Adoration of You

P.D.A.  Public display of affection, I HATE IT!

But,…when it comes to thinkin’n of Her?  I love Her more for her patience.  I love Her more for her–Her, curvatures.  The moonlight silhouette is cruel.

Watching Her stand in the shadows of Venus and Saturn’s embrace–suffocates me.  As the Band plays…Nostalgia leaves me wishing, dreaming, and longing for her embrace.

Resuscitate me.

Michael Jackson

What classifies a person, or group, as a cultural icon?

Today, Michael Jackson died.  And, I remember when…

I must’ve been seven or eight years old (2nd grade) when I first heard his song, “Off The Wall,” from the same title album?  I went to Normont Elementary School, Harbor City, California, and that primary school was ‘off the wall’!  This little elementary school of ours incorporated cultural events for their diversified students.  Our school-year calendar of events planned a bi-monthly play or school assembly for our families.

I must have been in the third-grade when I first heard Michael Jackson, at one of our school’s assembly.  Our third-grade class performed a “B-I-N-G-O” square-dance (a complicated interwoven routine we practiced for months), followed by “The Candyman,” from the movie, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, by Sammy Davis, Jr., as an encore performance.

But, dang!  Our fifth and sixth-grade classes stepped up with Michael Jackson’s, “Off The Wall,” well-choreographed dance show, followed by Sisters Sledge’s, “We Are Family!”  I remembered thinking to myself, “…I want to be in their class!…”

Nostalgia has brought me here.

I remembered the first time I heard the song, “Thriller.”  Wow.  And, then…then we were bombarded by advertisements via television and radio that the premier of Michael Jackson’s, “Thriller,” video would play at 8:00 p.m. on M-TV (music television).  We begged and begged our father to let us watch the premier.  He had no idea what we were talking about.  We didn’t care, we begged on, we were relentless!  He conceded.  The video was like the ‘first-time’ of any monumental event in your life, ‘you never forget your first.’

Laughing out loud as I remembered the time my brother decided to scare the heck out of our little sisters.  My brother set-up the cassette player to begin playing at Vincent Price’s part of Michael’s, “Thriller” song.  He set the boombox outside their bedroom window and pressed play.  OMG, our little sisters ran out of the room screaming and crying.  Oh, man, did we get a good laugh out of that!  Until, we realized they were genuinely scared.  We were sorry.  We felt bad.  We said over and over, “…We’re sorry…”  (Reminiscence laughs!!!)

And who can forget Kim Fields’, “Dear Michael”?

His songs got me out of bed.  Every verse partied with us.  His music encapsulates a large part of my youth–I, otherwise, would have forgotten.  Every one of his songs remind me of where I was, who surrounded me, and what we (current events) were doing.  I wondered if he died of a broken heart (spirit)?

Before I knew it!  Before I knew it…I began to realize that Michael Jackson, his musical artistry, has been a large, maybe 20 years or more, of my youth.  I’m sure this holds true for the rest of my brothers and sisters’ life.  His music helps me to remember where we were, and who we were.  Every song created links connecting my youth’s timeline that I share with my family.

Uso, “the song(s) remembers when,” (Trisha Yearwood)…

Ia manuia lau malaga.

You Say Sumfing Stupid To Me!

My father is the head-of-household.  Our family’s foundation has always, always, always been the ‘Church.’  This is non-negotiable, unless the Oakland Raiders make it to the SueprBowl, which, statistically, there is very little chance of that ever happening.  So, for the past month our church has been preparing for “Father’s Day 2009″ by holding a couple of fundraising events, and initiating these events cost money, which our family participates in–as we have always do.  But this year!

Oka!  This year my little sister decides she’s gonna share with our dad her opinion as to how-best to manage our aiga’s household budget, and starts-off by explaining exactly how much strain our church activities put on our finances.  Me?  I’m thinking, “…Pomp and Circumstance gave her a big set of cojones!  Laughing out loud!  What the…” OMGoodness, grab a bag of chips…I tell you, if it was any one else in our household, we would’ve gotten the traditional paternal fa’aSamoa beat-down!  For realz!  But, my little sister is an exception to this family rule set by our father, so I knew she was in safe hands.

