Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Rambling along.

I was just thinking about how fast life goes by. I remember being in a classroom at General Forrest Junior High in Gadsden, Alabama. Don't know why I remember that particular day. It was raining so hard outside that I could hear it. Maybe the windows were open. Forrest was the same building as the first Emma Sansom High so it had the big early 20th century look of an "institution." so hearing the rain the way I remember it was more than likely not the case. I was hearing it from an open window in a classroom. But, in my mind it seems like I hear it from the front door of the school. Funny how that works.

Looking out of my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you...BadFinger.

That song is playing as I look across the "new gym" at Forrest in the 70's. I remember because my sisters best friend is on the other side and I was thinking how cute she looked. We were pals in the old neighborhood of Walnut Park but right then she looked a little different to me than just being my sisters friend.

Now you're messing with .... a son of a bitch......Nazareth.

So, there I am in Altoona, Alabama after my mother's divorce and this isn't the big city of Gadsden anymore. :-) But, I'm with a friend and he's got some pot and he's pretty sure if I try it I will put the beer I'm drinking down and chill out. Just one toke...I wait to see if God is going to strike me blind or dead. Neither, wow. Anyway, it will take several years before I really start to wake up from this part of the journey.

I'm so dizzy my head is spinning / Like a whirlpool, it never ends / And it's you, girl, making it spin....Tommy Roe

1969 give or take. I'm in the lunchroom at Walnut Park Elementary. All the kids seem to be singing "Dizzy." WGAD is playing it everytime I turn on the radio. But, the big thing is I'm sitting here and "she' is actually talking to me. ....Ever hear Charlie Brown talk about the little red head girl on Peanuts? Well, this was the little blonde haired girl and she was awesome to this little brown haired boy. This was not going to happen again in this lifetime. But, I didn't know it  then so that was okay. :-)

So, why the trip down memory lane? I think it's just how people are when they think about how fast life goes by. Much has happened in my life. From jobs to watching my wife to be come down the aisle to the awesome, scary moment I hold my newborn son. Life has been a journey. It's gone fast. 

"Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? ...G-d

Lessons learned:

What have I learned in my over half a century journey on the earth? Well, I've learned that you can lie to people and people can lie to you. But, somewhere in my core at the center of my being there is no way or reason to lie. Maybe, that's the main thing. That God is honest and that before pure being I am honestly myself. 

I've also realized that life isn't a movie and other people are not just bit players in my movie. That I really do believe in treating people the way I would like to be treated. Of course most of the time I just treat em the way they treat me. Which isn't the same thing. :-)

 Do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?...Don Mclean

I realize as I look back how much my generation depended on music as a way of expressing ourselves. Even those of us with:

And those of us with ravaged faces
Lacking in the social graces
Desperately remained at home
Inventing lovers on the phone
Who called to say, "come dance with me"
And murmur vague obscenities
It isn't all it seems at seventeen...Janis Ian

Still, remember haunting the Record Bar in the Gadsden Mall for the latest 8 track.

One of these nights
One of these crazy old nights
We're gonna find out
Pretty mama
What turns on your lights
The full moon is calling
The fever is high
And the wicked wind whispers
And moans

You got your demons
You got desires
Well, I got a few of my own....Eagles

I played that one night all night long after buying it at the Record Bar. Some long forgotten teen angst had me driving around. But, I never forgot that album.

Still like that old time rock 'n' roll
That kind of music just soothes the soul ooh
I reminisce about the days of old
With that old time rock 'n' roll
Won't go to hear them play a tango
I'd rather hear some blues or funky old soul
There's only one sure way to get me to go
Start playing old time rock 'n' roll....Bob Seger

Maybe that was it. We bought my son a used piano to see if he will continue to play and enjoy it. I was plunking around "chording a little of the above song" when my wife walked in this evening. The fact that at least she could tell I was actually playing a song in the midst of my banging on the keyboard gave me a little encouragement. She couldn't  tell which song but at least she knew it was a song. :-)

