Archive for June, 2021

June 9, 2021


by Rod Smith

“With him, life was routine: without him life was unbearable,” says preteen Jean Louise Finch or “Scout” in Harper Lee’s novel “To kill a Mockingbird.” Scout is describing her crush on Dill, a boy around her own age. Dill visits for summers and over several summers they form a beautiful, unusual friendship that is severely tested by unfolding events involving the Finch family.

I love Scout’s simple description of love and friendship. I share my life with several people with whom life is routine. There’s no performance required. There’s no list of unmet expectations. There’s no need to be on duty, to walk on proverbial egg-shells.

With such people I can just go about my business with them by my side, or not. Day-to-day routines gather meaning, gather greater meaning, because they are done for and often with someone who appreciates them no matter how routine the acts may be. “Friend,” I believe, is the greatest title we can offer another and the greatest role we can occupy for another. When we’re somebody’s friend we’re offering the highest privilege we can offer with our lives. May your life be filled with people with whom life is “routine.”

June 8, 2021

Acts of Love

by Rod Smith

I thought I knew what love looked like and then I saw a man’s daughters come home and, with their mother, nurse him back to health after COVID, commuting between their own families and their dad, helping him every step of the way. 

I thought I knew what love looked like and then I met a woman whose husband had, knowing he would precede his wife in death, prepared their home, doing all sorts of repairs and updates, so the house would be perfect for her for many years after his death. 

I thought I knew what community support looked like and understood it a little better when I found out that an entire town lined the streets to welcome a child back home after heart surgery. 

I thought I knew what love looked like and then I met a man who spent up to 12 hours a day nursing and feeding and caring for his wife who hadn’t recognized him for years. 

I thought I knew what love looked like and then I met siblings, one who needed a kidney and one who willingly gave so the other might live. 

What acts of great love have you seen? I’d love to know.

June 2, 2021

Painful lunch on Memorial Day

by Rod Smith

Monday was Memorial Day, a USA public holiday to recognize men and women who have lost their lives in any of many wars. There are small-town patriotic parades and, in our part of the world, it’s when the Indianapolis 500 is held.

Memorial weekend is a family weekend marking the onset of summer. Public swimming pools open for the first time in at least 6 months and there’s a general air of relaxed, patriotic celebration.

My sons and I did not have a good Memorial Day.  

To get the family together Nate (19) and I drove the hour into Indianapolis to take my other son (23) out for lunch.

I was already in a poor mood and when “the boys” began to somewhat playfully harass each other I lashed out.

Things rapidly deteriorated. Nate buried himself in his phone and shut us out. The older son went into rescue mode, trying hard to drag his family into a good time.

I immediately felt full of parent failure, and, after a period of retreating, went into verbal attack mode.

Things settled quickly once Nate and I got home. The older son has called several times.

He’s back to his old self,

I do wish I had handled myself better on Monday at lunch.

How was your weekend?

June 1, 2021

When is a relationship not a relationship?

by Rod Smith

When is a relationship not a relationship?

When it feels like a game of chess and you have to constantly think ahead to outsmart your opponent or be outsmarted.

When it’s conditional and the conditions include a list of who you may or may not phone, text, or meet.

When what you choose to wear becomes a source of friction.

When it involves dominance or control and your natural resistance to it results in conflict and your commitment and love is questioned.

When your whereabouts and activities are monitored and you are expected to account for the use of your time, money, and mileage.

When you have to lie about visiting your family or friends or have to deny your desire to spend time with others on the “outside” of the “relationship.”

When he or she just happens to show up – and your degree of joy and surprise is evaluated, but what is actually happening is your ability to be trusted is being assessed. 

When you have to anticipate your partner’s needs, read his or her mind, anticipate his or her moods, and respond in a manner that makes him or her happy or feel loved. 

When no matter how much you try to love, forgive, have fun, be serious, be carefree, be intimate, be unconditional in your love – it is NEVER enough.