Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Years Walk!


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I remember around the late 70’s or early 80’s I started a personal tradition. I called it my End of Year Prayer. I would take an early morning walk in the woods every New Year’s Eve. My favorite spot was Noccalula Falls in the city of my birth Gadsden, Alabama. The falls are a 90 foot waterfall and the park and campground surrounds it In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Last time I was up there the city had of course screwed it up. But, back in the day you could go up under the falls and you could follow Black Creek and explore and when the water was rushing the narrow creek made a really impressive noise as it rushed ahead to the falls.

 

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep…the Byrds

 

Back then I was struggling with whatever young adult males struggle with and also with my own unique struggles and journey. So, I would take that day to look back at the year just past and look forward and make my case to “God” for the coming year. I saw some things as incredibly important back then that I can’t even remember now or I assume they were important since I say I can’t remember. I was still learning that there would be a time to plant and a time to reap. I’ve never actually killed a human but I’ve had relationships die and wither on the vine while I passed the time.

I really did find a time to heal back then. My worldview was different and still being established and even now is in flux but I do have a more steady philosophy of life than I did then. Prayer has always been important to me. It’s how I clear my thoughts and my head. It’s how I find balance. The particulars have changed. I no longer have such a fundamental Christian view of the world. But, the healing and the real experience of prayer now combined with meditation has kept me sane. Kind of odd when you read and hear about the religious excesses of people but the truth is I became more spiritual and less religious through prayer. I stopped taking the bible as the absolute text book of God after I read it. Sometimes it just works that way.  I’ve found different  times to weep and different times to laugh. I sometimes mentally tremble at how blessed I am. How many bullets I’ve dodged. I also struggle at times with how much I’ve gone through and especially when I hear some millennial idiot of about 25 years tell me how “privileged” I am. I always think “Child if you had of had my life your young ass would be over in the corner in the fetal position instead of standing there making sure you are counted as a victim of oppression. Which of course doesn’t negate at all the fact of people who have been oppressed throughout history from slavery to the holocaust and beyond. It’s just that some people try to make excuses for being angry by playing on the misfortunes of others. But, I don’t really want to get in a discussion of the pros and cons of political correctness. Because both pro’s and con’s exist. I think it’s wonderful that some words that defame others are no longer accepted in society. But, I also think people need a little thicker skin and less “safe places” to deal with the world.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I really do think there is a purpose and a reason why we take this journey. But, I also believe shit happens. It’s how we deal with it and how we bring meaning between ourselves and our own spiritual connections or how we choose to look at life that matters.

 

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing…The Byrds

 

I think in the end we each have to be honest with ourselves. If you love then say you love. If you hate then admit you hate and take it to your own source be that God or scream at the sky or whatever works for you. But, don’t wallow forever in the hate. It can cause you to wither from the inside if you let it.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late…The Byrds

 

I’ve tried so hard to be things I thought other people needed me or wanted me to be. One of the good things about getting past the big 6-0 is that I no longer worry much what everybody else thinks I should think. I’m not trying to step on anybody else to get up the ladder. I’m not trying to get the girl or impress the preacher or the boss at work. I’m kind of looking at things from a little more mellow perspective. I’m thankful for the years in my face because everybody doesn’t get the privilege of growing old. Not that I feel old but the road behind me is now much shorter than the road in front of me. At least where this life is concerned. So, what’s beyond the next hill or the next curve?

 

To be or not to be.  To die — to sleep. To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!...Hamlet (Shakespeare.)

 

That’s always been the point of it to me. What is over the next hill? I’ve always felt and still do. That this world with all of it’s beauty and tragedy is just a pale imitation of my real home. If I could just meditate hard enough or look more clearly at the world that I could see the real world right there at the edge of this imitation one. I know I may sound a little loony tunes there. But, isn’t that what faith is about? The hope of an eternal home after the wandering through this land?