Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jesus, Stephen King and Don Henely

  I just started a new novel by Stephen King called Revival. Now, I don't read as much fiction as I used to and I'm more into non fiction and enjoy period true crime stories. Not the gory slash and bash kind. More of the Hollywood or 1930's mob kind. Throw in some classic rock biographies and that's pretty much my reading list these days with a little ufo/alien abduction stuff for fun. But, I do read my favorite author when he puts out a new one. Often, people look for guru's or try to find some "one size fits all wisdom" in the things they enjoy. I'm to old for guru's and to experienced in life to think "one size fits all" be it religion, politics or how to win a million dollars through positive thinking. :-) Still, a new book by "Uncle Stevie" gets me thinking of my life and where I've been. Kind of like a certain song or a certain memory of being baptized when I was young. Well, there ya have it. I told you I was thinking of Jesus, Stephen King and Don Henley. But, I get ahead of myself.

I am a Christian by the family and culture that I was born into. I often say that my "Christianity" is like my southerness. I could hardly be anything else. I was taught to say Roll Tide and my prayers at about the same age. OK, prayer came first but not much more intensely. :-) I am not much of a right wing evangelical type these days. My dogma was ran over some years ago. But, I have the t-shirt and still love the folks who disagree with my political and spiritual "evolution." I tried to fit in most of my life and only in my late forties and into my fifties did I develop enough personal honesty to state even to myself what I really think and believe about life. I'm still careful because as a wise woman once told me "Steve, there are some things you don't tell anybody but God." Works for me. ;-)

Anyway, I have looked forward and been a little anxious about the new Stephen King novel. I knew from the title and the blurbs that it touches on religion and I am always conflicted about that. It's kind of a thing these days for people who are mad at religion to create and destroy straw men. I have seen the abuses of religion and the terror of telling children they are going to hell if they don't believe right.

However, I have also watched young mothers find strength to deal with the loss of a child or an adult deal with loss of a parent or loved one by holding on and looking forward to their faith. I know it's easy to say "where was god when something bad happens." But, on the flip side saying "we are all just brain farts and your loved one was nothing but a chemical reaction that is now extinct" just doesn't work well for me as a trade off.

So far (I've only completed a few chapters)the book hasn't slipped into a faith bashing frenzy and you also need to distinguish between a work of fiction and entertainment and getting uptight about world views. But, I have been thinking a lot lately about my world view. I no longer see "God" as an old man in the sky waiting to get me for my many transgressions. I tend to think that once you accept a view that we are more than the sum of our parts but that shit still happens. Well, you have to come to some kind of personal understanding of what reality is. I have a real problem with thinking that an eternal soul just pops into being by the seed and the egg. On the other hand I have a real problem believing that everything that I am simply pops into being by a chemical reaction inside an organ in my head. ;-) Both, seem a little off to me.

I tend to think that maybe, just maybe matter springs from consciousness and not the other way around. The eternal observer of which I'm part of makes sense to me. I don't always know how to fit my faith and my actions into the correct box. The one thing that I do believe in is treating everyone the way you would like to be treated. Stop thinking that life is your own personal movie and that other people are just bit players.

You know how in the movies a whole town or region is destroyed by the monster,bad guys, bombs or other mayhem. The posse is shot to hell but in the final scene the only thing that really matters? It's the hero kissing his true love and both riding off or driving off or flying off into the sunset. The fact that the sidekick or the other good guys were just gunned down and the heroic couple stepped over them on the way out of the last scene seems like a good payoff to us movie goers. That's fine for hollywood and I love to see Clint Eastwood gunning down the bad guys.

But, as you go into a week of family, work, friends and foes try to remember. Everybody counts and everybody has their own part in their own movie and walking over them as if they aren't important should not be an option.

Peace.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's me again God.

