Thursday, December 31, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
It's a familiar scene: someone born in the mid-20th century gives advice to someone around 20 years old. "Listen, life is short," he says. "Find something to do with your life that you will enjoy!" Of course, following this instruction is problematic. We all want to do fun things, even at work. Being able to match up one's interests with an available and suitable job is tough. Most of us aren't too successful at pulling this off.
Coming out of high school, I was sure I wanted to teach. Nothing during 4 years of college diluted this goal. I enjoyed the subjects in which I had majors (English, History) and I looked forward to working with students. My student teaching assignment was pleasant and reaffirmed my plans. I got my military commitment out of way, returned to Texas, and was hired by the Dallas ISD.
Long story short. The negative factors of being a teacher in a large, urban middle school far outweighed the warm fuzzies I got from working with the kids. I had numerous discussions with Carole as the years went by...could we afford it if I moved to a private school...should I change careers somehow...ironically, she was saddled with a job that paid well, but was mentally and physically oppressive.
Fast forward to 2004. Carole retires after 34 years, having stayed with the same job. Two years later, I retire, never having changed jobs. I guess what we proved is that one can stay with a job that one doesn't particularly like most days and absolutely abhors on the rest of the days, and somehow survive and reap the financial rewards for having stayed the course. Of course, we leaned heavily on God and each other and were absolutely committed to doing what was best for our kids.
So what does one tell the 20 year-old? Chase your dream and find something totally fulfilling? Or understand that most folks don't get that lucky and wind up doing the best they can at something which brings way fewer thrills?
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
One of the crew was the flight engineer, Joe Balzer, who has now told his story in a gripping book entitled, Flying Drunk. Fortunately, this is an amazingly inspirational saga. Balzer was in denial about his alcoholism, and after his arrest he got involved Al-Anon and got sober. Unfortunately, he had to face the music, too. He was found guilty of a felony and was sentenced to a year in a federal minimum-security prison on an Air Force base. However, there was a strange fear that he would escape, steal a jet, and zoom off to freedom. So he was tossed into the normal crowd of ne'er-do-wells at a maximum-security prison.
It was quite a shock for Balzer to go from the clear air at 35,000 feet to the cold dungeon of a federal prison. His recounting of the year behind bars consumes most of the book. The same smarts that made him a fast-rising pilot served him well when dealing with street-tough gangsters. But he survived. Throughout the entire ordeal, his wife never wavered in support of her husband. And most importantly, Balzer's faith in God remained powerful. He did more that just survive - he did a lot of teaching and helped a bunch of bad guys along the way.
Ordinarily, you don't give away the ending of a book, but since it's freely publicized on the book cover and at his website (www.flyingdrunk.com), I'll go ahead and tell you that Joe started from scratch and rebuilt his career, culminating in a job with American Airlines, flying MD-82's. The story of how he got that position is alone worth reading the book for. Throughout the pages, Balzer gives hope and advice to anyone caught in the web of alcoholism...all the while demonstrating how it is possible to overcome defeat if you do all you can do and turn the rest over to God.