Streetlights on a Saturday night 1 0f 3, April 1st, 2020

Part 1 of 3
James

Occurred March 25, 2018

James was scheduled to leave Denver late. It was Saturday. He had been away from home and his wife Emily, and their two daughters for almost two weeks. First was Phoenix, training. That was held over a day because it was determined they needed to make changes to the syllabus he had spent the better part of a month preparing. Then, on to Denver, where his company is headquartered. It seemed like nothing went right this trip. And, he felt like there were some precious memories he was missing at home in Frisco. Both his daughters had music recitals and sports activities, none of which James could obviously attend.

The Denver leg came with its own calamities. The first night, his room at the Fairfield had some environmental issues. The thermostat didn’t seem to be working so the heat was on or off. James was able to move to a different Marriott property altogether closer to his company’s address day two but that was the least of day two’s obstacles. His rental car had some kind of electrical failure. He had to use Lyft to get to HQ, late of course. Finally, he was given a nice Lincoln to drive for the remainder of his stay.

He had a late flight Saturday because he had expected to be in meetings most of the morning. When the meetings were cancelled, James decided to try for an earlier flight with American to get home to his family.

James went to fuel up the Lincoln before turning in. While fueling the vehicle he called his boss. Just as his boss said hello, James heard something splashing on the ground and turned to see fuel going everywhere because the nozzle didn’t auto-shutoff. He didn’t see an emergency shutoff button so he wrestled with the nozzle until it shut off while spewing gas everywhere. He had to call his boss back.
It didn’t stop there. Once he got the Lincoln, which was drenched on the side with fuel, back to the drop off, he began removing his stuff. He placed his trusty Starbucks coffee mug on the trunk of the car and then moved to the other side to pull out his bags. The attendant had already begun checking mileage and other items in the car without really acknowledging James’ presence. James once again called his boss to update him. The attendant popped the button on the trunk, sending James’ coffee mug flying through the air straight toward him. Instant reflex kicked in and he caught it but down went the phone with his boss still on the other end. The attendant didn’t notice anything and hustled away. James had a nice new cracked screen. But, he at least was able to finish the call with his boss.

James was starting to wonder, what next? Well…

There were two earlier flights on American to DFW and both were overbooked. American was looking to get 17 people on the first flight alone to volunteer to take another flight. James heard from another passenger, American offered one traveler $1,000 to give up his seat.
Okay, so no going home early. Now James would just have to settle in and wait until his 5pm flight. So his plane would arrive around 345 or so and then he would board after they fuel it and load bags, etc. A few minutes after the plane landed and most of the passengers had departed, there was an announcement that the flight would be delayed due to a technical problem. Exhausted and eager to get home, James asked the gate agent what was going on. Apparently, a departing passenger somehow triggered an emergency inflatable device (wasn’t clear exactly what this was, but assuming a raft?) inside the aircraft and now maintenance was trying to figure out what to do and whether or not the plane would be returned to service.

Now James was a seasoned business traveler so he knows there will always be issues from time to time but on this particular trip he was feeling cursed. It was finally determined the aircraft would not be airworthy in time to fly James and his fellow travelers back to DFW, so American announced they would be flying another aircraft in for their flight but it would take another 3 hours or so. And get this, it was coming from DFW!

The plane did arrive and the passengers were loaded and swiftly air born, bound for Dallas! James began to feel some momentum. Could he be leaving the curse behind in Denver? Nope! There was a 25 minutes delay with the baggage system. Ha! Now James was feeling completely beat down and defeated as he dragged his bag out the door of Terminal C, praying to God, “Please Lord, I just want to go home.”

James opened up his Lyft app and requested a car. The nearest one was 17 minutes away. Standing outside the terminal, well after midnight, James tried Lyft one more time. This time the nearest driver was 11 minutes away. James made the request and stood there aching and tired and wishing he could be home with his wife and his girls, wishing he could finally sleep in his own bed. He checked the app and sure enough, here came the vehicle he requested, he could see the Lyft light in the dash matching the color on his phone so he knew that one was for him. One more leg of this trip and he was home. “Please let this ride be smooth and without any issues…”


#Kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #weareallconnected

streetlights on a Saturday night 2 of 3 April 1st, 2020

StreetLights on a Saturday night

Part 2 of 3
Last Ride


Occurred March 25th, 2018

It was late Saturday night, after midnight. Okay, early Sunday morning!

I am exhausted. My whole week went sideways. It seems to do that often. I haven’t slept well in days. My restless legs have kept me up. It’s a nice bonus every time I get one of those steroid injections in my neck for a collapsed disc. My goals for the week were on the horizon but now have completely vanished. A few more rides like the last one and I am just done.

It is day 110 of recovery from depression rock bottom back in early December. I have managed to keep clear of the fog, for the most part. That nasty shadow has been chasing me, but hasn’t been able to catch me. I have been keeping it under control.

I am so tired. No way to hit that bonus. I think it may be time to head home. I will start again in the morning. Means, I miss church again but, need to work.

I was on highway 114 coming back from the west and looking to make the highway 121 exchange to head home.

The Lyft app began chirping with a request. Wow, its 17 minutes away. I accepted it. It turns out it was coming from the airport. I guess there is a real shortage of drivers in the queue at the airport. It isn’t common to get an airport pickup 17 minutes away. So, I headed in. I didn’t get far before the rider cancelled. I guess he didn’t like the wait time.

Well, I am headed toward the airport anyway. I will take just one more rider. I will make this one count and then head home to try again tomorrow. Just one more trip. Just then, the app started chirping again, 11 minutes away this time. I accepted it. Wow, another airport request. Bet they cancel. But I am going that way.

This request wasn’t canceled. It was a pickup at DFW Airport Terminal A. Really late for activity there. I was exhausted and feeling beat down. I could feel that shadow starting to move around me. I was feeling sorry for myself and I was feeling like a failure, my mind was getting dark. But I am going to get this one last rider home.
As I approached the Terminal I saw my passenger, looking at me. Man, this guy looked worse than I feel. You could tell he was running on empty just by watching him move as I pulled up.