Hi God! Yeah, it's me again. Ya know that little secret stuff I fret over so much? Yeah, I know you are never surprised with me. Still, I was  raised "in the church" as we say in the south. So, I carry around a lot of guilt whenever I check in with you. Liberal Christian? Well, yeah I do say that and I mean it. But, when I approach you I still kind of get the big daddy in the sky who judges me feeling. Just can't quite let that go even if I don't really believe all the dogma of my raising. Weird huh? No? Well I'm glad you understand because I don't. Oh yeah, the reason I'm here today? That would be you right? ;-) Well you did give me this sense of humor ya know. Theology? No, not today. I'm not real sure I'm up to it right now. I don't know the ultimate purpose of the universe. I think right now I'll just be.
You know this body has some tingles and pains and limitations I didn't even know about back in the day. Well, I sure couldn't do some of  the party stuff I did then. I do thank you that I didn't do any long term damage. I sure could have. Anyway, now where was I? Oh yeah, now I remember.
I do understand that people are afraid. I know that scared people can be heartless and even cruel. I understand that it doesn't always come from their "best selves." But, I am so frustrated at how good decent people speak so easily of turning children away or shooting people.
Yeah, I actually have heard the "put up a fence and shoot em as they cross over line." WWJD? Never that? Well, you don't have to tell me.

The Middle East thing? Yeah, they all are of the same part of the planet. Yeah, I know it sickens you when they act like it's a sporting event instead of a real world life and death struggle with real flesh and blood and real limbs being blown apart. Anyway, what about here?
Well, you remember Reagan? Oh, yeah I bet he and JFK are having a grand ole debate over who's the better Irishman. Ya know my family name has a bit of the old country in it's heritage. Point? Oh yeah, the point.
Well, ya see back in the Reagan years the U.S. did some stuff that Uncle Ronnie thought was OK at the time. Now, we are getting some refugees and the people who loved Uncle Ronnie don't love the refugees. Children? Millstones and better not to have been born than to harm one of these? I don't think that's for this situation. How do I know? Well, that's what the GOP "God's own party" What? Oh, I'm sorry. No, I will never say something that stupid again.
Well, anyway I did feel like I needed to check in. Sometime, I just need to rest. Sometime I just need to look the devil in the eye and not be afraid. So, I see heartless and ignorant statements in your name. I see death and misery and hunger and abuse. Why doesn't it make me turn away from you?
Because I also see you in every grain of sand and every drop; of spilled blood. I see you in the waiting rooms and the death and hunger in this world. I see you in my own doubts and I know that you are the place and being of my rest.
I don't know what else I would like to say right now. I just thought I'd talk a little and hang out with you for a minute. I'm looking at the road I've traveled. It's shorter in front than it was when I was younger. No? That hill up there, isn't that the home stretch beyond it? Trust? I have thought that. Maybe we are on an eternal journey and that hill will reveal the road isn't about to end after all.
Remember back in Walnut Park when I was a kid? Yeah, my ole banana seat bike. Man, I wish I could see it again. :-) I would "pull" the hill on Stonewall Avenue heading up to Chester Street. I would fly back down Stonewall later that day. Anyway, I'm pulling this hill and I wanted to make sure I still have you in case I need a push.
Always? Thank you. Do you mind if I kind of walk a little closer for a minute. Just until I'm ready to get back on my bike and pull this hill. Yeah, it feels good. You too? Wow!

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Day in the Life!

 "Hallelujah" By Leonard Cohen:
 I've heard there was a secret chord
That David played, and it pleased the Lord
But you don't really care for music, do you?
It goes like this
The fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 
A Day in the Life:
 
Beginning: Ground of all Being. Giver of breath, maker of suns, Watcher of Worlds. Coming forth a creature. A Being of pure light and consciousness. No being, Just Being. Look, intend, watch. A world out of countless possibilities forms out of pure energy. Another place to learn and grow and live and die. Why? Just to be. See the form that will “become” When does spirit meet matter? When does it start? It doesn’t start and it doesn’t stop. It’s all part of the same thing. The same ground of being. Worlds form and worlds die but the stuff of being continues but doesn’t start or stop. Look, incarnation in all it’s forms. Matter and creatures and all evolves and changes. Why is love? Why is life? Why, why why?. Being! 
 
