I can’t talk … and I’m wiser for it

So, I went and got sick again. Sorry about that.

The good news is I’m feeling better today.

The bad news, in my opinion anyway: I’ve lost my voice. My kids are probably rejoicing over this. Quietly, anyway, and somewhere I can’t see them. My wife is a bit annoyed about the lack of ability to carry on a conversation conventionally, but is probably glad I can’t raise my voice if the kids misbehave.

I know everyone else has had bitterly cold temperatures and lots of snow. In Southwest Florida we’ve had below-average highs and a lot of rain lately. My dog is the one feeling this the most. It’s hard to go outside when you don’t like getting wet. No, that’s not right. She doesn’t mind getting wet, so long as it’s under her conditions. Rain and baths don’t meet her conditions, so she’s had a rough last few days and has been getting antsy.

So, being unable to engage with my family, who are basically ignoring me until I can say something about it, I took the dog for a walk.

Most loops through the neighborhood might include a wave to someone, but generally my neighbors, though friendly, are usually not out in their front yards when I walk by. Today several wanted to speak. Of course. It was maddening and saddening. I mimed and they understood; I wasn’t being rude, I just couldn’t speak.

I’ve never seen a few of them outside before so they probably think I’m mute.

When I realized this, I got to thinking. What else was I going to do? I mean, the dog probably couldn’t have heard me if I had tried to talk about it, and she was right next to me.

You probably know by now that I’m familiar with folks who are missing some things the rest of us tend to take for granted, like sight or hearing. We also tend to be horrified by the thought of losing our own sight or hearing. I don’t have any experience with the mute. My thoughts today ran to what someone who is mute experiences.

The blind cannot see the world. The deaf cannot hear it. For those born that way, the pain must surely exist, but probably not as deeply as for those who lost their ability later. Either way, you are cut off from the world. You can respond to it, move around it in it, and speak to it, though.

Being mute, you experience the world, but cannot respond to it.

I can’t figure out which would be worse.

Quite a few people might say it would be a good thing if I couldn’t speak. It would leave a lot less opportunities to stick my foot in my mouth, but that’s a wisdom thing; something much different indeed.

I’m fortunate to know that in another day or two, I will try to say something and it will come out normal. I hope, anyway. Not everyone gets that.  We are all fortunate, however, to live in a time after people like Hellen Keller or Jacobus tenBroek have blazed a trail for those who cannot connect to the world in the same way most of us do. Thanks to them, and many others, being deaf or blind, even mute, can become something more in lines with a minor nuisance than that which defines who someone is and what they can do. Further, they’ve helped ensure that people have the opportunity to connect and respond to the world around them.

Twenty years ago I’d have been horrified to lose my voice, even from being sick. I was horribly frightened, about 27 years ago, when I put the wrong contact lens in my right eye, and the cleaning solution managed to put a serious damper on my sight in that eye. I thought, for a short time, that I might not have it at all. I was terrified, since about 17 years ago or so, when I began having tinnitus. Today, however, I’ve been comforted by my faith, my maturity, and my increasing wisdom and knowledge of the world.

The horror isn’t in blindness, deafness, or being mute. The horror is in letting any of those things keep you an outcast.


The Break That Isn’t

Ever tried to take a break, but found yourself doing more than ever?

Intellectually, I’ve wanted to take a vacation. Classes are out for a few days between semesters and I don’t have much going on at home, for once. So, the brain should be able to shift to neutral and just coast, right?


I must be on a downhill slope or something. I shifted to neutral and my brain is suddenly more active than usual. I’m on overdrive, it seems, thinking of political matters, household matters, and any and everything under the sun.

It all ties together in my faith, though. Much of what I’m thinking about politically has to do with trying to help people understand that my Christian faith fits well with my libertarian views of government; in short that man should rely more on God than he does government. God makes changes in our lives that government cannot.

Meanwhile, at home, my son and I are preparing for a mission trip to Ecuador in November. I’m asking him to help write letters asking for support – both financial and prayer – for this journey. He, too, operates in fast forward, so asking him to take his time and do this properly is causing him an immense amount of stress.

Then I find myself in this place trying to figure out my life. I’m 40. I know lots of younger men who have direction in their lives. They seem to have their mission before them. God has set them on a path and they are walking it. I know this doesn’t make their lives perfect, but I still feel like mine is less perfect because I have no idea of how to give my life purpose. In the meantime, as I wait for God’s wisdom, I’m not sitting still. I try to love the people in my life; both those I know and see all the time, as well as those just passing through.

It seems as if I don’t have a garden of my own to tend, so I’m planting seeds wherever I go. Does that make me a theological modern day Johnny Appleseed, sowing seed wherever I go and hoping it takes root?

Summer Storms In My Mind

The summer has been crazy. I’ve been busy and I’ve thought, a few times, that I had decided on a serious, dedicated direction for all I’m doing. So far, though, I’m just staying busy and feeling a little unproductive. It’s like there is wind and rain whipping through my mind, confusing my direction, while thunder and lightning boom and flash, adding to my distraction.

School is out for a few days before the Fall semester begins. I’m taking 18 credits since a full-time job has yet to surface in my life. I’ve been working a few hours a week on a friend’s farm and I hope to continue this (with a few more hours) for the foreseeable future. It’s hard work, but it helps pay the bills.

What does that mean for my blog? Actually, it means good things.

I spend a lot of time thinking while I’m at the farm. Several of us work there but my duties keep me on my own most of the time. The means my wheels start turning and creativity comes about. When that happens I either start writing or I get out my camera.

Some short works of fiction will be popping up in between my thoughts on life and liberty. I hope you enjoy them. I hope you comment on them.

I’ll also be sharing more of my photography at Rounds Downrange, another blog I have for that purpose.

I enjoy writing and I enjoy photography and I have a plan for the future that will put both to use. In the meantime, I’ll be sharing the journey with you. I hope you enjoy. If so, tell others, please. If not, please let me know.

And for those who know … Semeste.