Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
We want to walk where amazing thinkers have walked; to experience the sights , sounds smells, people that inspired the minds of the men and women who shaped our very existence. But what about where they are now. The so-called final resting places of these giants of society. Kings, queens, scientists, musicians, artists, great leaders and saints of the church. They lie entombed in a vast array of places, beneath the ground, in mausoleums, some even scattered to the wind in grey dust, the work of hungry flames. Many have been laid to rest in cemeteries across the world. So what is a cemetery, the place where we lay our heroes, leaders, and family. Some sort of morbid fancy, some bit of macabre mystery has shrouded these dwellings of the dead in deep darkness. Yet Luther writes that a cemetery ought to be “a fine quiet place, removed from all other localities, to which one can go and reverently meditate on death, the Last Judgement, the resurrection, and say one's prayers” (490). So Nancy and I decided to visit the site of this mystery ourselves to see whether fear or contemplation awaited us there.
Nancy and I walk among the cold, silent, peaceful stones. We are the only living flames, smoldering in a bed of ashes. Using the meager lights that our cell phones offer, we manage to read several of the brass inscriptions. Some read “beloved daughter” or “loving mother and wife” and again, “CPL Aco 5th Plt WWII” then again some are reduced to simply name and 8 numbers punctuated by a simple hyphen. It seems that the ground – the hallowed land where we inter our “beloved” dead , is indeed a sacred place. The stones placed so carefully and neatly in commemoration must, to some degree, be for the sake of the contemplation of the living. In the darkness of the warm summer night our backs to the cold stone wall of a small columbarium, Nancy spoke, “I tried to make some connection with that space – that hyphen. We live in that space.” Indeed we do live in that space, we have so little time in which to live, summed up in a short inscription on a stone. Those lying in the graves before us have been through so much collectively. The history, the glory, shame, mistakes and achievements are overwhelming. Some lived to the age of ninety some left the world behind after only a month of life. The realization that you are not alone but rather in some sort of town of the dead, inspires a feeling of smallness. The bodies that lay here beneath their names have heard so much. If ever I wished something could speak – if only these graves could open and allow the dead to speak and disseminate the vast amount of knowledge they must contain. How many stories would they tell of the epic battles that they fought in sustaining wounds from which they maybe never fully recovered; of love secret or emblazoned in their hearts; of tragedy, of joy, of families, children, traditions, travels; of peaceful evenings in a cafe in havana gazing at the moon over the sea towards Florida, or working finger to the bone to feed fatherless children in a mediocre American home, trying to capture a phantom dream for the next generation. There would be stories so many stories of joy and of sadness – just think of all the stories –
This is not a place of fear it is a place filled with memory a place for contemplation.
Don't they say that some people never grow up? I think I'm more afraid of never growing up, or rather never changing than of growing up. I am no Peter Pan. That doesn't mean I don't love the spirit that is contained in children, the wonder and the innocence; but thats just it. It's in Children. It is not becoming for an adult to pretend to be a child! We have to leave space to grow up and to change, its not as much fun as you would think to maintain one attitude towards life forever. It reminds me of the chronicles of Narnia. Yes I know i've quoted it before but you have to admit C.S. Lewis is a pretty prolific author. Peter is talking about his sister Susan who doesn't return to Narnia at the end of all things and he says, somewhat wistfully, “Her whole idea is to race on to the silliest time of one's life as quick as she can and then stop there as long as she can” Like I wrote in my last post, I want to grow old, I don't want to be stagnated and settle in one mindset forever no matter how good it was for that season. You can't pick a flower and preserve it alive forever, it will die eventually! There is a time for everything, laughing, crying, dancing and working. In the same way our lives involve seasons, what a shame it would be if the world always remained in one season and we never ran on the beach in the hot sun drinking coca cola diving in the cool water and soaking in the vitamin D through our warm skin, or watch a sunset over the the golden glow of multicolored leaves on the tall trees in a brisk Autumn breeze thats my favorite one (maybe with a pumpkin spice latte in hand). What if we never met the new year with flowers just creeping out of their icy beds and climbing up to meet the sun. A time filled with new life, bright colors, births and renewal going on everywhere. And finally what if we never got to see blankets of snow in the quiet woods and frozen lakes snuggling next to a warm fire cuddled with loved ones under a blanket maybe with a Christmas tree sparkling in the corner. (I know these are my americanized twenty-first century ideas of seasons but God does make beautiful things out of a combination of time and nature.) Seasons in nature are beautiful and I think that the ones in our lives should be no less appreciated. Don't try to stay young forever its no good, let yourself grow, change, and experience the proper seasons of life that God sets up.
