Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prayer of the Unknown Confederate Soldier

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

Author Unknown,
(Attributed to a battle weary C.S.A soldier near the end of the war)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The UPAF Ride for the Arts - Success!

Before I get into the ride review... I want to thank all of my wonderful supporters, your support for the arts in Milwaukee is extremely appreciated. The arts don't pay well or make a lot of money as a profession, but they round out our lives and fire our synapses. Also thanks to everyone for listening to me as I ran my mouth (daily) about the ride. My temperament is an anxious one, and that's when I run my mouth the most. Anticipation of an event is always worse than the event.

First and foremost, I was against a bike path on the Hoan before I was for it. Other cities provide this access but in most cases, the bridges were designed to accommodate bikes and pedestrians. The Hoan bridge was not. We'd be hard-pressed to widen the bridge at this point for many reasons. First is that the steel used in the bridge is not a pure alloy and it was heated to a very high temperature to create the curves of the bridge. It's more brittle than that of a train trestle, for example. Widening the bridge just isn't going to happen.

I support the idea of bike and pedestrian access on the bridge, but I don't think there is room for it.

Either way, riding that bridge was damned fun. I'd do it over and over again if I could. The grade is gradual and is a blast when the wind is coming out of the northeast. Now, turning around and riding the other way would be another story. Riding into the wind with the grade would be incredibly challenging in a good way. It's realistic to actually bike the Hoan.

An event like this ride reminds me that I'm a closet Type A. I'm a quiet person but incredibly competitive. I won't be outdone, unless it's by someone who is clearly elite in their training. That's when I give the thumbs up, and pick up my pace and try in vain to stick with them. I'm very motivated by competition and get ultra impatient when someone is in front of me - that goes for driving, too.

We rode south along the lake through Bay View, St. Francis, down to the turnaround at Grant Park. The roads in Grant Park were atrocious and I worried about my tires and I worried about my assbones. My seat has next to no padding. It's all about clearance, Clarence.

Riding north for the last half of the race became tiring because we were facing a strong headwind off the lake. I kept the bike in high gears for much of the ride, which made it easier to hit the hills and grades as well as generally kick ass. It wasn't a race, but I wanted to make good time. Plus I firmly believe that if you don't keep the right speed, you'll tire out faster and enjoy less of the ride. My riding style isn't to get out of the saddle either, I prefer to become more compact and use the leverage of my short legs.

There are bikes for all sizes of people... I saw some very tall people on some very tall bikes. It was like getting passed by a giraffe.

I got everyone's name on my person, so you all went over the bridge with me :) Some pictures I took in the daylight and unfortunately they did not turn out. If you don't see your name, please know that you were there!

More rides are in my future, and maybe a race or two. If today's ride taught me anything, it's that I most definitely have a need to let'r snap. And compete. And generally, kick ass.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Why Do My Prayers Go Unanswered?

Our regular priest is on a medical leave. Knowing the good Canon there was probably some kicking and screaming involved. We're very fortunate to have him and in fact, I credit him in many ways for saving my soul. I wasn't always this humble, you know.

He wouldn't leave us in the hands of amateurs. In his place, we've been treated to masses and lessons from many great priests from the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. One of my favorite is Canon Talarico from the Chicago apostolate. He's deceptively young in appearance, yet enormously strong and wise. I've waited all week for them to post Sunday's homily focused on why our prayers sometimes go unanswered. Why did I wait so diligently? I wanted to share it with you, of course.

This recording includes the epistle and Gospel translations prior to the homily. But don't skip over them, they're good for you. And it will all make sense.

Dominus Vobiscum

Homily - 5th Sunday After Easter

Friday, June 3, 2011

Coming In To Focus

I'll be 40 in just under two months. Regrettably, 40 isn't what it used to be, not like it was for the Greatest Generation and other generations. For me, I'm still letting go of perceptions that I formed about life in my 20s. That's something I welcome - I don't want to miss the good things that come from the wisdom of age and an ever-developing lens of the soul.

Here's a neat little song that I heard last night. For me, it lightheartedly captures what we part from with age, while keeping the lightness of heart.

Through the corridors of sleep
Past the shadows dark and deep
My mind dances and leaps in confusion.
I don't know what is real,
I can't touch what I feel
And I hide behind the shield of my illusion.

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all its my reflection.
I am blinded by the light
Of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction.

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.

Its no matter if you're born
To play the king or pawn
For the line is thinly drawn tween joy and sorrow,
So my fantasy
Becomes reality,
And I must be what I must be and face tomorrow.

So I'll continue to continue to pretend
My life will never end,
And flowers never bend
With the rainfall.