Friday, September 19, 2014


I should have been more kind. That is something a person will never regret. You will never say to yourself when you are old, ‘Ah, I wish I was not good to that person.’ You will never  think that.”  ~Khaled Hosseini, And The Mountains Echoed

The above words were echoing among my thoughts as I consider my stay in Nutwood.  I cannot recall anyone having gone to the extent to be as accommodating as Ken and Beth both were during my stay.  Other than being badly trounced at horseshoes, I cannot think of a single moment where there was any sense of loss or discomfort while I was visiting.  There were no periods of angst, no feelings of anxiety.  It was, as I told both my host and hostess, one of the best times of my life.

Ken, Beth, and I  took time and walked around the campus of Notre Dame.  It was invigorating as we toured around the stadium and went into the Basilica (and did not immediately burst into flames upon our entrance!).  Later on, we went into town to meet with friends of theirs, several who have been mentioned in their blogs.  The next day, it was off to Detroit!!

It was a quick ride.  We’d have a lunch with my Dad and my youngest sister at a neighborhood bar, not too far from where my family (had once!) lived.  Lunch was preceded by the discovery that my family had moved and that I had bounded upon the porch and INTO THE HOUSE OF ANOTHER FAMILY!!  Thinking that it was still “home”, I went crashing into the front room to find strangers sitting in the living room, with both Ken and Beth in my wake!!  Thankfully, the enthusiasm with which I burst in the house with was taken in stride by the new tenants, and we were able to leave THEIR house without further incident.  After lunch, we checked into our hotel rooms and rested before our dinner date.

It was a real treat to finally meet both Alaina and her husband Tony, along with a couple who were local net friends of my host.  Tee Jay would show up with her (now adult) daughter in tow.  I took in the moment… sitting at a dinner table in my favorite restaurant, dining with some of my favorite people in life, filled with fond memories and I sat and tried to absorb as much of the moment that I was experiencing.  These were the kinds of experiences that I had looked forward to having once I left “the provincial town I once jogged ‘round”.

The kindness that Ken has shown me (over the years..!) has been invaluable, as has the thoughts and acts of others I have come to know through this blog.  Words fail me when I try to express the depth of meaning and affection that has been represented in all the heartfelt comments and actions taken on my behalf, actions that have helped to bring me to where I am now… living a full and happy life.  That was evident during our visit to the Motor and solidified in my visit with Ken and his wife.


It is always good to take a step back and look at what you have accomplished, looking over how you did what you did, and how you are going to get to where you are headed.  While I think that I have done well to get to this point (I grade myself at a solid ‘B’, which is also my G.P.A !).  Getting away from Omaha and being able to enjoy the fresh air of Nutwood Junction, I felt clear-headed enough to where I had an epiphany (of sorts).

Although I am comfortable with myself and where I am at in my life, but that comfort is relative to things that I think are arbitrary in comparison.  I mean, if I were to set myself to my co-tenants in the building I live in, I think that I would not be self-centered in claiming to be doing better than other residents in my building.  Still, that is hardly satisfying to my internal drive.  I want more than to be a happy subsistence member of society.

Being grateful for my current state is not the same as being comfortable with it.  I think that is what drive is about, that voice inside of a person that won’t let you cheat on your last rep or let you skimp on studying for your next exam.  While I was on vacay, I did some reading and came across a section that really spoke to me.  In my mind, I have lived a VERY First World life, meaning that no matter my station there are excesses that conspire to sap my drive and higher desires, desires beyond those of shelter, food, and safety.

I am going to take my certification test in October so that I can begin my career as a personal trainer.  In November, I will resume college, with the goal of making this my last year of junior college.  This means I will be taking on a heavier academic workload, but I think that doing so will get me ready for the demands of attending UN-O (University of Nebraska-Omaha). Besides, maybe my comfort has become a detriment to my future progress.  See, until I arrived in Omaha in October 2010, I was waging a desperate battle against complete and irrevocable fail, and for years the the threat of fail was more real than any of my hopes.  Thanks to belief in my quest and the good will of others, I am at a place where I am in full control of my destiny.

Confirmation of my approach has been made; I am heading on the right track.  It is now that I can begin moving in a direct fashion towards “wherever it is I am going”.  Again, thanks to all who have made this journey with me, and to those who have gone on in their own direction whilst I blogged away.


abbiestreehouse said...

"What a long, strange trip it's been…" :)

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SweetAngelAsh17 said...

I'm glad you had a great trip Mark!

Ken Riches said...

It was our pleasure to serve as your host and friend. I know we will be friends forever and I cherrish that more than you know. Love & Rockets!