Last thing I remember I was running for the door
I had to find the passage back to the place I was before
"Relax," said the night man, "We are programmed to receive
You can check out any time you like but you can never leave".....Eagles
Maybe life is a little like the "Hotel California" I really don't know. :-)
I was raised on country music. Give me a guitar and name a song by George or Conway or Merle and more than likely I can at least strum the tune and know most of the lyrics. But, country (except for Willie and Waylon and the boys) was my mothers music. I was a captive audience as a child. But, rock was mine. 
I wish you peace when times are hard
A light to guide you through the dark
And when storms are high and your, you dreams are low
I wish you the strength to let let grown on
I wish you the strength to let love flow on
I wish you the strength to let love glow on
I wish you the strength to let love go....Eagles


Saturday, April 4, 2015


John 11:39
Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh:

King James Version. No, I don't think it's the best or the most holy. But, sometimes it gets to the root of it. "He Stinketh." Whew, that's rough. I can remember as a younger person getting tickled at that one. Sorry, but it's true. At a certain age everything seems funny. Then you get really serious and everything is urgent. Then one day you notice the lines on your hands and the gray in your hair, little crows feet at the corner of the eyes and all of a sudden you start to laugh at life again. Why so serious? It Stinketh at times. :-) But, ya gotta laugh and then you gotta cry so you might as well laugh more and cry less while you can.

 One toke over the line sweet Jesus
One toke over the line
Sittin' downtown in a railway station
One toke over the line...Brewer and Shipley

Now, I've done some things that I wouldn't do again. Some, I'd do again but in moderation. :-) I'm not one to sugar coat it at this late date. My mother had a lot of sayings. One went something like this: "God knows everything about me so why should I care what you think?"

 Me and Jesus we got our own things going
Me and Jesus, we got it all worked out
Me and Jesus, we got our own things going
We don't need anybody to tell us what it's all about....Tom T. Hall

I have a life long relationship with the source of my being. I don't feel the need to be in the club these days. I struggle with dogma and I don't look for a guru to tell me how to live or what to think or who to love or how to be kind.

There's times when I trembled
When my mind remembered
The days that just crumbled away
With nothing to show
But these lines that I know
Are beginning to show in my face

Oh Lord if you hear me
Touch me and hold me
And keep me from blowing away ....Linda Ronstadt

Lots of days gone by. I thought the road would seem longer by the time I reached this age. Instead it seems like yesterday and I wonder who that little old man is when I look in the mirror. Still, I think it's an eternal journey so I expect my spirit is still intact somehow in all these journeys and travels.

And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars....William Butler Yeats.

Still, I think love is eternal. We are all "Pilgrim Souls." But, I think we are going at our own rate of speed and discovery. 

“God says, "Sure, take away the safety net. And when that's gone, take away the tight rope too.” ...Stephen King "Desperation"

Feels like it's a free fall at times. I think about how it must have been for Jesus. 
First the Sunday School version: Get thee behind me Satan for My father owns all of this. 
Pow, Biff, Pop. Holy Messiah Batman, that's telling him.

However, it could have been closer to this...
I'm going to make it through and keep my hope. 
"What?" " are you crazy?" :"What hope?" 

Now that's a strange thought. What hope. Why the hope that God will provide.."Really?" "Kind of like he provided for John?" "I hear a certain king had his head on a platter." "Anyway, what if there is no god?" "You can't be sure ya know." "You might be crazy." "Wouldn't be the first poor deluded idiot to die and go out into oblivion with the name of god on their lips now would you?"

Life, even for those with hope and faith is rarely the clean sanitized Sunday school version. Still, he did keep going, kept hoping and looked the fear of oblivion in the eye and walked straight ahead. 

Name it Claim it...God wants me to have riches and you too. A jet and a mansion? Well, that's because I'm faithful....T.V. Evangelist (many of them.)

"You don't know what you are asking," Jesus said to them. "Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We can," they answered...Matthew 20:22

Just be careful. I don't think the cup he's offering is quite the same cup the evangelist is talking about.
 My son is approaching 12 years old. I had him late in life and now I am 58 years old. I plan on writing a letter to him to be opened after I shuffle off this mortal coil. I think about what to put in the letter. I think the one thing I'd like to tell him is "It all counts." Everyday and everybody. Life isn't your own private movie and the people around you are not actors and stunt people or characters in a video game. So, treat people the way you would like to be treated. We are all manifestations of "I Am." I don't do religious dogma these days. I don't think God is so casual with the human soul as to "save" someone who happened to say the sinners prayer but to burn someone else for eternity for simply being a human. Trust. In the end that's all that you have. Trust that the love you feel and the love you have known isn't a myth. The universe isn't insane and at the center of your being you know this. 

