Which Would Be Worse–Blindness or Deafness?

I’m in pretty good health for a sixty-eight-year-old man who’ll turn sixty-nine in September. Although I have to take four or five different types of medicine just to keep my body in reasonably good working order, I’m probably not by myself on that.

I’ve had cataract surgery on both eyes, but I still have to wear glasses because of astigmatism. But at least my overall vision is better than it’s been in many years. So I’m not anticipating that I’ll ever go blind.

I’d hate to be without my hearing aids, no matter how unsatisfactory they are compared to “natural” hearing. But they are adequate, and I have no reason to anticipate going totally deaf, either.

So why have I chosen a topic like this one?

Perhaps you didn’t notice that I said I couldn’t anticipate going blind or becoming completely deaf. But I can’t say for sure that I won’t. And neither can you. Those things–like so many others in this earthly life–are beyond our control.

Comparing the loss of sight with the loss of hearing is almost like comparing apples and oranges, though. I take both of them for granted–probably equally for granted.

In a way, sight and hearing are two sides of the same coin. With my eyes I see my sweet wife, Kathleen. With my ears I hear her loving words. The same with our grown children and our grandchildren. How could someone easily choose between seeing the people he loves and being able to hear them?

It gets more complicated when I think about my normal activities.

Blindness wouldn’t hinder me from getting around at home once I got used to it, but while Kathleen is still young enough to have to work, I don’t know how I’d even make it to the nearby Sonic drive-in for my daily diet cherry limeade. Much less the various other places I need to go when Kathleen is normally not available.

I could learn to do my novel writing on a computer that’s designed for the blind, but it would take a whale of an adjustment to do things any differently from the way I’m accustomed to doing them now. And Personal Composer, the software I write my original songs down with, would be impossible to use without sight. Not even software that turned audible notes into notes on the page would be adequate.

If I were deaf, however, at least I could get around outside. But how would I communicate with the people I ran into? Even though deafness wouldn’t affect how I write, going to writers conferences and trying to interact with readers except electronically would be useless. Learning sign language at my age wouldn’t be impossible, but it would be a challenge I’d rather not face.

Writing songs and playing guitar around the house and at our church’s weekly nursing home ministry would be impossible without hearing. As would playing bass guitar on the praise team and singing in the church choir. Those are important ministries for me.

Oh, my! And those hundreds of CDs I could no longer listen to. And giving up the challenge of picking out new downloads each month from emusic.com.

Although we don’t watch TV now–we don’t even have rabbit ears on our TV set–we subscribe to Netflix and watch old TV shows. At least closed captioning would be available for some of those.

I suppose deafness would have advantages. Like not having to listen to all of that distracting noise in restaurants. Or the sound of other people’s loud car stereos. Or the grinding of the garbage truck doing its pre-dawn pickup at the Arby’s behind our home. Or any of a million other things I would gladly give up having to listen to.

I know I’m barely skimming the surface of how blindness and deafness would affect me. But if I’m forced to say that my writing is just slightly more important than my music, then blindness would be worse. Honestly, though, I’d hate to have to adjust to either problem.

What are your thoughts on the subject? Please leave a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

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One of My Little Quirks

CarEconomy    economyDriving 

It’s no wonder I write quirky fiction. I’m a quirky person. Not dangerously so, I hope. Not yet, anyhow.

Since my wife, Kathleen, loves to tease me about this particular quirk–she dares to call me obsessive about it–I decided to share it here. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

Long before gas got so terribly expensive, I was a real Scrooge about wasting it. I haven’t changed.

When I go to Sonic for my daily diet cherry limeade, I use the drive through. I didn’t used to, but I’ve moderated my habits a tad over the years. But that doesn’t mean I’m less economical.

If there’s a car in front of me, I turn off the engine. Same if they don’t take my order the instant I stop at the intercom. And I turn it off again when I reach the pick up window.

Each time the cars in front of me move, I start the car and move, too. Then I turn it off again. I don’t know if this is a fact, but I remember hearing back during those horrible days of gas shortages that if a car has to idle longer than a minute, it’s more economical to stop and restart it.

Even if someone were to prove to me that my belief is inaccurate, I doubt that I’d change my habit. It’s too deeply ingrained.

Let me assure you of one thing, however. I do NOT follow that rule at stop signs or traffic lights. Safety comes first.

One thing I love about my Honda Civic is the equipment that shows me how economically I’m driving. One gauge shows blue if I’m being totally wasteful, teal if I’m only somewhere between wasteful and economical, and a nice bright green if I’m doing really well.

In the first picture above, I’m not doing very well. Of course, maybe that’s because I had to stop in order to take the picture. The gauges don’t function unless the car is running. Kathleen took the second picture while I was doing seventy on the Interstate. Green and getting more than thirty-five mpg.

Accelerating is tough. No matter what. A jack rabbit start–I’ll do one only for safety–is sure to be blue. But so is any and acceleration that’s not uber-gradual. I pay attention to whether I appear to be holding up whoever is behind me and may accelerate faster than I want to.

There’s also a gauge that shows how many miles per gallon I’m getting at that particular moment. It’s such fun to coast downhill and see my car getting seventy mpg! (The gauge only goes to seventy.) And I’m always clicking the “I” button on the steering wheel to see what my overall average is for that tank of gas.

People sometimes ask if I write about myself in my novels, and in many instances the answer is a resounding YES! In my yet-to-be-published novel, Impractically Yours, the female protagonist teases the male protagonist about having the exact same gas-economy practices I have.

