Contemplating Loss & Gain

Our family suffered a loss this past week as my wife’s oldest sister passed away at the beginning of the week. I was not much in the mood for posting funny stuff this week, but I did learn just a bit about losses and gains in life.

Of course, our biggest loss was my sister-in-law. She had been in hospice care for months, so her passing was not unexpected. But I gained some perspective as to how much of an impact she had on people’s lives. She had lived in an assisted-living facility for the past 15 years due to numerous health conditions. I didn’t think she could have much of an influence on other’s lives, but I was so wrong. One of the other residents came to visit her while I was there. The resident told me how she much she will miss my sister-in-law and how she was her best friend. Everyone matters and has value. Sometimes we just need to take a closer look.

We also lost the wonderful fall weather we have enjoyed. It’s cold now. Winter is on the way. And if you are a reader of this blog, you know how I feel about winter. If you don’t follow this blog, here’s a link to a poem about winter.

So, what do I gain?

Writing time. That may be a good news/bad news situation for you, the reader. I may be subjecting you to a lot more posts. On the other hand, my head is bursting with short story ideas, so you may not see anything much more for a while until my next book of short stories is published. But I will be writing as the cold of winter covers us like a bad insurance policy. For my latest 2 mini-stories and a poem, click HERE. And for a whole book of hilarious short stories about the afterlife, click HERE.

We lost some local races in the election this past week. I count some of these people who lost as friends, and I feel so bad for them knowing how hard they worked and how eminently qualified they are. But we gained seats on our local county board, kicked ass in Illinois state races, and nationally, it was better than expected when it could have been much, much worse.

I’ve also been mourning the loss of my small business after 15 years in operation. No, it’s not closed yet, but decisions out of my control by a couple suppliers to my business may put it under or force me to radically change it. I’m not sure if I have it in me to rebuild it into a different business, but I guess time will tell.

I have thought about just substitute teaching, but what would I do in the summer? Well, I may have found the solution. I was at a career planning day with my youngest daughter, and we stopped at the local park district table to chat. Sure, we found a potential job for our daughter next summer, but more importantly, I may have gained a great summer job. This may be me come June.

Ahoy, matey! That’s right, despite my utter lack of boating experience, I want to be a riverboat captain next summer. It pays wells, but it was their answer to a question I asked that sealed the deal for me. The park district’s human resources manager was at the table at the career fair, so I asked the most logical question about the job that I could think of – As a captain of the boat, can I marry people while cruising the river? Yes! Now I already have that ability as an ordained minister, but I think it would be cooler to unite a couple in matrimony as a ship’s captain. And just look at that uniform with epaulets! I’ve never worn epaulets before! If I do get the job, can deciding to go rogue and piloting the boat into international waters to run high-stakes monkey knife fights be far behind?

There are some naysayers who may say, “Jim, you have no experience piloting 100 ton passenger vessels.” True, but how hard can that possibly be? What could possibly go wrong?


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