Forgiveness

Forgiveness
There are really terrible things that people do to other people.

In life these terrible things sometimes stick out above everything else.

There are really terrible things that have been done to me, lies that have been told, and the effects have been devastating.
There are much worse things that are done to others, that have been done to others through history.
As for me: I used to have assets of $350k before, and $250k after.
It was not much of a retirement since I was always a stay at home dad, but it was something, and I freely gave that $100k, or so I thought, because I trusted what I was told: that I brought joy, life and health to others.

Now I have growing debt and no assets, except a bicycle, my clothes, a tent, a sleeping bag. My reputation is in tatters. No one will hire me. Everything that sustains my physical living in the harsh environment of winter is borrowed. Everything that allows me to drink and eat and move and comply with sentences against me is borrowed. Everything and every minute is given to me as gift. So I am still standing. I am still breathing. I am still able to see, record and share the light and the infinite breaking in on our finite existence. But every day everything is borrowed. Or maybe it always has been, and we just make up that we possess things, instead of being loaned them by those around us.

What I did ought to be lauded. I ought not to be judged or condemned or sacrificed or sentenced.
I forgave.
I forgave because I could not allow myself to hate.

I forgive because I will not allow myself to hate.
“Hate is a very big, very hungry thing with lots of very sharp teeth and it will eat up your whole heart and leave no room left for love. We are lucky that God understands this. He is the one that will hand out the punishment so that we do not have to carry all this terrible hate inside of us, if we do not want to, if we are willing to forgive.” From the movie Amish Grace.

We Lutherans proclaim a very powerful Gospel, a Gospel that God loves us unconditionally, that God extends free Grace and Forgiveness to us, no matter what we do, good or evil, so that we can live freely.
We are not free to be whatever we wish to be, but free to respond to such amazing Grace given to us by offering grace and forgiveness to others, no matter what they do, good or evil.

Forgiveness
does not
and cannot
come easily
or
cheaply.

It is costly.

Forgiveness is so costly, sometimes more costly than we could imagine.

My forgiving has cost me …
everything.

An acquaintance wrote me: “You are a love-worthy person and I am glad I met you.”

Everyone is a love-worthy person.
And this is why and how God graciously forgives us, so that we can see each other as worthy of love.

What do you see today?
Who do you see today?
How do you see today?

Do you see with a heart consumed by hate?
Or
Do you see with a heart graciously forgiven and made capable of forgiving and loving in spite of what evil is done to you?

See the light

by following the darkness of the shadows.

 

Celebrate the light.
by seeing the light in all that is every-day.

Share the light

by showing big picture to others, by showing how the light has lit up your path.


All our light comes from the holy infinite God all gracious loving one who gives us life, and breath.

So breathe.

Be gracious
and forgiving
especially of your enemies.

Cold Recovery

Cold Recovery

While it hits a low of -34°C and lasts a few nights
The cold is about to let up.

It’ll warm up to just -4°C.
And then sink at night to -17°C.

This is a little recovery from the Cold, welcome by most,

Or one could hope that the infection commonly known as a cold
will be the recovery that is coming.

Yet there are bigger recoveries that would benefit so many people would they happen.

There are so many people that know the recovery needed.

Just a little light, that’s what we need, a light to shine truth and hope and grace for us all.


In the trees the light takes the bite out of the bark with soft warm golden shine.
Shine light shine!

 

Near the water,
drawn full down by the spin of the earth into the clouds,

the light lets hope shine even as
it is about
to disappear through the cold of the night.

 

Even in the setting sun the wonder is still there,
Reflecting on the snow

And drawing us onward
Toward the horizon,
Toward what will come
After the darkness,
When the light returns and shines
the truth
all ways.

It may be cold.
It may be dark for a while.
But it will be light.
It will be filled with hope.
It will be filled with truth.

And it will be filled with Grace,

For all.

Who knows the light, the truth, the only reason for hope?
Who can speak and set the record straight?

Who can, who will?

What is dark will always be made clear in the light.

Who can, who will set foot in the light?

Who will step out of the shadows and give witness to the light and truth?

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

The cold of this past week was unrelenting.

Yes it got to -35°C. Not just once for a few hours but twice, staying below -30°C for long, cold, dark hours. And during that time there was no furnace that would run, taken down by a what, or was it a who? With repairs two nights distant, two deep cold dark nights away.

Yes, there are more than a few people who know some of the truth of what has been done to me xxxx but that I am under threat if I speak the truth (the xxxx indicate phrases I needed to delete). Most people have believed the lies told about me: they think that I am some kind of monster that is portrayed nowadays in film and tv as the ultimate male gone amok  x x x x.

