Saturday, June 30, 2012


We are feeling helpless in our family as our son-in-law, John Park, is being taken away by cancer.
What can we do? What can we say?  How do we pray? Even as she lovingly helps him hour after hour, day after long day, our beautiful daughter, Darleen, feels it most intensely and constantly as she loses her husband. As we feel the helplessness that almost paralyzes us, I suppose the time is coming when we will realize the necessity of this horrible feeling. This apparently is what it takes to open up to the true help that is available in God's never failing love and receive God's healing.  As the old gospel song says, "Farther along we'll know all about it; farther along we'll understand why? "

Monday, June 25, 2012


Several weeks ago our son-in-law, John Park, experiencing a ravaging cancer on a rampage through his body asked his wife, Darleen, "What's the big deal about living a long life?"  From the medical standpoint John's prognosis says his life is about over, but from the more important spirtual perspective his life is eternal. Never-the-less, this is a great question for any of us to ponder. John's relaxed cowboy life style often hid this kind of depth. Even as he askd this question, he would follow it with a compassionate regret--a deep concern about leaving Darleen so soon. Even here John's strong faith in a God whose "love never fails" will give them hope, a hope firmly anchored in Christ that will facilitate its own healing. As one who has lived a long life, I too can join a much younger John in this question, "What is the big deal?" Way back in elementary school the rage was writing in autograph books that were passed around among our school friends for them to write us a note.  Among the silly things they wrote (long before Facebook) there often appeared a quote: "And when the one great scorer comes to write aginst your name, it matters not whether you won or lost, but how you played the game."--Grantland Rice. John still "plays the game" with classic sportsmanship and Christian truth.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Upon admission to Brooke Army Medical Center last week several admitting personnel commented that I looked too young to be 82.  I assured them I was not lying about my age and offered my I. D. card. Two days later after numerous interviews, tests, and measurements I was discharged believing I was just getting old and wearing out although no one told me that in so many words.  I realized again that neither how people see me nor how medical professionals evaluate me should affect my self image.  I can only know how I am doing by going inside and checking out my life energy, my soul. This spirit/heart check is reliable and trustworthy. When I do this and feel the peace of God, I know all is well.  Eventually, my body condition will not matter. After I take "the last flight out" (My brother-in-law Chuck's expression), I expect to look back on my old form and be glad to leave it behind. For now they tell me I only had a TIA (tiny stroke) and need physical therapy to deal with balance and equilibrium and continue my treatments for back pain management and  ankylosing spondylosis.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Gotta Be Me

My mother used to laugh and say I must have been the dumbest one or her five children because it took me the longest to get through school.  She may have been right. I went to seven schools after high school over a period of 27 years trying to learn how to serve God. I wanted to preach, teach, counsel, and write so I could help people live the way God surely wanted them to.  With all that effort I must have worn out my brain. I achieved what one doctor friend called "minimal cognitive impairment." Now I have trouble remembering words, thinking on my feet and speaking clearly. Now I have had to give up a lot of that doing and learn to be. This is my greatest challenge. Frank Sinatra crooned "I gotta be me" as if that was the easiest thing in the world. As the velveteen rabbit learned, to be real one has to know that he is loved by his owner and must be willing to be roughed up a bit. Trying to hop and jump like the "real" rabbits got him nowhere. He only learned to be real by crying a real tear.  Jumping through the hoops and filling squares does not make me real. Only by carrying my cross and going deep within my true self do I sometimes feel the reality I was created for.  And, surprise!! It is beginning to look like that will be where true spiritual energy, provided by the love of God, will have any influence on those I touch. By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit that may be far more spiritually powerful and influential than all that previous effort.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


TODAY I TURN 82! Already this week I have received from family and friends many beautiful messages, wishes, thoughts and prayers pointing to a very happy birthday.  These blessings enrich the decision I have already made that today will be happy and beyond happy to a joyful sense of being.
All I need to get this extra gift is a little space of peace and quiet. This helps me to know God at a deeper level of consciousness. Someone recently asked in print, "Name one truth that has helped you throughout your life?"  Easy. "God is love". That goes back almost 80 years ago when my mother taught it to me and showed it to me with her love.  At 82 that truth has become increasingly meaningful and helpful. The outside world makes a lot of noise and dissonance, but inside it is this truth that sets me free and makes me more than happy.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I don't feel good when I''m just against someone, something that exists or myself. My ego might feel good  feeling superior for a while, but I don't. I know better. The "no" life is no way to live.  Like the two-year-old baby stage, it has a freedom of expression, but lacks creative intelligence. It is rarely productive. It is the opposite of being co-creative with God. It is the opposite of love. It attracts the dark and depressing, reminding me of the early so-called stages of dying and death (denial and anger with only a distant hope of acceptance). It mires a congress of successful people in quick sand. Of course there are times and situations that require my "no" vote, but these must be prayerfully thought out decisions and not my primary or automatic response to life.  When my inner life is locked on negativity, I find myself separated from others, from my better self, and from God and all God provides for me in this world.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