Just this last ride. Just one more ride and I will head home. I feel like I haven’t seen or spent time with my family in weeks. I have missed church and my friends there. Now I am going to miss everyone again. I will GET UP and keep fighting again tomorrow, I guess. Starting to wonder what the point is. I am so tired. Just one more ride tonight. Just one more Saturday night drive. Ok, time to put on a smile and get this guy home. Clearly he needs to get there. Got to keep movin’. Got to keep fighting. Else, who am I?

Hello James. Welcome back to DFW. Let’s see where we are headed…

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #drivingawaydepression #Peopleprofiles #weareallconnected #lifeisbetterwithasoundtrack


streetlights on a Saturday night 3 of 3, April 1st, 2020

StreetLights on a Saturday night
Part 3 of 3
Silver Linings

Occurred March 25, 2018

In the struggle of life, especially those long stretches of time when we try to change, to improve, there is a strong counteracting force. It will knock you down, kick you, and steal your lunch money! You get the idea. Change is hard. When we attempt it, we often fail, and then fail again.

There are often times of sorrow or sadness. We are emotional, loving beings. When we are away from our loved ones it takes an emotional toll. When we lose someone, it takes a toll. When we become sick, it takes a toll.

When we must isolate ourselves at home, it takes a toll.

Something I know to be true, God is active in our lives. God puts people in our lives when we need them. God won’t give us more than we can handle. And, God has a purpose for each of us.

Last Saturday I was run down. Last Saturday I was feeling depressed. I was driving late, and I was exhausted. I picked up James from the airport and took him home to his house in Frisco. James seemed to fall into the car feeling exhausted himself. We got through the introductions and started the trip. I asked him if he had been traveling all day and he smiled and said he had a horrible trip. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. He said he desperately just wanted to make it home with no more issues, problems, or delays.

“I’ve got you covered!” I said. “Now tell me what happened on this horrible trip.” So James began telling this remarkable story of bad hotel rooms, broken rental cars, setbacks at work, and crazy flight delays. When he was done, I told him we needed to get him home as fast as we can so he can get out of my car and take that bad mojo with him! He laughed, but said the odds were against us. He was tired of travel and sad because he missed his family. I could certainly relate to that.

“James, your story alone is hilarious. Yes, it was all troubling and difficult to endure, but that was one of the worst travel experiences I have listened to, which makes it funny! And here you are on the final leg of your journey home. I will get us there!”

James asked me how my week went. I told him, not so well and explained all the things that went wrong with my week. After each of us had a chance to tell our stories to each other we both began to look for the silver lining, and we found it!

James ended up closer to his headquarters as a result of an issue with his first hotel room in Denver. He got upgraded when his rental car broke down. He could have been on the flight when the raft was triggered. It could have happened in the air. As far as his phone goes, well, stuff happens. But how cool was it that the trunk was triggered, sending his coffee mug right to him. That must have been quite a site. I told James I thought he now has a great story to tell his family in the morning to make them all laugh.

My week wasn’t the worst. Sure, I was tired. But I had so many wonderful interactions with people. I picked up some job leads and received help from numerous friends. James asked me what was most important in my life. I told him, my family. He said forget driving in the morning and get to church. He was right! I needed to be with my family. And I needed to recharge spiritually.

Sometimes, we need help gaining the right perspective on things. God is active in our lives. Meeting James was God’s doing. James was his messenger. And I was God’s messenger and delivery service for James. I delivered him to his doorstep at 1:58 AM. No issues or problems occurred.

Two weary travelers offering each other kind words and an ear. Just what each of us needed at the time. And our journey continues…

April 1st, 2020

Easter is almost upon us. I can’t think of a better time to use kind words and to listen. In doing so, we can alter the trajectory of someone’s life, in a very good way!

We can do even do this from home.

We are all connected.

Be safe. Be love. Be kind.

#Kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #weareallconnected



StreetLights On A Saturday Night

The Wisdom Of Downton Abbey

Well, here we are, 2020. Look how far we’ve come in the last 100 years!

Actually…

maybe you are better off not looking.

A few months ago, just before I took off for my neck surgery, I gave Andrew and Jennifer a ride home from the airport. They live in West Fort Worth. Andrew and Jennifer were coming home from a visit to Jennifer’s parents who live in Portland, Oregon. I wanted to write about them earlier but for some reason I kept getting sidetracked with a story within the story.

You see, writing about this wonderful couple, who are engaged to be married this summer, kept turning into writing about a TV show we spent much of the ride talking about.

Yep, Downton Abbey hijacked the story.

That’s ok. We’ll make a go of it anyway.

Jennifer said they were looking forward to getting home and doing nothing! At which point, Andrew said they had the rest of the week and the weekend off, so they were going to binge watch, yep, Downton Abbey. They apparently wanted to rewatch the whole series before seeing the movie. Plus, their trip to Portland was a very active one; not so much a vacation. So they were both exhausted.

“What is a weekend?”
—Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

They planned their trip in order to help Jennifer’s parents move into a much smaller house. Andrew jokingly said that they kept most of the things that had a place in the big house. He said they kinda missed the point of downsizing.

From that moment of the trip, our conversation seemed to be about or circle back to Downton Abbey. I can certainly think of worse topics. I am a big fan of the show too.

“We must always travel in hope.”
— Carson, Downton Abbey, Season 5

Our discussion ebbed and flowed around one theme in particular. We kept comparing the way people behaved 100 years ago with today. That comparison left all three of us feeling a bit disappointed with humanity. With all the incredible technology we have now, escpecially regarding communication, transportation, and ease of access to knowledge, we seem to be in much shorter supply of intelligence. I would add love, peace, kindness, joy, and hope to the list.

“How you hate to be wrong,” said Isobel, practically baiting the Dowager to drop the following: “I wouldn’t know. I’m not familiar with the sensation.”