Did I mention that I rarely let Kathleen drive my car? That’s because she refuses to pay attention to what the gauges are telling her about how she’s driving. Doesn’t that explain why she likes to tease me so much?

I told you I was quirky, didn’t I? Is there some characteristic of yours that others describe as quirky? Or do you have something to say about driving or being economical? How about sharing it with us in a comment?

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I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

The What Ifs of Life

I got a phone call  one afternoon recently that started me thinking about the “what ifs of life.”

What if my birth parents had chosen to keep me? How drastically different would my life be now?

And what if someone other than the couple who adopted me had become my adoptive parents. And what if my father had remained a lawyer rather than going to seminary and becoming a Christian minister?

What if I’d died or survived only in a vegetative state as the result of acute viral encephalitis when I was in the eighth grade?

What if I’d majored in music instead of English? Would I be a better song writer–or a less accomplished one? Would I still have become a teacher? Would I have remained in teaching rather than changing careers twice, always looking for the more-fulfilling job rather than necessarily the better paying one.

What if I’d married the first girl I thought I wanted to marry? What if I hadn’t met and married my ex-wife? What if our baby hadn’t died of an improperly developed heart three days after she was born? What if my ex- had been able to get pregnant again after microsurgery at Johns Hopkins?

And what if we’d never moved to Richmond? That question alone opens up a bottomless can of what ifs.

What if I’d never started writing songs, poems, monologues and short plays, and short stories? Would I have found equal satisfaction being creative some other way?

And what if I’d met Kathleen at a different time in our lives?

But let’s bring this up to the present time. The present is the result not of the what-ifs, but of the said-and-dones.

That doesn’t keep me from what iffing, though. What if an irritating problem hadn’t led me to the doctor recently, and what if he hadn’t decided to do some tests to determine whether I’m still reasonably healthy at going-on-sixty-nine?

And what if the PSA hadn’t been elevated enough for him to recommend going to see my urologist? What if the problem had turned out to be serious?

I’ve always said it’s better to know that something bad is going on than to have to wonder about it. But even more important is the realization–the assurance–that my life is totally in God’s hands. He can deal appropriately with all of those things I can only ponder.

What about you? Do you have any significant what-ifs going on in your life right now? Why not just turn them over to God? Please feel free to share a comment.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” is only one of my two blogs. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on  “As I Come Singing.” Check it out HERE if you’re interested.  Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

If you enjoy my writing, you’ll find a number of things to read on my website.  Also music to listen to and music-related videos to watch.

My newest novel, The Devil and Pastor Gus, is available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Go HERE for links to those places.
Tentative-Front-Cover
Best regards,
Roger

About Gracelessness

brokenBarrier

I promised to use my second post to explain my use of the word “gracelessly” in my blog name. I do my best to keep my promises.

At first, I thought explaining “gracelessly” would be simple. I write “quirky inspirational fiction.” So why not have a blog that simply sounds, uh, quirky? After all, most people probably expect to see the word “gracefully” after “on aging.” I would, anyhow. But I thought “gracelessly” might really grab people’s attention.

There’s more to it than that, though.

Let me clear up one thing before I go any further. I’m not using grace in the Christian sense of “Amazing Grace,” which refers to “God’s undeserved favor—getting good things we don’t deserve from a loving God.” As opposed to God’s mercy, “Not getting the punishment we deserve from a righteous God.”

Instead, I’m using the word in the sense of “clumsily.”

I think that fits nicely. None of us has ever aged beyond where we are in life right now. So moving ahead necessarily leads us to a humongous amount of the unknown. Even when we pay close attention to people who’re even older than we are, our paths will not be identical to theirs. We have no guarantee that everything will work out the same way for us. Or anything, for that matter.

The process of aging involves a number of mishaps. There’s no way to avoid them.

I rely on God’s strength and guidance each step of the way. Uh, except for those too-many times I try doing things on my own. That’s when I’m most apt to fall down or bring other problems on myself–while trying to scoot around a barrier, for example. God doesn’t seem to believe in providing a solution until I encounter a problem. If I’m not paying attention to Him, the results may be more disastrous than they need to be.

My wife and I have a year-old miniature dachshund, Happy. We trust her in the living room, the kitchen, the master bedroom, and the bathroom. We do NOT trust her to go down the hallway towards the other two bedrooms. Especially the one I use as my music room, with dozens of cables going this way and that. If she pulled one out, I might never figure out where it came from.

So I placed a thin piece of wood across the open doorway leading to that part of the house. Happy doesn’t like it, especially when she knows one of us is somewhere on the other side of the barrier. But we’re thankful it does what it’s supposed to do: keep her out of mischief.

We know the barrier is there, and it’s almost short enough to step over safely every time. Sliding it to the side to step through and then sliding it back into place is a nuisance.

But I’m a graceless fellow, and when I’m not careful—sometimes even when I am—I end up kicking the barrier when I climb over it. Last night I unwittingly broke it into the two pieces you see in the picture at this top of this post.

As a member of the human race, I’ll keep aging until I die. Even though I can anticipate certain barriers between now and eternity, I’m not necessarily prepared to deal with them in the best possible way—the “graceful” way.

So, many of my blog posts will speak of things related to aging that make me feel graceless because of my inability to deal with them as easily as I might have done when I was younger. Or if I was paying adequate attention to God’s loving lead.

I’ll try to make you smile in the process. Nobody wants to listen to an older adult gripe. I sure don’t.

If you like this blog, please subscribe to receive my two weekly posts by email. I hope you’ll leave comments. I’d love to have a good discussion here rather than feel like a teacher standing in front of a classroom of students who are bored to tears.

Best regards,
Roger