I am nothing of the sort.

I am a person who at great cost to myself has practiced unconditional love for those closest to me  x x x x 

I am a person practiced in bringing others to experience Grace, even in the midst of the brokenness of their lives, often after surviving the death of loved ones, even by suicide.

Yet I am told, repeatedly, that I have done what I have not done, that I am a person I am not and have never been nor would ever allow myself to become.

 X x x x

How is this even possible?

That impossibility become real is the deep dark cold that corrupts and consumes the goodness in life, not just for me and those close to me, but for everyone who encounters this dark cold.  X x x x  Our sense of truth is so assaulted and violated that it will be a miracle  x x x x  if anyone is left capable of receiving and then giving unconditional love.

Grace is such a miracle, and grace requires human hands and hearts to carry it and deliver it, to reflect it as light … to show by example that Grace does exist … unconditionally for us all.

 

Yet in spite of the unrelenting deep cold darkness

I stand, surviving the cold, by faith through grace alone.

Who will stand with me?

Or

Who will continue to stand against me?

There are so many people who know a piece or two of the truth which would make obvious the lies told about me. There are a few people who know so much truth about the lies being told about me. If only one or two people came forward with the truth they know, the lies could not continue to ruin lives all around; and the conglomerations of lies are not innocent; they have already brought people to their deaths; they will bring more people to their deaths by their own hands.

 

Who will you be, in the face of the deep, cold, darkness that invades your lives?

Will you be an agent of Grace, or one who impedes others knowing Grace is also for them?

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Socialist.

“Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

“Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
“Because I was not a Jew.

“Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Martin Niemoller from Wikipedia

“Friedrich Gustav Emil Martin Niemöller (German: [ˈniːmœlɐ]; 14 January 1892 – 6 March 1984) was a German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor.[1][2] He is best known for a widely-paraphrased statement which he made in different versions, one of which is “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-because I was not a Socialist. … Then they came for me-and there was no one left to speak for me.” [see above.]

He was a national conservative and initially a supporter of Adolf Hitler,[3] but he became one of the founders of the Confessing Church, which opposed the Nazification of German Protestant churches. He vehemently opposed the Nazis’ Aryan Paragraph,[4] but made remarks about Jews that some scholars have called antisemitic.[5] For his opposition to the Nazis’ state control of the churches, Niemöller was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen and Dachau concentration camps from 1938 to 1945.[6][7] He narrowly escaped execution. After his imprisonment, he expressed his deep regret about not having done enough to help the victims of the Nazis.[4] He turned away from his earlier nationalistic beliefs and was one of the initiators of the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt.[4] From the 1950s on, he was a vocal pacifist and anti-war activist, and vice-chair of War Resisters’ International from 1966 to 1972.[8] He met with Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War and was a committed campaigner for nuclear disarmament.[9]

Wikipedia about Martin Niemöller

Who are they coming for today, for whom you do not speak out?

 

What do you see around you?

The COLD and the DARK settling in again?

 

 

OR

 

GRACE and BEAUTY of light, the light that brings truth even in the darkness?

 

 

Can you find the path to the light?
The light that rises indomitably even in the deep dark cold.

 

The path is never straight, and often meanders at many crossroads on its way to the light.

 

We can be no more than ones who reflect the light of Grace. And sometimes when we have so little life left in us we can at most point in the deep, dark, cold to where the light is reflected, to others who reflect the light.

 

 

Then, by the reflected light, we can show others the path …
The path that winds its way toward home,
home where the infinite meets our finite lives,
turning everything upside down, inside out
and
warm with the goodness of life,
the indomitable life
given to us all by Grace.

 

And we are left able in the cold to walk on water,

 

for there is no other choice.

 

 

Most every path we tread is covered
with water,
frozen water,
snow and ice.

Miracles of indomitable life often only occur in the face of the deepest, darkest, coldest ….

 X x x x

A Little View, Cold Snow

While the deep cold
lightens
as the snow falls
sparsely
through the temperature thinned air
the darkness falls
early for even these days
in early February.


If the light had started early
one might understand
willingly
the loss at 14:00.
But the sun refusing to shine until 9 or 10 or later
Leaves one willing to allow the light to defy all odds
If it would, at all, at all.

But a photographer’s joy is not the weatherman’s good report.
Quite the contrary!
Bad weather makes for great light, makes for the possibility of great photos.

