A Red Halloween

“Boys and girls of every age, won’t you like to see something strange?”

The end of the year is coming and soon, Fall will turn to Winter. I love this time of the year, this tone brings people together, there’s good food, memories are made in nearly every event that will occur, I especially am fond of decorating. Thinking up of ideas to display the holiday spirit, seeing the creativity in nearly every house and family. Even the holiday themed movies are interesting, one in particular was the Book of Life.

Produced by one of my favorite directors, Guillermo del Toro, my whole family was looking forward to seeing the movie that was based on the Mexican Day of the Dead. The movie was funnier than anticipated, but it revealed to me, how little exposure I’ve gotten to the holiday. Halloween came natural to me, I get more than a kick at the idea of scaring people, but that’s not what Día del Muertos represents.

This holiday is about family, it’s about honor and memory, ultimately it’s about love. It’s nothing new to hear about Latin American morals surrounding the idea of family, and this holiday fits perfectly in that. Our loved ones who have passed away continue to live on happily so long as we remember them fondly in our hearts. They are insulted when we cry over their deaths but would rather that we tell stories of the best times we’ve had with them. To laugh over the things that make them so dear to us, is the best way to honor them, it doesn’t matter whether or not there were things left unsaid or regrets between two parties, what matters is that Life goes on, that there is love present our hearts.

The love between two people are said to overcome any distance, why not the gap between this world and the next? Isn’t that the whole concept of Christianity? That God’s love is so grand, that it covers the whole whole and people’s hearts, is the message that Christ has been trying to tell us all these years.

Heh, it warms the heart to think this way.

Love. It helps us look back with courage and fondness, but to also be able to look forward, to make the best of our lives and to not be complacent with apathy or cowardice.

I thought about why we never celebrated Día del Muertos and, much to my regret, it was just something that we never really did. Whether it was just too painful or there were no fond memories to reflect upon, I wasn’t introduced to the celebration of it until that movie, The Book of Life. Because now I have someone to remember, someone whom I love and have had good memories with. I’m not sure if the rest of my family will want to participate, but at the very least, I still have this journal.

This year will be interesting for me, to celebrate Halloween and Día del Muertos, to terrify others with the face of death and then to sit with him and, reflecting and laughing. This will be my strange holiday.

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Moon on the Water

A couple of days ago, the family and I went to the local lake, and it hit me like a ton of bricks: I’ve lived next to this lake for years and it is only now that I’m actually here, enjoying it. This lake was only a few minutes away and I never took advantage of that.

And oh, how I did enjoy it. The sun was high in a clear blue sky, and as soon as we found our spot to unpack and settle in, the nieces and I went to the water to enjoy some swimming. The water was a murky green, but we didn’t mind, nor did the number of people who were there swimming around us.

We spent the whole day just enjoying the lake, after swimming, we all ate and the girls flew kites, heh, we even tried to battle them by having them swoop towards each other. And when the night came, we started packing up and as the moon started to rise above the mountains, I saw this:

Moon on the Water

And, it struck me again: This is another experience.

How often have you looked up at the moon, and wondered how those people got those perfect shots? Well, this one is mine, taken from my cell phone, but imprinted on my memories, it was such a beautiful shot, no alterations, no filtering, heh, barely a zoom was needed.

But, this was the first time I’ve seen the moon over any body of water, and so clearly, I must add. I made a promise to myself, this will not be the last time I see the moon in this manner.

There was just something to it. The moon floating there, lighting up the darkness and the water was coming alive, stretching the moon’s reflection through it’s waves. Oh how I wish I could’ve stayed longer, but this is something I’ll look forward to in the future.

This is something, I think everyone should experience in their lives, even if only once.

Challenging the Universe

It was a warm afternoon. The sun was setting and the drive-in movie was going to start in half of an hour. David and Greggy have gone to pick up some food at the food stand, while Norm and I went to the local grocery store to pick up some sodas, Canada Dry, Sunkist, and Mountain Dew. And as we were walking back to our truck, there was a voice that cried out to us. “Hey man, you need help? Let me get some of those orange sodas!” I looked over my shoulder, there was another person sitting in their car just relaxing and waiting. I replied, “No thanks, man, we’re all good.” After we got back to our car, I whispered to Norm, “The hell is that guy’s problem?” Norm stood there and gave me a puzzled look, “Why not?” He asked me, “‘Why not’ what?” I replied. “Why not give that guy some sodas? He asked. Why must we always observe these things in a negative manner?” 

