Archive for July, 2008

The Gap

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , on July 31, 2008 by rodzink

Several hundred feet above us, somewhere on the side of Elder Mountain, a creek flowed from the mouth of a small cave.  Eventually, the cold spring water found its way to a cove.  Water spread out and formed the small lake, spilled over into a lower basin.  Fish, turtles, cattails….kids. Pan Gap.

I was flooded….. with memories.  As a kid, not much older than Baker, we had ridden bicycles through the woods and into the cove to swim here.  Once again, my children were following into steps I took 30 years ago.  The steady chirping of crickets and frogs reminded me of humid summer days here.  Realizing that I had memories from here, I wanted today to be even more special to the kids.  This day’s events would be forever embedded in their minds….  They would be surrounded today.


I was content to frequently find a vantage point and simply watch, listen, reflect… but, most of all, dream.  My family had grown…  My love for those around me had become more intense.. more important.  In turn, those closest to me had been so good to us.  I have always said there are two types of families…. “talkers” and “huggers.”  Mine was the latter.  My kids are the latter…. My friends, at least the ones that get through the inner  barrier, have to become the latter.  The love Belle and Baker have for their cousins was noticeable.  More hugs. 

Thirty years ago… it all seemed so simple…  Looking back, I decided there is little I would change, or redo… Life simply is…  as our memories… simply are.  My steps have been a pilgrimage and I fully believe in marking the path for followers.  I often grin as I pass the white paint blotches along the Cumberland.. Someone had gone before us.  They knew the way….. 

The kids waded off the muddy bank and into the cold water… I wondered where their steps would lead.. If their paths were as murky….  slippery…  uncertain.  I closed my eyes for a moment and lifted a simple prayer..  May their hearts be guarded… protected… yet receptive… May their steps be cautious and planned… but spontaneous….  Hands that are capable of work and play, but always ready to provide affection and care…. Minds willing to remain open and disciplined enough to be closed….  the guts to go against the grain and the intelligence to compromise…..  To understand that love, work and money are all impacted by the efforts we apply….. May they learn early that a wise man’s words are seldom heard… that man has the capability and nature to tarnish another’s reputation… but character is only truly seen through God’s eyes.. That pride is an heavy anvil……  that when faced with the dilemma, the book is always better than the movie…..  That when they have nothing to say… they will say nothing….. 

Every morning…. I begin my day with the task of walking ahead… Blazing the trail… I miss the path often.  Nevertheless, I’ll walk ahead putting the white blotches along the way.  Yet, I will not only expect it… but also encourage an occasional straying from the beaten path.  This trail is narrow and surrounded by acres of untouched territory….. I hope they will always be able to trace their steps back to the familiar path….  but explore….  escape…..  experience….   Tonight, as every night… they are asleep and I close my day with the same familiarity of a thousand nights before… the hum of the fan.. the glow of the ladybugs…. the angels’ presence….  Only now, can I sleep.


Baker’s Journey: The Decade in Review

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , , , , on July 14, 2008 by rodzink

I am amazed that you’ve grown so much… so fast….. Since you were born, I’ve walked into your room and watched you sleep almost every night…  Tranquil…  innocent…. I’ve sat beside your crib… climbed into your bunk-bed…  sleeping bag….  hammock…  Just to be close to you. 

I remember standing outside the viewing window.  You were premature… beautiful…  In an instant, nurses swept you up and out of sight.  My heart pounded and hurt.  Your little body was fragile and had difficulty. For a week, you remained in NICU… I couldn’t leave you.  That was 10 years ago.

It’s your birthday.  A time of celebration… a time for you to play… a time for me to reflect.  I only wish I could have kept your world safe and protected you from everything…. guarded your heart… covered your ears…  shielded your eyes. 

