Monday, May 30, 2011
Like most Americans I have been too emotionally isolated from our recent and current wars. Last night on a memorial day TV program I felt the pain of wounded warriors and saw their mangled bodies as clearly as I did when I stood beside them in Vietnam field hospitals and rode with them on medevac planes. But this is here and now. I heard their stories and those of their suffering families. I wept. In the night I woke up remembering that Jesus wept. He wept with a pain of love for masses of people He longed to take under his wing for protection, but they would not allow it. Last night, when I got to where I could talk, I said to Martha, "Its sad that we just don't learn." I felt the suffering of our American people, but realized my wave of compsssion was washing up on far distant shores. The masses of wounded people over there, friends and foe alike, are our family, too. Karen Armstrong, a currently popular student of all religions, is concluding that they all teach a form of the golden rule, compassion. We all weep, but we separate ourselves into little camps and are of no value to each other. How long, O Lord, how long?
Saturday, May 28, 2011
I am making the morning coffee and realizing I do much better when I wake up before I seize the day. If I don't become conscious first I will miss God wanting to be the first of many to tell me to "have a good day." The Bible tells me that God has prepared plenty of opportunities for a beautiful life, but like all of humanity, I tend to miss the point. According to a biblical image I take my position, raise my bow and let the arrow fly only to totally miss the mark. I'm not awake. Or are we all drunk on cheap wine. A centuries old story tells of a drunk walking aimlessly at four a.m. . A policeman stops him and asks, "Why are you out wandering the streets in the middle of the night?" "Sir, if I knew the answer to that question, I would have been home hours ago." And Rumi, the poet, wrestles with the meaning of soul (and the effects of the wine) says, "I didn't come here of my own accord, and I can't leave that way. Whoever brought me here will have to take me home."Without the wine, I know the feeling and need a refill on my coffee.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
WEDNESDAY, MAY 25, 2011
When I was a much younger man I told my personal growth group that my greatest need on the hierarchy of needs is to belong. The group made up of other Air Force officers voiced the same need to the extent that they discussed the feasibility of forming a commune. I told them to count me out. With a wife and six kids I already had one. Now decades later I realize that all God's creation already belong to each other.--not just my family or people who look like me or believe like me. Genesis tells the story of a God who made everything and then pronounced it all good. We don't need to belong. We do belong and just need to become conscious of that. Some of us are a little late in realizing the interconnectedness of all created things. For some time philosophers and now even many scientists have come to confirm this truth. We belong to each other. This realization makes the "hard sayings" of Jesus such as "Love your enemies" more reasonable (if only a little less difficult). By the grace of God (literally) I can do a better job of connecting with all sentient beings. Love ya.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I get as frustrated as the next guy with the bipartisan quick-sand our country is mired in. It has been called "identity politics" and that is where I begin to see it as a personal problem. At the ego level (as opposed to my soul level) I realize I will never be free to be my best self until I can stop siding with--or against--other ego-driven fellow citizens and leaders and getting my self-worth from them. I am considered by some to be an old man, but I will never get to be a "wise" old man if I depend on defeating the other side to get there. I choose instead to follow the love route rather than the angry, us-versus-them battle ground. Since God is the "steadfast love" and Jesus provides the "amazing grace" that overcomes the world, I will depend on that approach and trust that I will ultimately let go of my ego since love and ego cannot coexist. That feels so good and God always wins.
Saturday, May 7, 2011
When our offspring were were young adults we marveled at their energy, going to school, maintaining a home and most trying to keep up with little children. Fast Forward 2-3 generations and Martha and I still watch with astonishment at the tremendous energy they have for their demanding careers. Now to watch them in their game of life, we climb as high in the stands as our bodies let us and watch the game from a relatively safe distance. (They know where we are and can reach us if they want to.) It is clearly our second of half of life and they are getting close to that, too. Maybe for us it is overtime and we feel blessed to watch them play on. Years ago our teachers used to predict for us that the second half of life would be played by different rules. The playbook for the first half would be somewhat obsolete. The old wineskins, as Jesus said, are not sufficient for the new wine. So Martha and I are learning to live in the now and that is so exciting--like the grace of overtime. I'll drink to that!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
As I recover from my avalanche of affection (aka my 81st birthday), I am amazed again at the grace of God and the gifting of more years to travel on in this beautiful world. One gift from my kids was a simple paperweight. Encased in an artfully done glass frame were these words from Henry Miller: "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." How grateful I am that I did not die with my prostrate cancer in 1992. I have had many years since then to see things differently. What an exciting and rewarding journey that has been--and is. I discover my deeper "I", my soul, so slowly I need these extra "overtime" years and appreciate each one. In recent years my inner self has become a map*- which gives clues to God's will for this part of my journey. I'm glad I am not younger. Been there and done that. This adventure is more exciting.