My Dad, with a soft and gentle voice (historically, this is his way of coaxing his prey into his trap–affections) said, “…Sau.  Sau I…sau nonofo aukafa ia a’u, se’i o’u fai so’u kala ia ‘oe.  Ia fa’alogo mai, Ua e iloa?  Ia, fa’alogo mai…”

To get his children’s attention, our Dad always starts his speech in Samoan.  Once our Dad hears that he has our attention, he begins sharing his thoughts with us in English (broken semantically, but transparent his thoughts are):

“…I carry dis family from Harbor City, to East Palo Alto, to here–Seattle.  Aaaaaalll da way from California to Washington…I carry dis family on my back.  Seven chiltren I have!  I carry all ov you on my back!  Yes.  Yes, daughter, I tell you da truf.  40 years I carry all my chiltren on my back.  None of my chiltren go hungry.  None of my chiltren I abandon.  Even I know my chiltren don’t understand me.  I do my best. And, now, daughter, you the last to graduate high school.  And, I am veddy proud of you.  You make me proud.  (He did manage to choke back the tears) But today?  Today you break my heart.  You say somfing stupid to me.  I tell you da truf, yes.  Today, daughter you say somfing stupid to me.  Our church is not a burden to us.  No!  The church is our family.  When we do for the church, we do for our family….I forgive you…what you say to me.  You understand?  Ia, alu loa e fa’auma lou fe’au…”

My mother and I were seated at the dining room table listening and watching my Dad talk with my little sister.  By the time my Dad was done with his ‘explanation of current events,’ my dear sister’s face resembled Niagra Falls.  Upon my father’s approval for her to dismiss herself from his side, she slowly got up like a wounded pup, and walked herself directly upstairs to her room.  I know she cried herself to sleep because, as my father well knows, she has a good heart.

Fink before you say sumfing stupid to me–LOL.  Okay, okay, okay…I’m sorry!  Fa’amagalo mai…

The Graduate

Valedictorian she ain’t! A High School Graduate she is.

Mercy me, it’s been a while since I’ve been at high school, but today was her high school graduation. We arrived early in hopes of finding front-row seating and an area in which we could all sit together, apparently, other families had the same idea. After shuffling through the crowded stadium filled with other proud families, we managed to find a section for all of us; I think our father’s handicap (look-out, big blind Samoan man coming through) ensured our front-row seats.

I ain’t much for crowded places but today, the aluminum bleachers were my problem, not even the extra fat could comfortably cushion my seat. Because we arrived early, we waited for a while before graduation ceremony commenced, which gave me plenty of time to complain to myself. I sat there thinking about the uncomfortable seats, the crowded rooms, and wondered how soon this ‘dog and pony’ show would end!

The sound of “Pomp and Circumstance” brought me out of my selfish fixation. Everyone stood up, cheered, shouted their Graduate’s name, essentially, it was loud and proud. Of course, I found something more to be annoyed about, that is, until, I saw her unmistakable contour.

And then I saw her face. “Mom, Dad, there she is!” Through the procession she walked with her fellow-grads, tall and proud she was, and then she spotted us: walking and jumping, smiling from ear-to-ear, and waving at us. When she saw our father, who remained seated, his face awash with tears of pride and joy, she tried hard to choke back her tears, but the waterworks were flowing–LOL.

As we all took our seats for commencement, my mind wandered off down memory lane. I thought about all the times I was annoyed, angry, and short-tempered with her because I wanted her to do well, to do better, to be empowered, to be self-sufficient. As I looked at her with her Valedictorian pride, I realized that all those moments when I lost my temper with her, well, it didn’t matter. I should be proud of her! She should be proud of herself, her achievements, her accomplishments.

My little sister monitors our father’s blood sugar levels, administers his insulin shots, she tutors and counsels our nephew, she helps our mom obsessively clean our house, she helps to chauffeur our father around town for church and household errands,… Eh! By the end of commencement, tears of pride and joy (and guilt over believing I may have been a bit too hard on her) flowed down my face.

