Sanctuary

Sanctuary
How can I keep from singing?

 

 

 

From there we retreated to our own little sanctuary in the middle of the sanctuary, watching out of the window as the light gave way to darkness.

The promise of all truth and Grace is that the sun will rise; what is done in darkness will be exposed by the light to be known for what it is.
On this promise, generations have lived Grace, beaten at every turn but still standing by Grace alone, yet forgiving and trusting that truth will be known. Truth will be known. Truth will come into the light and expose the death of life that has hidden in the darkness.
As sure as the sunrise, the light will come.
This promise provides sanctuary from the onslaught and attacks relentless.
This promise provides sanctuary from false words that rob life from all met by them, and with that grows hope; and that is a hope that no darkness can destroy.

With that hope, no matter the attack, how can I keep from singing?!

 

Beaver Block

Beaver Block
Tonight after supper we headed out for a canoe paddle, exploring the outlet to the lake.
A beaver has dammed up the outlet, thus the ever higher water levels.

The calm beaver ponds were ringed with flowers purple, lush green reeds, and pussy willows.

The dam showed signs that the beaver are of course building higher and higher to contain the water, anxious as they become at the sound of flowing water, thus the ever rising level of the lake, inch by inch higher with each substantial rainfall.
Signs of grace and beauty that one can only explore in a canoe.

Bright Light after the Storm

Bright Light after the Storm

Sitting, relaxing, having sat at the fire roasting sausages to compliment the fresh corn on the cob, invited the neighbours for roasted marshmallows, canoed across the lake against the wind and back without any wind – yes the wind died out exactly as we reached the far shore! –and, as dusk took hold and the clouds darkened, retreated into the camper,

so sitting, relaxing, reading and writing until

the skies shook, the trees quaked and swayed and the camper rocked in the wind that hit hard …

so we set the awning low, pulled in the chairs, set the red hot coals and logs apart in the fire ring, and set the generator under cover safe from the

pouring bullets of rain that pounded everything.

And then, secured we shut everything down, except the one battery lantern, and crawled tired and satisfied into bed to sleep …

And at that moment the rain stopped hammering and the wind rustled the leaves gently and we slept soundly though to the break of dawn

To rise to the fresh wind, the bright light and the clean air

– Cleaned of the smoke from the BC wildfires that set in like haze over the past few days to dull the light –

With a view spectacular out the door of our shelter from the elements.

Lit Birch on Blue Water

The Ring for Fire, Damp, against the bright morning light on Birch on the Shore

 

The basic necessities of life well provided by Grace alone:

Air, clean water, food sufficient, clothing appropriate – mosquitoes being the greatest challenge – , shelter from the weather and from threats to one’s person by four legged and two legged animals, meaningful labour – though the pay is paltry – , and love – both to be loved and to love another with full trust that one will not be betrayed with blatant lies but indeed supported to be the best one can be and that one’s beloved will receive support and encouragement even inspiration to be the best she/he can be.

And still the abuser and bullies are free without constraint … and in response to them I say simply: by Grace alone I am not only still standing, I am flourishing, able to be grateful for Grace which gives me and mine breath, and not only breath but ability to be in the beauty of this marvelous universe.

Best Response

Best Response

There are innumerable accounts in written history and in literature (reflecting the truths of life throughout history) … accounts of abuse and bullying ruining lives.

The accounts cover the gamut from horrors of war, to abuse between identifiable groups as often as not closely related to each other, to religious based hatred gone amok, to scapegoating of all kinds including systemic lies created and augmented against an innocent and even admirable person … lies that ruin the innocent in order to allow the larger group experience some cathartic release of dissonance created by their own internal conflict which is too expensive for them to honestly recognize and deal with (see Girard), to conflict between intimate partners where one, often a high functioning borderline personality which is able to charm others to believing the most horrific lies about their partner bringing the innocent and admirable partner to ruin for actions and despicable behaviours that actually belong to the person with borderline personality.

While our (my family and I, and many others including my ex) faith is Lutheran Christian, a particular faith based on mystics’ and sacramental (mundane made holy by God’s Grace alone) theologians through countless generations, and while our Canadian society now identifies bullying as an unacceptable behaviour and focuses on children, youth and young adults, we are doing very little to name, address and eradicate bullying by adults of adults. And we have not ‘cracked that nut’ because our leaders who could call us to account more likely as not have built their careers on bullying others in order to get ahead, to gain the power that they exercise.

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.[1] Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.[4]”

Between intimate partners bullying takes on a very personal, psychological devastation of the victim as the very relationship that ought to be based on unfettered trust and ought to provide unconditional love, while the victim engages in the relationship to provide all of that for the abuser (often as not unrecognized as the abuser by the victim until it is too late), the abuser exercises all sorts of control, projects her own failures on to her victim and makes unreal demands of behaviour of the victim who soon enough recognizes the extreme costs to not complying … the costs are devastating loss, often loss of children, financial security, home, and reputation … and in the end always the loss of one’s own life.

