That which makes life …

That which makes life so precious is for you yourself to know you are found to be worthy of love.

It is to be held as precious by someone who you yourself find precious.

Life cannot be made valuable by oneself. That is a futile chase that brings disasters of all kinds down on those around you, until you yourself are caught in some disaster or another.

The futile chase takes on many faces: accumulating wealth, power, influence, respect, position, family … you name it. Most often there goes with this chase the greatest effort to conceal from oneself and others that one is chasing these things as the central anchor of one’s life, and especially that one needs to conceal that one knows the chase is futile.

To be found worthy of love … is not something one does oneself, not even indirectly.

The most one can do is aspire to be the kind of person whom others will admire, be inspired by, and look to as the person who finds others worthy of being loved.

One finds others worthy of love, and one loves, without ever knowing that anyone will find one even interesting in the slightest, yet alone intriguing to the core, and redeemable enough to risk love on.

But all our efforts to love are incomplete, always a tad selfish, trying to get something for ourselves out of the deal.

Perfect love is God’s, and God’s alone.

And when God chooses to love us, then we are worthy.

And if God chooses not to love us, then we are not worthy, and that’s not the half of it.

Try … try to be loving, or at least kind.

Seek to love, and know like everyone, you also will seek to be loved.

But know that seeking is already completed: there is no love more perfect than God’s, and worth measured by God’s love for us cannot be equaled.

That love makes up for everything bad that others do to us, and we do to others, in the name of love, and in the name of hate, and in the name of indifference.

Indifference is true hell, killing the one possessed by it, and those around on whom it is focused.

 

That which makes life so precious is for you yourself to know you are found to be worthy of love, the best and only perfect love … God’s love.

 

Love Cannot be Forced

Love Requires Free Choice

We believe that God created the world, and all of us,
in order that we can
love our neighbours as our selves, and especially our enemies,
and that we can love God with all our hearts, minds and souls.

Love
requires that the person who loves,
freely chooses to love.

Love cannot be forced from another, it must come freely from the person who loves.

And that also requires that we can choose to not love,
that we can choose to hate, to seek vengeance, that we can break ourselves and our relationships, even our relationship with God,

the consequences for which, since we all make this choice again and again,
are suffered by not only by the person who chooses not to love
but by all of us.

There is so much sinning and suffering, only God can make it right.

So he gave his son
(more on that another day)
to pay the final and complete price for our failed choices, our choices

not

to

love.

God not only pays the price, but stays with us, even as we suffer the consequences of our own and other’s sins.

God again and again re-creates in us the ability, willingness, and possibility
to choose to love.

And we choose to love, even those who make themselves our enemies.

Dance.

Dance and choose to love.

Dance and love and choose to give thanks.

Dance and love and give thanks and choose to hope.

Be hope-filled, thankful, loving and full of the dance,

so that you can know against all odds and evidence and experience to the contrary that

all will be well,
all will be well,
all manner of things will be well.

How is it … ?

How is it that we always think that –

the hero of a movie cannot die,
that disaster cannot overtake us to our end,
that evil will not prevail over us.
When all the signs are …
all the evidence is ….
and all our experience would tell us
that it has already overcome all the goodness that was once given us,
and left us in ruins?
This is hope.
Perhaps out of hope will come a resurrection of life that is goodness …
as all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
This is not a happy ending to every life …
This is not a happy ending to every challenge …
This is not a happy ending to every story, or movie … though Hollywood would like us to believe otherwise.
After all, who wants to pay for entertainment that does not provide what one wants to, at least temporarily, imagine that life will be: that life, if not gentle with us along the way, will at least be generous to us in the near future, without too much lost time and suffering thrown at us first.
Hollywood endings are warm and fuzzy, and give us optimism.
The real challenges of life are not met by optimism.
The really devastating challenges require hope.
And
divine
assurance
that all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
How is it that we always think that –
God is gracious and generous,
That Love is the meaning of life,
That Hope is everything?
Only by Grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit,
can we, in the face of the brutal reality of evil,
say with our whole heart, mind and soul,
that
all will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.

It’s about TIME

It’s about TIME

The way to defeat evil is to live a good life.

A trip to friends brought us to a familiar, wonderful view out over the mountains.

Though our visiting took priority over getting high on the mountains until the sun was well up in the sky. The sunrise was less rise than rain fall. So we enjoyed the clear air clean of the wildfire smoke from the many BC fires. The clear mountain air.

A breath of fresh air as good as good friends: priceless.

And after a jaunt up we went down by the riverside to enjoy the flow of wonder,

As water roiled serenely reaching for the sea across the rocks.

 

The last outing I had was a while ago, when ice still held the water under wraps

Just nice.

 

and the moon stuck itself hidden in clear view over the ice.

 

The greatest marvel though was definitely the golden

Wonder of the setting sun spread through the warp and weave of this universe.

My mind

Full

Ness

of what may come.

Grace is the only aspect of life that brings real rewards.

Breathe ….

Time is always on the side of truth.

Goodness shines bright. Think. Live. Be courageous,

The truth will win out.

Enough: our women and our men are dying from abuse

It’s about time.