We honored her as a Graduate. We celebrated her like a Valedictorian.

And I celebrate with you, your Graduates’ accomplishments from preschool, to primary school, to High School, to University. Congratulations! And remember to “wear sunscreen,” by Mary Schmich.

(By Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune, for Class of 1997 – Baz Luhrmann)

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of 2009:

“WEAR SUNSCREEN!”

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, “sunscreen” would be it.
The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists,
whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.

I will dispense this advice NOW!

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth.

Oh, never mind.

You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded.

But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked.

You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future.
Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind,
The kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.
Do one thing every day that scares you.

Sing

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts.
Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss

Don’t waste your time on jealousy.
Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.
The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive.
Forget the insults.

If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters.
Throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives.
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees.
You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t.
Maybe you’ll divorce at 40.

Maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much,
or berate yourself either.

Your choices are half chance.
So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body.

Use it every way you can.
Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it.
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance

Even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.
Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines.
They will only make you feel ugly.

“Brother and sister together we’ll make it through,
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know that you’re hurting but I’ve been waiting there for you
and I’ll be there just helping you out
whenever I can…”

Get to know your parents.

You never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings.

They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.
Understand that friends come and go,
but with a precious few you should hold on.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get,
the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in “New York City” once, but leave before it makes you hard.
Live in “Northern California” once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel

Accept certain inalienable truths:
Prices will rise.
Politicians will philander.

You, too, will get old.
And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young,
prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund.
Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse.
But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy,
but be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia.

Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal,
wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

“Brother and sister together we’ll make it through,
Someday a spirit will take you and guide you there
I know that you’re hurting but I’ve been waiting there for you
and I’ll be there just helping you out
whenever I can…”

Everybody’s Free, Everybody’s Free

To Feel Good!

Childless Mother, “Happy Mother’s Day!”

Recently (as many as a few years ago, or so), I’ve noticed that every Mother’s Day my mother never fails to wish my older sister, who is without children, “…Happy Mother’s Dear…”  My older sister has no children of her own and I’ve often wondered why my mother bothers to wish my older sister a Happy Mother’s day?

Because of my mother’s well-wishes, I’m forced to contemplate, to wonder, “…why is my Mother wishing my older sister a ‘Happy Mother’s day’…”?  Then I remembered.

I remembered my older sister was the One child accountable for all of her younger brothers and sisters’ actions in absence of my parents!  I remembered her bathing our younger brothers and sisters.  I remembered her asking me to fetch a warm wash cloth to clean the newest family members’ baby butt, but I hid in the closet and acted like I was no where around–this was back in the days before “baby wipes”.  Of course, I remember lots of other stuff, as I know you do too.  Nostalgically, I think I get it?

I think I get it.  My mother acknowledges that she has relied on our older sister to help take care of us.  New terms come to mind: “gender-specific culturally inherited roles,” this is what most of our Samoan daughters/sisters are expected to do, and that is to help take care of our family–LMFAO (so glad I’m me: true tama Samoa!).

Naturally, for every holiday or every special occasion, my sister is always giving gifts that include photos of moments we’ve forgotten about: ‘just because’ moments, latest family gatherings, Christmas or birthdays, etc., etc., etc.  But more than her collage of photos given as creative gift ideas, she’s always been there for us, for our children’s children, she is the one my folks rely on because she always makes herself available!  She’s always there, she’s always here for us.

You know what I’m talking about, be sure to also say, “…Happy Mother’s Day, Auntie!…” You know what I’m talking about, be sure to say, “…Happy Mother’s Day, Sis!…” She may not have babies of her own, but she has been a Mother-figure to us all.  Let her know because it matters to her, and because she’s made a difference in who we are.  Mom, ‘thank you,’ for making me see Her…

Childless you are not, Mother-like you are:  “Ia manuia le aso tina!”

Illuminated

Shimmering in the Sun’s twilight.

Several years ago our older sister had taken myself, my brother, Ionatana, and our youngest sister out on a field trip to Alkai beach in Seattle, Washington.  We were teenagers (ages 12 to 15), and excited to be hanging out with our Big Sister (21 years of age)!  As you know, most Samoan teenaged males look like grown men, and my brother and I were looking and feeling grown because we was with our Big Sis!

