Five Minute Friday: Hide

Short stone bridge, showing the opening beneath(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Hide

Go.

Life is going along just fine and out pops the grumpy old troll from under the bridge.

For anyone not initiated into the Dora the Explorer cast of characters, let me tell you about the Grumpy Old Troll.

He jumps out at Dora and Boots from his hiding place under a bridge, blocks their way, and insists they solve some sort of riddle before he allows them to pass.

On any given day, life’s version of the grumpy old troll can spring wild-eyed from a hiding place and insist you solve some sort of riddle before continuing on your way.

And some of life’s riddles can be tough.

You might think you can avoid life’s grumpy old troll and his riddles, but, let’s face it.

You can run, but you can’t hide.

Stop.

Screen shot of a Google search for grumpy old troll. Shows images of character from Dora the Explorer.

 

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Five Minute Friday: Tomorrow

Black and white photo of a closely cropped clock face. Roman numerals. Hands pointed to about 12:22.

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Tomorrow

Go.

I remember driving east along a country road in the late autumn sunshine of November.

The morning sunlight created a strobe effect as it poked its way through the trees lining the highway.

The pulsing bright light only encouraged the tears already forming in my eyes.

I was on my way to a funeral.

The person we were mourning was young.

Younger than I, and I was in my twenties.

But now she was gone.

As I drove along that curvy road, alone, it felt strange that somehow the world was going about its business as if nothing had happened.

I passed cars and trucks traveling in the opposite direction.

Their occupants had places to go, people to see and things to do.

Life goes on.

For her there was no tomorrow, but for others – including me – “tomorrow” had come and turned into “today.”

That was more than twenty years ago.

Twenty years’ worth of tomorrows have come and gone since that day.

I know I took many of them for granted.

Stop.

Belief

Photo focused in on an excerpt from the Apostles' Creed - I believe in God the Father...And in Jesus Christ

I believe in God.

Not everybody does.

I get that.

But I do.

I know and love some people who say they do not believe in God.

I respect their right to form their own beliefs, but it does make me sad.

I ask myself, how can I help them believe?

What proof can I give?

I can’t post a photo of God.

If I was trying to help God get a driver’s license I could not produce a birth certificate, electric bill, social security number or passport as proof he exists.

No fingerprints, credit reports or school records.

But I do believe in God and, through prayer, talk with him daily.

So what?

If my belief in God and my daily talks with him don’t impact how I live my life, how I interact with others, how I treat others, the choices I make – so what?

If my belief doesn’t manifest itself in ways that show a non-judgmental love and service for others – even for those with whom I disagree, even for those who don’t believe in God – so what?

If none of that helps provide proof to others that God exists…so what?

You can’t make somebody believe.

But you can live your life as though you do.

As though you really do.

And that, I believe, is what God asks of me.

A red wall decoration that says Love You - and the "o" in Love is shaped like a heart - pink and white.

Five Minute Friday: Relief

A baseball nestled among the food in a refrigerator.

(So, I’ve been participating in a “writers’ flash mob” of sorts called Five Minute Friday. In response to a one-word prompt, hundreds of writers sit down and write for five minutes flat. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font or punctuation; unscripted and unedited. Here’s today’s edition…setting the timer….)

Five Minute Friday: Relief

Go.

I want one.

I want the life-equivalent of a relief pitcher.

Just think how handy that could be!

In baseball, a relief pitcher is the player who’s put in when the starting pitcher is no longer getting the job done – either due to ineffectiveness or just being worn out and worn down by the game.

Am I alone in having days when a “relief-me” could really be a plus?

I get up each day and really try.

I really do.

Some days I am on a roll, using my blazing fast ball to go from task to task to task – striking out each item on my to-do list.

One. Two. Three.

Some days I even attempt to do things with a bit of style, using a curve ball, slider, or a change-up.

And, let’s face it…some days my go-to pitch can be a screwball.

But then there are those days when none of the pitches in my arsenal seem to be working too well.

It’s on those days I would welcome a relief-me.

Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I’d just head back to the dugout and drape my warmup over my exhausted arm, grab a bottle of water and some sunflower seeds and watch relief-me bring it home.

That. Sounds. Fan. Tastic.

What a relief!

Stop.

Deep Down Dark

Head shot of a small black statue of a coal miner with safety helmet and light

Five years ago yesterday, a massive explosion ripped through a West Virginia coal mine leaving twenty-nine miners dead.

The April 5, 2010, explosion at the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine left death, grief and anger in its wake.

I wasn’t thinking about the UBB anniversary when I checked out my latest book from the Marion County Public Library two weeks ago, but the selection turned out to be timely as well as thought-provoking.

This morning I finished reading Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, by Hector Tobar.

As I closed the book, I realized that the Chilean mine disaster happened in the same year as the UBB explosion.

On August 5, 2010, a massive cave-in at the San Jose mine trapped thirty-three miners thousands of feet underground.

For seventeen days, nobody knew if they were dead or alive.

When the world finally made contact with the miners and learned they were all still alive, a massive and ultimately successful two-month rescue attempt was launched.

The men survived against all odds, exhibiting teamwork underground and inspiring teamwork among rescue workers up on the surface.

At several points while reading the book I found myself in tears.

It’s a poignant story and the tears were generally tears of empathy and/or joy – knowing there was a happy ending.

But yesterday, while reflecting on the tragic outcome at the April 2010 UBB mine explosion here in West Virginia, those tears were of a different kind – tears of sorrow for the families and tears of anger at the economic reality that allows companies like the ones that ran UBB and the Chilean mine to prioritize money over men.

Following the UBB disaster, investigators concluded that flagrant safety violations contributed to the explosion and the loss of life.

And that’s deep, down dark.