 
 
Verse 11: Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah
 
 
Then: Start the day: Love, not mercy or sin or salvation. Just love. He just knows that he has always felt it. It pulses through his veins. It calls from the sea and sun and mountains and the moon. It’s in Mary’s eyes even though she isn’t “one of them.” It’s in the samartian he met that day. The leper he touched. Even in the poor horrible tormented ones that he had to cast out and in the pitiful creatures they drowned. Still, love and passion for the journey of those whose form he sees when he looks at a unclean one or a infidel or those thrown out of the temple as being unworthy. 
 
 
Chorus: 
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 
 
Now:
 
Start the day: Brother Tim is up.  Man, is he pumped. Going to the rally to try and save the lost. The gays have an agenda and he’s going to make sure they hear of the “love” of Christ before they burn in hell. Also, she will be there and that’s always a bonus. He has “normal” drives you know. But, he doesn't go too far, not yet. He’s godly you know. Besides she’s he preachers daughter and he wants to make sure Brother Bob knows how “pure” he is when he takes her out.
 
Sally: Finally people understand her. She has felt what she feels her whole life. Would God really make her this way to punish her? She went to Brother Bob. He was her pastor and friend her whole life. He prayed with her when her mother died. He held her hand when she had to have surgery due to a polyp. He said God delivered her when it came back clean. So, she was confident when she approached him. She poured out her heart to him. “This is who I am.” Doesn’t God still love me? Oh God, what is the pastor saying? I’m going to hell because of a feeling? Christ loves me but he’s very disappointed in me? Cast it out? Maybe there’s no god then because I tried so hard to not be this way..I prayed and I fasted and I read all the books. 
 
 
 
Song "Hallelujah" .... Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I've walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I've seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah
 
 
 
Congressman Sims: Hot Damn the president is in trouble now. We can paint his butt as a anti war sissy now. I didn’t go to Vietnam but hey I had reasons. I did go through the ROTC Program in college. It was a legitimate deferment. Sure the president served. But, according to a person from that unit the president never “liked or agreed with the war.” How unpatriotic. Oh, yeah and the illegals. Also, the nimby panty waist trying to give amnesty to illegals. Why, they would give the land back to the Indians if they could. Savages and not Christian so they were driven out.
 
 
 Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 
 
Then: A garden. I do this because I love life, because it is important. But, it isn’t an end unto itself. I come, I come from the eternal. I have to lay this down to show how important it is to live this life but not to hold on to power. Not to hold on to status. You can’t lose what was never yours in the first place. This is the gift. To die and yet to understand that even death is a door and not an end. I loved her. I loved him. They nourished me and gave me life. It will hurt her. That is the main regret. Every man dies but a mother shouldn’t have to watch her son. Oh, God let her see it with the eyes you give her. With the eyes you give me…
 
 
 There was a time when you let me know
What's really going on below
But now you never show it to me, do you?
And remember when I moved in you
The holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was Hallelujah
 
 
 
Now: Sally: I can’t believe anymore. I can’t play anymore. I have nowhere to go. I have this incredible feeling that I matter. That the world matters. But, according to my pastor I’m just dirt in god’s eyes. I can’t go on like this. But, I’m not brave enough to end it so I’ll just live until I die. That will be that. I’m not even going to try anymore. People are just biological meat sacks and that is that. This is the world that I will inherit. Christ? Buddha? God? Fairy tales. They have to be because I can’t bear the thought of trying to please an old prude in the sky with no real knowledge of what I have to go through.
 