We hopped on to our local public transportation bus number 174 to downtown Seattle, Washington, then on to Alkai beach.  We stepped off the bus and ran around like recently released teenagers from the juvenile detention center.  We watched the beach bums, the volleyball players, watched people taking in their daily dose of vitamin D, we, simply, enjoyed the sounds of the “Pudget Sound” waters rushing to shore, and the aroma of Summer.

As the sun began to set, my sisters and I talked about how much we enjoyed the day, we talked about our hour-long bus ride home, and we were hoping that our parents weren’t going to be upset with us for getting home later than we explained.  But our concerns quickly decapitated, suddenly, my sisters interrupted our conversation with their cooing and hawing over the silhouette of a Man walking out from the shores of Alkai.

I looked up to see what they were gushing over.  I saw, what they saw.  I saw a silhouette of a man with broad shoulders, tall, maybe five foot-eight inches, slim at the waist, the sun seemed to glitter around him as he walked out from the Alkai shores.  Naturally, I started wondering if we were in the middle of a “Baywatch” television series; especially, after he shook the waters from his curls; I thought, “…Wow, nicely done, Uce!…”  As my sisters continued on with their narration of their Zeus-like figure coming to shore, I thought to myself, “…they’re right!  That’s a handsome-looking silhouette of a man….”  Mind you, I submit my observations from an Artist’s perspective.

As I watched this figure emerge from the ‘Pudget Sound’ shores, I noticed my sisters’ voices began to soften.  My ears began to focus more intently as to what they were whispering: “…Oh, my Gosh!  He’s walking this way!  He’s walking this way!…Damn.  Girl…look out!…”  Abruptly, silent they were.  They were right.  The figure began to show himself as he walked closer and closer towards us.  We were silent with anticipation as he walked closer towards us.

Simultaneously, my sisters said, “YUCK!  YUCK!  OH, YUCK!  What the hell!  Who told you to go swim!  Who told you to–who told you to do that!  Oh, No!  God in Heaven, forgive us!…”

Turns out, the silhouette was our brother, Ionatana, also known as, Zues.  He was beautiful.

He Who Is Without Sin

At the mall the other day with my sisters enjoying an afternoon brunch when they spotted a girl they categorized as a “pa’umuku.”  From the mall to our local watering hole (bar), these sisters of mine went on and on and on with their eye-witness accounts of the men she’s slept with, run around with, and all the other “none-of-your-business” gossip.

After an hour of their stupidness, we made it to the bar and I blew up before the first drink was served: “Will you girls shut up already about her!!!  Sheet!!”  Needless to say, they had the ‘deer in the headlights’ look on their faces, and I continued on with my opinion, which I paraphrase for this blog:

“…that girl is single, she’s not promised to anyone, except maybe herself!…so, yea, maybe she’s lookin’ for love in all the wrong places, and doing it in all the wrong ways, but what she’s doing isn’t hurting us, she ain’t bothering us!…but you girls want to keep talking about what a worthless person she is…her harm is self-inflicted!…for  all I know she’s enjoying her life, I don’t know!

What I do know is that I would rather take a woman like that, than a virgin who runs around with her mouth open to everybody else’s business!…because the gossiping virgin is as toxic as cancer…gossip’s poison divides families and friends by casting a shadow of doubt with its malicious sense of self-righteousness!…”

Bartender approaches with our shot-glass of milk (*winks*), and down the hatch, off the bar stool, walking up to the pool table, cue stick in hand, chalks the tip, and ended my speech with, “Ia! rack ‘em!”

After half an hour of awkward silence, one of my sisters says, “So what, you was with her, huh?  Don’t lie!”

“Let He who is without sin…”

Samoan Economics

I’ve been taught that if you consider yourself in the “depths of despair,” then you are turning your back on God.  I’ve been taught that if you consider yourself “living in fear,” then you are turning your back on God.  Whenever I feel myself on the verge of despair or fear, I remind myself that “God is ever-reigning, do not despair and do not fear, for He is my salvation.”

