Archive for May, 2018

The Egg Who Would Not Be Princess

Posted in Uncategorized on May 23, 2018 by michaelcogdill


Don’t pray over a poached egg expecting it to become a princess.

It never will.

God is no such magician.

Let the egg fall. Let it break. Leave it to the hands of Providence to clean up that mess, and make something of it. And right on time the princess will emerge, neither of you having to walk on the shells.

Or, if it’s a prince you want, the same truth applies.  No wading through the breakage of a hell’s kitchen.

Some may think this harsh, gesturing to a human being as the fruit of a hen.  I mean no disrespect.  Rather than an absence of love, there is a fullness of it in what I say.  It takes love to let go.  Only the truest love will release someone to absolute Love.

We all endure heartbreak.  I know of no one who escapes it.  Hemingway pointed us to a hope in the inevitable shattering.  He said, “We’re all broken, that’s how the light gets in.”

And so I wonder, if we shadow someone, hover, pray and try for change, do we block the light?

I need to heed these words of my own speaking here.  I am guilty of trying to pray a lie into a truth, of trying to help an embryo become an adult.  I have tried for magic when what’s called for is a miracle.  I have prayed with a tight grip rather than an open hand.

Miracles don’t come from my hands.  But I have seen one come from my letting go.  He was my father, whom I so dearly love.  He still is.

In this season of my life, he would say — let the egg go.  Give Providence room.


Sex Goddess Wisdom, Road Kill, and What We Ought to Believe.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 21, 2018 by michaelcogdill

Maya Angelou is not the goddess to which the title refers.  But she did say when people show us who they are, we ought to believe them the first time.

How wise.

How strong this current of her wisdom, pulling us to believe what we see.

Not the talk of promise.

Imagine a man promising to become extraordinary if his partner would make extraordinary and sacrificial changes to her own life.  To realize this promise, she needs only to disbelieve what she has seen and heard and suffered.  Discard the old breakage of promise, pretend the hurts of old never happened, and make a commitment.  Voila!!  The man of so much broken promise guarantees his promise will get fulfilled.   His potential, realized.  If she believes him again, his promise won’t shatter.

The glass won’t scatter under her feet, again.

And with this promise comes a dirty little implication: If she doesn’t believe his promise, he won’t realize his great potential, and that will be all her fault.  Alas, if she only believes in him, what a swan the crow will become.  If she doesn’t believe, and act upon it, again, he’ll remain a crow, pecking at the same old road kill.  How dare she not believe, and leave him there, baking on the side of the road he has chosen?

And how many of us know someone who has believed such promise, over and over again? Down, down, and further down into the road kill of promise they go.  Believing the same promise, expecting a different banquet. A different road.

A student earns a degree one class period, one all-nighter, one original paper at a time.  A man earns a love of his life by being love to her, one act of love at a time, not by the promising of it.  Marriage vows ought to resemble courtroom protocol.  A good lawyer never asks a question whose answer she does not already know.  Two people ought not marry one another without each having already made good on the vows — way before they, the flowers and a lovely gown find the altar.

Mae West surely agreed, for she said, “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”  I believe Dr. Angelou would salute the sex goddess on this one.  I sure salute them both.

Sure, much potential lives secreted in people who show little promise.  But what they show counts, one current act at a time.  What they say, not so much.  Especially so when the road they travel lies littered with a shattering of words, and little more.  Believe the wise professor.  Believe the goddess, too.

Believe the change people make, as they make it, not the words of what might be.  Believe what you see, here and now.  It speaks so well — in true promise — of what will be, there, and then.  Down the road.

Romance, Forbidden Wheels, And The Call of the Road.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 2, 2018 by michaelcogdill

I asked for the mini-bike very early.  Then I begged.  Finally, at around age ten, I prayed.

I never owned the mini-bike.  God said no to my prayer.   Answered my mother’s instead.

I’m sure she prayed I would grow tried, give up and move on from little boy motorcycles.  Perhaps she prayed for early puberty.  Maybe the scent of a girl would supplant a boy’s yearning for gas fumes, exhaust smoke and rubber laid hot on a forbidden road.

I hit puberty right on time, without a solitary war story of reckless early manhood on a 10–horsepower two-wheeled dream cycle.

You can tell I still want it.

To this day I long for gnats in my eyes, rash upon knees, and the inevitable broken arm.   Or worse.

Sure, my mother feared for my life.  She protected me from my pulse-thumping dream.  I scraped by — literally — on bicycles, skateboards and a ginned-up Radio Flyer wagon torn to scrap on the hills of Western North Carolina.   These called out the only daredevil Evil this Kenevil would know.

That’s wonderful, and just a little unfortunate.

I am grateful for the motherly protection, the unstoppable love of her.  But she   safeguarded me, too, from the romance of gyping the Reaper.   She might love me even a little bit more had she held her breath and let me throw a leg over that little cycle.  Had she let me risk my neck on a minibike, I might have come home more fully alive.

And so what has this to do with romance, grown-up hearts and what de la Barca would call the madness of being in love?

Only this.

Someone once told me — “We have to protect our relationship.”  It sounded true, so I took it to heart.  But now I know protecting a relationship is a bit like forbidding the minibike.  Or riding a motorcycle with a helmet on the handlebars.  It’s not likely to make it to anyone’s head if I lay the whole thing down.  It protects the thought of my head, not the life inside.  Sometimes a boy, or girl, just needs to ride to know how to share the love of the road with the love of a life.  They each balance to make the thing go.

Each must get fully on.

Somehow thinking of that minibike caused something to dawn on me.  We’re not to protect just our relationships with those we love.  We’re to protect one another.  Only then does the relationship grow road worthy and sound.  Safeguard the loved, and the love will thrive.  Set your loved ones free, dare risk it, and feel what’s true roll the whole business into the deepest union.

Thich Nhat Hanh said we ought to love others so those we love feel free.  When we do, do we not best take the road together?    Ride side by side?

The absence of my minibike is the presence of a lesson, most true.  Give the love of your life the throttle, the thrill of that black-top ribbon before her, and the tail wind to risk being exactly who she is.  Protect her only from regret of not knowing the freedom of the road.  Only then will you know the thrill of catching up to her, and her to you, over and again.  Only this will call the two of you to the good, long horizon.

Relationships don’t come with a helmet, nor thrive on fear of what might be.  They don’t happen by standing on the roadside, waiting to get picked up, again and again.  They thrive on motion of the mutual yet independent heart, a muscle that works in tandem, by the way.  One that can get broken like a little boy’s arm on a minibike.  But thus is part of the venture of being fully alive.

Alas, I won’t ever have my forbidden little bike, and I would look an extraordinary fool on it now.  But the lesson of its absence makes me wiser.  When each takes good and steady care of the other, not denying or depleting the other, the very journey together becomes such a fine destination.  One with the other — daring to ride.  On a thrilling way, yet already home.