Today was our 19th Wedding anniversary. It was different from the wedding day in many ways and much the same in others.
Instead of being totally focused on the wedding ceremony we spent our day doing the things middle-aged people do. Helen went to work. I had some meetings and errands to run. Instead of a big party we went to a presentation at Schwartz bookstore. I made us a couple of sub sandwiches and we ate them at a picnic table in Lake Park.
The mechanics of the day were different but the important things remain the same. Helen is still the love of my life. The best part of any day is still the time we spend in each others arms. Part of the reason for this is we start every day just like we started our marriage:
I Dan Take you Helen to be my wife
And in doing so, commit my life to you.
Encompassing all good times and bad, all joys and sorrows, all of the experiences of life.
A commitment made in love, kept in faith, lived in hope, and eternally made new.
While on the way to a meeting this afternoon I found there was a scheduling mix-up. I ended up turning around to go home. While waiting for the bus I had a great opportunity to reflect on what would have been discussed, if the meeting had actually taken place.
I was going to meet to talk about acting as a Coach for the Milwaukee Mosaic Partnership program. Mosaic is a project to bring people together with the goal of fostering malty-racial interaction through individual and small group relationships. I helped facilitate a group of twenty-four persons during the 2007-2008 program and am looking forward to doing it again this Fall.
While waiting for the bus, at 35th and Wisconsin Avenues, I had a chance to sit with three African-American people with very different backgrounds than my own. From their discussion I learned at least one of them was a high-school drop-out. Two of the individuals had experienced job loss from poor attendance. All three peppered their dialogue with words I rarely speak within hearing of others.
While I like to think of myself as a social person I was clueless as to how to engage in polite conversation with this group. I realized my discomfort in this situation was over an inability to communicate. Fact is this was a very nice group of people. I know of many people who would be scared in this situation, I just don’t know why.
I’m looking forward to some of the deep discussions that will be a part of the Mosaic Partnership Program in the coming year. It is a great opportunity to face fears and prejudices in a safe setting. I am sure I will learn a lot and hopefully start some long-term relationships. I know however, the big challenge lies in chatting with people of different ethnic, educational, and economic backgrounds while sitting around waiting for the bus.
Helen and I had a good walk last night. While we walked we talked about where our life is and where we are going. Helen asked how I was doing. I gave her an assessment of my business and where I was with the plans I have made for myself. We also talked about Helen’s aspirations and how our lives might change as Jessica and Rachel grow and move out of the house.
I have to say things are going pretty well for me. My business is on track and I am happy with the opportunities I have in my life. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family. I’m grateful for the opportunity to pursue the things I find important in life. The fact I’m getting paid to do some of these things is a gift.
As we walked we also reflected on the time we had spent, earlier in the week, participating in a Native American Sweat Lodge. The gentleman who helped us through the experience was as wise as he is generous. David lives in a simple house in a semi-rural area. While the house is not elegantly adorned, it is rich in the treasures of his life. The experience helped us recognize the need to focus on what we find important in our lives. While the question "What is important?" is often a challenge to articulate, we know the answer is not "More stuff.".
When I awoke this morning I listened to the Reverend Daniel Meyer talking about simplifying our lives. Rev. Meyer is doing a series called "Living Insanity" this summer. Today’s topic talked about "more" and "better". The sermon was a great way to reinforce the talk we had the night before.
Zoe and I took our customary walk through the neighborhood this morning. We listened to birds, smelled the flowers and enjoyed the solitude. Ironically, the biggest distraction was making sure I remembered where the sidewalks are obstructed. A number of people in the neighborhood park their vehicles across the sidewalk. They have so much stuff they can’t use their garages as a parking area. Apparently the stuff in the garage is so sacred to them they are oblivious to the fact their vehicles don’t fit on the short space between the garage and the sidewalk.
I am grateful we have a simple life and a roomy garage.