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Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

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She loves me, more than oregano. To what may I compare?

Yes, the lovely herbal companion we speak of is pictured here with my Little Frau. It looks like they enjoy a strong relationship. You know what they say: behind every good oregano plant is a great woman. Stated another way, behind every garden bare spot is a man with a runaway weedeater.

Frau has always had a mind for a green thumb, ever before the physical namesakes began to think twice about gripping a shovel. It times past, she would go to the nursery, lovingly pick a baby plant and place it in the garden with love, only to see a jealous husband lay waste to her little friend.

OK, maybe jealous is the wrong descriptor. Clueless may be the better term. Regardless (which, sadly, he was) the plant often found itself the victim of a premature end.

There is a scriptural reference that comes to mind here. Matthew 6:30-31: If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

Paraphrased, we might say: If that is how God clothes the oregano of the garden, which is here today and tomorrow is cut down by the husband, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?

But, time has passed. My eye for gardening has improved. I am no longer the hatchet man. In this autoimmune era, I am now the shovel man. I gently bury the tender roots of new plants the way Kevin Durant buries three point shots. (yes, I can blog and watch the Thunder build a double digit 4th quarter lead at the same time!).

Fortunately for me, Little Frau’s patience for the yard man grew stronger with time. Now, her oregano plants can do just the same.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? She loves me, more than oregano, and that’s just the seasoning we needed.

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What if these walls could talk…

Oh miss Elphaba, the things one hears these days. Dreadful things!
 I’ve heard of an ox a professor from Crox no longer permitted to teach who has lost all powers of speech.
And an owl in Munchkin loch a vicar with a thriving flock forbidden to preach how he only can screech.
Only rumours but still enough to get pause from anyone with paws something bad is happening is oz
Something bad happening in Oz
Under the surface, behind the scenes something bad…

…Nothing all that bad
 Nothing truly bad;… It couldn’t happen here in Oz…

The dialogue above is from the musical Wicked, and I could not help but recall these lyrics as I walked the streets of Vienna earlier today.

You see, the area in the city where our student facility is located is the former Jewish section of town.   The bronze memorial plates shown above are in the pavement on the sidewalk just a few feet from the front of our student’s building.  In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, an estimated 65,000 Jews were deported from Vienna to concentrations camps around Europe.   Only 2,000 survived.   Another 800 managed to hide out in the city and were spared from torture or death.   Our students visit a concentration camp site with the program each year, and it is always a sobering experience, but even moreso this year.   Not only will our students have stood in the actual rooms used as gas chambers, as I experienced over 20 years ago as a student, but they currently call home the same streets and even likely the same building as did many Jewish citizens of Austria.   What if you were taken from your home and separated from your family?

Moreso, what would you do if you were a non Jewish citizen of Vienna at the time?   What would you do if you were a non Jewish citizen of Dachau in Germany, or Mauthausen in Austria, or Auschwitz in Poland?   Some protested or helped, at great personal risk or cost, but many turned a blind eye.

As Bernhard reminded me on the plane the other night, it is easier to be a good man when times are good, but hard to not be a bad man when times are bad.   What would you have done?   What would I have done?    What should I be doing now to not promote, or ignore, things that just should not be?   We live in a time of increasing greed, jealousy, and intolerance for human beings.   Maybe it is just part of the cycle of life and society, and a continuation of the hatred spawned by Cain toward his brother Able and the confusion of different tongues spawned at the Tower of Babel.

Regardless, as I sit here tonight, in this building on Gruentorgasse, I can almost hear the ghosts of that time calling out.   It’s something we should not forget.   The residents of this neighborhood in Vienna are doing their best not to, as well.   There is a memorial under glass in the sidewalk about two blocks from this location, and it contains keys taken from residents and shop owners as they were arrested and deported, and the names of their former owners.    Each of these is a stark reminder of the power of hate, and the duty of love.

And may we never sit silent and assume that all is well, when…

Something bad happening in Oz
Under the surface, behind the scenes something bad…

…Nothing all that bad
 Nothing truly bad;… It couldn’t happen here in Oz…

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I cut myself shaving this morning.   It was a brand new blade, so I never actually felt the cut, but afterwards I could smell the blood.    They say that sharks can smell blood in the water from miles away and travel towards their prey.   It is a powerful aroma, indeed.

We are not big TV watchers in our home, but the wife and I love to watch NCIS.    There’s something about the Gibbs character, and the mystery plots, that draws us in despite sometimes weak and repetitive plots.   He sacrifices for his people.   He is always loyal.    And Gibbs has his “rules”, like “Never apologize; it’s a sign of weakness”.    I disagree.    Additionally, it seems that those people closest to Gibbs often end up dead.   Not a guy you necessarily want to hang around with, it would seem.

Disagreements can be mysterious things.    Anger can be a dangerous thing, as can be apologizing to others.    The “sharks” in your midst may smell blood in the water, but you have to venture out there regardless.    When I got in the car this morning, the old 80’s Asia tune “The Heat of the Moment” was playing on the car radio.     “It was the heat of the moment: telling me what your heart felt.   It was the heat of the moment.   It showed in your eyes.”

On this April 19 OKC Bombing Anniversary, we need to remember that bad blood, left to fester, can result in even worse decisions.    That is true in relationships, as well, no matter how small the issue may seem.

Someone of stronger character than the fictitious Gibbs has a few pointers for us, and his “blood and water moment” has saved us.

Luke 6:28-30  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.  If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.  Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back.

 So, never be afraid to apologize.     And more importantly, never be afraid to forgive.    It’s a sign of true strength, and you may need it to fight off the sharks.

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