Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Time was"... A Cure For Arrogance

Time was in my childhood that being 16 seemed the coolest thing that could happen; a driver's license, high school, dating...if I ever got the courage to ask. I remember "dating" a girl in the 9th grade and another in the 12th. Probably I was either too nerdy, too geeky, or both. I'm remembering a too-long short, too-long pudgy, bespectacled, trumpet-playing, only child, who early on learned how to be content alone in a mostly single-parent home. (My father was in absentia, spending time in VA hospitals).
Time was, in my college years, that I found a girl who loved a no-longer short, no-longer pudgy, still- trumpet-playing nerd; I didn't study enough to be a real geek; that had to wait.
Time was, in my teaching years, (all nine of them) that I discovered I didn't much care for teaching. So with a wife and four sons in tow we went off to dental school. That's where I became one of the class geeks.
Time was, after four years of dental practice, I discovered I didn't much care for filling teeth. Mercifully, the Lord let a disability befall my left arm (thoracic outlet syndrome) and (following a left 1st rib resection [removal])I had to give up practicing dentistry (Thank You Jesus). Loma Linda School of Dentistry to speak...and that's when the journey of discovery and recovery began.
Time was, over the next 18 years, that I was considered an expert in the area of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. There were opportunities to speak, write, travel, teach and pursue further studies. I did all of them. Life was good. I was still bespectacled but had given up playing the trumpet. (Was that the key to success?)
Time was, when all the degrees, the invitations to speak, publications, awards, accolades, and academic titles evaporated in the hot Santa Ana winds that come off the desert; it was the year of my retirement (1998).
Time is, I now recognize that for everyone, whether be they judge or janitor, Time is becomes Time was. There are few things more humbling to the arrogant...I was a life member of that club... than to disappear; to evaporate into oblivion and insignificance. There, no one calls you "doctor," your reserved parking spot is given to someone else, and when you go back for a visit, because you're no longer known you go in the main entrance just like everybody else.
But the geek lives on in this secluded corner; there's not too much traffic and that's fine. I've taken to playing the trumpet on rare occasions and still wear glasses, though oculum dextra (R-eye) is a little blurry from a developing cataract.
Time is, I recognize the truly important things in my life. The career and writings are out of date as am I, but there is a We that will remain alive and well until We no longer are. Thank You Lord for the wife of my youth. (She's gone to town and I miss her). Solomon did get it right.
"Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well. Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be only your own, and not for strangers with you. Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth." [Proverbs 5:15-18][NKJV].
For me and JB: On my mark, our time is now. "NOW!"e.c.

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