10,000 times 10,000 dreams

There are a lot of things I’ve never done in my life.  Some call it a bucket list.  Do you have one?  I don’t want to climb Mt. Everest, but I almost think I’d like to step out on that glass terrace in Chicago, but not the one over the Grand Canyon.  In college I wanted to skydive, should-a probably been one of those things I didn’t check with family about and apologized later. My orthopod uncle shared the surgery I’d had on both my shoulders might not stand up to the pressure of opening the chute, and he suggested not opening it would turn out even worse, so either choose the least worst or be smart and not do it. I chose that.

I’ve always wanted to play the French horn and the oboe.  Since I grew up playing the clarinet, the oboe probably makes more sense.  But our resident magnificent oboe player says you should play the oboe only if you can’t “not” do it.  It’s an ongoing love-hate relationship.  Since I love to hear him play it with our Instruments of Grace group, I’m happy the love part of his relationship with the instrument wins out.  Since I don’t really have the brass person’s embouchure at this point in my life, I’m guessing the French Horn is a little out of my league as well.

I think I’d like to try painting.  I had an art teacher tell me one time that I was a bit too “buttoned up” for the still-life painting profession.  Believe it or not, at least in that time of my life, it was hard for me to color outside the lines. *snort. Wanting everything to be perfectly aligned and look exactly like reality is not really the artist’s eye.  I think I will still try it someday.  I mean, that guy on PBS all those years ago that painted “happy little trees” made it look so relaxing.

Then there’s race car driving.  On the heels of the Indy 500 I’m reminded of how much I like to drive fast.  But I may be more suited to the Monaco Grand Prix, I like the look of the low-slung cars and the curvy track through town. From what I understand it’s a rather expensive sport, and I have yet to find a corporate sponsor even when I confess I might have one time allegedly driven a car a 100 mph, not so impressive in comparison.  But I might do one of those “day at the track” things out at the Kansas Speedway where I think you get to ride along with a professional driver.  Except I think you only ever turn one direction all the time, seems redundant.

Even though my body has not been particularly open to the long distance running as of late, I still have it in my mind I’d like to do a marathon before I get too much farther down the road. *snort, see what I did there?  I had a really good and experienced marathoner tell me that if he could, he would stick to halves and that the body, even his which was long and lanky, simply isn’t made to run 26.2 miles.  But he was a Boston qualifier and finisher, I’d be fine simply doing one near Pooh corner in the Ashdown Forest near 100 acre wood. Feels like that would be a more kind and gentle experience.

Our friend and meteorologist Brian Busby plays the timpani. He told me one time that was his other dream if the weather thing hadn’t worked out.  It looks fun.  Three big round drums that when the baton guy points to you, there is no mistaking that your part brings a unique sound and quality that no instrument with a mouth-piece, a reed, or even a string bow can bring.  But the guy who plays timpani with the KC Symphony and Brian Busby both have longstanding facial hair, so . . . probably won’t go that direction.

It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?  Sometimes those dreams are realized and sometimes they simply float around out there making us smile to imagine what the experience could be like and that’s enough.  Part of facing the reality in which we live, is that more than 10,000 times 10,000 dreams die along with children when their lives are suddenly ended.  And when those lives are ended by other relatively young people whose dreams at some point became nightmares without hope in any future, the pain seems more than 10,000 times 10,000 to the 10,000th power.

This is a picture my niece-in-law sent after my gr. nephew pole vaulted at a height he’d not previously reached.

The far left is my other niece-in-law who is also Athletic Director at the High School and kept me in the gym at the State basketball tournament when I might have yelled at the ref. “No, YOU’VE been warned,” then my bro-in-law, my sis, and me reacting instantaneously.  We hadn’t planned it.  One of my friends says it looks like we’re at a revival! For me I think it was a little bit.

There were young people everywhere.  The state of Kansas, from what I understand, is the only one that has the State Track Meet for every size of school on the same day at the same stadium.  Young people from the smallest schools to the largest and everything in between. Again, there were young people everywhere.  Some were focused, some warming up on the infield, some being called over the loudspeaker to show up at a certain event, some in the stands cheering for other teammates competing, many simply talking and laughing and socializing and snacking and well, doing what young people do when they are together and not afraid.  Should they have been, you know, afraid?  Maybe.  Were possibly some of them?  I’m guessing it crossed their minds.  It did mine.  When I was the same age 40+ years ago, it didn’t cross mine, not even once.  Now it does on a fairly regular basis when I’m at events with students and otherwise. A topnotch and professional law enforcement person at Grace has helped me know what to look for.  Who’da thought I’d ever know that, it wasn’t a class in seminary. All of our education professionals know it, way more than me.  Am guessing it probably is a part of their curriculum now.

So many dreams.  I’m 60 and I still have them, things I want to do, places I want to go, experiences I want to have.  Maybe paint by number is the way for me to go with the painting thing.  But as many dreams as I still have?  I want our youngsters to have more.  More dreams, more opportunities to realize those dreams, more hope that their every tomorrow will be better than all the yesterdays.

Let’s try something together as human beings.  Let’s try banning AR15’s.  Let’s try waiting periods and background checks. Let’s try limiting the number of rounds of ammo that any one person can purchase at one time.  Let’s try expanding Medicaid in the State of Kansas for mental health support to be more available and more accessible to more people.  Many can give me arguments why none of those will work.  What if we try?  Instead of deciding ahead of time, how about if we try?  Please for the love of God and the love of neighbor, let’s simply try.

(link to video)