However, recently, the last month or so, I’ve been feeling nervous (not scared, or in despair, because I would dare not turn my back on our Creator), but I’m feeling nervous, anxious, concerned about our family’s finances.  Daily, I make it a point to keep myself abreast of USA’s current events by tuning in to the morning news on Fox, channel 38, here at my place; Shepard Smith is my favorite news anchor, cause his sense of humor during down times express exactly what I feel, which is that times are uncertain but here we are–LOL!

One of the difficulties between me and my parents is this, “Money Management.”  I explain to my folks that our finances work like this: in the first two-weeks of a month, our bank account automatically withdraws funds from our account for mortgage, car insurance, life insurance, City of Seattle’s water/sewer costs, garbage/recycle expenses, car (two) payments, and home owner’s insurance.  I further explain that we have our general costs of living, like fueling our vehicles, food for the month, cellular phones, electricity/power, and our weekly lafoga and monthly tithes.  I continued on by explaining that money coming in is $X,XXX/monthly, expenses going out is $X,XXX/monthly, therefore, leaving us with $XXX for the rest of the month. $XXX is a lot of money for many of us around the globe, but for our family here in the States, it’s the difference between one or two days at homelessness’ front door; which includes paying (for this month) $XXX plus dollars to a certified Plumber.

As for most of us Samoans, we’re all getting ready for end of the year celebrations at our church, and those celebrations cost money, and for our family, our expense is $XXX for end of year prize, $XXX for Faife’au’s teutusi (tulou lava), $XXX for gifts for the names drawn from “a hat” (American cliche), all in total: $XXX.  We’ve made arrangements for expenditures (minus $XXX for next year’s special event), but what I can’t get through to my folks is that we’ve not accounted for a ‘plumber,’ which I calculate will cost us $XXX plus on Monday.

Anyway, I’m not complaining, I’m just nervous.  I’m nervous because today’s USA economy is in a recession, and I might lose my job, and if the Big Three (GM, Ford, and Chrysler) don’t get financial assistance or do get financial assistance, we (in the USA) may find ourselves in the next Great Depression.  I’ve been hearing that it’s imperative that the “Big Three” receive financial aid (subsidized with tax dollars) because they are a big part of our USA’s economy!  If, the “Big Three” do not receive financial aid then we (USA’s economy) may find ourselves in DEEP DOO-DOO!

I LOVE MY FOLKS, but I think I appreciate them more for their ignorance of USA’s economy!  They’re entirely clueless about what’s goin’ on here, all they can see is: “…Make sure you personalize the first and second prize gifts nicely…Make sure you have something nice to wear on December 24th…”  I love my parents.  I’m frustrated, but I have to laugh-out-loud because they don’t know that tomorrow in the States may lead to the next Great Depression, and all they care about is the people of our congregation of SCC.  If only the world were as simple.

Dear Beyonce,

My sister’s been jam’n to your new tune, “If I Were A Boy.”  I’m listen’n to the words of your song, ain’t got the lyrics verbatim, but the gist of the new tune left me wondering about how most of your songs, lately, have been about dis’n us guys; I don’t know if it has anything to do with you being married, but it’s likely that it has more to do with you selling albums–cha-ching for more bling!

If I have this right, your latest song, “If I Were A Boy,” is about how we hang out at the bar with the boys, about how we boys break hearts and walk away without a care, about how us guys are obtuse and blindly inconsiderate of women.  Seems to me that you’ve been making a living about put’n men down, and I’m pissed off that my sisters are buying into the culture of ‘male bashing’ that you perpetuate with your music.

Your lyrics oversimplify our socially expected gender roles and lacks depth of life’s experiences.  Relationships are difficult, whether it’s that between our God, parents, siblings, spouses, children, and friends.  We all try to work it out, sometimes, for some, working it out means walking out, and I’m sorry for the hardships it creates on the family as a whole.  However, intimate relationships with the boy-girl (or same sex) partnership, is probably the most difficult for most of us.  Partnerships are complicated because each person comes into a relationship with their own baggage from past relationships of family and otherwise.

