Who Is My Enemy – In the Canoe

Who Is My Enemy – In the Canoe?
An ode by a man under attack by so many lies, and so many liars and those who acquiesce to evil. And ode in the form of a prayer to God, with you listening in.

Beauty
There is great beauty in nature, in photography done well, in the soul of so many people when they are met with Grace. There is beauty in my life.
Is there beauty in your life?

‘My’ Canoe
I am able whenever the weather allows, to jump in a canoe and paddle a lake, to breath clear air and watch the sun rise and set, to watch loons dive away and beaver swim by, to watch the ducklings grow, to see the geese migrate south in their noisy, majestic “V’s”.

Everyone has something of a canoe, even if it must be only in your imagination. And it is precious. So

Don’t Fiddle,
Don’t Faddle,
Don’t Piddle
Just Paddle

Paddle in your canoe.

Who is my enemy when I can be in a canoe?
No one can be, for I am free.
Being free does not stop the attacks on me, nor does it fix the ruin I have been brought to by lies at all levels.
Being free does not put Evil to rest, but it gives me and many others life, life abundant.

Am I hurt as my sunset forced early upon me?
Yes, beyond anything I could imagine!
Am I going to let myself become angry?
Beyond what I cannot control, of course not. I do not allow myself to be that kind of a person.
Why would I allow this, this worst of treatment, so unjust, unethical, and downright mean … why would I allow this or anything else to change me into something like the people who do this to me?
Would I want to become a bully? Would I want to become indiscriminately mean and even cruel like the many people who have together taken every thing from me except a sleeping bag, a tent, a bicycle, and my clothes?
Would I choose to allow them to take my soul too?
Would I want to choose that the Gaslighting that my own family started and carried on without pause, and is now regularly repeated in so many ways by so many people … would I want the Gaslighting to have the intended effect on me?
Would I want to forget which are the truths, which the lies, about me?

Who am I,
that I can be in a canoe?

I am:
Kind
Gracious
Unconditionally loving
Forgiving
Slow to anger
Healthy focusing the energy of anger towards healthy changes
Honest
Clear about reality
Clear about what I have done and what I have not done
Tremendous with children, at a momentary meeting, as an acquaintance, as friend, as parent.
Sexually healthy, respectful, faithful,
Loyal
Respectful of all genders, colours, faiths
Healthy:
Mentally resilient and creative and as always uniquely equipped to help others, and remaining very healthy despite continuing efforts to Gaslight me.
Physically proactively providing for my health care needs and remaining very healthy despite all efforts to deny me my health.
I am a pacifist, a practical pacifist.
I am a sacramental mystic.
I am simultaneously a saint and a sinner.
I am a child of God, a saint in the eternal light of Christ.

This is who I am not:
I am not mean,
I am not crass, profane,
I am not hateful or begrudging
I am not vengeful
I am not quick to anger
I am not reckless with my health and my health care
I am not dishonest, I do not lie,
I am not confused about reality, projecting falsehoods on to others
I have not forgotten what I have done and what I have not done or confused what others falsely say with what actually happened, what I said, what I did, what I thought, what I strove for
I am not abusive to anyone, especially not children, I certainly am not perverse with children
I am not a sexual deviant, nor promiscuous, nor a misogynist nor a misandrist.
I am not disloyal, I do not betray anyone or any trust.
I am not ill, though this sustained attack on my person has landed me in emergency surgery.
I am not mentally ill, nor psychopathic nor psychologically disordered in any way.
To all and any who accuse me of being suicidal I say very clearly that I am immune.

To my enemies:
I ask the plethora of my enemies, is this, the person I am not, really who you want me to change to become, as if that would relieve you of your responsibilities for bullying, cruelty and lies?
Would you like that I succumb to the constant Gaslighting and become mentally ill, psychotic, disordered, or not resilient?
Would you like that I respond to accusations that I am going to kill myself that I say instead, “Ok, when and where and how?” [Now wouldn’t that be perverse, and wholly unnatural!]
I am not reckless with my physical health, nor passive about it, nor uninformed, nor un-engaged.

I am certainly not passive about anything that I can change for the better:
Rather I take to heart the prayer:
My I have the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

I am not violent nor unrealistic about my part and place in life.
Instead I choose not to become vindictive, or even angry, because I would not want to be that kind of a person. I’ve sacrificed much in life to remain a pacifist, one who forgives instead of being vindictive.
Would you prefer or recommend that I become vindictive and destructive, violent and scheming?
I am not disconnected from my Creator and this Creation, in all aspects and dimensions I am able to participate in Creation I do.
Would you want that I become a one dimensional idiot?
I claim no goodness on my own merit, but all good I am is a gift from God. I accept full responsibility for all bad that I am, think, do and allow by inaction to happen. I can do this because I fully trust God’s forgiveness and blessings.
I am not a child of the Devil, Evil, or Decay.



Who do my enemies think they want me to become, when I can be in a canoe?

