The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life
Browsing Love

goodbye

May27

it was just a hug.

I thought it was a good hug.

longer than most.

that was it.

goodbye.

brian patrick cork

posted under Fear, Joanne, Life, Love | 2 Comments »

A WORD of love can make a WORLD of difference.

November25

Evil might be over-rated. At least when it comes to intent.

I’m pondering what it means to: “do the devils work”. I believe innocent people can do evil things – just like evil can happen to good people.

Meanwhile, as most of you know I don’t lay claim to being a Christian. There are many good examples of those people in our world. But, there are likely an equal number of them that aren’t – just like any faith, and especially religion.. But, that’s all a matter of perspective, as well.

God likely dropped discernment in most of our DNA and allows that to help sort matters out.

Today is Thanksgiving, and I’m doing that very thing. My heart is open and I’m looking around myself and seeing a great deal of inspiration. So, ironically, I’ll include some effort from the Bible, here. Some call it the Word, others a rule book. For the most part I find that it covers a lot of common sense witnessed and reinforced by many generations of people that realize the worst mistakes your can make are the ones you repeat.

The point I’m trying to make, here is: A word of love can make a world of difference.

According to the Bible, God calls us to love one another, which requires living in a way that is for one another – because love apparently puts others first. Throughout the Bible, we are called to put others first, and live in a way that blesses other people.

For example, God calls us to be devoted to and honor one another (Romans 12:10); to live in harmony with one another (Romans 12:16); to love one another (Romans 13:8; 1 John 4:11; John 13:34-35); to accept one another (Romans 15:14); to care for one another (1 Corinthians 12:25); to serve one another (Galatians 5:12); to be kind, compassionate, and forgiving to one another (Ephesians 4:32); and to bear with one another (Colossians 3:13).

Putting another before yourself – that is, loving other people, can possibly  transform us because an act of love has the power to change lives.

I don’t know if Christ rose from the dead to make God’s point. But, I do know He set the stage for change and that message impacts us all daily, and only for the better. There’s the thinking of a Heterodox, for you.

I can’t find it, but I think the Bible offers some passages around the notion (wording?) that God “spoke” his word of love in the form of Jesus into the world. It was, thusly, transformed.

I’m listening  to John Lennon, today – and, his song: Love. I’ve done that before. I’ll do it again. And, I’ll share a video of that live effort for you as well (sorry about Yoko; so say we all):

[youtube]2GmVajkqLNU[/youtube]

I’ll trust you all to have a Happy Thanksgiving.

“Love is real. Real is Love”.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

authentic human progress

November5

Last week, I recalled that, during my many visits to the desert (you’ll ask: “metaphorically speaking?” I’ll respond: “does it really matter?”), I met a wise man named Buck O’Neil – a prophet, if you will – and, asked him the secret to a long, successful life.

“Good genes,” was all he said, at first.

Buck left us all behind October 6, 2006 – the day before my birthday, just like Dad. There is a rhythm and pattern to life with that. But, we’ll discuss it some other time.

His hair was white and his face was mahogany, calling pleasantly to mind a pint of Guinness. “I’m ninety-years old,” he continued, then pressed his fingertips to unlined cheeks, which shone like polished apples.

“Good black don’t crack”, he mused (I’m not sure he actually mused, but that word works, here).

With that, I was fully prepared to move on, and thanked him. In fact, I was already rising halfway from my seat, like a bluffing panelist on To Tell the Truth, when he said softly: “There is one other thing.”

So, I settled back, curious, I might add, and he said:

“I never fill my stomach. My mother was a great cook, but my father told me, ‘She’s only filling your stomach so another woman never gets to. She’s just trying to hold on to you.’ Ever since, I can eat more, but I never do.”

Look… The stories around Buck are countless. Many of them will bring a tear to your eye. Others will make you slap your thigh with joy in preparation of laughter. He was a black man, and it never mattered to him, even though it did to everyone else. But, everyone respected and loved Buck (Note: That might be a vital difference between men like Buck and Barack Obama. By the way, did you know that  Obama high-tailed it to Asia, pouting over his loss of the House Tuesday? Other than a vital need to drive home a point, here, I’m loathe to include Buck in the same story as Obama. But, the only real difference Obama will make in our lives is he must now change his plans to stay in power).