 
 
Brother Tim: Man, we showed them today. We raised 10K for Congressman Sims. We also went out to witness but most of them were just drunks and prostitutes. God wouldn’t think twice about them unless they repent. It was a close one though. A young Christian (immature in the faith) was trying to give an old nasty bum directions to the church. But, Brother Bob reminded him that we donate to the Salvation Army every quarter and the poor people have church service there. 
 
 Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 
 
Then: I hope they understand why I’m doing this. It’s for the love of being. The love that I hope they will extend to all those outside the temple. The Samaritan and the gentile. The leper and the blind and the oppressed. The outcast and the wanderer with no home and no family. The temple can be the family. This dance of spirit and matter. They are just dust in some ways but divine in the eternal sight of the one with who we all have to do. Why are they laughing at me? Spitting? Surely, they will understand someday and just learn to embrace and unite. They are all made of the same stuff. Part of the same “Beingness.” At least when they think of me, they will understand that a cross is part of living this life. I feel it now…The pulse of fear and anger as they watch me….
 
 
 Maybe there’s a God above
But all I’ve ever learned from love
Was how to shoot at someone who outdrew you
It’s not a cry you can hear at night
It’s not somebody who has seen the light
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
 
 
Now: Brother Bob: So sad. I watched Sally as she marched with “those people” that God despises. She doesn't know God. How dare she even say his name. They that reject Christ. Oh well, it’s her decision. I’ve got to get to the board meeting. I think I’m getting a raise and it’s just in time for our trip to “the holy land” this year. Man, will that be fun. I made a lot of great connections last time I went.
 
 
 Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 
 You say I took the name in vain
I don't even know the name
But if I did, well, really, what's it to you?
There's a blaze of light in every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah
 

 
 
 
Then: Father forgive them…They know not what they do.
 
 
 
 
 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
Hallelujah
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Black Creek

  I've been thinking of "home" in recent times. I've traveled a lot in my later years. Honolulu, (beautiful place) Colorado Springs (to cold for my southern blood, but my son was born there) Tuscaloosa, Alabama (it's Alabama, it's southern, I live and work here but it's not "home." ) 

Where is home? Where you are born? Where you grew up? Where you got your first kiss or your first crush? In that case it would be Gadsden, Alabama and more specifically Walnut Park in Gadsden for me. Where you remember family and going to church and ball games? Attalla, Alabama and Altoona, Alabama for me. Still it's all in Etowah County. But, I've thought about home recently. It's Sunday afternoon and I was on the "Welcome to Gadsden" facebook page. Looking at pictures of Black Creek and Nocculula Falls. I should have known. Throw an old county slow dance song on the old stero on Stonewall Avenue and let me head out the door because my mother will start singing along with Loretta Lynn any minute now. ;-)

I was talking with a friend several years ago. He is from Gadsden but not from Alabama City. He said the people  from that area and especially from Walnut Park talk about it with fondness. A fondness that seems a little more intense than the way some people talk about the old neighborhoods they grew up in. But, all of us remember the days of our childhood no matter where we grew up. I have some good memories of Altoona, Alabama too. I remember going up to Prince's Drug Store (soda fountain, tables and chairs, classic) and looking at comic books and going next door and getting an ice cream cone and heading back to my grandparents house to eat my ice cream and read my comic book.

We lived all over Walnut Park. I remember taking my wife and touring the old neighborhood before we got married. We started on Chester Street. I said I lived there and right next door and my grandparents  lived there and right across the street. Then we headed on up to the corner of Chester and Stonewall and I said I lived right there. My best and oldest friends lived right over there where we just passed. Their neighbors that we played with lived right there. We headed down Stonewall and I said I lived there and then there. Wow, she said. You lived all over this neighborhood.

My stepdads parents lived on Webster Street. I walked to school sometime because back then walking to Walnut Park Elementary was not a big deal. My friend tells the story of getting sick at school one day. They let him walk home because he didn't feel well. No endless forms or phone calls or even worries. Just "go home." Much different time and place.