How is it that you wanted me to change?
You said you want to provide services to me, for me to choose to become more stable. You suggested that I move in with my wife from whom I am separated. I have told you and told you again, that my ex would then attack the few assets my wife holds onto by a threadbare string, and two more people would be out on the street, homeless like I am. And you thought that would be an improvement? You said yes that I should choose this!?!

What kind of an upside down world do my enemies think they can force on me?

How can I respond to the lies and terrible things done to me by so many people?
How can one respond to such cruelty, such destructive cruelty, against me and the children, against so many other men and children?

Cruelty comes in many forms. One is this Gaslighting, this telling me that somehow I am responsible for and able to change the fact that lies by so many at all levels in the Justice system have made me homeless, and that these lies have put the children at great risk.

Cruelty comes not only as commissions, but also as omissions.
It comes from people who stand by and do nothing to know the cruelty done.
It comes from people who close their eyes, ears, and mouths in the face of evil.
It comes from people who know full well what is done, especially people with authority, and they do nothing because it is risky to do anything in the face of evil.
“The world is in greater peril from those who tolerate or encourage evil than from those who actually commit it.” Albert Einstein

What am I to do?
I tell you, I bind sins, and continue to live with Grace.
I choose, as an ordained person, to continue as the gracious person I am, but to name these acts against me (and similar acts against so many other men and children) for what they are: they are evil.
I choose to ‘bind these sins’, those of commission and omission. God will judge those responsible. The judgment will be in the afterlife, but as God is not bound by time, the effects of that judgement begin already now.

Except I have forgiven my family, those I was asked to and did promise to love unconditionally, those who I have at great cost forgiven, and whom I continue to forgive. Because I know where their sins begin, and I trust that it is not in maliciousness, but in mental illness. But even if it is maliciousness, how can I not forgive and continue to forgive people who were so close and so powerfully loving and so life changing for me (both good change at first and then so terribly destructive against me, without reason from me)?

Having left this cruelty against me and others in God’s hands, I am free.
Free to respond with grace to the doers and those that acquiesce. It is not as if I have forgiven them (other than my family), but their evil will not define me, nor will it change me but for the better. I will work to stop this cruelty to men and children, as much as God makes me able.

Most of all, I will not forget Beauty, in all its aspects, in this world; the beauty of nature, of light reflected in photography, the beauty of hard work and physical health providing for oneself and for others, the beauty of words that inspire, and the beauty of love.

All of this is possible because God provides story upon story for us, through which we can know something of God as

God who loves unconditionally all people, God who wishes us all life, and life abundant.

Who can be my enemy when I am in the canoe, steeped in the beauty of God’s creation?
Only Evil is my enemy, and God has defeated Evil, it just does not know it. But I can live that it is defeated.

[Last minute addition:]

The RCMP will not though, just minutes ago they evicted me, so that homeless, with a borrowed trailer on Crown land, no more than 14 days at a time, I now have really no where to go that is even a bit safe. This sin is bound as well, for while I move out every 14 days and stay out for 72 hours, as per the requirements there are frequently others who do not, who stay for months … and the RCMP, nor any other authority, do anything to them, even though they are clearly living there setting up for the winter.

This is how we deal with homeless people. We make it impossible for them.

God save us. God save me. God show me the beauty available now, still with my canoe, which now is no canoe at all. It is another nothing, taken from me. And yet I will find a way to live determined not by my enemies, but in Grace.

 

 

What about you?
Who is your enemy when you are in your canoe (wherever and whatever it means for you to be in your canoe)?
Where is beauty and grace for you?

Rainbows of No Colours

Rainbows of No Colours but Grace Alone

After a full day
The sun sets whether the passengers get home
Or not
Flying
Leaving a crystal trail
Across the sky.

How will they know we were here?
And will there be a home ever again?

Is there hope?
Yes, just no evidence that provides a basis for it.
It is raw hope based solely on faith that though people fail
God will not fail us, will not fail to bring justice and mercy to bear on all
All of us.

Thoughts in shorthand from the Lessons for today:
Genesis 9:8-17
Psalm 25:1-10
1 Peter 3:18-22
Mark 1:9-15