Andrew noted that we are all so much more opinionated now and a quick google search is all it takes to find information that backs our opinion and thus, in our own minds, makes that opinion, fact. So why would we consider anyone else’s now? They are clearly mistaken, uninformed, etc.

The story of the Crawley family in Downton Abbey slows everything down. Information back then came from books, newspapers, telegrams, and toward the end of the series, the telephone. Sources of information were few. Therefore, it was important to be reliable and accurate if you were a source. Now all you need is access to the internet. Somebody out there will believe whatever nonsense you are peddling. Downton Abbey is telling us to slow down and be responsible with our words, our knowledge.

The other side of this communication advancement is simply how we treat each other. Now that we can send out messages and posts like this one, we have somehow managed to remove any filters. In other words, we treat each other like crap.

Is that the byproduct of instant access? When we address each other face to face, there still exists a set of manners. We treat each other with respect. But now we can go home and post all kinds of jokes, memes, nasty insults and mockery with no sense of guilt or respect.

Don’t get meme wrong, I have a sense of humor and love a good joke when I see it. But if something we post isn’t something we could say about someone (or someone’s beliefs) in person, then that something stinks of poo and we shouldn’t post it. One other virtue Downton Abbey tries to teach us about communication is, even if we are right, that doesn’t mean we should say it!

I have been quite vocal lately. I have made several very sharp attacks. My anger and frustration has been consistently high. Yesterday, I came across a quote by Mother Teresa. At least, I think it was Mother Teresa. I found it on the very trustworthy internet. I didn’t bother to research the source. But hey, good words are good words. Anyway, Mother Teresa says,

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

Ohhh, that got me thinking about my anger and my attacks. Anger, is ok. We all get angry and that anger is often appropriate. I considered what I was angry about and whether or not I went too far. Perhaps, a little. It is easy for anger to turn us into irrational. We can do and say things we regret. I think maybe I have been to judgemental in a few places this week.

My anger, my cause is valid. There are a great many injustices. There are far too many dark forces at work today. So, Mother Teresa has a great point. But anger is important too. And it is powerful, if controlled. Pure rage doesn’t do anyone any good. Neither does moral judgement, at least without cause. It’s a fine line is all I am saying. So let’s keep fighting the good fight, but be careful not to get all judgey beyond the argument at hand.

“Because I want the pleasure of saying I told you so.”
—Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Downton takes us through many of the same messes we find ourselves in today, but it does so in a 100 year old setting and with a society and culture that doesn’t exist anymore. Frankly, the idea of someone else helping me dress and undress every day is laughable. What I like about watching the challenges of life through the Downton lense is we see the issues and their true weight with much more clarity. The show doesn’t avoid anything. At one point or another, the characters are faced with some serious issues: war, murder, rape, homosexuality, abortion, children outside of wedlock, the exclusion of people based on their social status or skin color.

“I’m not a romantic, but even I will concede that the heart does not exist soley for the purpose of pumping blood.”

Dowager Countess of Grantham, Violet Crawley

Of course let us not forget the brighter issues of friendships from unexpected places, romance, love, finding one’s purpose, the birth of a child, pigs (hey, pigs are cute and funny on screen), music, overcoming personal obstacles, and simply celebrating life. Oh let’s not forget the beauty of the English countryside.

I enjoyed watching these issues played out in such a different setting, without modern complications like social media, the ability to reach anyone, anywhere on the planet, via phone, text, messenger, skype, etc. There were far fewer complications back then. So for us, we get to watch the characters and think, ha! You are so lucky it’s only 1920! No way would you be able to deal with that issue in 2020!

“I think accepting change is quite as important as defending the past.”
— Cora, Lady Grantham, Downton Abbey, Season 3

The point I am trying to make is this. Downton Abbey shines a light on problems that existed then and still exist today. But when put in a much clearer and, dare I say simpler context, it makes us realize just how ridiculous we are to still be fighting with each other about certain issues. Watching Downton Abbey reminds me that we have had 100 years to get past certain “hang ups” we have with each other and still haven’t become a more enlightened and inclusive human race. In fact, if anything, we seem to have become even more polarized. Perhaps Mr. Carson, Miss Padmore, and Lady Grantham (the Dowager) had it right by opposing all the new technology, and changes to society.

“First electricity, now telephones. Sometimes I feel as if I were living in an H. G. Wells novel.”
—Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham

Downton Abbey takes us back to a much different time and a much different world and is quite the powerful story to help us reflect on just how stuck we are today.

In that time, words mattered. One was very careful about using the right words, avoiding anything dramatic or profane. Now we seem free to say whatever on social media, no filter. Just free flowing hatred, mockery and insults. What happened to the respect? What has happened to decency and dignity?

Even in the most regal of English houses, life is messy. It is full of pain and disappointment.

It is about lifes ups and downs as much as it is about happy endings.
It is a testament to the triumph of love and kindness. Mr. BARROW is proof of that.

SPOILER ALERT

And so the series ends on New Year’s eve with Edith celebrating her marriage and Anna giving birth upstairs, Carson retiring and Barrow coming back to replace him as Butler. I still haven’t seen the movie so don’t talk about it! 🧡😉

And in the final moments of the last episode, Downton Abbey leaves us with one very memorable and very true message,

We are all connected!

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #drivingawaydepression #weareallconnected

StreetLights On A Saturday Night

Lost in the woods

I took a walk today. The sun was out. Blue sky, pillowy clouds and blossoms on the trees. I love trees. I always find them calming and restorative, like natural anti-anxiety medicine.

It was during this walk I found the right perspective again. I have been angry this week. I have been anxious. I have been frustrated with the world. I have been caught up in the injustices of the world. My friend Tom and I will sometimes go round and round arguing about politics and religion. We had a contentious debate this week. And, I see many others frustrated as well. It can be tough to find peace of mind.


But those trees and the warm breeze, and the pillowy clouds, it all reminded me that this life is a blessing. I am reminded that I “get to” argue with my friend and I get to take that walk, and I get to write this post, and I get feel love, joy, and happiness. Consider all the things you have to do. Everything. Then simply change the words “have to” to “get to.”

