The SamuraiMarine

Thoughts, Philosophy, Life and Love

Month: July 2011

Gifts of knowledge…

When I went through my Bar Mitzvah ceremony, when I was thirteen, I was excited.  Not so much by the fact that I was going to be a “Man” in the eyes of the temple, but more because I knew that there would be gifts.

That is not to say that the ceremony meant nothing to me, on the contrary, it meant a great deal.  While I am sure that I was a constant source of challenge to Rabbi Peskind, in that I was a lazy student, I was excited that once this was completed I would be able to take a more active role in the temple.

After the ceremony, as I expected, came the gifts.  Most of these were checks, but there was also a ring to commemorate my Bar Mitzvah and there was a package.  It was heavy and solid.  My imagination was running wild about what it could be.

A Game?  Some tools?  A Model?

When I opened it, my heart sank.  It was a book, and worse yet, it was a dictionary.  I am embarrassed to say, even now, about 30 years later, that I was angry about this.  For months that book sat in a corner of my closet.  Never getting touched or looked at a second or third time.  I was treating it like the proverbial Fifth Horseman and I would have nothing to do with it.

Sometimes, I think, especially when we are young, we fail to see the importance of a gift, even when the person that gave it to you does.  So several month later, I was reading something in a paper and I came to a work that stumped me.  While I do not recall the word now, I do remember trying to break it down for it root meanings, but got nowhere.  So I asked my Mother what it meant.  Her response was:

“You have a dictionary in the closet… look it up.”

Suddenly I needed to come face to face with the 800 pound gorilla in the closet.  The big red book that I was loathing the mere existence of for so long.  As I picked up the book, the cold sweat broke out on my brow and down the center of my back.  I opened it to the page and, low and behold, there was the answer I needed.

While looking that word up, I found another that interested me, then another, and yet ANOTHER.  Suddenly, before I knew it, I was sitting in my bedroom reading a dictionary, much like one would read an Anne Rice novel (I would say a Stephanie Meyer novel for the younger readers, but I doubt there is much in her books that would require a dictionary.)

Today, on my shelf, a mere five feet from where I sit writing this piece, sits that very same dictionary.  Yes it is outdated and they are not that expensive, but there is something about that book that I just cannot bring myself to part with it.

You know how they say that you can never forget your first love?   I think that this might be the same thing.  To this day, that book means more to me than any of the other books on my shelves, short of the Torah, My Great-Great Grandmother’s Bible, and my Marine Corps Manual.

If there is a moral to this article… it would have to be to not discount the gifts of others.  Just because it was not what you wanted at the time, it does not mean it is not what you might need very soon.

Six Months in…

I have been bad…

I have been so busy recently that I have not taken the time to write anything on this site, something that I need to do from time to time to share my observations with those of you that are interested in reading that which I choose to share.

This last six months has been incredible.  It seems like with each day that passes, I learn something new about myself, about life, about my relationship with my wife, and, most importantly, about Gideon.

Today, Gideon is a 19 pound, 27 inch long little boy that shows nothing less than a love for learning anything and everything that he can about the world around him.  He watches everything and you can see that he is trying to figure it out.  Not just looking at things to look at them, he wants to know why things are what they are.

Watching him experience the world, by itself, is a pure joy.  Living vicariously through his little eyes, I am learning to see wonder in life again.  Wonder in things that I have started taking for granted, in my old age.  When I see him look at something that he has not seen before, and I see his eye turn into saucers as he takes it all in, suddenly I see it anew as well.

Things as simple as our dogs running through the house excites his curiosity and interest.  And there is nothing more fun than watching him pay attention to them and reaching for them as they run past him.

He has done to me what all the exercising and vitamins I have taken in my life cannot, and that is make me feel young again.  Through him, I am learning to enjoy life and to appreciate little things that I had started to just not pay attention to anymore.

My life, because of this new little life, has taken on new meaning and new direction.  No longer am I doing what I do for me, I am doing for the life of Gideon.  So that he will have something the look forward to as he grows older.  It is no longer a case of my doing what I want for my wife and I, it is a case of my doing what is best for Gideon, and the considerations of my wife and I are now secondary to that.  And while at one time I would have had a problem with that, now I am perfectly fine with this.  It just seems and feels perfectly natural.

Lastly… I see a new need to live a better life, myself.

My Father passed away as a result of cancer when he was only 53 years old, granted, he did lead a rough life and was a very old 53 (if you were to have met him, you would think he was older.)  But the fact is that when he passed away, 53 was still considered young.

I do not lead the life that he did… I rarely drink, I do not smoke and I would like to think I have a pretty happy life, in spite of myself.  But I do have other vices that I need to change, which I will not bore you with.  But suffice it to say that I need to change my way of living around a bit to ensure that I will be here for Gideon for years and years to come.

As always… thank you for reading this.

Amy Winehouse – RIP

Being that I wrote a piece about Amy some time ago, I feel I need to comment on the news of her recent passing.

While it is sad that she passed away, it should be remembered that she did lead rough life.  Her use of drugs and her lifestyle, in general, as was laid before us all on the national news for some time, was not conducive of that of a person that desired to live a long, full life.

I would never hope for a person’s passing, nor do I ever celebrate the death of anyone.  I strongly believe in the idea of Karma, so I make every effort to accept that the decisions of others are their own and that they create their own path.

I think that people, especially the youth, that followed Amy, should take this as a life lesson.  That they should see what the the substance abuse and lifestyle did to Amy and maybe learn from that.   I would hope that were Amy still with us today, she would agree with that and encourage the same of anyone that admired her.

She was a very creative woman, and I enjoyed listening to her music.  For the music, she will be missed.

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