See http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1100-men-abused-by-women-booklet.pdf, http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1401_men-abused-by-women.pdf, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149, and https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/women-abuse-men-often-called-abuse-fiff/:

“The ease with which the genders in the piece can be reversed shows that abusive relationships are about power and control, not specifically male or female behavior, and that women use the same power levers, as well as some of their own (such as withholding affection or sex) to dominate their victims. Additionally, in “genderizing” abuse as a primarily male behavior, we minimize and, in a way, legitimize, women’s abusive behavior.”

So we focus on bullying by children, youth and young adults, projecting our own abhorrent behaviours on them in order to exorcise our own cognitive dissonance about our own behaviours that have netted us our privileges and power. And we focus on abuse by men of women, fully denying the devastation caused by women abusing men, women who are more often than not dominant passive aggressive manipulative controllers who exercise demeaning control over their males partners that way too often leads to suicide as the only escape. For the foundational work on surviving the devastating effects of a loved one with borderline personality disorders see STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger, and the companion THE STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS WORKBOOK, Practical Strategies for Living with Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder.

While our faith calls us to recognize that each person is simultaneously a sinner (dammed mess of a human) and a saint (a perfect example of God’s grace embodied in a human – but not by merit of the person, only by the Grace of God transforming that sinner into a saint), and as recipients of Grace that makes us able and deserving (by grace alone) to even breath air yet alone enjoy the privileges of life Jesus Christ calls us imperfect yet perfect humans to exercise that same grace toward each other … which means we sacrifice our lives (from small bits to our actual mortal lives) to exercise forgiveness and unconditional acceptance of other sinners in order that they also can hear of and experience the transforming power of God’s Grace for them … while we are called to sacrifice in contrast the people of the world around us, and even many of us, including those with borderline personality disorders, systematically and habitually exercise abuse and bullying against all in their path in order to get ahead, and then falsely judge others for supposedly being exactly what they are.

Caught in the devastation of a borderline personality disordered beloved, and the ensuing scapegoating and bullying that threatens to not only ruin my life but likely end it, how does one, living by Grace Alone, respond?

There is only one response: to live with grace, to live as well as one can, to find Grace and Beauty in each moment in each person encountered, and to live with as much joy and gratitude as possible.

For me, as a photographer among many other vocations and skills, that means to use the equipment I have left (one result of abuse was the loss of my some of the best SLR cameras, lenses and lighting equipment, as well as software) to capture and share beauty right in my ‘own backyard.’

Enjoy with me that these photos are possible, even with a cell phone camera. What a marvel compared to my first digital camera that cost more than three times as much!

On the water with my wife’s canoe, the marvelous item that makes our presence literally on the water possible. While others have yachts and houseboats and ski boats and fishing boats and even kayaks, this simple and relatively inexpensive, therefore possible, possession requires our own muscle power to get it into the water and then our own muscle power to move it across the water … but what a view into the marvels of beauty:

The Boat

Shoreline Trees Caught in the Sunset Light

The Loon of Haunting Cries

(Sorry it’s not with a telephoto lens to capture the loon properly!)

Sunset on the Water

A Rare Selfie: Golden Light on a Face Made Ancient by Abuse and Bullying

Relaxing by the New Fire Ring Properly Made (as we clean up yet another trashed random campsite on crown land.) That’s sand on an area without roots likely below, covered with the sand not 10 feet away and clear of trees above, ringed with substantial enough rocks to contain the fire in a ring large enough and a bit oblong to not necessitate wood laid into the fire also laying across the ring of rocks and outside the ring.

 

 

We bask in a night’s rest in the quiet beside the lake, to the lonely cry of the loon … As the sun rises we wake to the white bark of birch against the marvelous sparkling water of the lake.

Life is good, even if some (many) people simply cannot be even decent yet alone grace-filled. As for me and my family (and all my children), we will live Grace and appreciate beauty.

Sun Appears to Set

Sun Appears to Set

After a sunny morning that turned overcast, rainy and full of thunder through the afternoon, it was a pleasant, not forecasted, delight that the sun appeared as an orange smudge, then fireball, and reflected a trace across the lake, just in time to set, leaving a quiet hush after a windy day.

Free Air, Free Sun, Free Tornado Warnings

Free Air, Free Sun, Free Tornado Warnings

5 am

After the winds blew tremendous and the lights were mostly off but then suddenly, momentarily full back on as if daylight again …

The froth kicked up by the wind borders the beaches

 

The fishing boat is still secure

The moon still wanes

And the birds are still soaring about.

Mostly life goes on, though a few trees met their end and some hopes were dashed,

But life mostly goes on

Limited as it is by families split, and wars started, villages burned out and camping spots still riddled with bullets and glass.

Who heard of leaving or putting a 22. Bullet in a campfire ring!

And the young women is on her way to the hospital.