Now if I just had a camera and time

even in this frozen

deserted place.

The choice is always to make the best of every situation.

‘Situation’ would be a mild word for the reality brought about by lies upon lies.

Light may bend, light may distort, light may make the ugly beautiful,

but light never lies.

Light just right delights.

Smile, the beginning of peace.

Smile, with delight, with delight I say.

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

Once I saw the moon before it faded away: little just, BEST life

The Moon fades but I remember it even so,

Little Just; Best Life

The promise that God provides is not that people will behave well or even that they will act justly towards others.

The promise that God provides is that God will sustain those dealt with unjustly, and that the light will shine on all that is unjust, making it clear for what it is.

 

Sometimes the light fades along the horizon, too far to light one’s path forward for many more minutes.

 

Sometimes the light is so bright but setting that one cannot see any more than a minute in front of the present. But it is fleetingly wonderful.

 

Other times the light is everywhere and only those things that catch it show us the wonder that creation is.

 

I am one who believes, along with a host of faithful through the generations, that heaven and salvation are not merely elements of what happens after one dies on this creation earth. Rather we believe that, just as we are sinners already made simultaneously saints, so also God brings heaven to bear in this lifetime.

And thus believing I trust that the light will shine bright also already in this life. There is something to fear in that for those who cannot trust God, who refuse to know the sinfulness they perpetrate on others. There is solace in that light for those who trust that God’s grace is not only for others but also for oneself, and therefore one can and should provide that same grace to others.

Thus seeing the brilliant beauty that exposes every shadow. Even they can be a part of the beautiful mosaic of creation. Where else do we know and see God’s brilliant grace and our darkness portrayed for even us to see and know?

We do our best when

We find beauty in the light and the dark.

We see beauty in each other despite the dark.

We help build a safe place for each other, despite our past failings.

Sometimes our attempts are realistic: we need shelter and there is more than enough crap to take care of, and then a big old tree wipes out our shelter.

Shelter comes in many forms. For some it is just that: protection from the deadly elements of Canada’s cold northern winters and flying bug-biter or bomber summers.

For others it is to build a bank account that seems inassailable.

For others it is a collection of pseudo friends to help us ignore the cold dark inside ourselves, that part that lies as if that were to create one’s own protection when in fact if brings about one’s own downfall.

 

God promises and provides friends, true friends who judge little and exercise grace lots. True friends who mean it when they ask how one is. True friends who answer one’s calls when one is desperate and when one is overwhelmed with gratitude and amazement at the great goodness of God that people are able to reflect in their lives.

True friends are those who tell only the truth, and hold one to account to tell only the whole truth … so that grace’s need is undeniable and grace’s effect is in clear focus.

The light pushes ahead of it true friends, if not so much in our direction then as a wave of grace in front of us towards others.

 

And that is the best of life … even if there is little justice …

The best, to be a great, unconditionally loving friend.

Have you been one lately?

Dark Lake Ice

Dark Lake Ice

The wonder of the world is simple
Not something silly simply, simplistic
But that simple beyond the complexities that confuse and confound
Simple and profound
Simple and true
Simple with integrity.
The wonder of the world is that one can find another simply loving, worth devotion and desirable as one’s companion.
The wonder of the world is to hope when all evidence is to the contrary that anything good can come of what is happened, what lies are told, what deceptions are played, what truth is shredded by greed and fear of discovery, fear of being alone.
The wonder of the world is faith that is not stupid or ignorant, not thoughtless nor doubtless, but a faith that God’s grace and love will prevail, even in the face of continuous evidence that evil will win and destroy fathers and children and even mothers who lie in the midst of dreadful fear of source unknown but focused now on destroying so much, also me. A faith that encounters the infinite in the finite, the immortal in the mortal, the universe divine in the mundane of the world, the light even when it is only dark.

Here the ice is in solid enough to fish through, but at night it is dark, very dark but for the light reflected to the clouds by oil processing plants. The ice is dark, the light just enough not to get lost, the ice just cold enough to hold one walking on water. And who said miracles are not possible everyday in the winter?

or any other season for that matter?

The light will come as sure as sunrise, brilliant, bedazzling, searing through every darkness in its path. All will be known.