 “Then came the march past the victims. The two men were no longer alive. Their tongues were hanging out,
swollen and bluish. But the third rope was still moving: the child, too light, was still breathing...
And so he remained for more than half an hour, lingering between life and death, writhing before our eyes.
And we were forced to look at him at close range. He was still alive when I passed him. His tongue was still
red, his eyes not yet extinguished.

Behind me, I heard the same man asking:
"For God's sake, where is God?"
And from within me, I heard a voice answer:
"Where He is? This is where--hanging here from this gallows..."

That night, the soup tasted of corpses.”
Elie Wiesel, Night
Here he is. Not way up in the sky being so pissy that he can't bear to look at you. No, that's the thing. He hangs on a cross. He suffers in the hold of a slave ship. She feels the sting of abuse and hopelessness. 
My grandparents on my mothers side were a product in many ways of the Great Depression. My grandmother would put water in a ketchup bottle and shake it before she would throw it away as empty. She was Southern of (as she told me once) Shanty Irish. My granddaddy was Dutch and Cherokee. She was religious and he was a hard drinking coal miner in the Etowah, Blount County area of North Alabama. They had a tough life in many ways. But, here's the thing:
I went to the graveyard in Altoona, Alabama some years ago. I stood there looking at the graves. As I stood there a single wonderful sentence came through my mind. "Happy Easter!" 
It didn't end at the grave yard or at cancers door. It didn't lead to oblivion. It led to Easter. It led to life.
 "And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."...The Beatles

“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”...Saint Teresa of Avila

I get more holistic the older I get. I find more connections and less separation of people and creatures and nature. I think in many ways I am a little less afraid than I used to be. Not to say I'm fearless. But, I am headed for Easter Morning when this part of the journey is complete. 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

My little sins!

I use this blog for my own meditation and even as a form of prayer as much as I use it to say "Hey, look what I think." I do that too but I also use it as I said to talk to the source of my being and contemplate my place in the grand plan of "being." With that said I have been thinking of the things that make me feel farther from God.

Now, one thing I have learned in this life (imo) that means in my opinion for all you old folks. :-)  Is that God is not far away in another realm looking at me from the outside. Still, I'm Christian. I was born and raised in the bible belt. So, as much  as I yell "Progressive or Liberal" Christian (which I consider myself to be) my roots are still very much with the Father, God personal Savior form of the faith. I might not "believe" all the dogma anymore. But, I might move to Maine and drop my southern accent. But, I still am southern to the core. It would come out at times when, I least expected it to come out. :-) My Church of God, Southern Baptist, Vinyard Christian Fellowship roots (Told ya I got a good dose of the faith through my years) comes out at various times in my day to day experience.

So, I think a good bit about sin. What it is and what it isn't. I hear people who profess the love of Christ talking about a "justified" killing of another human. Calling people who disagree with them snarky names and making cutting remarks. Mainly, on facebook pagers where they are preaching to the choir and can remain smug. In the church where they can get an "Amen" or in a political gathering of like minded people. Only watching Fox News and demonizing other networks as demonic.

On the other hand I hear people who are "progressive" or agnostic calling people of faith idiots and un-scientific. Talking about flying spaghetti monsters and sky elves. Calling people who honestly don't agree with a political view a racist or a inbred hick. Trying to censor Fox News while yelling that conservatives are killing MSNBC.

Still I digress. When do I not? :-)

I think a lot about my life these days. Getting older and discovering that I can't take off running across a field or throw a ball or make the ole jump shot. It's frustrating at times. I  remember an article a long time ago in my home town paper. Somebody had written about God and they called it "The Wild God." I think alot about the wild God. I think about what that means. I think it means that we are really not able to place the maker of all being or the source of all being in a box.

Now, I'm not a bible scholar. But, if I remember correctly there were certain Jewish beliefs about not even spelling the name of "God." I think one of the reasons is that a creature in a universe can't really absolutely know "pure being" which is outside the universe.

