Posted by: Jivani Lisa | September 20, 2022

Aging Well

Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, offers daily meditations via email. I’ve been receiving and reading them every day for something like twelve years. I used to always forward them to John, too – and he always enjoyed them. This week, the theme is “Ripening” as a metaphor for what’s supposed to happen to us as we age. I couldn’t help thinking of John as I read yesterday’s meditation. I witnessed him “ripening” and aging well during the years I knew him – beginning in 2009 – including the last two years when he needed 24-hour nursing care. I’m posting yesterday’s meditation here. You can access and subscribe to the Daily Meditations HERE.


Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of our physical life, but I simply don’t believe that’s all there is to it. What looks like falling can largely be experienced as falling upward and onward, into a broader and deeper world, where the soul finds its fullness, is finally connected to the whole, and lives inside the Big Picture.

It is not a loss but somehow a gain, not losing but actually winning. We probably have to have met at least one true elder to imagine this could be true. I’ve met enough radiant people to know that it is possible. They have come to their human fullness, often against all odds, usually by suffering personally or vicariously and empathetically. As Jesus describes such a person, “from their breasts flow fountains of living water” (John 7:38). They are models and goals for our humanity, much more than the celebrities and politicians whose actions we seem to care so much about today.

Remember, no one can keep us from the second half of our own lives except ourselves. Nothing can inhibit our second journey except our own lack of courage, patience, and imagination. Our second journey is all ours to walk or to avoid. My conviction is that some falling apart of the first journey is necessary for this to happen, so don’t waste too many moments lamenting poor parenting, lost jobs, failed relationships, physical challenges, economic poverty, or other tragedies. Pain is part of the deal. If we don’t walk into the second half of our own life, it is surely because we do not want it. Let’s desire, desire deeply, desire ourselves, desire God, desire everything good, true, and beautiful. All of the emptying out is for the sake of a Great Outpouring.

Posted by: Jivani Lisa | September 18, 2022

John’s Obituary

I’m sorry to announce that John died this past week. I’m sharing his obituary here. He is off soaring on blue sky thermals, I’m quite sure! His memorial service will feature some of his writing found on this blog, including this little gem:

Final Approach, by John Cabeen

“In the early days of aviation, airports were of necessity built in secluded areas. Cemeteries were already there. Then came automobile wrecking yards. Many airports have grave yards and wrecking yards nearby.

I was once shooting touch-and-goes with a student at Navy Chambers over the cemetery.  We were on base to final approach for Runway 28 when we felt an unexpected bump. “What was that?” the student asked. I nearly said out loud it was a soul making its way to heaven.”

Obituary:

John Edward Cabeen, 79, of Norfolk, Virginia, passed from this earth on September 12, 2022 after over two years of physical hardship and pain. John was born February 28, 1943, the first-born child of Neil and Edward Cabeen in Oklahoma. His family spent part of his youth in Texas, and John became a lifelong fan of the Dallas Cowboys. He was a United States Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War. He earned his master’s degree in English from Old Dominion University in Norfolk.

As a general aviation pilot, glider pilot, and flight instructor, John’s greatest passion in life was flying and teaching flying. In addition, he taught English at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Norfolk. He also loved weight-lifting and running marathons, including several successful completions of the Pikes Peak Marathon in Colorado. He enjoyed writing poetry, fiction, and non-fiction with his inimitable quirky style that could be both humorous and profound. John loved all types of music, but especially The Eagles, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, and Emmylou Harris. He was an active member of Second Presbyterian Church in Norfolk where he enjoyed volunteering his time for various outreach ministries. His favorite prayer was, “God, help me help others.”

John was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Catherine Ann Bradshaw, and his brother, Danny Arthur Cabeen.

John is survived by his niece, Tasha Bradshaw, and his dearest and closest friends: Teresa (Teresita) Cabeen, George Schmidt, and Jivani Lisa Drago-Bauer.

A memorial service will be held for John at Second Presbyterian Church, 7305 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA on Friday, September 23, 2022 at 1:00PM. According to his wishes, his body will be cremated, and his ashes will be scattered by small plane over the ocean. In lieu of flowers, please visit United Ostomy Associations of America at ostomy.org to make contributions in John’s memory.

Doing a pre-flight inspection, July 17, 2011
Posted by: Jivani Lisa | March 4, 2022

Update on John

Posting an update for our Soaring with God followers: Sadly, John fell and broke his shoulder over a year ago and ended up in the hospital for over six weeks with all sorts of complications. Professional medical staff and social workers helped determine that John had become too weak to care for himself. He entered a skilled nursing facility on January 1, 2021 and remains at that location. His eyesight has deteriorated to the point where he’s unable to read or write on his own. For quite a while, due to COVID-19 protocols, he was unable to have visitors at the facility. Since he’s also deaf, he hasn’t been communicating via telephone either, but over the past few months, he’s been able to have visitors. He does recognize visitors but he has a skewed sense of time. For example, when I visited him in November, he told me he was “turning 75 in a couple days.” In actuality, he just turned 79 last week. One major blessing is that he doesn’t seem to understand how much time has gone by. He seems to think he’ll be flying a Cessna again at some point — and of course, I don’t have the heart to tell him that’s not possible. I continue to hope that maybe a pilot-friend of his could at least take him up for a ride at some point. My guess is John misses flying most of all. He’d much rather be soaring high in the blue skies than tied down to this earth. Whenever I see hawks soaring over a warm road or gulls soaring over water, I think of John. Please keep him in prayer.