My life long I’ve been the kind of man who raised children well, from diapers to first school day, to first date, to first day of university, to wedding, baptism, ….

My adult life long I’ve been the kind man who ensured that my wife’s career as pastor was not only still possible even after she had our children, but that she would excel. And I was privileged to raise our children as the stay at home dad.

I’m the kind man who gives to give others a good life.

I’m agonized to have been too often a helpless bystander,

all too often as

abused women die at the hand of their trusted men.

All good people are also agonized to be so helpless.

I’m even more distressed as I’ve learned that our wise people have known for so long that

men abused by women die at their own hand.

This is so contrary to peace that we all seek for all.

Women abused by men die … at the hand of the man. It’s a psychological attack, and then a violent physical attack.

It’s about time we got so tired of abused women (our daughters and granddaughters, our sisters and mothers, our friends) dying at their man’s hand that we, as a whole village, do everything to finally stop it.

We’ve learned to recognize how and when the abuse of women starts and where it too often leads. We’ve learned and need to learn more. Now it’s time to do what we’ve learned about intervening, as a village.

Men abused by women die …at the hand of the man, manipulated so by the woman. It’s a psychological attack, and then a drawn out violent psychological attack.

It’s about time we got so very tired of abused men (our sons and grandsons, our brothers and fathers, our friends) dying at their own hand, manipulated so by their woman, that we learned that we must do everything to finally stop it.

It’s about time,

Because though our wise people have told us now for decades, we still do not want to listen and learn, we still do not know as a village how when a man dies at his own hand, that if his wife abused him at home, she has played a huge role in his death.

There is no excuse that we have not learned as a village, because only as a village can we bring this to an end, before it brings our brothers, sons, grandsons, fathers, grandfathers, and friends to their ends.

It takes a village to raise a child, starting with at least one parent, or grandparent or friend, who can love unconditionally.

It takes a village to keep everyone in the village safe, safe from the hidden causes of death, safe from those things that we do not want to know about, safe from the inconvenient truths.

You and I are members of the village, along with our sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers …

The other ignored truth, that is so agonizingly painful to recognize

is that when

a woman dies at the hand of a man, OR

a man dies at his own hand driven there by a woman

then the children are next …

The children are at danger of dying from the abuse in the same way.

A Gold Light After Grey Days

There are many things in this world that are beyond

amazingly wonderful.

After grey days when light was dull and dreary at best beneath clouds soft

this unpredicted morning warmed above zero

and the snow melted into liquid water so slowly in small places,

 

 

and the afternoon clouded over

but

then the light returned

and infused the air down to the last photo on the living room wall.

The golden light is as good as

finding a win-win solution

when it is hidden beneath a pile of crap for so long one wonders if golden wins are worth anything, other than if it is only one’s own win as others lose greater than one wins.

Win-win solutions recognize that life is not a zero-sum game.

It is grace, amazing grace abundant.

Ever multiplying reality’s goodness in ever greater quantities, until win-lose people try to destroy bits or chunks or half of life in one stroke.

But the golden light will bring the truth to light,

and the truth cuts like a samurai sword

and makes everyone free,

Gracefully free.

And beautiful grace carries one forward into all grey days with grace, faith, hope and love.

Not a bad step forward for a day.

 

 

and each day.

Go One Step Further

Go One Step Further

From the Movie About Time: In a family wherein the men can travel back in time, in their own lives to make things different, better, hopefully not worse:

Dad toasts at Tim’s wedding:

I’d only give one piece of advice to anyone marrying. We’re all quite similar in the end. We all get old and tell the same tales too many times. But try and marry someone kind.

And this, Tim, is a kind man with a good heart.

Dad’s Secret Formula for Happiness:

Part one of the two-part plan, is that I should just get on with ordinary life, living it day by day like anyone else.

Part Two: To live every day a second time,

To live every day, almost exactly the same way, the first time with all the worries and tensions that stop us from noticing how sweet the world can be, but the second time noticing.

Tim’s Step further than Dad’s formula:

The truth is I now don’t travel back at all, not even for the day, I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day, to enjoy it, as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life.

 

There is much in life that is not even good enough to wonder about.

I watched this movie and in it heard people dear to me chortle at Charlotte’s horrendous treatment of Tim. Then I witnessed the worst thing I have ever seen between a child and a parent; something I’d suspected but now was confirmed.

The Light that shines in through the cracks

But there is the sweet wonder of life each day as the sun rises, even when buried beyond a deep, dark, stormy bank of clouds.

The storm aside, literally just set aside, knowing that every storm provides the light for fabulous photos, I know kindness, and that I am kind.

I know light, and I know I am a child of light.

I know grace, and boy do I know I am a child of grace and grace alone.

I know love so sweet it will heal you, and love so overwhelming it literally will kill you, and love so gracious it unconditionally welcomes you home, and love so pure it is an idea that will fuel peace for generations.

The fuel of days

What will fuel your day?

The Light that brings to light all that was hidden in shame in the darkness?

The light that shines through the cracks of our lives, so that we are not dark inside?

The LIGHT that shines on the fields, waters, trees and farms so that life continues having been fed?

The LighT that guides us out of the darkness, toward the light.