Black Creek: We lived on the Alabama City or Emma Sansom side of Black Creek. The snooty Gadsden folks lived on the other side. ;-) I transfered to West End my sophomore year and graduated in 1976. I missed a lot of the old classmates that went on and graduated from Sansom. But, I also met a lot of cool people at West End. Like I said it's all home to me now all these years later.

I am just in one of those nostalgic moods today. I think about the people that I've known and the people that have gone on and the people that I miss. I used to read more fiction than non fiction but I don't read as much these days. I still read non fiction and will on occasion pick up a novel. I remember something Dean Koontz wrote for one of his characters. He wrote "The only way back is to go forward." Something along those lines it's not a perfect quote. But, it has stuck with me and I like the idea. Why?

Well, because maybe, just maybe this isn't the destination. Life is part of the journey and the ties and relationships and apparent coincidences of life are part of a larger picture. Maybe somewhere there is another version of home. A brighter, truer version. Maybe, just maybe we really do come from afar trailing clouds of glory. Maybe it is just one eternal moment.

So, I'll keep going forward. I'll look in the mirror and think "wow, where did those lines come from?" I'll look at my hands and be startled that they no longer look like the hands of a nineteen year old or a twenty five year old. I'll talk to my mother while I can on the phone and "see" the firey, tempermental brunette woman that sang country music and could bust ya one if you messed with her. Until, I go back up to Gadsden and see the greyed haired aged old lady that still sounds like her but certainly doesn't look like her. I try to remember that when I talk with her on the phone and she says something that sets off the old mother-child conflict alarm. :-) I find these days it's easier to forgive and love than to be mad and self righteous.

Some people say that there are multiple universes. I don't know that I believe that but I think about it. I went ahead and graduated from Sansom in one of those and my mother stayed with my step dad in Walnut Park, On the other hand the car that hit me when I was five had to have killed me in at least one of those universes and missed me  completely in another. Ouch, makes the ole noggin hurt to think about it.

I haven't always done my best. I have tried to do my best when I really believed in something though. I haven't hated and I've tried and still try to treat others the way I want to be treated. I'm not in a hurry but I honestly do look to a river and a more real home. Peace
Steve

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...Leonard Cohen


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Right/Left Wing

I have recently been reading a book called "Why I am an Atheist Who Believes in God" by Frank Schaefer. I am thinking of doing  a review of it once I complete it. Frank Schaefer is the son of one of the icons of the "Evangelical Movement" in the 70's and beyond named Francis Schaefer. I have recently had some uncomfortable talks with my wife about the "religion" we were both raised in. I'm still sympathetic to the concept and find myself trying to defend the core of the faith while agreeing with her that much of the dogma is ...well, lets just say illogical. I still maintain the core reality of the Ground of all being putting on flesh and partaking of this world and dying with us is the very essence of love. I understand I'm perhaps, maybe adding my own worldview to the gospel story but I really think  that is the essence of what Christ was and is doing. Still I'm a heretic so what do I know?

I am really concerned with  the direction my nation is going right now. We seem to be split apart between political parties. I have a friend on facebook who is also a friend and a person I used to go to church with. He was funny and polite and good natured. Quick with a joke and could laugh at either your or his expense as long as it was funny and not cruel. ;-) Yet, I have seen a side of my friend that I didn't think existed back in the day. Now, we never really hung out and I'm not saying we knew everything about each other but the vibe was positive and I always enjoyed the conversations. But, in recent years and on facebook he seems (to me) to have gotten rather bitter.