Posted by: John | August 21, 2018

Clouds

Clouds are fascinating entities. They come, they go, in all shapes and sizes. I wonder what it would be like to be a cloud. And what kind of cloud would I be?
Would I want to be a towering Cumulonimbus with an anvil top pointing where I’m going? I could rain and snow on everyone or strike with lightening if I wanted to. Or I could just be a cuddly, cute, little cumulus flitting about the blue sky like a white lamb.
I know if I got too low I’d be called fog. I could always dissipate and be gone.
If you saw me over the mountains as a Lenticular cloud, you’d think I was a flying saucer.
Or you might think of me as holy if I were a Corona.
I could be a low lying carpet if I were a Stratus cloud.
Although humans make Contrails, they are clouds, too.
I might just become a Rainbow and show you seven colors.

Posted by: Jivani Lisa | August 20, 2018

Surfacing

Her infant two
months old, she can’t bear
a fourth week of blue
pills: Prozac prescribed
by OB/GYN. So
she stands at kitchen
sink, stares out window
unseeing, with open pill
bottle at her right hand.

She fills
an old glass, cut
from Arby’s complete zodiac
set, this her Pisces glass
with two fancy blue fish
swimming in a circle, one
up and one down.
The downward moving
fish wins today. One pill
on the tongue, one sip
of water – and then
one pill, one sip, over
and over – such an easy
rhythm after all.

She knows she could
stop, but why? She’s dead
inside already, can’t cry.
Her stomach sits
heavy, full of water
and pills, but she must finish
the task once started.

At last, she holds empty
bottle once filled
with sixty pills. Who would
believe it? Not the ER
nurse, for sure, who swears
he heard sixteen pills.

After NG tube, cold activated
charcoal, a seizure,
unconsciousness,
she wakes in hospital
gown hours later
with urinary catheter
and wonders how
she’s alive. Her ears echo
with “Wake up!” said
somewhere, sometime
maybe in a dream.

Posted by: John | August 4, 2018

Where I Am

I’m comfortable with being where I am. I’ve always believed in Omnipotence, God if you will. My mind has to have a beginning and an end, but Omnipotence/God has neither. If I had any conception of Omnipotence, it wouldn’t be omnipotent after all. My only way to deal with Omnipotence, though, is through the figure of Jesus and my prayers.

This is where I am now that I’m 75. And I have no desire to push this concept on anyone else.

Posted by: John | August 3, 2018

Perry, the Parakeet

Perry awoke in his cage at the usual time. The cage still had the towel covering it, but Perry could hear birds chirping outside the house. He didn’t know whether he envied them their freedom or not. He did want a human being to remove the towel, open the cage door, and let him out for some exercise. He squawked: “Perry pretty boy, Perry pretty boy!” to let his owners know he’d awakened. He needed fresh water and needed the paper on the floor of his cage changed. He couldn’t decide whether he liked the phrase “Perry pretty boy” or not, but he repeated it often enough while offering seeds to the birds in his three mirrors.

Posted by: Jivani Lisa | August 2, 2018

Sounds of Terror

Toughest day I ever taught
an exercise class.

Nine. Eleven.
7am Hawaii time,
radio alarm clicks and blares
The World Trade Center has collapsed!

I spring from bed and check
TV where every channel shows
twin towers falling again.
And. Again.

Dim awareness:
Something else seems odd.

I gaze through 7th floor
window. Blue, blue skies empty
over Honolulu International Airport.
Now. Silent.
No jet noise. I wonder
Has this ever happened since
planes came to paradise?
I grab the phone, must know
if work wants me.

My gut clenches at the usual
greeting: It’s a great day
to work out….. Well,
Not. Today.
Come in and teach they say.

I travel near-empty streets, all
bases on lockdown. Find the gym
somber, the receptionist no longer
claiming it’s a great day. Seems the only
fitting action now is to pray.

My studio holds seven students instead
of seventeen. My heart and head seem
empty. I dread the coming pounding
aerobics music. I begin: Let’s have a moment
of silence.

Posted by: John | June 12, 2018

Moments

Moments are magic
Minutes are precise
Moments last forever
Minutes are now
Moments are in the mind
Minutes on a wrist watch
Moments are meaningful
Minutes soon pass
Moments are right brain
Minutes are left
Moments are memories
Minutes are forgotten

Posted by: John | May 8, 2018

Blind Date

Billy Reynolds sat at a corner table at Mojo’s, a quiet little out-of-the way-place, waiting on an internet blind date. Since he’d become more than a little bored in his marriage, he’d chosen a dating site based only on user names and basic info, but no photographs, like the old newspaper ads of his youth. He sat sipping his coffee and glancing at his watch every few minutes. After a brief check of his text messages, he looked up to see a young woman opening the door: Sally, his 20-year-old daughter. He laughed nervously at her shocked expression, then blurted out: “Perfect! You’re just the one to spend an afternoon strolling with me at the zoo.”

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