The light will make us all see and know the truth. And the truth like a double edge sword will not only give light to our footsteps through the cold snow with biting ice wind and through the heat teaming with mosquitoes and black flies, the light will make the evil present visible and known for what it is and as searing laser it will cut it out of us, cleansing us of all the evil.
And those born and raised without unconditional love will know they have been unconditionally loved and forgiven and loved as only an evil enemy can be.
Are you ready for the light?
Are you gracious enough to welcome the light and its freedom as gift freely given or
Do you hide in the darkness because you cannot face the evil in light within, because you have never seen the light bring not only Evil to light, but freedom to be enslaved to forgiving others, always, without end.
Grace like light is both particle and wave, sword and embrace, freedom and slavery, gift and free and opportunity to take on obligations otherwise scorned.
Hold the light high, it will shine and make us all free. Hold the light high for you are the light,
The sinner made saint yet simultaneously always yet the sinner, freed to be servant.
Money will not make you free. It will enslave you to life that is dead.
Power will not make you free. It sill enslave you to die while you still walk and breathe.
Winning at all costs will not set you free; it will only rob your soul and mind from you as you continue to lose even when others tell you you win.

Come light of the world, light up my days, your days, and set us free.
Brace us for the sword’s work in us.
Brace yourself for the light that knocks you silly and wakes you smiling for real.
Smile, it is the beginning of Peace.

We walk on water, and there are all sorts of other miracles we forget to see each day.

Breathe.

Smile.

Be the source of Peace.

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.

More than We can Imagine

More than We can Imagine


Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of who do the things that no one can imagine. Alan Turing

On the deep side of the ice forming with wind shaking the water just as it freezes into patches and cracks, there stands a person never seen nor geachtet.
The morning is barely underway, with light sending the darkness back, but the bright light of day not yet having taken away the reach of darkness. The shadows not yet formed. The moon still perched in the west above the clouds. The beaver pond creek still flowing fast enough to keep the water from freezing hard.
There is more to this than we can imagine.

Where just a bit of light can be confusing, leaving one to wonder if night would persist or if light would arrive after all to make things more than clear.
Is there more to this than we can imagine?

Across the pond the trees stand tall, the bush not relenting, and the pussy willows the only colour amid the black and the white. Let there be more light so that colour can be better known, the withers and whethers, the downs and ups, the dreams and the realities made more obviously clear.
Can we imagine more?

There were white giants once standing, now broken and stripped clean. The wisps of fluff, standing stout, bending yet firmly staunch against the outrageous rages of whether or not.
What is it that we can imagine that we do not know.

One short and angled against the bronze reeds above the silver white snow of age still vibrant.
Imagine that.

It is the silent light disguised by the flowing water so close to freezing that will set the fires of recognition and revelation ablaze, warming the hearts that will choose either Grace or Retribution and DESTRUCTION.
Can anyone really not imagine such choices of life and death so close to the everyday, to the simplest ways, and for which so many things are perverted and converted through deception as if reality never were a thing at all?
Sometimes it is the people who seem to think they can know they can get away with everything who cannot imagine, who cannot imagine that other people do not play the zero sum game.
Every day there are choices that we each and all make,
To be the means of Grace
Or
To be the instruments of retribution.

Light will shine and make the darkness visible and clear to all.
How will you,
How will we,
How will they,
Find the light?
By surprise or predictably knowing:
Caught or Free.
Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of
who do the things that no one can imagine.

Who are we?

Who are we?
Who are we if we have not learned with all those who have gone before us?
Our lives are not fully lived if we are not willing to die for those we love and for what we believe.
Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma AL.

Can we find our way home?

Who are we if we are not willing to die for our children?

Who are we if we are not willing to protest, non-violently, against injustice?

Who are we if we turn a blind eye to the injustice that separates those of one color or heritage from another?

Who are we if we ignore our sisters and brothers and those who identify with neither of those gender designations, as there is only one certainty, and that certainty is that justice will not be available equally to all?

Who are we if we ignore who ends up on the streets? Who cannot find work? Who fills the jails?

And who gets to travel? Who frets about what can be taken away from them? Who has nothing to fret about, except where food and shelter from the cold will come from this winter?

Can you see in the darkness?

Can you see beauty even when there is no future to see?

Who are we?

And who are you?

Who am I?

Can we see the water for the weeds? The ice for the snow?

Will we find the safe path through what is before us?

Are you, are we, am I able to love your/our/my enemy as your/our/my neighbor as your/our/myself?

If you/we/I are/am unable to love unconditionally, even the enemy, then who are/am you/we/I anyway?

As for me and my household, since I am only one, I will serve the Lord,
and if that means I will die, then I will die for those I love and what I believe.

There is little sunshine among the treacherous cold rough waters ahead.

But I believe justice needs to be equal for all.

I believe by grace alone we all still stand

as long as we can still stand.

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.