Oh, I know we are not done fighting. All of us, not just me and Tom. 😉 We have fierce convictions and ideas about life. But we are all connected. We all share the same blood. So don’t forget to make peace too.

It is all too easy to get lost in the woods at times of anger or sorrow, or lonliness, or exhaustion, or good old high anxiety. I met a man today who gave up all his social media accounts because it was actually affecting his marriage and his relationship with his kids. He said it was the best he felt in months.

Our world is so much more connected now. Everything is instant, including access. My children are growing up in a world where social media and constant content are overwhelming. I have heard ignorance is bliss. That applies very well to social media. And kids today get pulled into that digital world of instant everything. We have more people, especially young people with anxiety and depression than ever before.

From time to time, finding a way to disconnect is essential for your mental health. Same for your kids. Especially for the young ones. They can’t figure out who they are if they are too overwhelmed with anxiety about what other people think and say about them, on social media.

During this Lent season, try to disconnect. Get your kids to disconnect. Reconnect with each other. Reconnect with God and remember how the burdens of life are still blessings, because we “get to” live.

And when you feel lost in the woods, here is a good reminder,

Trees.

“Getting lost in the woods” is a phrase often associated with dark or troubled times in life.

If you are lost in the woods, take a moment. Take a deep long breath. Then look around you. The trees that surround you are not your enemy or your obstacle.

Look close and you will see, God has put those trees around you. They are there to protect you, to give you sustenance. They help form and define your path. Those trees are life giving and life saving. They offer you love and joy. Those trees are your friends and family, and safe spaces.

If you ever feel lost in the woods, take a breath, look around and know, you are not alone! Trust me, I’m an Oak…

Now, for your Saturday night groove and a little message within lyrics, checkout Coldplay’s Arabesque.

“I could be you, you could be me
Two raindrops in the same sea
You could be me, I could be you
Two angles of the same view
And we share the same blood

Comme deux gouttes d’eau
On se ressemble
Comme provenant de la même mère
Comme deux ruisseaux (You could be me)
Qui se rassemblent (I could be you)
Pour faire les grandes rivières


And we share the same blood
Yeah, we share the same bloodAnd we share the same blood
Yeah, we share the same blood

Music is the weapon, music is the weapon of the future
Music is the weapon, music is the weapon of the future
Music is the weapon, music is the weapon of the future.”



#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #TheKindnessClub #StreetLights #Grace #drivingawaydepression

Streetlights on a Saturday night

Again, we need more kindness and love. Too much hate. The pressure becomes to great. And then, it is just too late.

The darkest place in the universe is deep inside one’s own troubled soul.

For all my bipolar and depressive brothers and sisters. Written in October 2018 with love for those we lost. I needed a firmer grasp on my own sense of purpose and value before posting.

Streaming streaming here I go.
Head on pillow. Heart beats flow.

Streaming streaming getting faster now.
So many voices. So many faces.
So many directions. So many races.

I can keep up
I can hold on.
I just need to make the dawn.

Da da da…. Hill street Blues. What the hell?

Strange and intriguing like a distant bell.

They killed her.
I read the news today, oh boy.
She just couldn’t hold the joy.

In darkness.
Hung herself next to Mr. Clean
She just couldn’t escape the dream.

She was smart you know. She helped others heal. She helped others grow.

Woman Unleashed.

She wrote a book.
She helped little girls. She helped them find the power, someone else took.

She helped the pooches too. She wrote. She shrank. She soared, But she too got too blue.

Streaming flowing flying now. Is this how Robin felt? Is this what he knew? That its all way too fast. It’s too hard to keep up.
It’s so hard to hold on. Too hard to fill his cup.
And like poor Stacey, he fell off. He just gave up.

Faster and faster and faster we go. Money stress. Job stress. Where did the peace and joy go?

Hill street blues. What the hell? This earworm!

Ball of confusion. Big beautiful ball.
The winners and fast ones, they’ve destroyed it all. Piece by piece it all falls away in the acceleration of our daily fray.

Hill street blues? Why?

Streaming streaming head to pillow. I hear the beat. What is that? The neighbor? No its my heart and my mind. It just wont slow down.
Thoughts now, flying right by. Which one was it? Which one do I decry.

Think now. Think now. Life. Love. Yes, love! Struggle! People! That car! Yes, my car! My office. My space. My realm. My world. The people! Oh yes, the people. Who was it today? Luke, Frank, Michelle, or Steven. What the hell rhymes with Steven?
It doesn’t matter. They all showed up. And they brought my saving grace.

Through each, each of those strange angels, He told me.

Kindness is it. Kindness saves. Could it have saved Anthony? Could it have saved Kate? Or Robin, or Stacey? Will it save me? Its always kindness. Kindness breaks the waves.
Kindness kills the bug. Kindness slows the pace. Why do we hate? We are all in this human race?

Slowing down now. Fatigue setting in.
Shutting it down now. Pulling the pin. Took the pill. Beginning to chill.

What now head? What now heart?

Accept the grace and do my part.

But tomorrow.

Did I get that right?
Is this who I am?
Is this why I still drive?
Is this a blessing or a blight?
Or merely Streetlights on a Saturday night?

Sleep setting in. Finally peace. Manic no more.

Hiil street blues.
Ohhhhh.

Its cold and lonely in the dark.

“Lets all be safe out there.”

And all do our part…

To be kind.

Depression and bipolar disorder aren’t just states of mind. But they certainly screw with it. Suicide takes 45,000 people a year in the US. It doesn’t have to.
Each of us can save lives by simple acts of kindness, by reaching out, by acting on a concern or gut feeling. By accepting each other with love. In the darkness, in the fog, many don’t know how to call for help.
We ALL need to do better by each other.

We are all connected.

Peace be with you, my brothers and sisters.

As I began my journey to clarity and light, one song became, and remains my mantra.

Thanks be to God.

