Light and Shadows


It is the time of day when the sun plays
its game of light and shadows.

Wind is only visible high on the palms.
I remain unseen as a few dog walkers
stroll past as I take an early dinner

and linger over hot tea. Reading about
Bonhoeffer is more profound than
anything I can see from my window or

read in the news. What he missed in the
Barcelona of 1928, I miss here and now,
but I have to let that go.

For it was in 1924 on Palm Sunday as he
sat in church in Rome that a question
formed in the back of his mind.

If he only knew that I have asked the
very same question for at least a decade
on my journey that remains unclear.

“What is the Church?”

Bonhoeffer’s voice still speaks. Oh that
he could have been my dinner companion
then as now!

It is the time of day when the sun plays
its game of light and shadows.

 

But Not Hope


It didn’t bother me that after my return
to hiking I was being passed by men,
women, children, beasts, and insects.

I hadn’t hiked this mountain trail since
summer last year. After I returned there
a few days in a row, it was clear my brain

got ahead of my body. I should have
listened to my body. I’m not really
disappointed. I’m exhausted. Over did it.

Things change.

Age has a way of doing that. Some changes
are harder than others but change we will.
How we respond to or handle the changes

are the real tests! Chronic illness has my
attention which is truly annoying and
has contributed to a great amount of loss.

What happens when you pray for healing
and healing doesn’t come? When you believe
God heals and it still doesn’t come?

Things change. Some things don’t change.

This doesn’t change who God is, what he
has done, the things he can do, or has
promised to do.

God doesn’t change.

To try to stay in faith when my body is
screaming, “Don’t believe, God isn’t true” is
my measured response to these things that

I can’t change but must accept and deal with
the best I can each day. I settled for an easier
walk around my neighborhood yesterday.

Things change.

Today much too much pain to walk either.
I would have preferred to write a romantic
haiku and not address the challenges of pain

and faith at all. What kind of writer would I
be if I only shared my heart on the good days?
You deserve the truth in any case.

Reality has no substitutes.

It is when we are at our worst that faith gives
us the best. God’s grace and blessings still
abound. Maybe not in ways I prayed for.

Things change. But not truth. But not hope.

Thus Far


It has been seven years since I moved to Arizona—seven difficult and challenging years. Please don’t misunderstand me, there have been many good things and blessings. But overall, very trying. But this year as it turns out has been the worst. With that in mind I’ll spare you the details of the many challenges that have come my way.

But thank God tomorrow is the new year. So, it is a time to both look back and look ahead. Let me share with you how I did that today.

I read this earlier today: Thus far the Lord has helped us. (1 Samuel 7:12)

The words “thus far” help me look back to the past. On my journey “thus far,” the Lord has brought me through so many things, I’m grateful to be alive another day. I thought back about twenty years in the Army, my tours in Vietnam and Thailand, getting robbed when I lived in NYC, to name a few.

And, that in His mercy and grace, He gave me the strength to do a last-minute plumbing repair job and a few other critical chores this afternoon. I don’t know about you, but plumbing wears me out—praise be to God that he didn’t make me a plumber (although I definitely thank God for them.)

So, the Lord has been the faithful “rear guard” of my past as He promised to Israel and to me: “For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12) The past is covered! (Dear Reader, if you are reading this, the Lord has been your rear guard whether you know it or not. I believe that is true!)

Now, my hope is that if the Lord God gives me (and you) life tomorrow, then we can continue to look forward. No matter what trials and tribulation come our way, we have this to look forward to as promised in our future (in Revelation 3:5):

He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] will accordingly be dressed in white clothing; and I will never blot out his name from the Book of Life, and I will confess and openly acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels [saying that he is one of Mine].

So, I can’t help but be grateful for what has past and excited about what is to come. I hope you share that excitement with me and with what the Apostle John heard and saw as he wrote in the book of Revelation. I leave this with you as we end this year and begin the next. Happy New Year to all and to all God’s Grace and Peace.

And I heard every created thing that is in heaven or on earth or under the earth [in Hades, the realm of the dead] or on the sea, and everything that is in them, saying [together],

“To Him who sits on the throne and
to the Lamb (Christ), be blessing
and honor and glory and dominion
forever and ever.”

(Revelation 5:13)

Not in Science


I didn’t show any interest until about an
hour or so before the event. My interest
increased when I walked outside.

The morning air was still. No birds. Not a
leaf on a tree shook. There was hushed
expectation from all of God’s creation.

