, you will also encounter a multitude of doors.

There is a hard truth here, not to be confused with a modern-day term “Your Truth,” which leaves a false idea that one truth is not another’s truth.  There’s no reasoning here to bicker over phraseology.  I am, and always will be, one who points out that there are absolute truths ruling all of us while oceans of various opinions, judgments and beliefs run around them.  Let me give you a couple of illustrations.  Example:  “Your Truth” may be that there is no Grand Canyon in Arizona.  Maybe it’s because you don’t like the thought that it is there.  Maybe you prefer beaches or forests, instead.  However, the absolute truth will kill you as you drive your car off the edge of one of its cliffs.  Example:  New Wave music (Google if needed) was once a hot item for the record industry.  However, classics remain the best and most downloaded songs.  You might say that the New Wave composer’s and producer’s truth was that it would sell.  BOOM!  It proved to be an opinion developing into a strong belief, yet the hard truth awards “Permanent Wave” tunes as champs with a longer shelf life.  Just ask Carole King, Paul McCartney or Tony Bennett.

Thus, this brings me back to the door knobs to turn or not.  The hard truth is, many doors in the house at 2018 Winding Way Street, are to be tested before opening.  Frankly, you will walk down its broad hallway and spy a few wide fancy, brilliantly painted, exquisite doors with a crystal cut glass door knob.  It will be tantalizing with almost a suction pulling you toward it.  Beware of these.  Test the door.  Many will open that over-sized door to find a room that will destroy their lives.  It may be a door to a new, but devastating, relationship that rips out the heart, throws you into poverty and bankruptcy with anguishing life-long nightmares in the end.  It may be a job opportunity with a very flaky or questionable organization that leads to nowhere.  Maybe the beautiful immense door opens you up to a substance designed to draw you closer to a stroke, heart-attack or a personality alteration that robs you of your own family.  Oh, please, test that door.

There will be door knobs to turn that are intended for your hand.  In this wide hallway, there will be rooms you should enter to brighten your very existence.  If you see a door that seems to lead to golden opportunities, knock and see who opens.  However, study well that greeter before entering.  Have lots of conversation and then assess well what they say.  Some of these doors chosen will allow you to see eternity, beyond your experiences up to this moment.  Jerry Van Dyke can tell you about missing this door.

Let me leave you with some solid advice.  I don’t consider myself old, yet I am no longer jogging four miles at lunchtime either.  My life’s journey has left me with some absolute truths that went against my original hopes, plans and opinions.  With that said, some doors will be ancient, even aesthetically not desirable at all.  Consider the wisdom of age and long life.  Review its squeaky hinges, square-top door-nails and cut glass door knobs.  Don’t be timid to turn that knob.  There are ancient ways that prove current thought to be nothing but mist or smoke.  I have also learned, when you come to a door that has you locked out, trust that.  Don’t force it, out of curiosity or frustration.  It might provide a polished skeleton key, but someone came long before you arrived and said, “Here and no further.”  Trust that.  Move on for your own safety.

The house on 2018 Winding Way Street will be filled with so many doors to chose from.  No matter what your opinion or perspective may be, or where it has led you thus far, this is a new, uncharted house.  Stop and ask the designer of this house for wisdom.  There can be joy in the exploration.  In the end, if guided wisely and choices are based on solid thought and analysis, you will discover it mixes well with fuel for the race.

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” – Jesus –  Matthew 7:7 (NLT)

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A Long Way From Baker Street

“Winding your way down Baker Street, light in your head and dead on your feet.  Well, another crazy day.  You’ll drink the night away and forget about everything…..Another year and then you’d be happy.  Just one more year and then you’d be happy.  But you’re crying, you’re crying now.” – Baker Street – Written and recorded by: Gerry Rafferty (1978)

There was a day when I was on a road, very similar to the one in the photo above, doing about 65 mph.  It was a sunny day and very calm weather.  The curves were easy to take and no small towns to slow me down.  Suddenly and without warning signs, about 50 yards in front of me, the road abruptly ended leaving a large deep gorge.  I slammed on my brakes as the car slid ever so close to the drop-off edge.  I held my breath as the car’s inertia brought the smoking front wheels some 4-5 inches from the abyss.  At that point, I woke up.  It is a recurring dream I have had for decades now.  I guess that’s why I still am not a fan of bridges and cliffs.

As I write this, we are about to complete our first week of Highway 2018.  I surmise it will be constructed of many curves, detours, signal lights and scenic views.  From time to time there will be places to stop and enjoy, and other times you should not stop at all, but rather put on some speed to escape the area.  No doubt the road will bring old friends and family you’ve not seen in some time.  My recommendation is to pull over and soak it up while they are still available for the visit.  As any long distance traveler knows, there is the risk of a blowout while putting rubber to road.  It always comes at the worst times and certainly never expected.  There will be weather changes.  There will be rain, driving rain, against your windshield.  Fog will roll in without a moments notice, obstructing your best view.  At times, you will lose traction and winds will test your ability to control the steering wheel.  Exercising caution on a road like Highway 2018 is always the wiser choice.  Be aware of the twists and turns Highway 2018 will deliver.  Watch the warning signs and observe them on the way.  Above all, keep your eye focused on the road ahead, lest there be an unanticipated washed-out section.