It's one reason that orthodox Jews and others have a hard time with the incarnation as described by Rome. (yes chillun, even you who are the chosen few evangelicals are influenced by Rome) To even think that the Almighty could be contained he, who is the very source of being and not a creature in a human house of clay was and is blasphemy to them. It's hard because of the law and even because of logic for them to accept such a concept.

I have come to know the source of my being as outside the universe also. After all even Paul and early Christians and mystics say that "God" is unknowable or that the ways of God or the being of God can only be seen through a glass darkly.

Now, where I am in agreement with the Christian faith of my upbringing is this. I truly believe that "Source or God" Pure consciousness, "Love" does incarnate and is incarnate in the person and being of Jesus Christ. That no greater love can be shown than to actually participate in the dance of what we call physical life by "One" who is not bound to what we call physical life.

Now, where I am heretical is that I also believe that I am an incarnation also of my source. No, I'm not God or god :-) But, the very essence of my being is within the very essence of all being. Anyway, it's hard to put into words.

Now, my little sins. I'm not really going to "list" my little sins here. I would be totally embarrassed to put my whole being before my fellow travelers the way it is open before God. A wise woman once told me "Steve, don't tell anybody but God everything." :-)

So, this is my offering today. My source sees me and knows those things in me that "smack" the very concept of being spiritually mature or awake in the face.

So, this is just a self indulgent, boring post that I am putting down right now because I don't have "time" this morning or opportunity to draw away by myself and meditate or pray or do other spiritual stuff. :-)

I offer this to my source and my journey. I hope to one day be where the worries and the doubts and the losses of this world are put in perspective. Where the terror of not knowing if everything is really "alright" will finally be swallowed up in love. But, right now I am still on the journey. I think if I can get up this hill there is a little bit of straight road ahead. Until the next hill. :-)

 Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah:

 I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Thursday, February 19, 2015


I turn 58 next month. I still look in the mirror for the long haired bright eyed youth and I still see him in there somewhere. At least I feel him when I look out from this side of my face.  I was browsing facebook today during a quick lunch. I came across an article about Oliver Sacks. The Neurologist who if I remember correctly the Robin Williams movie was based on Dr. Sacks. Anyway, he is into his eighties and has been diagnosed with cancer and is in the last days of his life. Truly, we are all in the last days of our lives but until an authority such as a medical doctor tells us we are able to live the illusion of endless days ahead. 

He wrote a short blurb and I thought “Oh, boy” here comes the humanist bull crap about it not mattering that we go into oblivion that we will live on in memory. Thankfully, I was wrong about that. Instead he wrote of the wonder of walking this planet and the privilege of being a human on this world. He talked of how he is tuning out the political stuff. Not, because he doesn’t care. But, because he is maximizing his days and not worrying about that stuff that is beyond his control and soon beyond his concern. He also talked about his confidence in the coming generation present and future. About his generation and how when they are gone (as  with all of us) there is nobody else exactly like them and they can’t be replaced. 

I think about my own life. I’ve just had a little bit of an edgy day at work. I look in the mirror and see this older man looking back at me. I  think about some of my own peers that have gone on so soon and I realize this goes so very fast. 

Those of us with faith always feel especially, when we are young. That we will have confidence and an easy transition when it comes. But, the truth is we are whistling past the graveyard. I have seen people who  are so quick to judge others. Quote the bible and call down the wrath of god on sinners. Praise god and they know they will be in heaven as soon as they die. But, once the pain or the growth or he diagnosis is in they are (as would and more than likely I will be unless I go so quickly I’m not aware of it.) Anyway, once the diagnosis is in they are scared to death. No, glory I’m going home. No, wow I’m about to get my reward. Instead they face and we all face the same questions. What does it all mean? Does it mean anything? 

I notice when people die it doesn’t matter how old they are. Even if they have been in a nursing home for years and have had loneliness and pain. The first response is I’m so sorry. How horrible. We are not comfortable with death. We are not comfortable or sure of who and what we are. So, we distract ourselves with sports and politics and even religion. 

I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.

The above quote is from Paul in 2 Corinthians . 

Now, I know a man. Surely in the body but also at times in dreams and meditations seeming to find something more. This man believe in a personal source of all being. This man honors the reality of love taking on flesh. Not to save from tribulation but to endure it alongside those who are loved. Which is everyone. To sit beside you and me in the burning building. Not to be superman and carry you out. That is heroic and might or might not be love.