Except for humans.

The experts explained the coming solar
eclipse as “cosmic coincidence.” Humanity
blew it off as simply happenstance.

What arrogance and irreverence! How odd
that the trees, birds, and animals knew
what humanity forgot. That the eclipse

echoes this truth, “Be still and know that I
am God. I will be exalted among the nations!
I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10)

As I stood outside with my homemade
projector box in hand waiting to take my
first look skyward, the stillness was eerie.

Unworldly, really. Made me think. What a
great day for Jesus to come (again)! Or, said
another way in Klingon, “What a great day to

die!” Think about it. Almost the whole world
was looking up at the Sun and Moon from
roughly 09:00 to 12:00 (Arizona time).

2017-08-21 09:41 eclipse box photo

As I snapped my first box photo, that line
from Nacho Libre was in my head, “I believe
in science.” Is that mankind’s mantra or a

death knell? For the birds if you ask me. The
birds were awed by the truth; people were
awed by the lie. I don’t believe in science.

The awe-inspiring eclipse and eerie stillness
that preceded it reinforced the hope that is
still to come: “For the Lord Himself will come

down from heaven with a shout of command,
with the voice of the archangel and with the
[blast of the] trumpet of God, and the dead in

Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and
remain [on the earth] will simultaneously be
caught up (raptured) together with them [the
resurrected ones] in the clouds to meet the

Lord in the air, and so we will always be with
the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage
one another with these words [concerning

our reunion with believers who have died].”
(1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 AMP) So, that is
my take on the total solar eclipse for 2017.

I doubt that many will be here for the next
one in 2024; not because we died; but
because we believed in the hope to come

and not in science.

Odds and Ends No. 42


I’ve concluded without deep thinking or any
intelligence applied, that my electronic
world doesn’t differ very much from my

real world. Better said, it occurred to me that
they are parallel worlds subject to the same
dysfunction of mine at any time. They are

not exempt from my stupid choices or those
choices that result from my dysfunction.
Having said that, my healthy choices can

also happen in either world. So we can both
keep our sanity as I write this and you read it,
I’m not going to discuss my fantasy worlds

here. That content would be better suited to
a secret poems collection (toying with the
idea). Recently I told you I went back to

Windows for whatever reason. I am happily
typing to you from openSUSE in Firefox
today because I figured it out. My long love

affair with Microsoft is rooted in my gray
side, not to be confused with my dark or
secret side. Gray is that place where my

dysfunction bleeds into my light, healthy,
and joyful side. My world of light still has
some gray, some dark, some of this, and

some of that because I’m not perfect, but
healing. I’m far less dysfunctional today
than I was years ago—one year ago or forty

years ago, etc. After I loaded Windows this
time, I detected a false sense of hope. There
was no going back. (Not enough space here

to try and explain it; but I knew a bunch of
old stuff was feeding this simple choice of
OS. It wasn’t based on anything healthy.)

The simple fact is that I can choose Linux
as my OS without the dysfunctional strings.
Dysfunction tries to destroy anything good.

Somehow, I led myself to believe that I had
to keep up a level of electronic chaos in my
life. Not so. The dysfunctional reason why
I was flipping back and forth from OS to OS

was based on old fears. When I walked into my
office at home, sat at my red desk, and turned
on my laptop, I was flying through a self-made

black-hole. I was living my version of Jumanji!
Okay, I’m not really nuts, just working through
my life, through the residual effects of abuse.

Dysfunction becomes part of survival; like
making believe dark is light and evil is good.
I’m doing better. EMDR has been and remains

a life saver for me! I’m happier and I make
better choices. But dysfunction is something
I always have to deal with, something I always

have to choose not to do so I don’t screw up my
life. Better choices bring better consequences.
Am I getting unclear or bogged down here?

Let me give you my short list of dysfunction
defined based on my own life experience
as a result of childhood sexual abuse and
lifelong abuse in many forms:

dysfunction chooses dysfunction
dysfunction loves dysfunction
dysfunction attracts dysfunction
dysfunction produces dysfunction
dysfunction believes dysfunction
dysfunction doesn’t believe dysfunction
dysfunction destroys dysfunction
dysfunction can never be satiated
dysfunction lies (to you and everyone you
come into contact with)
dysfunction kills (you and everyone you
come into contact with)

I’ve said this before: no one deserves abuse
in any shape or form. It wasn’t my fault.