Are you ready to go one step further than others?

Life’s a mixed bag, no matter who you are. Look at Jesus: he was the Son of God, for God’s sake and look how that turned out.

Heart and Grace

Heart and Grace
There is an old piece of wisdom that when a beloved breaks your heart
your heart can be so broken …
so literally broken …
that your heart can stop
working
correctly.
It is a wonder that, after my heart stopped working correctly
pushing my blood pressure up to 210/120,
now I can see the beauty that I’d had not been able to see through all the abuse, control, isolation, critique, and threat of death ….
now
now I know grace as I have never before in my life seen …
beauty and grace …
there is not much more precious in life …
except love …
love even when one’s enemies will not be at peace …
love of one’s enemies though they still attack without mercy or cause.
Today I had to speak the truth of how ungracious a person could be …
And in return I was gaslit, yet again, by this person again, as by many others, who want me to respond with stupidity and anger, and I instead respond with words of truth and grace, so they call me crazy or mentally ill, because they do not know how to fight against graciousness and the ugly truth of what they do, of who they are, of what they’ve become … and all that responded to with grace …
but one day as in every situation of life, the light will shine through the brokenness of our hearts and spirits until …
until grace shines bright with truth …
the truth that love and grace always are the right thing to participate in … no matter the cost!
Now my blood pressure measured in twice at 125/73, not continually but twice, which is as low as it’s been for a long broken time now.
It used to be 90/60 for decades, but not recently any more …

still …

I love that my heart is able to love again, literally, love being alive.
I love seeing the light … the photography basic that makes or breaks the difference between a mere picture and a photo of worth.
I love loving.
I love biking, canoeing, skiing, camping in the wilderness where others seldom can travel or stay or even arrive …
I love being alive and able to sleep, to stay awake, to not have to struggle through critique every day, to know my financial life is mine even if it is far from zero on the deep side, to know I will be loved, to know I will be treated as a person worthy of respect, to know I will be listened to, to know who I am, to be able to speak of my life, my family, my parents (great people they are and have been), my experiences of caring for people, preaching well, bringing together families for funerals, providing not just computers but the ability to use them to live and love, to fly through even the worst of situations, to survive what would have killed almost all others, to manage risk well enough to always have more than one out, to save the business … not just once but twice and many times, to know that the grace of God counts also for me and for all others …
I love being able to be me
I love
and it is only by grace that I know that I can love, that I know, after what’s been done to me, how to love …
and only by grace do I know children need real love …
and only by grace do I know that I know how to love children, not just ordinarily but extraordinarily … to give children unconditional parental love, a love that gives life …
and only by grace
when the words of condemnation are still thrown at me, the words of Gaslighting, of dismissal as if I were not alive …
only by grace do I know that these words are not a reflection of me, but of the person uttering them …
only by grace do I know how to grieve for that person, those persons, who lie to me, about me, who attack me relentlessly without cause.

I am not perfect; I am a sinner and saint simultaneously since baptism in May so many years ago in the Lutheran Church in Pine River,
a sinner by my own choosing
and a saint by the grace of God alone
and always both at the same time …
and so are those many others that would throw their condemnations at me, accusing me of what they have done,
ignoring or forgetting that I have loved and sacrificed and forgiven some of the most horrendous things one can suffer at the hands of one’s spouse …
and I know I am certainly not anything like what those who lie have accused me of being.

I am not perfect, but I am, by grace, capable of giving others life.
and that is what I will do until the day I die
whether that is brought on … this or next year,
or whether my death is an event of old age many years from now.

Today a young woman held the door for me, actually she returned three steps to catch and hold the door for me and I thanked her and said I must look old
to have a young person hold the door for me, and she explained her mother told her, yelled at her, that she was to hold the door for others, so she returned to hold the door for me, and I recounted how this never happened for me until the last few years, and she kindly said I did not appear to be quite that old, but she did want to be kind as her mother’s words echoed in her ears.
And I thanked her, for her holding the door and for her kind words.

Words
Words can give life, literally helping one to breathe and thereby hope
or they can cut the life out of the other.

How have your words, my words, been today?
Have they given life by giving truth and grace,
or have they ripped hope from one’s heart …
breaking one’s heart.
Or do our words, clear and unmistakably true and filled with grace spread out to others, healing old wounds and gracefully dancing around the broken cracks in life through which the light gets in so that the other feels and knows that they, if not perfect, are still made whole by grace.

Grace, hope, love …
and heart.
One knows heart most of all.

Marry someone kind, with a good heart. Be a person of good heart. Teach children by example, how to be kind, not to lie to get ahead or to escape a false fear, but to be kind and gracious even in the face of terrible failures and disappointments,
Because,
God is gracious enough to also make you and I saints.

My wife … is kind and gracious.
But the stress of my ex is so great … it breaks hearts.
Breathe
breathe so that grace can return.
breathe
and stay warm this cold winter, even if there is no shelter or hope or … or even if there is no more heart … breathe and trust that the Grace of God will carry also you and me through what is to come.
Let this be winter of dark hours after sunsets be not of death, but of beauty, of grace, of good hearts, and always the dark nights resolving with sunrises of hope.