Sunday, November 26, 2006


And what about? I found that I was mutely seeking some happy medium between cowardice and bravado. It all started when it was clear to me that all the things I needed to accomplish seemed too difficult or too perilous. The next thought was a picture of self-fulfilling prophesies—fear leading to a sense of defeat before the fact. I then decided that actually there were many problems, hazardous and otherwise, safely overcome during my checkered past; quickly switching positions the attitude became one of fearlessness in the face of any difficulty or danger that might crop up.

The dilemma here was that I could immediately see either position as largely untenable over time, almost any time span--like the next ten minutes! Some vague point midway between the two extremes now only seemed to leave me open to both possibilities in unpredictable sequence. It was clear that if I had any nemesis in my life it was me! I could manage to set myself up for defeat just by striking an attitude.

Just then it occurred to me to ask where the Lord was in all of this. It is most probable that no one does worthwhile things entirely alone, but between the Lord and I anything is doable and surmountable. I finally realized my nemesis of self-defeat and self-damage need not dog my foot steps any longer, thank God.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Some viewpoints are probably shared by most of us: There is a tradition in the annals of human affairs to select our heroes by their popularity, some more deserved than others. Tradition also has it that there are “conquering” heroes, like the Alexander’s and other military figures of note, or “suffering” heroes such as Mahatma Gandhi, who won his non-violent stature after a world renowned hunger strike. Places in history, once established, are usually secure for all time; the degree of their adulation often depends upon the balance of Hawks and Doves amongst us. But there are the silent and “unsung” ones too.

Many know the other kind, those “quiet” ordinary folks, our firefighters and police-forces living work-a-day stints, and some of the returning wounded from wars in other lands, who go on to live ordinary lives, like my uncles managed to do after WWI. Many more such heroes followed the Second World War and the other wars still going on. They are men and women who saw their families struggle with hunger and want through the great depression, like my father who silently walked up and down behind our “Auto Camp” one night, pulling his own aching teeth. Who among us has not seen the elderly battle-scarred survivors of illness and injury wordlessly living night after dark night, feeling the harbingers of all the ailments known to medical science flowing over, around and through them, knowing one such probably has their name on it.

If there is any point here it is that if you know them, you might celebrate them; let them see that the parades, the confetti and the blaring music is also for them. Chances are, however, they will mostly deny everything and avoid their places on the podium of fame.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Some may not like the reasoning here, but journeys through life’s ups and downs, ins and outs, sorrows and joys, and adventures good or bad may take a lot of different modes of transport; call them instinctual drives, motivation, inspiration, threats or fears—planes, trains buses, cars, tanks or ox-carts. Who is doing the driving? At the risk of being merely pedantic, it would seem that the passenger usually just goes along for the ride.

So where is the thrill of being in control of ones fate, of blazing the trail, of first discovery, of losing and finding the way again? The latent “Wagon-train Scout” in most of us rebels at riding inside the Conestoga rig. The same question can be asked a little differently, however: What in us is doing the driving? Those gifted in the practice of honest introspection will often find emotion mostly to be the spur to our motion through life.

Wisdom may here seem like a kill-joy, but it says that when only “feelings” are in the driver’s seat the destination is most likely self defeat, damage or destruction. Emotions are very vital and important in our existence but must not be in charge of it. What is left to us then? The uncommon common sense, past experience and moral and spiritual values that God gave us to counter our rages, fears, and pleasure-bent impulses, and that is all—but that is quite enough. In short, we may enjoy all the best of life available to us—but not blindly.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Awestruck and bowled over by seeing my words posted last Sunday, I thought of words someone else had written on a similar subject—as my memory has it after many years. It seems there were some poor children living out in the farmlands of Chile who heard there was a special way to look at the morning star. The object was to “catch it”, so to speak, or at least its reflection, in the water; searching up in the sky had, as some of them knew, often only led to losing one’s balance in the dark.

The small band of children all arose in the early darkness and, shivering in the cold air, surrounded a muddy puddle left by the rain. And Lo! The bright morning star appeared in the water. The children were entranced and joining hands they danced and sang around its reflection. As they looked into the puddle they saw God looking back up at them and smiling.

I tend to believe the story, mostly because it was told, in the original Spanish, by the only women Poet Laureate in South America, Gabriela Mistral, who loved God and children, and loved the way the morning star shines in Southern skies.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Morning Star

For one thing, as I start to write it crosses my mind that I am sometimes not a morning person, but giving it more thought the association that seems to stick is “morning light”. Every day, or almost every day, it is the way the morning looks from my window that impresses as I press on with the rest of that day. Even given the seasonal changes it is clear that there are many variations in early morning light that may set the stage for life ongoing; one might be fairly heartened. For example, by a warm and bright cast to an otherwise wintry sky.

But that is not all of it, in whatever colors the dawn may cast its lights ahead I do know of an earlier light: the morning star—“And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises n your hearts.” (2 Peter, 1:19). The day that is to dawn goes well beyond your everyday expectations; evidently, however, it is important to be aware every morning, of what mere men spoke from the will of God “ they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”. We might pray the Holy Spirit to carry us along through each morning and day and night as well—every morning we awake.