That is enough on that for today. No use
making us both depressed. Without healing,
without changes, a life of dysfunction (alone

or in dysfunctional relationships or marriage)
would have us believe that the chaos we live
in, the Living Hell on earth we are drowning
in, is “normal” and as good as it gets.

Don’t believe it. Wrong! Lies!

The Lord Jesus promised us an abundant and
joyful life. Dysfunction doesn’t believe that.
An unhealthy life, e.g., one filled with abuse

and dysfunction, isn’t able to receive anything
good. If you’ve been abused, then you don’t
trust God or anyone; you don’t believe God or

anyone. You may say you do. But you don’t.
(Dysfunction lies, remember?)

Well, I don’t call these poems “Odds and Ends”
for nothing! How did I get here today? How do
I bring this to a close? I’m reminded that God

loved us before we loved Him. So, it makes
no sense to believe I have to wait until I’m
“perfect,” totally healed, or completely
without dysfunction to make good choices.

I was so excited about walking the other
day. I was planning on walking today, but I’m
in too much pain. Unable to do it. That is a

result of circumstances not dysfunction. So, a
downward spiral is not my choice. I resist the
dysfunction baiting me; I choose to continue

in my peace and joy for today. Life is good. I
think I’ll go check the mail, then finish
watching the movie I started the other day.

And have a lovely peaceful hot cup of tea.

Odds and Ends No. 37


I was thinking about what to write while
I was eating a Popsicle to freeze my throat.
I eat the flavor she doesn’t like. Grape.

Soothing. The temperature dropped thirty
degrees from last week to this. We’ve both
been sick. Most likely a virus with a cough.

She came home on Thursday with a horrible
cold and cough. I was already trying to get
rid of a cold no cough. Now I have a cough.

When you are married you share everything,
isn’t that true? We are getting to the end of
the big batch of soup I made over the

weekend. Using the biggest pot we have, I
started to sauté a bunch of celery, a few
onions while I chopped up five huge carrots.

When the veggies were cooked, I added five
boxes of chicken broth, then added the carrots
to the pot. While that was coming to a boil,

I opened a fresh pack of chicken breasts,
trimmed them well so she’d eat them, and cut
them into small pieces. Egg noodle water was

heating in the back; the big pot diagonal to
that one on the front, so they’d fit on the stove.
Now, what would fit on the front medium

burner for the chicken? Pans were too wide. Ah,
my wok will work. A touch of canola followed by
the sizzle of chicken. A few minutes later, into

the soup pot. I cleaned up the wok and put it
back in the oven where it belongs. When I do a
noodle soup, I cook and keep the egg noodles

separate from the soup. A few reasons. Firstly,
they won’t turn to mush and absorb all the soup
when it sits in the fridge for a few days. Secondly,

if you want a few noodles, take a few; if you want
more take more. Works better and tastes better.
I store the leftover noodles in a gallon plastic bag

in the fridge. Takes up less room; easy to get some
for the next day’s soup warm up. She wasn’t feeling
too hot today, so all she could handle was some of

the broth with a quarter cup of TVP. (Happy to make
it for her upon request; I might try TVP someday.
Not today.) When you are sick, everything you do

wears you out. If you could hear outside our house
right now, you’d be aware of an increase in day and
night training flights out of Luke AFB. They always

loop near our house. Chicken soup is all I can handle.
Flying a jet is not for me. I crewed aircraft for the Army
in Vietnam. That fulfilled any desire to fly or not to

fly on my part. Flying was the easy part; taking off was
the challenge. The planes were P2V-Neptunes and were
probably ten years old or so when I flew them in 1967.

Correction. I was crew. I worked equipment. Not a pilot
or crew chief. There for the dawn to dusk ride. It seemed
important at the time. The chicken soup seems more

important at the moment. The thought of bombing
another country with wave after wave of chicken soup
just came to mind. They’d appreciate it more. Diplomat,

I’m not. My soldier side is thinking many other things
better left unsaid. That is why Jesus loved humankind
but didn’t trust humankind; he knows what is in the

hearts and minds of Man (Meaning, and Woman). He
said there would be wars and rumors of wars not because
of him, but because he knows us. Without God, there is

a limit to what we can do for the good. Human nature
without God gets in the way. If you don’t believe that,
then it is highly probable what Jesus said is true and

something is getting in the way. Nothing like a good
hot bowl of chicken soup. It is good to continue to do
good, even so. Nothing like the truth to stir the pot.