I think (damn, I start a lot of paragraphs with "I")  Sorry, I get distracted easily. My wife says I've developed Adult ADD. :-) But, anyway, I notice that politics and the extreme right wing has taken much of my friend and the faith of my youth over. There is a bitter and sarcastic edge to it. A real and bitter hate for President Obama in particular and the left leaning folks in general. I remember some of the comments when Travon Martin was murdered. Some of the "devout" people I had gone to church with back in the day. They made fun of hoodies and light of a young man (in the image of God) being killed. But, it was OK because they were fighting for a cause don'tcha know? They had to defend "god, guns and country" even if a few heathens died, what was that in comparison to bringing the "Kingdom of God" to earth? Or at least to Jesus favorite nation the U.S.A.? Not to mention his other favorite Israel (most of who are going to hell anyway because they don't accept Jesus and keep their Jewish or secular beliefs. I know you might be saying "But, Jesus was a devout Jew" Well, you think too much. Pick up the original bible written in God's own language (The King James version of course) and hush.

I do think that Christianity as a faith is getting a bad rap from the "mainstream" media and hollywood these days. You couldn't get away with talking about Islam or Mohammed the way the name of Christ is thrown around. But, you also have to consider that the excesses of the church. The televevangelist and the politics that bomb countries and try to rewrite the political discourse has a lot to do with it. Somewhere, in my fundi youth I remember a passage from the bible. I remember it said something about "Judgement starts in the house of God." So, maybe the "right wing church" needs to check itself. Just saying.

Anyway, (Holy keyboard Batman, He started a paragraph without "I." ) Anyway, there are some things that I do think about our political situation. To my conservative friends: Yes, I do think health care is a universal right. I do think putting a price tag on a human beings health is evil. Yes, I do think civilians in Iraq are just as important to "God" as Americans and Israelies. Yes I do think a nation as rich as America should build houses for the homeless and provide food for the poor.

No, I don't think the Hispanics coming across the border to try and find a way to feed their families is a giant threat to truth, justice and the American way. No, I don't think God Almighty gave this nation to the Europeans and drove out the savages before us. NO, I don't think Jesus esteems the American Constitution above all political law and thought in this world.

No, I don't think just because a millionaire or a billionaire built a corporation that it gives them the right to take advantage of their fellow men/women and pay slave wages. Yes, I do think if you take a people group and put them in chains. Tell them they are subhuman and feed them with the frickin livestock and sell their babies that you do spirtual and financial damage. It doesn't just go away because it happened a long time ago. Time? Not much to it in the concept of an eternal moment. But, that's just me or as somebody once said "My Bag."

To my liberal friends: No, I don't think removing all concepts of an eternal purpose and relationship to our source is a great idea. No, I don't think there is any one entity that answers to the name of "Science." that replaces the need for a spiritual connection. No, I don't think everybody who disagrees with my president is a racist. No, I don't think we should take money from white people and give it to black people. No, I don't think we should keep dividing people as "People of color vs whitey."

Why not raise all people up? If you feed the poor and most of them are brown then you have already uplifted the minority. But, you have also uplifted all the poor and so the resentment of poor white people has also been addressed. I don't have guru's. I don't "believe" in a one size fits all religion, political system or world view.

With all that said I will say this. Martin Luther King Jr. is one of my hero's. Know why? Not simply because he marched and sang Kumbaya. The reason he is a hero to me is the strength of his convictions. He didn't step back when the police came and say "Well, I'm the leader so I need to stay free. Take one of these little people and I'll do a soundbite." No, he stepped up and said "take me, I'll go to jail." Also, I believe he was coming to the conclusion that a rising tide lifts all boats. Let's lift up all who are poor and downtrodden. But, that message gets lost. Instead we divide people. It's the economic divide and not the color divide that oppresses humans. Poor people fight rich peoples war. 

No, this isn't meant to say I have the answers. There is plenty of room for debate and searching for answers. It's just some of the things that I have been thinking of this morning and this week.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Journey so far.

"Oh bless thee continuous stutter
Of the word being made into flesh..."

- Leonard Cohen
I stand by a river. "I" meaning me, being, spirit, I Am. It's cold and I am so afraid to enter it. I turn and say "It will freeze me and I'll die."  You have to go in. I'll be there with you and I'll meet you over there. "Trust me." But, it's so cold." I step in....