Let other, more articulate folks tell those stories. Especially those that lived them alongside Buck. I never had that privilege. But, I try to learn from men like him, every day, and any way.

Part of that is my on-going efforts to live the Authentic Life. And, that includes having a life well-lived, and worth remembering by those I’ve lived amongst.

So… What, then, is the secret to a life well-lived?

Here was another hint. “Don’t hate another human being,” said O’Neil, whose father was the son of a slave. “Hate cancer. Cancer took my mother, took my wife four years ago. Hate what happened on September 11. But don’t hate another human being. God made man.”

…oh wow.

I did, in fact, find myself thinking: But God made men who denied you, at various times, a toilet, a hotel room, an education, a living, your very humanity. And, of course, I voiced those thoughts, because that’s what I do (“oh really?[!]”, you exclaim. “Brian has opinions he foists on people?”).

“My parents always told me most people are good,” continued O’Neil. “Even when I was young, (Note: he lived his early days in Carrabelle, Florida), most people were good. The thing was, good people sometimes let the bad people have their way. But who wrapped their arms around Jackie Robinson in his time of need? Pee Wee Reese of Louisville, Kentucky, did. The commissioner of baseball in 1947 [Happy Chandler] was a man from Kentucky.”

With this, his left hand grabbed my forearm, and his right fist rapped his own breastbone as if it were a door.

“It comes from in here,” said he. “Doing the right thing. It takes somebody to change something. My grandfather was a slave. And God saw it wasn’t right, so he sent Abraham Lincoln. And Abraham Lincoln joined hands with Frederick Douglass, who joined hands with Sojourner Truth, who joined hands with Harriet Tubman – and, so on.”

Apparently, and thusly, human progress, in O’Neil’s view, is a chain of men with virtu (the Greek form, mind you) in their hearts (the word virtu always has me thinking of Dr. Nick Pappas at Radford University), linked at the wrist and leading to you.

O’Neil paused, and I could only sit quietly in wonder through what must be churning through that lovely mind, and then he added:

“This is the greatest country on Earth, but we can be better. That is going to be your job.”

He held my forearm like a bat. “In my day we changed some things. Now it’s your turn to change things. And you’ll do it. I know you will.”

I did pause. And, when I confessed that I struggled, with my generation, challenged to change our channels manually, much less to change the world, he invoked the memory of his grandfather Julius, born into slavery in South Carolina, and owned by a man with the surname, O’Neil.

“Grandpa used to tell me he loved Mr. O’Neil,” he said. “And I would ask him: ‘Grandpa, how could you love a man who kept you as his slave?’ And Grandpa said, ‘He never sold off a mother from her children, he never sold off a husband from his wife.’ And Grandpa, this is before all the doctors and all the medicine we have today, lived to be one-hundred-and-two years old.”

Was this good genes, I wondered, or something greater? I was merely seeking the secret of a life well-lived – how to progress – and, felt I was getting closer. So, I asked about that. And when the old man, once again, took my arm in his hand, I felt physically linked in that chain-of-virtu to all who had gone before me…

“Love,” he half-whispered, as if sharing a confidence. “Love, man. This is the whole thing.”

So… You gotta be a “Love Kat”. It’s been awhile since I invoked that one. It’s timely to be sure.

Peace be to my brothers and sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

I want to know what Love is

September1

Last week – let’s pin this on Monday – Haley Anne was still thirteen. Long legs, almond-eyed, and a fury on the soccer pitch. I’ll add adored by her Daddy, for good measure. But, that’s hardly news to the loyal followers of this Blog.

Haley Anne has always been wired for independence. She was never likely to hurl herself off of a four-story roof top with a home made parachute like I did at ten. But, she has her own mind and the steely resolve to realize it. She’s been a handful lately getting the sense of herself with all the trials-and-tribulations that come with being a teenage girl in the savage hallways of Middle School. All-in-all I’m quite pleased with her. Joanne takes the brunt and the heat of Haley Anne’s hormone-drenched temperament, while I still have more opportunities than not to be the hero. But, I’m navigating dark waters on any given day.

Mondays… They loom over us don’t they? Whereas Tuesdays are best for police raids, it’s Mondays that herald a week full of opportunity. …This includes life’s unexpected lessons.