 But, to be willing to experience the situation personally when no physical or emotional rescue is possible. Not run out and save oneself or to say I’m sorry for you. But to stay with you, even to experience the same fate. That’s love. 

Still, the religion of this man I know. It didn’t hold out much when life experience reared and the years went by. The platitudes of the preachers and the certainty of the chosen when the storms and questions arose. Still there was and is this relationship. 

Thing is this relationship had become broken and worn. 

But, as the years went by it started to strengthen in the broken places. All of a sudden it was strong enough to say “I don’t know.” “I’m not sure.” “I’m afraid.”  Even, strong enough to say “I don’t believe that anymore.” 

So, what will I say if I have a diagnosis and have to accept death before I should? Which in my mind is never. I don’t know. I know what I have come to experience and I have my way of looking at life. I have confidence that the universe is sane and meaningful for each of us. The needs of the many Do Not outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. That’s the great thing. 

I looked into some Buddhist writings during my journey through the planet. I found some wonderful meditation and letting go of attachments. But, I also found a certain bleakness that I just couldn’t and wouldn’t come to accept. So, I respect the part that I found helpful and kept my own mind on the part that I found unhelpful. 

So, what about the faith of my youth. Christianity. Well, as I said before. For me the part that makes sense to me isn’t the dogma and the insistence of some to apply a little understood scripture as a measuring stick to politics and other people’s sexuality. I think that is a misuse. Still, everybody has to be honest with their own spirit.

 The part that I hold onto is the part where love becomes like me. Stays with me in the burning building and leads me at last across that river. 

Finally, I knew a man in the body or out of the body it was still and is still one thing. This man stood in a dream on the banks of a very cold and narrow running river. Looking across this man knew he had to go through the river to get to the other side. “I’m afraid” he said to one there both beside him and on the other side. Such is nature of dreams and unlimited mind. “I’ll die.” You have to go in. I’m here. “But, I’ll die.” Go in. Go across.
It was so cold. So intensely cold. The body was dying, it was freezing. It was wonderful!


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Why Then oh why can't I?

Colorado Springs, Colorado 2002. Behavioral Health Facility working in social services. I open my mouth to say something and the "Bama" or southern accent comes out. A nurse, highly educated and well spoken says: "I hate Racist." Why you might ask? Why would she say that? Hollywood and books and talk shows fault? Hear a white southerner talk and you automatically think racist? I don't know. Maybe.

But, I'm telling you that I'm from Alabama and I'm not racist. Most of us are not racist. Honest!

2014: Talk radio: Paul Finebaum Show: Next caller is Tammy from Alabama: Pawllll, them bammers is lying bout Awbarn Pawlllll. Also, them damn yankees at the New York Times Pawlllll. They hate uz and Pawllllllll.

But, honestly most people from Alabama don't judge you on a football team. Great people from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Auburn, Alabama and all points in between. Honest.

1960's: University of Alabama: "School House Door." I don't even have to tell ya do I?

But, honestly, I promise. Most of us realize that there is only one race. The human race. I promise we are ready to join civilization.

2002: Colorado Springs, Colorado: Coffee shop. Overhear two ladies talking. "I'm telling you I went through Alabama. The things I heard about race and politics was scary.

But, honest. We are not all like that. I promise.

Present Day: The United States of America will not make a law that promotes religion or makes anybody subject to another person's religious views. All people will be treated equal and what two consenting adults do is their own business.

Judge Roy: We are Gawd's country. Now them Muslims and Buddhist and all them others they don't have rights. Why, I will fine any of my judges that issue a license to homo's.

But, honestly, we are not all.....Ah hell, I give up!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What, me worry?

I was looking through facebook the other day. A post came up. You know the kind. Click here if you love God or Country or like if you hate racism. This one wasn't that though. This one said "Click here to see what you will look like in twenty years. Twenty Years? I'm fifty seven years old. Do ya think I really have an urge to "advance" to see how I'll look? ;-)

Assuming of course that God gives me twenty years of health and hope and life. I once read where Stephen King said something along the lines of "After 60 years the expiration date is void." So, is it all gravy from there? I don't know. I do know there are some things I would still like to do. But, I was talking with my mother on the phone. She had me as a teenager (her, not me) I was born at a very young age. :-) Someone once said "What sign were you born under?" I said I wasn't born under a sign. My mother was a decent woman. I was born in a hospital. Ba dump bump.