#kindness #purposefulkindness #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #drivingawaydepression #Peopleprofiles #weareallconnected #Whatawonderfulworld


Stacey Radin was a clinical psychologist in New York who battled depression and lost that battle last October.

Anthony Bourdain was a chef, food critic, social activist, author, and travel documentarian who starred in programs focusing on the exploration of international culture, cuisine, and the human condition.

Kate Spade (Katherine Noel Valentine Brosnahan) was an American fashion designer and businesswoman. She was the founder and former co-owner of the designer brand Kate Spade New York.

Andy Spade released this statement shorlty after his wife, Kate’s death, “Kate suffered from depression and anxiety for many years. She was actively seeking help and working closely with doctors to treat her disease, one that takes far too many lives. We were in touch with her the night before and she sounded happy. There was no indication and no warning that she would do this. It was a complete shock. And it clearly wasn’t her. There were personal demons she was battling.”

Robin Williams was a comedian, actor, and all around great guy who struggled with depression and anxiety.

Widow of Robin Williams places his suicide in context
Publish date: October 11, 2016
By Dr. Dinah Miller

“When actor Robin Williams died of suicide in August 2014, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline saw a surge in callers. The loss of a brilliant, energetic, public figure left everyone reeling, myself included. Williams was known to have difficulties with alcohol and depression, but despite his problems, he was everyone’s definition of success, and he certainly had access to the best of care. Stigma? I’m going to guess that in the California entertainment industry there’s no shame to seeing a psychiatrist.

Soon after his death, it was made public that Robin Williams suffered from Parkinson’s disease, then later that was revised – he had Lewy body dementia.

On Sept. 27, his widow, Susan Schneider Williams, published an article called “The terrorist inside my husband’s brain” in the journal Neurology.

Mrs. Williams writes about the joy of their relationship, and she notes that many months before he died, her husband was under the care of doctors for a multitude of symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, and a tremor. His symptoms worsened, and he became plagued by anxiety and panic, memory difficulties, and delusions with paranoia. She describes a change in his personality and a preoccupation with his anxiety, physical failings, and memory problems that interfered with his ability to memorize movie lines. Robin Williams was changing and declining. He was treated with both psychotherapy and psychotropic medications. He went to Stanford for hypnosis to treat his anxiety. He exercised with a physical trainer. In May, he received the Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and while he was told that it was early and mild, his life was collapsing in on itself.

But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…

StreetLights On A Saturday Night original post January 29th, 2019. I am asking unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks based on the experiences of the last year.

A few days after posting this last year, I had a heart attack. It was mild and I received two stents. However, last year’s health challenges didn’t end there. I ended up hospitalized 6 times last year for a variety of issues including the myocardial infarction, septicemia, other infections, a third stent, and neck surgery to finish out the year. I also continued to battle depression. All this to say the journey continues and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s cliche’ but true. Would it surprise you to know my faith in God, my connection to Jesus is even stronger?

This Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church, our Sr. Pastor, Ryon Price will be giving a sermon entitled, “What Are You Looking For?” As Pastor Ryon writes, “that is the title of the sermon but also the words Jesus asks to the first disciples to follow him. Oh, but the irony. The one who is asking the question is Himself its answer. He is what and who they are looking for, though they do not yet know it. All they know now is that they are looking for something, and they still haven’t found it, but they’ve been told by John to look the way of Jesus.
 
Sunday’s sermon will be about Jesus. It will be about our search and our longing for him. It will be about how, in Augustine’s words, “our hearts are restless until they find rest in [Him].”
 
I ask that you pray for Sunday. Somebody will surely show up looking for something, though they may know not what or who. Pray for me. Pray for them. Pray I can be like John the Baptist in the story and point them the way to the one who both has us asking and also is the answer.”

I would like to invite everyone to join us this Sunday at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. We are all on this journey together. Don’t worry about the Baptist part of Broadway Baptist Church. You don’t have to be Baptist to join us and find other seekers/searchers. Come get a spiritual recharge!

http://broadwaybc.org/
305 W. Broadway, Fort Worth, Texas 76104
Service begins at 1050am. Come early and join a Sunday School group at 925am

Now for the original post. Learning of this weekend’s (January 19, 2020 at 1050am) sermon reminded me of it…

A very significant milestone quietly passed by unnoticed over the weekend. When I realized it, I reviewed my recent trips to find out, Saturday night I gave Uber/Lyft ride number 5,000.

It turns out, that 5,000th ride was given to a woman name Lauren from Chicago. She has been living in Dallas for 6 months. She was just getting back from the frigid windy city. We talked about the differences between the two cities. We talked about Chicago style pizza. We talked about movies, careers, and we talked about a shared passion for music. Perfect strangers, but connected in this grand journey of life, of humanity.
We talked about kindness. We lamented the shortfall. And, we both pledged to keep making more.

This unexpected and awe inspiring path of 2 and a half years, 150,000 miles, and 5,000 rides has changed my outlook on life, on faith, profoundly. I am forever grateful. God has certainly continued to remind me of the importance of this path, and given me the grace to survive the struggles along the way.

Even with a profound sense of purpose, I wonder, I ache, I question. Even with this incredible sense of joy and peace, I hurt, I cry. Even with God’s steady hand, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.

But I now know, that is an eternal search. And, that is how it is supposed to be.
To question, to challenge, to become more enlightened, all throughout the universe. We will forever be connected. We must, therefore live our lives in purposeful kindness, and love.

Music has been a steadfast companion all my life. I am fond of saying life is better with a soundtrack. But, music is so much more. It tells our stories. It gives us perspective. It stirs the adventure and curiosity in us all.

Bruce Springsteen introduced U2 into the Rocknroll Hall of Fame in 2005. Two musical entities that have done just that; stir emotion, curiosity, and tell our story so well.

