18 July 2009

Danger: the spice of life

"A coward dies a thousand deaths. A coward dies a thousand deaths. A coward dies a thousand deaths."

Perched precariously fify feet above the boulders below on a 12/12 pitch roof - that's a 45 degree angle - Barry constantly repeated one of his favorite quotes.

So did I, as the joint man, sitting on the top of one ladder which barely reached the eave, holding a second ladder laying on the steep roof. This second ladder reached the roof's peak, and there Barry clung, swinging his hammer.

Jumping out of an airplane 4500 feet off the ground takes me back to that day with Barry. I don't know why - it's probably not the worst situation I've ever been in. But it was frightening.

And standing there in - no, outside - the door of an airplane with 80 mph winds in your face isn't the most peaceful experience either. But it's certainly exciting: there's nothing like falling out of the big blue sky to let you know you're alive.

Why do we like danger? Why are we not content to live safely? Is it a bad thing, like Eve taking the apple, or is it a good thing, like the disciples dropping the only lives they knew and following a homeless man, just because He asked?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once said, "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." But as Gus said to his lifelong friend in Lonesome Dove, "By God Woodrow, it ain't dyin' I'm talking about! It's livin'!"

Christ himself said that He came that we may have life, and have it to the full. And I think a full life includes some danger.


12 July 2009


Good evening, sir! Interceptors Check Six!

My, it's been a while since I've heard that - in fact, the last time I heard was when I was saying it: during basic, one year ago.

Much has changed since then. I have civies, rank, and relative freedom, and life out here is a little more enjoyable - and returning to base not so dreadful. In fact, it was pretty easy this time. I'm beginning to realize I no longer live in Michigan. I no longer live under my parents' roof. Yes, it is still home, and it will continue to be. But it is not my house anymore.

That both saddens and excites me: I will miss it, but I've got opportunities ahead that can't be missed. There are times when I wish I could once again be the little boy tossing rocks into the lake, just for fun. But there are other times when I look forward to watching my own son, someday, to do the same.

But for now, I am learning. And I am content.

02 July 2009


I once read a story by Patrick F. McManus on the subject of 'sequencing'. All of his stories are funny, but this one hit home because it's something my dad and I do all the time.

Take today for an example: things started simply enough. I needed to dry out my sleeping bag, which got a little damp around the footbox on our recent camping trip. But my bag was in another bag under the canoe, on top of the minivan. So we had to move the canoe.

Which meant that the straps holding the canoe to the roof had to be stowed. And Dad was unsatisfied with their previous resting spot, instead devising a plan to put them on pegboard in the third bay.

So the third bay had to be cleaned out, and the pegboard cut and hung. Once we got the canoe stuff taken care of, Dad wanted to organize the rest of his various straps and bungee cords as well.

And then, still in a pegboard mode, we slung that up along one side of the forty foot pole barn, all around the windows, complete with OSB headers. Of course, we started a fire to take care of the scraps.

That job complete, we returned to the third bay, and began reorganizing it. Noticing the missing mower, we drove to the repair shop to see about it. It wasn't ready.

So we headed to town for a mug of A&W root beer. But the car wash is right next to A&W, so we vacuumed the van first.

After the root beer, we returned home and hung the minivan roof rack storage pod in the third bay. And now, it's time to eat dinner and pack for grandma's.

A good day.