I listed several reasons as to why, but I couldn’t find anything for the last question. Soon enough, I asked him, “What made you think like this?” “I’m going to challenge the Universe.” He tells me. “I’m going to test whether or not that ‘being Good’ thing really works.” “You mean ‘Karma’, but you can’t do this for the sake of trying to get better things for you, that’s not how it works.” I explain to him. “Oh, I know, and trust me, that’s not why I’m saying this, I’m just going to challenge the Universe, see if I can change something, try to be positive and good towards other people. Why not give to that guy?” 

I reply, “That’s not challenging the Universe, that’s challenge yourself. Or if you will, challenging the Universe within yourself.” “Yeah yeah yeah, something like that.”

Moments later, I took 2 orange sodas and walked towards the man who called out to me, “You still want those sodas?” As I stretched out my hand, he starts sounding surprized, “Hey man, I didn’t think you’d do it, I was only playin’.” “It’s all good, man.” I say to him. And as I walked away, I didn’t feel the Universe changing or shifting to the challenge presented by my brother, but his words of changing the way one views things stuck with me.

It’s true, I took the guy’s random request as a problem with him, “Who is he to ask this of me? I paid for this, not him.” But how often are we asked by God and SO many others to give, I mean really, what are two soda cans to me? Heh, looking back, I feel pretty stupid being stingy for something as trivial as not sharing soda with someone else. Now, I’m thinking about what else I haven’t shared that are worth more than two cans…

Heh, ‘challenge the Universe’… I often tell the girls in response to them telling me that they’re bored, “There are two Universes, one, outside your window, and the other inside you. Pick one.” I’ll never know what would become of the guy who asked me, come to think of it, I didn’t even get a good look, thanks to the setting sun, but at least for me, this is something shifting in my Universe, I’m going to try to give more. Of what little I have in my possession, I need to learn to give freely, because in the end, “God giveth and taketh away” so who am I to horde for myself when God has given everything to me?

Sometimes, I wonder how hypocritical I am…

And this is my challenging the Universe. I will let go of these negative emotions, and give whenever someone asks it of me. Who knows? Maybe the next person asking me for something is Christ himself. Heh, if that’s a possibility, I better make sure I give freely to everyone, otherwise I’m in trouble. 

A.M. Musings

It’s 1:23 AM and for reasons unknown to me, I’m still keeping myself awake with my laptop. So I’m going to write whatever comes to mind at the moment.

*   *   *

I hope Norm has learned to keep his word now, since he was late picking up JP. The man even asked him and everything, so it’s not like it was forced upon him… Come to think of it, I never got that kind of treatment! Man, he should be so lucky! JP never asks me for anything!…

You know, I should take a page from Teddy Roosevelt, the man went to bed at 10PM and woke up at 6AM, imagine all of the things I can do at 6AM! I’d definitely go hiking more, before everyone is awake, even see a sunrise. I remember those lessons that guy wrote for his son, “Watch a sunrise at least 3 times a year.” not to mention that my web surfing goes to mindless places in the twilight hours of the night.

*   *   *

I just realized I can watch the Sunset from my room, I can’t believe it took me this long to see it, maybe it has to do with the fact that it’s closer to summer and the Earth’s Axis is slightly to the side. I saw it today– errr yesterday. It was pretty cool. I can get used to this.

Picking up the Sword Again

After I said good night to my mother, she asked me if I still prayed the Rosary, to which I responded that I hadn’t due to my mind wandering to less than Holy places during the Rosary, and that the regular prayer is more intimate and helpful to me. But she suggested that I take it up again because it’s not about me, but it’s because God wants us to.

