Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flaming Bears of Love

flamingbears A couple of days ago, Tami talked about juggling life’s responsibilities as only she can. Usually people will use the metaphor of juggling balls. Not Tami. No her metaphor was juggling pyrotechnic ursines.

For her the list of her bears was: Work, Family, Health, Friends, and Writing. She made the great point that these feisty bears were the ones she had chosen, and that she loved these bears.

Then she asked to hear about her readers bears. I started to write a comment, but it got too long so I’m making an entry here.

My list is similar. Work, Family, Writing, Gaming are all there. I have two that Tami doesn’t.

I break my bears down into two groups. The bears that can’t be dropped and the bears that can. I have one extra bear in each group.

The first bear I have that Tami didn’t mention is the God bear. I have this in the can’t be dropped category, even though I know sometimes I do. Whereas other bears will roar and try to eat me if I drop them, the God bear sits quietly by and waits for me to pick Him up again. The most important thing to this bear is that I choose Him. His goal is intimacy and that requires a choice. If it’s forced, or cojalloed, it’s not intimacy anymore, it’s duty, and duty is not what he wants. My volitional choice is all I can offer this bear. He’s already got everything else.

Work is a bear that will roar if it drops. You see I have this bad habit. It’s called eating. The work bear lets that happen. I also happen to be very picky and prefer sleeping on a bed in a climate controlled building, let’s call that a house, over say, sleeping under a cardboard box in the middle of a park. Nothing wrong with that, if your life journey took you there. I’m just saying that’s not my preference.

Work is actually two bears right now. The big 600 pound grizzly of my day job, and this little cub of a side contract I’m doing for a former employer. It’s amazing the questions you get when people find out you are a coder (computer programmer).

The other bear that cannot be dropped is my family bear. It is like a cute and cuddly, little, brown bear. I am totally, passionately in love with my wife. We will be celebrating our 16th anniversary this month, and I believe I love her more today than the day we said our ‘I do’s.  She gives me the freedom to be myself, and her belief in me gives me confidence to believe in myself. My kids are gifts. My daughter just started middle school and is trying to navigate the beginning of her transitional years. She’s a little geeky like her Dad. My little boy is still just a baby and I love spending time with him.  This is a bear I’ve chosen, and a bear I love.

I heard someone say once that close friends are really chosen family and I totally agree with that so I lump the friend bear in with the family bear.

Then we have the group of bears that can be and far too often are dropped.

I have the same Writing and Gaming bears Tami does, but I also add a bear that is actually a Panther called the National Football League. Every Sunday you’ll find me in front of the TV cheering on the Carolina Panthers. You’ve got the 1pm game, and then the 4pm game, and then the 8pm game. Then on Monday night, you get the Monday night game and after Thanksgiving, there’s a Thursday night game too.  Fortunately, this bear hibernates from March until August.

The gaming bear is a great way to decompress after a long day fighting the work bear.

The writing bear is one that I’ve grown over the last year. It’s one that I would love to grow and take over the work bear, but I’m learning just to love the writing bear no matter what he grows into. I enjoy the time I get to spend with it and I love what its teaching me.

I love when the bears comingle. The family bear and the football bear get together when the whole family gathers around and watches football together. My daughter even has a pink Panther’s jersey she wears sometimes. I play fantasy football and the friends bear, football bear and gaming bear all get involved.

So those are my flaming bears of love. What are yours?

1 comment:

Ken Bowen said...

Nice post! And yes the areas of our lives are definitely not passive balls but flaming bears with attitudes. I also have the God bear, which is even larger in my life since I am a pastor. I also teach at a Christian school, so thankfully the God bear gets to go to work with me and influence my teaching methods.

The teaching bear has been a bit bipolar over the years. At first, the teaching bear left me mauled and bleeding in a corner, and I vowed never to visit that bear again. However, in recent years, it has grown more tame and I have found a new love for its flaming fluffiness. It helps that the bear is now a private school bear rather than a public school one.

I have no children yet, but my wife is an awesome, hard-working yet cuddly bear that always greets me with a big bear hug when I return from a long day of work. Like your wife, mine allows me to be myself and enjoy spending time with my other, smaller bears: gaming and football.

My gaming bear is usually like a nice relaxing bear that spends time with me later in the evenings to unwind from my busy life. Some evenings this bear growls when our guild struggles to down a boss or has drama, but it is usually a stress reliever bear.

My football bear is also a different animal, a tiger--an Auburn tiger to be precise. I am a lifelong fan and graduate of Auburn university, and for three months of the year on Saturdays, the football tiger eats up large chunks of my time. Like you said, the football bear/tiger hibernates most of the year, giving me more time with my bigger and more important bears.

I also have a writing bear, but he has been asleep for quite a while. Maybe I should wake him and see if he is friendly.