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Memes, themes, and schemes


Welcome to 2016, where almost everyone has something loud to say.   Or, is it only something, but to say it loudly?   Parsed words, minced words, and hashtags seem the order of the day.

Truth be told, the shouting is likely only getting started in some camps.   This is an election year, and those who find political action committee television commercials repulsive need only look to “The Twitter” for a new measure of repulsive vitriol.

There have been disagreements among us dating back to the first fruits moments of life on this earth, whether between man and wife or quarreling brothers, where “Mano a Mano” took on a different kind of meaning.

But, to quote some of the lesser minds of our meme obsessed society, why can’t we all just learn to get along?


Don’t get me wrong: some people have good things to say online.   In fact, I know a dog who even has her own Instagram account, and she is a hashtag producing beast, no pun intended.   They say dogs are people too, but I digress.

In closing these thoughts today, I won’t produce any comparisons of people to candy, or politicians to baskets of other things, I will simply call on us all to think before we meme, or type, or speak.   We should do so before we listen, read, or judge, as well.   I stand convicted and will attempt to serve out my paroled sentence as one seeking to live a reformed existence.

I have a confession to make: I almost wore the same shirt to work today that I wore on Monday.

This near commitment of offense is understandable.  The shirt is a favorite, and it seemed hardly worn due to a healthy combination of starch and a gentle  environment experienced on Monday.  

More so, in my mind’s eye, Monday was an eternity ago.   Such is life.

I consider myself a climber.  If you look on my social media sites, in my closet, and in my garage, you will find supporting evidence to my climbing prowess in the form of pictures, stories, clothing, and gear.

Truth be told, I am a climbing novice.  I’ve only done this a couple of times a year dating back to 2012.  And yet, it feels as if I’ve done it forever.   

I’ve been up six different mountains.  I’ve been in sunshine, and I’ve endured my share of storms.  I’ve been to the summit, and I’ve been turned away before I reached the top.  I’ve had trips I treasure, and I’ve had trips cancel at the last moment.

Such is life.

I climbed, and summited, my first peak in 2012.   It was exhilarating.  It was addicting.  It was hard.

When I returned from said mountain, I found out my dad was ill.   I only climbed twice more before he died almost two years later.   I’ve only climbed three times since.

In my mind’s eye, that first climb was an eternity ago, and yet, the years since represent only a small percentage of my years.  Such is the vapor of this life.


I would suggest the compression I exert in my backpack, trying to squeeze in more things that carry less weight,  is much like the compression of moments we all experience in life.   

I try to squeeze in more.   The moments passed feel like days.   I consider myself experienced in the craft of life.  I’ve been in sunshine, and I’ve endured my share of storms. I’ve been to the summit, and I’ve been turned away before I reached the top. I’ve had memories I treasure, and I’ve had objectives cancel at the last moment.

Truth be told, I am still a novice in this climb of life.   And, I am eternally grateful that the LORD is on the trail with me all the way.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you— the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”‭‭Psalm‬ ‭121:1-8‬

Elongated shadows

I just walked passed a place, a threshold I’ve never crossed, and likely never will.   

I guess life has taught me to never say “never”, but you get the idea.

In scanning the horizon, and images the unmoving constellations just below its surface, and yet millions of miles away, I’m reminded of the man who first took me out to see the stars.  

I am also reminded of the one who made them all.

I plan to see them both someday in glory.  A created, and his Creator, when I cross that threshold on my own…

Serendipity?

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid. 

Life is often analyzed as the credits roll after an old movie.  Better late than never?

Epictetus was apparently not quite a contemporary of the apostle Paul, but possibly born in Rome near the time of Paul’s death.   Maybe that explains why I had to watch an old movie to be reminded who the guy was…

To Epictetus, all external events are beyond our control; we should accept whatever happens calmly and dispassionately. However, individuals are responsible for their own actions, which they can examine and control through rigorous self-discipline. (Wikipedia)

That alone is in our power, which is our own work; and in this class are our opinions, impulses, desires, and aversions. What, on the contrary, is not in our power, are our bodies, possessions, glory, and power. Any delusion on this point leads to the greatest errors, misfortunes, and troubles, and to the slavery of the soul.”


“Stop it world”.  A friend recently posted a link on Twitter, leading with his own heartfelt pleading.