We all are born with a GPS guide.  It has proven to be a mistake to ignore it.  If you turn down the radio you can hear the smaller voice saying, “Turn here.  Go there.  That way is not negotiable.  Manage well your line of vision.  Don’t stay focused on the rear-view mirror.  Slow down here.  Don’t pass the one in front of you, notice the yellow line.”  Remember, someone has been here before and has marked the danger zones for you. Better yet, someone has paved Highway 2018 way before you arrived and knows what you have in store on your journey.

With all that said, someone once wrote, “Sometimes plodding is better than plotting.”  One foot, one mile in front of the other.  Each one is to be conquered.  Each one is to be enjoyed, savored and at times, endured.

My apologies to the late Gerry Rafferty. If your trek brings you to a detour and you find yourself on a Baker Street, take note.  That lively lane may seem like a haven, but don’t be fooled.  It’s short-lived, short on satisfaction and short on delivering promises.  Think of it as a small temporary band-aid for a shotgun blast.  My advice, take the exit ramp back to Highway 2018 as the Baker Street saxophone fades to black.

One thing is certain, treat the road well.  As you do, you will come upon fuel for the race.

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will make plain thy paths.” – Solomon –  Proverbs 3:6 (DBT)

 

It’s Blank!

“We can never know about the days to come.  But we think about them anyway….I’m no prophet and I don’t know nature’s ways.  So I’ll try and see into your eyes right now.  And just stay right here ’cause these are the good old days.” – Anticipation, Carly E. Simon, 1971.

I’ll be frank.  I just took my 2017 wall calendar off the wall in my study and tossed it ever so quickly into the trash can.  I felt like taking a shower afterwards.  Let’s face it, as a whole, 2017 was a year I would like to forget.  It was laced with hatred, anger, riots, bloodshed, bullets and bombs.  2017 dished up harsh, lewd words vomiting out of the mouths of regarded people in pop culture, news anchors, politicians and around the family dining table.  The past year was armed with mass murders, anarchists and thought police.  2017 seemed to water and fertilize individuals who were so sensitive they had to create unrest and violence because they heard another opinion than their own.  The year brought up many who reveled in dishonoring and ripping apart sacred sites, sacred ideas and even targeted houses of worship.  The old year spotlighted the horror of the powerful demanding, even forcing, sexual favors while bartering with those subservient in the social strata.  Nature rumbled at 2017 with multiple earthquakes, record-setting hurricanes, floods and wildfires.  This blogger wrote about much listed here.  With exception in some areas (I married a wonderful lady in April), 2017 was severely ugly in my line of vision.

With all of that said, 2018 is very much like the photo above.  It’s a blank sheet of paper.  Unlike my new 2018 wall calendar, this clean sheet of paper isn’t divided up by dates and months.  Freedom is its message.  There’s nothing written on it on this January 1st.  Do you see its liberty?  It shouts out something like, “BEWARE, TIME SURFER!  THE PEN IS IN YOUR HAND.  WRITE WHAT YOU WILL!” 

However, before you begin to MAKE your 2018 happen, take a closer look at the paper above.  Notice it is notebook paper.  It has straight horizontal lines to help guide your jots of thoughts.  Make your way, your thoughts, your life as straight as you can, as it pertains to you.  Remember the old lyric, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me…”  State what you plan to do, with intentional purpose, as an objective, not a reaction.  Each line offers that freedom.  What a gift!

It is very important to notice in the photo that the page in which 2018 is represented is a short one.  Unfortunately, it is not much longer than the pen itself.  2017 went by with lightening speed and so will 2018.  The older you live, the quicker the 12 months warp by you.  Yes, you have 12 months, but do not allow the grass to grow under your feet.  Remember, be intentional, but progressive in initiation.  Otherwise, the perception of standing still becomes reality.

Lastly, you can see in the photo, the pen is just laying there.  Like the frozen Niagara Falls, it is motionless.  The pen will not write on its own.  It takes a writer, like yourself.  You can gaze at it, speak to it, blow on it, pray over it, but at the end of the day, it does nothing.  The pen is just a utensil, nothing more, nothing less.

Here, I must add, you have zero control what others will write on their page, so be ready when another’s actions intersect, disrupting your written lines.  They tend to carry large erasers and are eager to use them.  But for now, you MUST pick up the pen and write your own 2018 story.

If you follow my blog, you know I am a practicing Christian.  Because I rest on biblical truths, I will remind you of my belief.  There is an Almighty One Who holds your future.  Your days are numbered, the hairs on your head are also numbered.  2018 will be vetted by the Maker of Days.  Yet, He says that we are to choose well in life, regardless of His unknown manuscript for 2018.  It’s a clear sign of “free-will” given as a gift for the new year. He is well-known for this.  A few thousand years ago He too had a clean slate to write on.  In doing so, He wrote of a perfect recipe for righteous, healthy living.  God’s clean slate became the 10 commandments.  It’s been the gold standard each and every year since.  Sure, you will not be able to uphold them all in 2018, nobody can, but that is where grace through Jesus comes to relieve you of failure. 2018 would be a great year to trust in that gift.

“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’  For it is not wise to ask such questions….When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”  Solomon – Ecclesiastes 7:1 & 14. (NIV)