In my prayers, I’ve always asked to be a good man in God’s eyes, and when I wasn’t, to guide me back to being one through whatever means. And in one way or another, God provides me with an opportunity, sometimes, I’m wise enough to see it, other times, I’m not.

So after this hiatus, I think I will pray the Rosary tonight, I do need to find ways to follow Christ and become closer to Him. If I can just focus on that, and use all of my skills to maintain that focus, I should be able to not wonder into sinful things.

I’ve always liked the Rosary, and even though I have a necklace version of it, I have always maintained the idea that it’s a tool, not a piece of jewelry, utilized for strength, courage, need, balance, and overall faith-building… Heh, all of the things that I’d like present in my own life.

If I really think about it, I have a lot of things to pray for, in nearly all areas and levels in my life, and yet, at the same time, I would feel somewhat guilty praying for myself. I’m not praying for anything petty, like money or fame, I’ve prayed for forgiveness, strength, courage, wisdom, and not just for me, but for my family and friends as well.

Maybe tonight, this is what I should pray for: Clarity. The clarity to see my faults and to fix them, not just for my sake, but so that I can be the best man that I can be.

The First of Many Fires

Ahh, this is exactly what I was looking forward to, when I laid my eyes on the fire pit we had purchased.

The night is cool and still, the day has finished, and the sun has set, the Night has started to come and there’s a desire to remain outside, avoiding the television and the internet, so we pull up several chairs and grabbed a couple of logs, and started building a fire.

It initially started off as a small fire, we were chatting, Dave, Nena, Greggy and myself, until Norm came home and eventually my sister went to bed and Norm stayed outside with us. We were telling stories of hilarious things that had happened to us years ago, and making fun of each other, laughing all throughout the silent night, and enjoying each other’s company.

It’s nights like these that I treasure most, they bring me to a tranquil state that I simply cannot put into words. In all honesty, it didn’t matter if I was with my brothers, or by myself, sitting there, staring into those flames in the evening, I feel as if I stare deeply enough into the fire, I can either see my Life’s Purpose or move the flames to my will.

I have no idea why only these two thoughts come to mind, but they’re the only ones that appear. if any at all. There have been moments where I simply gaze and lose myself into the flames, as if I was hypnotized by the dancing movements of the element.

In either case, from the beginning of it, building the fire and placing the wood, to the very end when I leave embers and take with me the wonderful scent of burned wood, I just plain love it.

There’s something about building a fire that grabs a deep joy within my heart, I don’t know if it’s echos of story-telling in the past or if I’m a pyrophile, but I could not be happier than when I am sitting infront of a fire. My eyes looking into that manifestation of pure energy, my nostrils being filled with the sweet aroma of ashes being produced, my vision lighted by a dancing flame, and my body warmed as if I’m being embraced.

If I think of anything that can be holy as well as cleansing, my first choice is and always will be: Fire.

Twenty-Seven

In 4 days, I will be 27, and as pointed out by my niece, I’ll be 3 years from being 30 years old.

Wow… 30 years old… I’ve gotta say, I don’t feel like I’m remotely close to being 30. If I didn’t know how old I really am, I’d still think I’m early/mid-twenties.

Normally, I’d feel a bit discouraged, realizing how close I am to reaching such a number as 30, but I don’t. I can’t, I’ve forsaken the standards of time that society has placed upon me and now I’m free to do what I think is right, for as long as I think it’s right to do it in.

After all, I’ve read an article about helpful advice people who’ve reached their 30’s have to offer and one of the best ones is:

No one really knows what they’re doing.”

So why should I conform to a standard set by those who do not know what they’re doing? Only God and I know how this life of mine goes, the standards and rules that were set by God and myself. And while God knows where it ends, I am the one who makes the move.

I’ve always said that Life is like a giant game of Chess, where God is the player and we are the Pawns only moving forward in time, God can see every possible outcome, but it’s only us that makes the move. So as I make a move that allows me to spend my 27th year on this earth, I know that my move is one that I make based on rules and regulations that I’ve chosen to follow, and not set upon me by others who do not know me.

Twenty seven years. I must admit, it does put a smile on my face, now if only I can figure out why.