Anyway, my mother asked me what it was that I "know" not what I believe. So, that got me to thinking. At almost fifty eight years old what is it that I know from my journey so far?

Honesty! That's the only think I really know after fifty seven years on the planet so far. No, not the honesty of admitting to the police officer that I was going over the speed limit. Not, admitting to my wife that I really did eat a blueberry scone this morning after saying I would cut down on eating out or on sweets. No, not the little everyday lies and fibs that we tell ourselves and others to get through the day without hurt feelings. Those are fine and God Bess you for it if you are totally honest. But, that's not what I mean.

I'm talking about honesty with the source of my being. God, if you will. Now, that might sound silly or you might even say "Of course you are honest with God and yourself." But, you would be wrong. I spent a great deal of my life trying to "be a good Christian." that meant reciting the creeds and dogma and trying to be good enough. It wasn't honest and I wasn't fooling myself or my source.

So, that's what I've learned. To be honest with myself and therefore with God about my life and feelings and battles. Not to sugarcoat it. Not to claim "The bible says it and I believe it." Now, some do and that's fine. But, that never worked for me.

Thomas is my hero. Not Peter and his guilty "Oh crap I screwed up." But, Thomas and his "Ya know, I would love to just take this on faith. But, I need a little experience. A little gritty real life example." I'm fighting here ya know. I'm clinging to my self respect and self identity and I need a little more than somebody simply spouting their credentials at me.

"She was bred in Old Kentucky...but she's just a crumb up here." ....Curly Howard.

I just threw that last Three Stooges quote in there for fun. :-)

True Story:

American South (Bama) 12 or 13 year old kid in the early seventies. Raised in the "Bible Belt" and really pretty sure I was going to go to hell. I mean, I felt funny in my body when I saw Raquel Welch in that movie. That has to be a sin because the preacher said I shouldn't have thoughts about the opposite sex. I also had fought with my sister and stole some quarters out of my mothers purse to go to the store. But, mainly I had a few cuss words in my head and if Jesus knew everything I was in trouble.

I learned one cuss word in the first grade that would be a little more prevalent in the years to come. My friend at Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Alabama runs up to me and whispers "My momma and daddy got mad at me last night." Really? I said. Why? "Well, I said something I had heard my older brother say." He then leans in and whispers the "F" word in my ear. We laugh and then I say "What does it mean?" Remember first grade in the sixties wasn't like any grade you can think of in the new millennium. :-) He said "I don't know, but they sure got mad." :-)

So, I was pretty sure at the old age of 12 or 13 years old that I was in trouble. I was in church at Cherry Street Baptist in Attalla, Alabama. The preacher was saying that "all sin will be forgiven." Whew, I might get out of that Raquel Welch thing after all. :-) Except  the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.!

Now, that got me worried. I didn't know what the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was but I was pretty sure I might do it. Not on purpose! Lord No! :-0  But, what if I had some kind of horrible thought that I couldn't control? What if a cuss word came into my brain right now? OH, yeah. It's the "Don't think of a Pink Elephant syndrome. What did you just think of? ;-)

The story gets a little darker and then a lot lighter as time goes on.

So, I'm out in my backyard and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be burning in flames for eternity or at the least cut off in my youth from the angry god of the religious. He has an awful temper ya know. I mean some poor smuck just touched the Ark and was torched on the spot. What chance did I have?

But, I did one thing that I still do. With all the stories of abuse of religion that you hear these days I came away with a precious gift from my religion. "I Prayed." Yep, I just talked right to the source. I admitted my thoughts since after all "God could read minds." Right? Well, this (and remember this memory is now at least 43 or 44 years old. ) So, I'm not trying to be precise. But, this is what I heard and have heard go through my mind.

I'm not a mind reader. Not a physic. I don't see you from the outside in. I don't guess at who and what you are. I know you. I know you from the inside out. You belong to me.

Now, this was not an audible voice so I'm not claiming a Moses on the mount moment here. ;-) This went through my head. My mind.