Sound and fury...temper, she has one. She's really young and I feel the pulse of her heart but I don';t really know. What is this? I can't really find it but there is a thread...I was just there and...I'm born!

I lie here and look up...so much sound and light and noise...That looks like a face that loves me...His hat is a little crooked and he calls himself granddaddy...I don't know for  sure where or what this is.

I remember faces though. As I get a little older.

I close my eyes right before morning and I see faces. People that I know but I don't remember who or how right now. I can almost remember  that I started somewhere and I am here to...what? I don't know but I am here and I was put on the journey.

Interlude:

I had a dream when I was a little boy. In this dream I saw a staircase. There was someone beside me. Walk up this staircase. Every time you make a mark with your foot you are getting closer to God.I started out and looked down...There it was! I kept going up the steps until I reached the top. I made a mark on every step and this was the top. I stepped up and I looked down. There it was...You belong to God!

I remember going to Walnut Park School...My friend lived right up Chester Street. Just right up the sidewalk. We went together to get our vaccination. I hope it doesn't hurt too much...

I am over at my grandparents house. Not so long ago my sister and I found some paint that was open in a room. We thought it would be great fun to help the grownups and we started painting everything...They were not as pleased as we thought they would be...

I'm about to cross the street. My mother is over there on the porch and she has an apple. I really want some of that apple.
Where am I. I hear a siren and I have bitten my tongue clear through. My mother is over me and she is crying. I don't think she cries that often...I was about to go across and a car came from...really? It ran over me? Oh, it hit me.

I remember being in the school lunch room and I would look at all the kids and it seemed I really should be here. It's funny but back then it seemed as if we were all in this together. Some of them were so familiar to me. It's funny how you are drawn to some people in life. Not all of them return the feeling. But, you know somehow there is a connection

Not in entire forgetfulness,. And not in utter nakedness,. But trailing clouds of glory do we come,...William Wordsworth

High school. We were going on a field trip to see some department or other at Gadsden State. There is this girl just sitting there in the sun eating lunch. I don't really know her but I do go to school with her. She looks so peaceful right there. The sun is slanting just so. I feel as if I could walk over there and sit down and talk and just be. It reminds me of "home."

Interlude II:
I can't remember the year. I know I was young. How young? Teenager? young man? preteen? Been a long time. But, I was troubled one night and couldn't sleep. I was living with my grandparents. They lived in a big old house in Altoona, Alabama. I was scared in that house. I always felt like somebody was watching me. There was a chair by the bed. Now, this wasn't a "dream." I felt, knew that someone was there. All of a sudden I just knew. It was an "angel." I didn't look over to verify it. I didn't need to look over. Do you look over when you are a child and your parent comes into a room and looks in on you? Do you need to look over when you know a loved one is there? I slept. I was safe..

What is life? I'm not sure. I really think that if I could just close my eyes and be still that the "universe" is right there. I have it all within me. Silly? New age gobbledy gook? No, I really do think it's there.

I wonder about life and relationships. Some people think we are just here by chance. Some win the sperm lottery and some don't . Others, think that "if" we are in the right place at the right time. If we are drawn to it and pray a certain prayer that we are then "in the club." If, we don't screw it up we will then be accepted in when we die. Others think we do this over and over until we get it right. You draw everything to you and you are the one who benefits and loses according to "karma." Me? I think it's a more complicated and more wonderful and more simple process and reason than we can realize. 

Now don't get me wrong I don't have mystical dreams or angelic visits every night. I'm in my later fifties now and so the ones I remember were somehow so meaningful to me and inscribed on my psyche that I carry them with me. But, most of the time I don't remember dreams and I don't get angels swooping in to chop off the heads of the bad guys. At least I don't see them there with my eyes or even feel them. Stuff happens. But, I don't believe it happens in a vacuum.

