Archive for July, 2016

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…


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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.”

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“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


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Why am I not shocked?

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…😬😐😳

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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.

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The wife and I journeyed together to the airport earlier today, but unlike so many journeys past, it was there we parted company with a kiss and mutual exhortations to take care, and hold something in reserve for the challenges that lie ahead.
As I pen these thoughts, offline, at around 38,000 feet somewhere over New Mexico, or Kansas, or somewhere ner-between, I recall an old album by a group called Rush, the collection of songs being called “Moving Pictures”.
I used to own a thrift shop copy of said album, until one day I gave it to a friend. I don’t know if he ever listened to the words I found so poignant:
Living in the limelight: the universal dream. For those who wish to see; those who wish to be…”.
Which brings me back to said car ride today with “Little Frau”. We talked about fears and fatigue, politics and relationships, and surprising turns in life both new and old.
At the mid century mark, I’m realizing all the more how life is indeed a set of “moving pictures”, and we seldom pause long enough to gaze deeply into the pixels that compose them, one and all.
I think Jesus paused, minute by minute, and day by day, to gaze into the pixels of those around him. I would do well to do the same.
I’m heading north this day to help my daughter, her husband, and their newly begun chapter of life to squeeze into a 16 foot truck heading toward places unknown. It seems only yesterday I was staring into her newly revealed pixels and wondering what adventures lie ahead. I did the same with the two who followed after her, as well.
Today, they are linguists and landscapers, musicians and modern abolitionists, world travelers and wily adventurers, and I’m blest to have snapped a moving picture or two, spiritually , ecumenically, and grammatically with them one and all.
Most importantly, they love the Lord, meine Frau, and each other. I trust they love me as much as I do them.
In closing, today, I want to share a dog eared passage from Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz” that I am reading again on this flight, yet another chapter in this life of “moving pictures”:
There is a lot. I will keep it short…Jesus said to feed the poor and to heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute me. I tend to lash out…Jesus did not mix His spirituality with politics…it got in the way of the central message of Christ….There’s a lot more, you know”.
So, I leave you in this moment with “take care, and hold something in reserve for the challenges that lie ahead”.
Or not. Just don’t miss the pixels that comprise both the forest, and the trees, all around you.

No English subtitles required…

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Radio ga ga

Its a quiet “morgen” in the breakfasthalle at the  gasthouse.

Quiet, except for the crooning of one Freddie Mercury over de radio:

Radio – radio

I’d sit alone and watch your light

My only friend through teenage nights

And everything I had to know

I heard it on my radio

You gave them all those old time stars

Through wars of worlds – invaded by Mars

You made ’em laugh – you made ’em cry

You made us feel like we could fly


Radio – radio

All we hear is radio ga ga

radio goo goo

radio ga ga

All we hear is radio ga ga

radio blah blah

Radio what’s new?

Radio, someone still loves you

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