Then I saw a room in my minds eye. I was on a couch and I saw a door. I then had this thought. "The next time they come" (These were the thoughts that were troubling me.) Just relax. They are talking about me and I will answer the door. I did and he did and I have been sane (relatively speaking) :-) all of these years.

So, trust and honesty are the things that get me through. That's what I've learned. I have lost most of the dogma of my religion through the years. I have some thoughts and opinions that some would call heretical and others would call fairy tails. (but remember he's pretty good with my thoughts.) :-)

So, even though I'm not completely sure of every step and I fight my anxious mind and have to often will myself not to worry. I do have honesty with the source of my being. I trust that this is a (to quote a wise woman I once knew) Journey Securely Bound.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

God, me and a new years chat.

 They took the whole Cherokee Nation
Put us on this reservation
Took away our ways of life...John Loudermilk (Paul Revere and the Raiders)

 I have always talked with you or at least since my late teens and young adulthood on New Years Eve. I think I started in my early twenties going out and just walking with you. It's been hard in recent times to make the annual excursion into the woods. I still remember going to Noccalula Falls in Gadsden, Alabama (city of my birth) and walking around Black Creek and praying and meditating. I had felt like as a young teenager that I was "displaced by divorce" and Noccalula Falls was my way of going back home and reconnecting.

 I have even been able to bring in the New Year in Hawaii on the North Shore so it's always been a special time for me to think about life and try to get perspective. Some years are easier than others to get in the mood and to take stock of life. 

This New Years eve I haven't been able to really gather and make that one big "just me and God hangin out" thing happen. I got up early and went to my favorite coffee shop. I had coffee, breakfast and then was pulling into a local park to walk along the hiking trail and had to hit my brakes. The park was closed and the entrance blocked by a metal gate. Oh well, no problem I would just meditate in my own back yard. My wife went to the store and my son was safely in front of a video game so out back I went.

Just couldn't get into it. It was cold and wet and I just couldn't seem to concentrate. So, I decided to wait and put in my ear buds and do a quiet meditation tonight. So, I quietly go into the bedroom and pull up a little meditation program on youtube ( Ain't technology grand?) My plan was to relax my mind and then to be able to talk to God in the quiet and maybe work on the grand scheme of life. I got to the part where the narrator said "Close your eyes."

I woke up after an hour or so and put on my glasses and announced to Cindy that I had fallen asleep. To which she seemed not surprised at all. :-0

I'm not much on religion these days. You outgrew the box I had comfortably placed you in a long time ago.

Is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?....Pink Floyd

But, you just didn't seem to be ready to perform on cue. I looked to authority, the people who could tell me what I needed to know to get you back in the box. After all, I needed you to make sure I had all the stuff I needed.

When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown
The dream is gone
I have become comfortably numb......Pink Floyd

Except now I'm older and I don't think the dream is gone. I think I need to wake up from the dream.

A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears...Stevie Nicks

So now what do I do and how do I get you to send me a sign that my new year will bring me all the stuff I need. Favor with my employer and money for my bills and toys to distract me when I notice the lines on my face in the mirror?

 There were lines on the mirror, lines on her face
She pretended not to notice, she was caught up
in the race.....Eagles "Life in the Fast Lane"

Now those kind of lines (except for the ones on my face) are not my problem as I get older. I don't drink except for the occasional toast of wine on special occasions or a beer (Irish Guiness for my little Celtic soul on my birthday) and Columbian means good coffee to me these days.But, I still have my "distractions" to get me whistling past the grave yard.

I can peruse the internet and I admit that I do find the whole "flow of information" thing to be addicting. I constantly check my phone and I love having news and sports scores and stories at my fingertips. But, I don't know if I haven't lost some listening skills and the ability to think a little deeper about things.

 We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
And tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how...Same Old Lang Syne...Dan Fogleberg

So, I try to listen and I even find myself "liking" inspirational post on facebook. Trying to assure myself that I haven't completely lost the thread of my youthful religion and faith.  That I can make it all OK if I can just get the attention of God.

