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.