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith "A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
I want you to know the poem.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I sit alone at the table and survey the room, taking in my surroundings in this barely familiar house. A small family occupies the room making preparations for the anticipated soirée. A cool breeze blows through the screen and empties my mind. A forgotten book lies beside my arm. I wonder at my coming here at all, but after all it is by invitation. Should I have come? The guests begin to arrive one by one in a gradual trickle, casually meeting and mingling, they are each and all well acquainted. I still sit alone although I am surrounded by a growing number of people. A woman, maybe two attempt a friendly conversation, my mind wanders and soon they do as well. Why am I here? They know me only as my fathers child. Its not enough. I know each face that enters the room and the voices that chime in are not an unknown cadence. I realize I could engage some of these people but I'm not sure I remember how, so I remain alone. The minutes pass and feel like hours. I feign interest in the conversation over dinner abstaining from the food myself. As I watch the people, longing to remember and strike up simple easy conversation, I cover my eyes with my hand. Unbidden tears spring into my tired eyes but upon noticing them I quickly shake them away and gaze out the window trying casually to regain my composure. My mind is stabbed with desire, but to act upon it is not within my power. Were I in a glass box cut off from food within sight of a feast my mind could not long for something more. My head throbs gently perhaps it the voices, there are so many people. As the evening progresses I continue to watch my surroundings. I wish I had never come. They don't want you here. Was that true? A thousand thoughts barrage my mind weakening its shield. The voices of the crowd are dulled by the ones in my head, though they are only those of my own imagining. The pressure, the throbbing is growing stronger. Suddenly the body next to me laughs and I realize I missed the joke, in fact I have missed most of what has been said. I press my forefingers against my temples as the pressure builds. I want nothing more than to leave but I can't tear away, I'm stranded. Again the tears well up to my eyes and I swallow the lump in my throat. How can they not notice the pressure, and the voices? They are growing and building upon each other. It must be loud enough now. They walk around me smiling, their now silent mouths chattering endlessly, maddeningly. I try desperately to recall the reason I came but its is shrouded as in a dense fog. I must endure this self inflicted torture but a short while longer. My head no longer endures the gentle throbbing, no, but it has changed to a deafening, roaring, pounding. Hammers on anvils make the armor of a thousand armies within my skull. The blood rushes forward pulsing, pounding against my forehead, looking for an escape. There is no longer any pretense I hold my head in my hands and make for the open door trying desperately to hold myself together and yet remain unseen. A foggy muddled voice whispers “goodbye” I force my mouth to open and respond although it is dry and I can't hear what comes out. I don't wait to see if I have been heard only knowing that I must make my escape. Tears now pour uninhibited down my face but I neither feel them nor care if they are seen, they are hidden by the hospitable darkness. The pounding has turned into screaming. I feel and hear nothing but the jumbled mass of voices in my head combining together to break the last nerve that keeps my mind from breaking. I cry out desperate for it to end before it is too late. Suddenly my world fades into blackness although I can hardly discern this night from the one I knew before, but this is different here I am alone. It is silent. There is no pounding only dark and silence. There are no voices only me. Alone.
Thursday, May 13, 2010
This is one of the first pictures that came up in Google when I searched "memories".
I am starting a memory project.
just writing down one or two memories a day from my life up until now.
The day I started I also started "Dandelion Wine" by Bradbury, it turns out he did something similar. that's where he got most of his material for his story.
I want to always be able to remember how our house always felt warm and how momma would make dinner before daddy came home so that the house would be filled with the smell of baking bread or enchiladas. and how daddy's coat smelled when he picked me up in my excitement to see him.
I never want to forget how it felt to try to break into the big boy's forts in the field or wear so many socks that you couldn't feel the pokers and then getting in a load of trouble for ruining them all; or "fishing" in the "pond" which was really just the low place on our road at the end of the driveway where rain water collected, but my big brothers said minnows came down in the rain so we had to try and catch them!
Or being scared that mom wasn't coming home and eating hot wings and reading "the Wind In the Willows" to Joel until she did. Or eating the green strawberries form the garden in the back yard, selling tomatoes on the street corner, climbing the huge cottonwood trees, even getting caught in a naked one durring a lightning storm and being retrieved by my brothers. lately my memory has felt like a strainer whose holes are getting bigger and letting more and more fall through so hopefully I can bring them back by just sitting down to do it intentionaly...
Friday, April 23, 2010
Is it wrong to love the world?
When I say world I do not mean it in the sense of fleshly temporal things but the physical world.
The world is God's creation.
Man is sentient and has reason, being made in the image of God and thus he is better than than the world.
However, as such it is our duty to care for the world.
Christ followers above all seem to be the ones to reject the care of the world.
One of my friends just today said that he could care less about the world.
It has become such a symbol of a view of the world which elevates it above man that we have become hostile to it.
I used to be right along with him, my friend, hating environmentalists and the earth right along with them.
But are we not commanded, primarily, to subdue the earth? To be its rulers?
shouldn't we be just then and careful rulers, caring wisely for the things which we have control over?
I am not an environmentalist but I will continue to care for the earth which God made and called good!
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
El cielo es azul, just don't go tellin' everyone
Fo so many men life seems hopeless, event after event without change It has been described as a rat race, a futile quest for earthly goods, money, love, things.
Those who go from day to day without object find themselves wondering...why?
For them it is hopeless.
But for me it cannot be so.
I have a living hope and a future in my God do I not?
Plato makes me wonder and Aristotle shakes my foundations.
Wiser minds than mine have taken on and wrestled these problems like their own personal Goliaths.
I am crushed beneath their weight.
To wonder and to never know seems to be the lot of fallen man.
But has God not given us salvation?
And the knowledge of "things into which angels long to look" (1 Pet 1:12)?
But questions assail me from every side which I cannot answer and with Job I feel as though, "He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; and he has uprooted my hope like a tree" (Job 19:10) that tree which once flourished beside living waters.
I am afraid and I have doubts, but I know that my God is mighty to save and knoweth all things.
If God is for us who can be against us?
whom shall I fear.