Did you write the book of love
And do you have faith in God above
If the Bible tells you so?
Now do you believe in rock and roll?
Can music save your mortal soul?
And can you teach me how to dance real slow?....American Pie (Don Mclean)

So, here I am again. A little more life worn and a little less sure of a one size fits all or theory of everything. But, still here and still honestly sure that I'm talking to you and not simply talking to myself. I no longer expect burning bushes or to get knocked off my donkey and told the secrets of life. But, I do remember one time when I actually did "know" I was under the protection of an Angel. But, that's one of those things that are between me and you and I go back to it from time to time when I'm feeling especially disconnected.

Hello, it's me
I've thought about us for a long, long time
Maybe I think too much but something's wrong
There's something here that doesn't last too long
Maybe I shouldn't think of you as mine...Todd Rundgren

Yep, it's me again and you just don't seem to fit in my little box anymore. I don't think I can define you anymore. But, on the other hand letting go and just "being her now" Yeah I know sounds a little new agey  ;-) But just being (to me) seems better than an absolute claim of knowing these days.

I remember being in General Forrest Junior High (yeah, we called it junior high in those days) in the gym. I saw a childhood friend from the old elementary school across the way. She was always one of those people that I would see from time to time in my life and even the passage of years didn't seem to make us strangers. Not lovers and not in a relationship. Just souls that seemed to recognize each other whenever we met. Since it's New Years I am remembering things tonight. I remember the song that was playing and the lyrics that day in the gym

Looking out from my lonely room, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you.....BadFinger

Funny how songs seem to define times in our lives. I play the guitar and I love music but I'm not one of those people that like to have music on all the time. But, when I do hear or play certain songs the times and places rush back to me.

Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away
Give me the beat boys and free my soul
I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away...Dobie Gray

So, this hasn't been the new year prayer that I wanted. But, it's been the one you have given me and shared with me so I'm good. ;-)

I hope to be able to "hear" you this year a little clearer. I hope to enjoy health and to be able to enjoy life and family and put work and even memory in the right order and place. I pray for the ability to see and experience every day as it's own special "Now." I pray not to wait for tomorrow to live. Thank you for this moment. Thank you for life.

I dreamed of a river once. Been a long time now but I still remember the dream. I was standing there and I heard "You have to go in." I didn't want to go in. I knew if I went in that I would die. At least I was afraid that I would. But, it seemed to be something I really had to do. So, I finally plunged in. It was so cold. But, I felt so incredible. My spirit seemed to soar even as my body was freezing and maybe even dying.

On Jordan's Stormy Banks I stand, and cast a wishful eye....Samuel Stennett

So, I will continue this journey with you until I reach that river. Not that I am trying to reach it this year. ;-) But, I think it will be like the dream. I'll be upon it and it will be time and it will be OK. But, for now I want to be in the moment and enjoy the journey.

Now, that I sneaked a hymn into my Rock and Roll I thought I'd end with a toast:

To my grandparents who raised me and have made it to the other side. To my aunt and uncle and cousins and brother in law. To a classmate from long ago in Alabama City. She had on a Mickey Mouse watch one day and I heard years later that she had passed. I will have to tell her that I thought she was really cute but I was a little too shy back in the day. To my friend who went way to soon that painted murals a long time ago in Altoona. To my classmates from West End who I remember as "good people." To a special friend "My girl" No, not my girlfriend and not my lover either. But, we will raise a toast to kindness yet. To that great cloud of witnesses.

Also, to those who are still my companions on my journey. Cindy who puts up with me and I guess as old married people we put up with each other. To my son Fox who is so much smarter than I ever was. I hope he finds the thread of his journey and his way of talking to you and listening. To my mother who had me when she was young and even though we have had some storms (still do at times.) ;-) she has been a inspiration in a hard headed get up and move on  way for me. To friends from my youth that I still journey with and to friends that are newer but are like "old souls" when we meet. To R.J. who is a brother and no longer able (in this world) to have talks and tell jokes. I miss you jerk and I will be able to tell you that one day.

To my sister Tammy: I'm so sorry and I know he was everything to you. He just went across the river a little early. No words will take away the sting. Take your time because we all have a day to experience and you have grandchildren to love and fuss with for a little longer. ;-)

OK, I think that's my new years "walk" this time. I started in 2014 and it's already over an hour into 2015. I can't put you back in that box. So, I'll just hold on to your hand and presence and continue this walk into a New Year.

Joel 2:25: I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.

I believe that. Just across the river.