Interlude III:
I am standing in a dream and I wake up. I see my body "there." It's back there. The sky is red and he is walking beside me. I turn and ask a question. He can tell me. I want to know. What is the dream? I really need to know. I need to know why I am here. What does it mean? What is life? He answers me. "You ask too much." A tear starts down my cheek and I'm back in my body...I wipe the tear off as I "wake up." 
I have thought ever since then that life is the "dream." We don't wake up very often during the dream.
I am getting close now to that river..No, not yet (I don't think it's quite that close yet.) I think I have miles to go before I wake up completely. 

I dreamed last night I was talking to a long ago schoolmate. No, not a visit from the other side. she is still with us and I'm still with us. It was a dream that you sometime have about people that you have known or met. But, it did get me to thinking about connections and life and how we come into orbit with each other. Sometime for a lifetime and sometime for a moment. But, it does matter and it's all connected. 

I read a book once about a person who died and found himself on a road. He would visit and rest and talk with people and interact with places from his lifetime. He would stay in a home for a time and then continue his journey. 
I wonder about that. Maybe, there is a tree somewhere and the light is slanted just so and I will sit there for a little while and talk with a friend and relax on my way down the road. 

Interlude IV:
A river, it's so cold...I'm afraid to get in there. I will freeze if I go in there..."Relax, I'm with you." But, it's so cold and I am so afraid that I will die if I go in there..."Relax and know I'll be waiting on the other side for you" I always have and I always will until you wake up.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Dream State.

I don't know how to honestly look at you. I've heard about you all of my life. The thing is you get shuffled somewhere between the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and an old angry deity in the sky that needs constant adoration just to keep from hitting me with his hammer. Oh, wrong deity, but you know what I mean. I don't know about this. Where are you going? Over there? But, what will these guys do? Wait? Wait for what? Surely you aren't really mad at them for falling asleep. I mean what else is there to do while you go off and meditate or pray or...Oh? Yeah, I'll wait. It's my dream but I'll still wait...

  Jesus, what was that sound? Oh, no I didn't mean you...I meant ...well you know when you get put in the same catagory as Elvis and mood rings and...well, you know it's just slang for "Oh my god." Really? You would never even write the letters much less think of using the sacred for a curse or yell of surprise? Well, yes it did startle me. You really yelled out that time and....Oh, lord help me I can't believe the intensity I'm feeling right now. Can I just walk with you a minute?

They say the just touching the hem of your robe could do this. I never really thought about it....except a Sunday School story but Wow! Take up my cross? You mean go to church and be religious and tithe and have a say in who will be "saved" and who will be doomed? That cross?

No?, Well, give me a little more time. I need for my finances to be in order and I need to make sure my child is grown up and I need to take a vacation. I mean, it'll just be a few more years. Like 30 or so...What? just live now?

Where are you going? Wait! Don't you want to live? Well, I know it's temporary but sometime I worry. What if it's all a crock? What if we really are just a by product of a soulless pointless universe? What? Well, I have wondered. But, according to most of what I learned in Sunday school back when I went to Sunday School the only temptation you really faced was when the guy with horns just said "bow down and worship me."

Well, yeah I do admit I never thought that was much of a temptation either. It would be as if Donald Trump had a son and a McDonalds manager tried to tempt him. Wasn't like that huhh? He told you you were crazy? He told you that when you died you just ceased to be? Oblivion? Now, that would be hard to take if you could have been convinced that the cross and the blood and tears were just useless. Yeah, that would be much harder than the Sunday School narrative.

I can't walk this last mile this time? Well, I'm kind of  relieved to be honest with you. OH, I will get my own mile in time? Well, to be honest I always knew that. I saw a river once in a dream. It was so cold when I entered it. I didn't want to get in there. But, I had to. My soul was soaring once I got in there but it was freezing my body to dea...Yeah, there is time for that a little later.

Hey, before you go can I tell you something? I've lost a lot of my dogma and my faith is bruised and torn and I just can't identify these days you know? What do I need to tell you?

I still love you.