Bono, at one the 25th Anniversary Rock&Roll Hall Of Fame concerts, said this…

“I’m thinking here in Rock&Roll’s great cathedral, that is Madison Square Garden, thinking in this moment about all the pilgrims, all the pioneers that got us all here. The saints and the heretics, the poets and the punks, that now make up the hall of fame. Its a dangerous thing, this business of building idols. But at least Rock&Roll is not, at its best, about worshiping sacred cows. It’s about the thousands of voices gathered in one great unwashed congregation, like tonight. For alot of us here, Rock&Roll just means one word, liberation; political, sexual, spiritual. Liberation.”

To which Bruce Springsteen replied, “Let’s have some fun with that!”

And they began to sing together.

I like this quote because it isn’t just relevant to musicians. It is all of us. It’s life’s journey.

Plus, U2 and The Boss together is frickin awesome!

As I prepare for whatever God has planned next for me, this song reminds me that we are all searching. Perhaps, I’ll take a drive down Thunder Road, and see what lies ahead.

Where will you go? What will you look for?

Will you be kind along your journey?

I hope so.

https://youtu.be/XJo6lN6cNm0

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace

#TBT January 16, 2020

#TBT January 16, 2020

It’s floodin’ down in Texas.

I wish I could send this water to Australia. Truly, I do.

As I headed down to the Mitsubishi dealership bright and early this morning (Still trying to make sure everything is roadworthy as I resume my driving today), Bob Dylan popped up in my Spotify playlist. Believe it or not, as I sloshed through the high waters on Bowen road in Arlington, the song High Water came on.
As I listened intently for some further mystic message, because I was really paying attention now, I heard ol’ Bob make reference to Kansas City, 12th and Vine. Hmmm, that sounded familiar.

Sure enough, that corner was made famous from that song about goin’ to Kansas City.

I’m gonna be standing on the corner
12th Street and Vine
With my Kansas City b?aby
And a bottle of Kansas City wine.”

Ok, that song, ‘Kansas City’ was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller two 19-year-old students in Los Angeles who had never been to Kansas City. So, maybe that isn’t the message I was looking for. Back to Dylan’s High Water. Dylan wrote this song as an ode to Charley Patton.

Ok, now we are getting somewhere! 

So who was Charley Patton and what might he be echoing to us today?

“Charley Patton was arguably the most influential pioneer of the Delta Blues genre. Charley was born in the late 1800s. One site says 1891 but there is no official birth record. Charley Patton has been called the Founder of the Delta Blues. He was born between Bolton and Edwards, Mississippi. Patton was of mixed black, white and native American ancestry. In the early 1900s his family moved to the Dockery plantation. Patton’s travels took him from Louisiana to New York, but he spent most of his time moving from plantation to plantation, entertaining fieldhands at jukehouse dances and country stores. The emotional sway he held over his audiences caused him to be tossed off of more than one plantation, because workers would leave crops unattended to listen to him play.”Although Patton was roughly five feet, five inches tall and only weighed 135 pounds, his gravelly, high-energy singing style made him sound like a man twice his size. An accomplished and inventive guitarist and lyricist, he was a flamboyant showman as well, spinning his guitar, playing it behind his head and slapping it for rhythmic effect.

He also preached in local churches, played for the deacons of New Jerusalem M.B. Church here and recorded religious songs, folk ballads, dance tunes, and pop songs.High Water Everywhere,” a dramatic two-part account of the death and despair wrought by the great 1927 flood, is often regarded as his masterpiece.

His songs offered social commentary and provided propulsive music for dancing. Patton sometimes employed multiple spoken voices to create his own cast of characters. While he was an inspiration to many musicians, including Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Willie Brown, Roebuck “Pops” Staples, Bukka White, Honeyboy Edwards, and even Bob Dylan, the individualistic quality of his singing and playing was so inimitable that relatively few blues artists ever attempted to record Patton songs. Patton’s last wife, Bertha Lee, lived with him in Holly Ridge and recorded with him at his final session in New York for Vocalion Records in 1934. Patton died of mitral valve disorder at the age of 43.When he died, he was buried in an unmarked grave. John Fogerty later had a memorial erected to correct the slight.

So here is today’s message, brought to you by Charley Patton…

And who better to deliver the message we need to hear than a man of God, of mixed race, and a man who sings the blues. We are on the precipice. No need to worry about falling because the flood is rising to us. The one thing I know about the blues is this, it is all about what ain’t right in the world and it is usually followed by change, big change. That flood is coming. Here is what each of us must contemplate on this rainy day:

When the flood comes and changes everything, will you adapt and change with it? Or will you cling to the ledge of old, tired idealogy that continues to split us all apart. It is time everyone started realizing,

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!

The flood is coming, but it doesn’t mean the end. It means it is time to change the way we think about and treat each other. It is time for compassionate and kind leadership. It is high time for us to not just speak of loving each other, but show that love in our actions, in our daily living, in our religion, in our social media posts, in our language, in our laws, in our choices, our policies, our faith, and in our hearts.

If we heed the message, if we join together as God would have us do, the flood will carry us to that brighter day, together. If we stand apart on the precipice, we will just be washed away.

It’s raining.

The blues are playing.

Kindness is the key.

For more information about Charlie Patton, or the Bob Dylan song that I referenced, below are some links you might enjoy.

Charley Patton’s Grave

Crossroads 3 of 3 for NYE 2020

This 3rd and last installment for the last day of 2019 is all about the music. Well, it’s mostly about the music. The music is all about the theme.

WE ARE ALL CONNECTED!

I may have mentioned that one or two times before. It is this message I think we need to focus on the most, looking forward to 2020. We all share the same blood, as the song says. We can’t continue to mistreat each other. We can’t continue to live with the idea that one religion, one race, one culture is better than the other. That is the opposite of coexistence. That is the opposite of kind. We cannot continue to condone cruelty and hate. we cannot continue to make assumptions about people we do not know or people who do not look or sound like we do.

This New Year, choose love and kindness. Take yourself out of your comfort zone and get to know someone who you think is nothing like you. You will be surprised as to how much you actually have in common.