Our house’s plumbing is clogged somewhere between the main line and the other connecting drain pipes, or it could be a clog in the ventilation system–I don’t know, but that’s what I’m workin’ on.  Anyway, between me crawling around in the basement, the upstairs bathroom sink, the downstairs bathroom sink, the attic’s ventilation system, the roof’s ventilation system, your song, “If I Were A Boy,” kept run’n through my mind–you know how it is when you get a tune stuck in your head and can’t get rid of it!  I’m covered in dirt from head to toe, my hands are full of grease and whatever other unknown crud I picked up from the insides of our pipe’s plumbing, I found myself getting really pissed off at you!

I kept think’n if I were a girl, my hair wouldn’t be matted with dirt and grime, my finger nails wouldn’t be filled with plumbing gunk, I’d never be caught under a kitchen/bathroom sink with wrench and snake in hand, I’d never be up on the roof with a water hose shoved down the ventilation system try’n to blow-out the clog!  I kept think’n if I were a girl, I’d never be caught under the truck with friends try’n to replace our fuel pump, I’d never be the one to check and change the family car’s oil, I’d never have to change out the radiator!

Beyonce, I think women (some if not most) are oblivious to what men do around the house!  Give us guys a break by acknowledging what we do, of course, it may be hard for you to do because you’d actually have to get your hands dirty to figure it out!  “To the left, to the left I go, jump’n in the shower and get’n dressed to meet the boys at the bar…”

Sincerely,

The Boy who hopes you do get the chance to be a boy!

If You Feel Like A Jerk, Then…

I feel like such a jerk.

Like most of us, I enjoy hang’n out in the village, 1Samoana, stroll’n around on my finger tips goin’ from faleo’o to faleo’o and visiting with fellow natives, and participating and reading-in on group discussions–it’s my rest and relaxation (R&R) time.  Most days, I go to work, I’m home by evening, check-in with the family, help out with household chores, help ready events for our church, and after family business is done, and if I’m not too exhausted, I make time for friends at 1Samoana.

Recently, I took time out for my usual ‘R&R’ fix at 1Samoana, and on this day I had more chores than usual to do.  I figured, “Oh, what the heck, I can do two things at one time,” and in-between my mother reminding me to take out the recycling, my father reminding me to take the trash out for pick-up, taking care of house’s plumbing problems so that we don’t have to call a real plumber (only cause we can’t afford their professional services), and the other extra chores, I was on and off at the group discussion, “I Spy With My Fob Eyes.”  This discussion appeals to me because, like most guys, it includes visuals, followed by the clever and hilarious commentary.  Aside from all the visceral laughs I get out of this, and I know this makes no sense, but I especially love how stupid I feel.  I’ve discovered that the long journey just before the light goes on in the brain (the light that leaves you saying to yourself, “Oh!  That’s what’s goin’ on, that’s how it works!”), is the feeling stupid.

The following Sunday, I woke up to see my mother taking out the recycle, my sister picking out my father’s suit for Sunday service, my father taking out the garbage, basically they were picking up the chores I had forgotten about because I was online.  No one said anything to me, we all just went about the morning and headed out for service, but I felt like crap; I kept reliving the nite before and how I was saying, “…yeah, okay, I’ll take care of it (while I’m online)…”  After morning service, my father said, “Come sit down, I want to talk to you.”

What he said was this (broken English translation): “…I hear you on the intanet when you suppose to take care of the house, I hear you on the phone when you with us (family and church events), I hear you yell to your sister when you fix the car.  Something very wrong wif you.  I hear the devil is coming into this house…”

Translation of my Father’s wisdom: Be present!  Stop dividing your family time.  When you are with your family, be there, don’t be on the phone texting or conversating with friends, don’t be online B.S.ing with your friends, and don’t let your mind wander off into some other la-la land.  When you are with your family give them your undivided attention.  When you are not busy with your family, then that’s the time for friends.  When you are with your family, be present!  Manage your time wisely, prioritize accordingly.

Translation of a Son’s wisdom: If you feel like a jerk, then it may be because you have been acting like one.  The good news is, there’s always a moment for redemption.