Last Monday was the first day of the new school year and Haley Anne is now in the eighth grade. Middle school is tough, and the girls that are found in the halls are often colorful enough to put a New York City Vice Squad on edge. Haley Anne arrived safely home (she actually enjoys the bus) and was full of war stories. Most of them are of middling consequence, to me, any way – and, to yourselves, naturally. And, I was probably more focused on the evening’s soccer practice, and being content with the fact that her dress was evidently well regarded, her classes found without adventure, and her lunch crowd cordial.

We’ll step lively forward with this tale, acknowledging only that the above preamble is insufficient to signal the change of life that has forever altered my own world view. …That aforementioned, and unexpected, life lesson.

Dinner was a quick bite of lasagna before we were off to practice. That went swell as usual. Then home to a few quick emails and bed. Sleep comes fast in my head. The pillow and a death-like coma are quick and easy friends, for me.

But… With her uncanny ability to unhinge me from any deep sleep Joanne shoved my shoulder later that evening with a curt:

“you need to read this”.

What I heard in Joanne’s voice was a mixture of bemused angst (its possible, and Joanne, being English has it perfected). I wasn’t expecting a foreclosure notice or ransom note so I was a bit slow to pull myself together for thought leadership.  However glowing in the dark, and hovering in front of my face was Haley Anne’s iPhone (I knew this because mine is an iPhone 4, while Haley Anne’s is a 3G, and emma Jo’s 3G [minus SIMs Card] has a crack in the screen). All this quickly spun out of my head as I was shocked into alertness by the message:

“I LOve You. Let’s get back together”.

I’m not sure if it was adrenalin, fear, anger, numbing shock, or unrepentent outrage that surged through my body like spinach might Pop-eye from the old cartoons. But, I must have read the message ten times before I simply asked Joanne:

“who the hell sent that to Haley Anne?”

The simple response was:

“_____ – the kid from summer”.

So… Here’s the abbreviated background scenario…

Many of Haley Anne’s friends are involved in some form or another with “boyfriends”. In our household, the rule is NO BOYFRIENDS until our daughters are fifteen years of age. None. That’s it. And, that means the stuff that goes along with boyfriends. Any of it. Period. Haley Anne apparently caught the eye of this young fellow last year, and he launched a deluge of texts at her all summer. Joanne had a series of talks with Haley Anne that I won’t burden you with. But, we were satisfied that Haley Anne understood the rules and we have a clear and binding covenant in our family. I trust my daughter. And, I’m developing trust and faith in her judgment. I’m training her to be a leader in both her thinking and actions.

All along the way, I’m also being trained by my daughters, and life, as seen through their eyes, to be more open-minded and open-hearted.

I drove Haley Anne to school the next day. I asked her along the way if she wanted to talk to me about “_____”. She paused before answering barely enough to gather her breath because she’s a quick thinker, and wit, that one.

“he’s only a friend Daddy. I know what I want; and, it’s not a boyfriend. I just like having a lot of great friends.”

That helped me. And, reaffirmed Haley Anne has her wits about me – or, is a brilliant actress. I’ll submit there is all that afoot. But, here is how I’m handling this matter:

“I love you with all my heart, and I’m more proud of you you each and every day. There is a lot of change afoot. And, I need your help. If you ever think you know what love is, or start to have feelings for some lucky lad, I want you to try something… In fact, let’s give it a go this week… Find a poem that you think and feel is about love. You can’t be wrong. Just try. Just like in football (soccer) – give it your best. You can never disappoint me with effort. It’s all about interpretation. All I really care about is your opinion, your thinking, and your feelings. You can write the poem if you want to. The only rule is that it has to be something you would be willing to read and give to a person you think you love. That might be a test that you are ready to share your heart with someone other than me.”

My voice cracked, just a bit. So, she knew where all of this was coming from.

She was quiet. And, looked at me. I got the simple, slow, gentle nod with the far away look behind the eyes.

I love being a Dad. And, I trust my daughter. I’m putting a lot of faith on the line. I feel great. But, I also have the same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I have before a big race or other competition.

Stay tuned.

[youtube]loWXMtjUZWM[/youtube]

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

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