We are truly at a crossroads as a people, a species! Our nation is at a crossroads. Hell, our planet is! And, so is our humanity. For those of us who follow Christ, so is our religion. So are all religions that condone hate and exclusivity. As we ALL seem to be at these crossroads together, it is time to find a common path we can travel together. 2020 is the year kindness truly wins the day. Be a part of the movement. Be a kindness warrior.

This last song is Coldplay’s Arabesque. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy New Year to all! Music has tremendous power, and in the context of these lyrics about unity across the world, this means that if everyone used the power of music instead of guns, the world would be a better place. 

“Coldplay’s recent release “Arabesque” is about bringing the similarities of people into focus, regardless of language, upbringing, or race. It uses metaphor and abstract imagery to paint a picture of what human beings share with each other: the same blood.

The word “Arabesque” has several definitions, but, because of the complex and layered production of the song, the one that probably inspired the title is this one: “a passage or composition with fanciful ornamentation of the melody.” 

“We share the same blood” 

By saying that we share the same blood, the lyrics are saying that we all want the same things: to be loved, to be seen, and to be accepted. And when we don’t get those things, we are all hurt. It relates to the phrase, “We all bleed the same,” which means that regardless of race, everyone is mortal. If you cut deep enough (metaphorically as well as literally), we’re the same. Everyone’s blood is red, and everyone has emotions and hopes and dreams and a past.

Verse 1 [Chris Martin]

I could be you, you could be me
Two raindrops in the same sea
You could be me, I could be you
Two angles of the same view
And we share the same blood

The first verse uses the metaphor of water to look at humanity from an abstract perspective. Individuals, here, are seen as parts of a larger whole. Whatever a person’s experiences, Chris Martin is saying that their life stories are “two angles of the same view” of humanity and life. The statement “I could be you, you could be me” is likely representative of a belief held by some, that birth is random and that there isn’t a guiding force behind what family someone is born into. He’s likely saying that if things had been different, they could have been born into the other’s life.

Verse 2 [Stromae, Will Champion]

Comme deux gouttes d’eau
On se ressemble
Comme provenant de la même mère
Comme deux ruisseaux (You could be me)
Qui se rassemblent (I could be you)
Pour faire les grandes rivières
And we share the same blood
Yeah, we share the same blood

The majority of these lyrics are in French, so here is the English translation.

Translation:

Like two drops of water
We look alike
As from the same mother
Like two streams (You could be me)
Who gather (I could be you)
To make big rivers
And we share the same blood
Yeah, we share the same blood

Stromae continues to use forms of water as a metaphor for how similar each individual is as a member of the human race. While “two drops of water” may be seperate, they are made of the same substance, which is what “Arabesque” is telling us. Though we may come from different backgrounds, or races, in the end “we share the same blood.” We’re all human, and in that alone there is a shared understanding and equality between us. This verse talks about the separate individuals gathering “to make big rivers.” The message of this verse is that if we were to focus on what brings us together, rather than what divides us and work together, we could make a bigger and more powerful impact on the world. 

Sample [Fela Kuti]

Music is the weapon, music is the weapon of the future

This sample comes from a clip of the late Fela Kuti, a Nigerian musician and activist. (Fun fact, Fela Kuti’s son and grandson play some of the instruments on this song.) Music has tremendous power, and in the context of these lyrics about unity across the world, this means that if everyone used the power of music instead of guns, the world would be a better place. 

Deeper Meaning of “Arabesque” by Coldplay

Coldplay’s “Arabesque” is about unity in all of humanity. Deep down, people are a lot more alike than many want to believe. Even someone we dislike may have some of the same fears or hopes as us. More importantly, we are all created equal and no one is better than the other. We all have our imperfections and we all have our strengths. Though we may be created differently and choose to believe different things, those differences don’t need to divide us.”

Arabesque, Coldplay, coldplay lyrics meaning, arabesque explained, new coldplay song, the pop song professor, clifford stumme, Clifford Stumme, Arielle Anderson

Caution for sensitive ears. 1 curse word at 5 minutes into the song. Let it go! Its a great song!

Christopher Carlson
StreetLights.blog

StreetLights on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/PurposefulKindness/

Crossroads part 2 of 3

As I reviewed the stories from 2019, the one that stood out the most for me, and certainly the most amazing person I met this year while driving Uber/Lyft, is Holly from Green Mountain. Holly inspired with her story and reminded me how important it is to be present, not regret, be appreciative of life. There is always someone who has a greater struggle.

For me 2019 was a crossroads. I faced some difficult challenges that could have set me back from all the progress I have made. I met Holly at a time when I most needed. I am so grateful to God for putting people in my life like Holly, right when I needed them. Holly’s message, her story inspired me to choose the right path and keep moving forward.

Holly’s simple message to all of us is, Life is Love. Anything else is a waste of time.

We are all connected!

The more we acknowledge that idea and follow Holly’s simple advice, the more we will change this world for the better through love and kindness. So if 2019 was a tough year, it only has a few hours left. It is time to reset. It is time to renew hope. For all you Kindness Warriors out there, gear up! 2020 will give us plenty of opportunities to bring peace, love, joy, and Kindness to the world.

Here is Holly’s story from August of this year. Oh, the music is here favorite John Denver song. The 2nd one is mine.

StreetLights On a Saturday Night

Holly From Green Mountain

I got the request in Grand Prairie. Uber XL. Thinking it would be a group of people and at 245am, most likely drunk and rowdy, I prepared myself for the worst. Shortly after I started working my way to the pickup address, I received a text from”H,” my rider. “Please come to the front office. I am in a wheelchair.” I was relieved it wasn’t a group of late night drinkers.

When I arrived at the semi-circle drive in front of the retirement home, two women were waving at me, smiling. Holly was my rider. She was in the wheelchair. Her 92 year old mother was standing with a walker. Holly had several bags and a small dog. I began to load the car as she said goodbye to her mother. There was some laughter mixed in with some emotion as I helped Holly into the front seat and loaded her wheel chair.
As they made their final goodbyes I began to realize this was more than just, until the next time. Once the door was shut, Holly began fumbling for the window button. I hit mine as we slowly started to move. She waved to her mother again calling out to her. I stopped. But Holly said no, let’s go, and she burst into tears.