You have brought me more joy that I could possibly express… a lifetime of happiness…  pride…. I have held your tiny fingers as you attempted to take your first steps.  Ran behind bicycles as you crashed….  awkwardly kicked your legs in the new swing…  sank in the water as I moved my hands from beneath you… stand on a pitcher’s mound and sling the baseball with all your might…..  put your football pads on for the first time… I’ve watched you get up and run back to the huddle…..  struggle to steady your first rifle….  catch your first fish…. paddle the canoe alone…  I’ve held you in the middle of the night when you were afraid….  and you’ve held me…  I’ve watched you jump off boulders into the blue hole while pushing aside personal fears….  struggle to sit still at mass….  I’ve seen you show off in front of girls (thank God!)…. soccer, football, baseball, track….  I saw you receive an award at school for your character…  I’ve heard you pray and swear (didn’t know that, did you?)…  I’ve personally seen your kindness to others… watched you hold open doors for ladies… offer a hand to your sister….  training wheels to mountain bikes….  cribs to tents…  bathtub to Tennessee River…  I’ve read to you… you’ve read to me…  You’ve ridden in my backpack and now carry your own….

I remember the look on your face and the tears that I thought would never stop when we talked about divorce.  I will never… never forget the hug.  I swear that I’ll spend the rest of my days trying to replace the pain you must have felt.  I remember sitting in the park each night that I didn’t have you… waiting to see your bedroom light turn off…  It was only then that I could say “goodnight.”  I remember talking on 2-way radios while you laid in bed.  I’ve seen you try to understand what was going on while I had no answers.. as I didn’t understand.  I’ve listened to questions that I could not answer with words.  I’ve looked into your eyes while you told me, “Mommy says she doesn’t love you anymore.”  I’m certain to have stumbled through conversations….  redirect your attention…  hide out in the gorge….  I’ve watched you overcome…. get back up… return to the huddle… 

Baker, you are the gift I’ve always wanted… I promise.. the trail ahead is one worth hiking, son… for all of us…  I’ve been to the peak… crossed the valleys.. climbed the mountains… Looked into the eyes of a tremendous tomorrow.  We have much to do together.. I love you with all that I am. Happy 10th Birthday.

Heaven’s Dew

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on July 6, 2008 by rodzink

You have given me so much joy………  Everyday is a privilege to watch you grow…  to see you learn… hear your voices.

I will never withhold anything that I can give…. my love… time… attention… blessings…

Your laughter is medicinal….  I cherish every second with you……


I will make mistakes…. You will make mistakes…

But…. we were not mistakes….  Your futures are bright…..  My future is in you

Ko Kaluluwa: Namis Kita

Posted in Where Angels Perch with tags , on July 5, 2008 by rodzink

An unexpected cool July breeze pushed the black powder haze across the field.  Overhead, the fireworks display continued.  Reds… greens…. sizzling and falling to the earth again in the leftover, dissipating smoke….. remnants of a dazzling , heightened display…. Soon the field was empty.  All had returned home…..

Not us…


Independence…  It’s a strange concept.  One of freedom.  A place of self-rule…. or simply “self”, or solitude. Often we choose “independence.”  Other times, it is given.  Overall, I don’t believe we’re capable of its nature… or idea.  Can we truly be independent of that which we can neither discern nor understand?  Can we ignore the possessions of our souls?  Some place in time… in a place which memory can neither recall.. nor predict…  we were labeled.  Another’s name was implanted in our souls… ours in theirs… Fireworks……   Lifetimes are often spent in an independent state…  searching… roaming… longing to reunite on this journey….  Preparing for the next. Independence… was never our Creator’s intention.

I watched them run beneath the thunder.. the bright flashes.  Lying in the field.  My soul has been rediscovered.. reunited.  The crowd had long disappeared… smoke had settled… then, suddenly… a final round of rockets erupted above the treeline… flashing red and gold.  I had to smile.  The smoke hovering above the grass was not meant for us…

 Lakon Bakod…  namis kita.. ini-ibig kita.  Your names are on my soul..  I am prepared for the journey.