I couldn’t agree more.   Little Frau and I, “antsy”, as she would say, went channel/DVR surfing last night and found the old Spielberg/Cruise flick of the above captioned title and watched it late into the night as storms rolled through our area.   While it was odd in presentation and in theory, the underlying messages rang loudly: Innocent till proven guilty, people can change, don’t assume, first impressions can be misleading, people can be manipulated…and we could go on and on.

The “Minority Report”, per se, was a dissenting opinion from any one of those who supposedly knew all that was to happen.

In this day of continued mistrust of “minorities” by majorities that are not truly major, we could all stand to hit the pause button and take another look at the images before us.


Then, and beyond, our trust should be in the one and only who truly does know the future outcomes to our story.


Our trust, and our following His words:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

‭‭John‬ ‭14:27‬

“I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:11-13‬

Amen.


I have been known to read a few “dry things” in my time.  The latest passages today have come from a real page turner titled “Basic Economics”.

Why are you not surprised?

Why am I not shocked?

Therein lies one of life’s great mysteries.

You see, what I don’t always read as thoroughly are those little booklets called “installation instructions”.    Does that shock you?   If I had read them better most recently, it might have shocked me.

And, it likely would not have, literally and figuratively.


You see, number one son and I recently installed an electrified fence.  

Our objective?   To contain a certain dog to a confined area.

Her response?  Why am I not shocked?  I think she mimed that to us as she ran across the street.

While working a few days later on adjusting said fence to achieve the desired results with said dog, I unplugged it and began to tap the iron pole more firmly into the ground.  Was I ever shocked, literally, and figuratively.   I’m clearly no electrician, but how an unplugged fence charger could deliver a  strong jolt was a new one to me.   And yet, the dog seemed unfazed.

Fast forward a few weeks.   Our high tech aerobic septic system pump suddenly stopped working.   After a few vain efforts to fix it, I called in a warranty repair, only to learn a certain metal fence post had been driven through the middle of the electric line supplying it with power.    

Was I shocked (to learn the real issue)?  No.  That had happened already.   Surprised?  Maybe a little.

Of course, the septic repair man had a few parting instructions, like  “you need to shock the tank”. 

Silly me: That’s how I thought the whole problem occurred to begin with…😬😐😳

It takes a village

I was preparing for a move with some “Millenial” buddies the other day when this seemingly random old guy showed up.   He offered a hand, and even a prayer, and it seemed the work went so much faster.  When he had to leave, there was one who came in behind to take his place, and in no time, we were done for the day.

By the way, my young friends are headed to a place called “The Village”.

Time passed.   So, too, did 600 or so odd miles.

As one of my aforementioned “Millenial buddies” and I were completing our unload before the expected heat of the next day, a call came in.   Could we offer a hand in helping some “Millenial buddies” with a move?   There’s a saying: “have truck, will travel”, so off we went.

Upon arriving, I felt I’d been transported in time, space, and alternate reality into the old 80’s era movie “St. Elmo’s Fire”.   You could smell the youthful exuberance of the place, figuratively, and maybe even a bit literally.

A Google search summarizes this old movie as follows:

“A group of recent college graduates embark on a series of misadventures in the real world… Together they grapple with adulthood.”

Which brings us back to reality.  Upon arriving at the set of the second “Millenial move” of the weekend, it suddenly dawned on me that I was the random “old guy” unexpectedly showing up to help.   I hope it made a difference.

By the way, my young friends were headed to a place called “The Village”

I referenced “St Elmo’s Fire” earlier, for I never really felt as “hip”, or as young, as the characters in the movie, or as the small crowd of aforementioned “Millenials” that I showed up to help move yesterday.  And yet, maybe at some time in history, My friends were (hip) and I was (young) after all.  Clearly, we needed some help, both literally and figuratively.

There’s an old saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”.   But, what about when the children have all grown up and moved from your village to The Village?

I recall my own literal series of (young man) misadventures in the real world, and having to grapple with adulthood.   I also recall a number of “old folks” who were around to lend a hand, a meal, a word, and what was needed at times to work through the moment.

What was once my village is now largely part of my great cloud of witnesses.   I pray I can be a meaningful part of the village that helps these new residents of The Village as they start new villages all their own.