Holly regained her composure and apologized saying “It’s just tough. I am saying goodbye to my mother for the last time. She has congestive heart failure. In the morning she will be moved into a full care facility.”

Holly comes from a big family. She has 13 brothers. Not one of them have visited their mother in these final days. Here was Holly, with serious health issues herself, bound to a wheelchair, traveled from Colorado to see her mom.

Holly returned to what seemed to be her normal disposition, cheerful and positive. She was warm and friendly, even when she spoke of tough, even tragic experiences in her life. When you look into her eyes you can see this almost childlike joy.

Holly’s mother was given something called DES when she was pregnant with Holly.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is a synthetic form of the female hormone estrogen. It was prescribed to pregnant women between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage, premature labor, and related complications of pregnancy, incuding nausea. It was determined to cause cancer in the mother, the child and could even reach as far as a grandchild genetically. Holly is known as a DES daughter because she, like many women born from exposure, developed cancer or other significant health issues.

Holly fought cancer twice. The first time she was only 9. And then again, in her late 20s. She beat it both times. But the genetic abnormality remained.

Holly and Bill married young. Bill is a disabled Vietnam War Veteran. They had a baby boy. He had a rocky start and passed away at 15 months old.

Eventually they tried again and she gave birth to a little girl. Her daughter was healthy. She grew up, got married and began having kids of her own. That’s when the cancer finally showed up. Holly’s daughter had inoperable, terminal brain cancer. Holly said after the news, her daughter freaked out, dropped everything and left. She left her 3 children and her husband. Holly never heard from her again.

Now another predicament. By this time, Holly and Bill had significant health issues and couldn’t take on the kids. Her daughter’s husband was in a car accident and suffered traumatic brain damage. So he couldn’t be a father anymore. They were forced to turn to the state. All 3 children were put into different foster homes.

In 1985 Holly and Bill, along with their daughter were living in Houston. There was a severe storm one day that had Holly concerned about the lightning. She called Bill on the phone and while expressing her concerns to him lightning struck the tree just outside the kitchen window. The strike went into the ground, splitting the tree, and found its way up the ground cable for the phone. And then, as Holly described it, the lights went out. She was cooked!

It took her over a year to learn to speak and walk again. That strike left her with a damaged nervous system, constant headaches, epileptic seizures, and a bone disorder that prevents calcium from being absorbed, making her bones weak and brittle. Calcium builds up on the outside of the bone. Apparently she has numerous surgeries to go in and essentially scrape it off. Holly jokes about a few other side effects, including a slightly tighter right side of her face that makes her look a bit like a pirate smiling. She said she can scratch her left shouldet and feel it in her right leg.

She underwent leg surgery not long ago where they used a cadaver bone for her right leg. It didn’t work, which is why she is curently in the wheelchair. Upon returning to Colorado, they will remove her leg below the knee. She joked about being mad at the doctors because she wanted to keep the leg, only to bury it. But they said no. I told her she should then at least ask for a core charge refund.

Holly’s little Terrier is named Christine. She is actually a service dog and lets Holly know when she is about to have a seizure.

Holly continued with her story. ” I am so grateful for little Christine, here. But I haven’t had a seizure in almost 2 years since we moved to Lakewood, Colorado and my doctor started me on CBD. My overall pain is lower. Apparently they fixed my voice too well, according to Bill because I won’t stop talking now.”

She had this childlike, innocent joy about her. All that pain. And her eyes are lit with joy and appreciation for life. She paused in her story long enough for me to ask how she copes. She smiled and said there are good days and bad days but everyday I am alive is a blessing.”

She commented on my music choice. Louis Armstrong and Elle Fitzgerald were singing a duet on my Spotify. What are some of your favorite music artists? I asked. She said she really liked John Denver.

Ohhhhh, like Rocky Mountain High?

She laughed a little and said ‘Well I like that song but it isn’t my favorite.”

What is?

“Annie’s song.” She said peacefully.

Her three grandchildren were found separate permanent homes. All three were adopted by wonderful families. Holly gets to communicate with all of them and occasionally gets to see them. They are all in Utah.

We got to Love field at 330 am. Nobody was there. But she insisted she would be fine to be dropped off. So, I unloaded her stuff onto a cart, got her situated in the wheel chair and we made our way into the terminal.

Holly you seem like such a happy person, I said. You have had a tough life.

Holly replied, “I have had a blessed life. I have been happily married for 39 years, traveled. I Live in a beautiful place by Green Mountain. Life has been good to me.”

I told her how much I appreciated her telling me her life journey. I told her I really admired her strength and resilience.

“You should visit Green Mountain. You should visit Colorado. You seem tired. It will rejuvenate you.” Holly said.

I told her now everytime I think of Colorado I will think of her….

With that pirate smile, hoppin’ around Green Mountain on one leg…

We both burst out laughing.

We hugged and said goodbye. I felt like I was saying goodbye to a dear friend. It was a strange moment as I walked away, while she sat with Christine and her luggage next to the check-in kiosk, smiling and waving me bye. She was happy. She was returning home to her steadfast companion of 39 years.

Oh Holly. You smile for me. I cry for you.

I played that song on the way home. I cried the whole way. I cried for Holly’s loss. I cried for the desperation I have felt. And, I cried for joy, because Holly reminded me that I am alive, still. She told me something else I am sure to never forget.

Life is love.

That’s it. Everything else is a waste of time.

Once again, God has given it. He sent a most interesting woman to deliver it. And, I have received it.

Grace.

#kindness #purposefulkindness #Whatawonderfulworld #hope #peace #love #joy #StreetLights #TheKindnessClub #Grace #drivingawaydepression #Peopleprofiles

For Holly and Bill. And, for the love of my life, who continues to lift me up, Mindy.