When I find myself disillusioned I often notice I was operating under an illusion on the matter in the first place.  One cannot be disillusioned without first being "illusioned".  This kind of disillusionment is a frequent hazard for the reality-challenged, especially for those of us who are incurable optimists.  Our problem begins with believing something is true simply because we want it to be true. We imagine things are better than they are. The problem may be even worse for the pessimists, those who concentrate too much on the negatives. One definition of "worry" is "praying for things we don't want".  I still prefer the optimist mind set, but either way (optimism or  pessimism) is problematic if we bet too much on our guesswork. Better to just pray and wait on the truth to show up.  Don't push the river.  It flows by itself.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012


When asked recently to think seriously about my gifts, I thought first (and got stuck on) one word, LIFE.  Twenty years ago this month I thought my life was over with the onset of an aggressive cancer.  Since then I have come to appreciate my life more than ever before. More recently, I have realized the life I have and now am most grateful for, is far deeper than my visible, breathing, moving, sometimes painful  physical body. Today the life I most value is invisible, and sometimes difficult to get in touch with. It is my very being, my essence, my soul, my spirit, consciousness, energy, and awareness.  It is formless, limitless and eternal. It is a feeling more than something I can wrap my mind around.  When asked how I could share my gift with our church, I thought of the word, "Presence," more than just showing up although that is how it starts. To be there with God and fellow beings with full attention is not always easy to come by with my wandering mind.  Although the religion I grew up with and promoted for years encouraged "worshipping God in spirit and in truth," I sometimes get hung up on rituals and personalities.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


When things don't go as I planned or think they should (like pain and suffering), I first look to be sure it is not something I set up myself.  Then I look around to see if there is someone else who caused it. If I still don't understand why it happened, I may resort to blaming God. Sorry about that, God.  I learned to do that once upon a time when I truly believed you were in control of all things and could have prevented my unhappiness.  Upon further review (as the football officials say), I see that you are not that vindictive or dictatorial. The Gospels show me a God in Jesus who is quick to move in to suffer with us, lift us up and nurture us toward wholeness. A chaplain friend of  mine, working in the Pentagon when disaster struck there on that horrible September morning, was sometimes asked where was God when that happened. On the scene immediately, he said he saw God was right there in the rescuers, the rubble and the pain.  Talk about a first responder!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Birth to Death Journey

Last year, as you may have read, Martha and I concentrated on clearing out a lot of the clutter at our house.  We sill have a long way to go. As I get a long way down the journey of life (birth to death) I see that it is high time to apply this endeavor to even greater areas of life.  Perhaps to spirituality, health, knowledge, relationships and who knows what else.  The late Rev. Forrest Church wrote in "Life Lines, Holding On (and  Letting Go): "When cast into the depths, to survive we must first must let go of things that will not save us.  Then we must reach out for things that can."  Later while working with  terminal cancer, he wrote to his congregation this mantra:
     Love what you have.
     Do what you can.
     Be who you are.
People would sometimes say, "Do you really want cancer?"  He would reply, " to selectively eliminate
all pain from our lives may work for a brief a brief time, for a drunkard or drug addict, but be we cannot selectively wish away all that is wrong without including all that is right."  

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I have been wishing lots of people a "Happy New Year! "   I pray that they will allow God to bless them with well-being, peace and joy.  I really desire that for them and for myself. But Charlie Wonders if there is such a thing as a happy whole year.  After the noise of the fireworks, the dancing, kissing and screaming of New Year's Eve,  then what? Soon the confetti will be swept up and we will all return to the only way we can live--one day at a time, more accurately, one moment at a time.   The only happiness available is that which we experience here and now. The Bible says, "Look! Now is the accepted time." Our challenge is to accept it and live it fully. It also says, "Today is the day of salvation, healing and wholeness." All other time is wishful thinking, illusion. I am happy and at peace now. I cannot be happy and at peace for the next 365 days. I live fully while I can. And it feels good.