Notes to Readings
Flood Promise: hope despite disaster of proportions inexplicable.
Colours: signs of hope, beauty as sign of promise of life not condemned.
Colours are a sign for God to remember!
Remember me oh God, amidst being forgotten by the world, made a non person.
Steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.
So it is to be a religion of achievement, not grace! So to speak: Let us work to please God for God then will be the one to reward and save us! Quatsch!
God is God, God is gracious, God is merciful. And to all.
But there are consequences not known easily in this world’s course and flow, and there will be consequences for those and for all who make life for others hell.
Christ, the righteous, suffered for all, the unrighteous, not as removal of dirt, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience
What is this “conscience” to the writer of 1 Peter? A plea to God to provide a good conscience for us, through Jesus Christ! Yes, if Grace abounds, even sin forgiven is heavy, and brings us to behave poorly, but knowing the grace and forgiveness of God, bought and paid for by Jesus, and told to us as model of how to live, no more scapegoats, brings us to ask how can we live given that we are forgiven and made clean, a clean conscience and existentially clean as well! More than dirt removed, a soul, a life, cleansed in order to change the universe (i.e. system changed by one change).
First: when one realizes that God is gracious and forgives and gives life and breath freely despite none of us deserving any of it, then one is suddenly freed, freed to be marvellously and amazingly able to forgive, to be God’s grace to others, and even to oneself.
Second: when one changes/is changed by grace then since one exists within multiple systems, each member of the system dependent on the others, one’s changing changes the place and existence of the others in the system: that is when grace changes one person, it changes the system … it changes the system towards grace for all.
Third: that changed system towards grace rebounds back on the one first changed and changes that one even again and freshly so.
Forth: who are you? Are you fighting the system changes of grace along with so many other billions upon billions? Or are you freed and gracious and forgiving at all costs.

 


We think the world is pathways that we choose to take the high road or low road, the left fork or the right fork, the path of goodness or that of evil; but God works to bring our diverse paths together. God is well pleased with all of us. The light makes everything known, good and evil. And all of us will meet at Christ’s feet, the light of the world.

Baptism: beloved Son with you I am well pleased.
Temptation: 40 days tempted
Ministry started as John is arrested. Repent and believe the good news.
What is this: to be claimed, to be named, to be tempted, to proclaim/share the good news?
What is this if it is not to be the grace of God in this world so that others will experience it real!

This is life, the goodness of life.
The rainbow and the colours and the beauty, and the simple joys of life and the big joys of life are all given to us so that we can be (even as God is) reminded that God’s way is not to wipe out the world, good and evil; God’s way is to transform, to redeem, to give new free breath to every person and every atom in this world.
Breathe!
Be Graced, Be Grace.

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, directly because of the lies told about me, 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 the 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,

as well as yourself.

Everything is borrowed, given to us for a short time.

“Wir sind alle Bettler.”

MLuther

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

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?

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.

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.

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.

The Human Project: Knowing Oneself

While the darkness imposes itself on us at such quantities and qualities that cannot ever be denied, at times overwhelming us, and all of us, humans that we are, eventually even unto our own deaths … yet there is always light.

Light exposes the truths that are hidden, hidden by darkness and by blindness chosen so as not to have to face reality.

While the NW sky even at 23:45 is mostly pressed into darkness, we fight back as always with light, small light, wasted light, light that is to provide for safety, a safety of ourselves from ourselves, the most dangerous wild animals on earth. Our light is incomparable to the light of the world.

Yet we waste even our minuscule light allowing much to interfere with the true light and the true beauty of the darkness. Our light pollution is maddening, for there are lights that do not toss light upwards and outwards, but limit their disruption of the nature of night to a downward funnel, so that from the fourth floor, and even not far from the multiple cones of light illuminating the threat of darkness, one can see the wonders of the sky, the stars, the moon, and even the profound deep darkness that night is; and wonder at how marvellous it is all.

To know oneself is to know the darkness and to know the light reflected into oneself, and made visible in many and various ways.

It is to comprehend oneself in relation to all of the universe. Of course that is impossible, we are finite, but it is to understand and be ever curious about how the world is, and how it is that people do what they do to live in the world. And how one fits and does not fit into these various efforts to survive what otherwise would surely kill us all: the lack of air, water, food, clothing, shelter, meaningful labour and unconditional love received and in response also given.

It is on the one hand to strive, as if building a tower of Babel, to gather others together in community to strive, not to be gods or to displace God in the heavens with our efforts (the Babel error), but to make life whole for all, to strive to reach towards the heavens and to do the work of God, the work of Grace; which efforts cannot succeed, but are worth everything in the striving to do, for God completes for us great grace.

It is on the other hand to recognize humbly that not only will one strive to build the tower, as if to displace God and to falsely claim to be gods, but one will always fail at that effort, and fail miserably to one’s own disgrace and to great cost of those around one. Yet God will take of our efforts even to displace God with ourselves as gods, and God will redeem these efforts and out of them created miracles, the miracles of Grace, of Blessedness, of love and hope.

The question is only will one see oneself building the Babel, and it’s lie; and at the same time see God’s gracious hand (not reaching out to take us into the heavens) but coming down to us at our own level(s) to be with us, redeem our foolishness, to forgive us, and to give us the fullness of life; and that repeatedly each moment of our lives, but only by Grace, as undeserved gift to each and all of us?

We live then not striving to please God (an effort that continually not only fails but kills others and even ourselves in the process), but knowing that God has made us pleasing to God, we are free to do and be whatever … not so that we are free to behave so that God has more to forgive; but instead to be in this universe in such ways as to bring life, the same gracious life God repeatedly gives to us, to bring the fullness of life to others.

We can choose to behave toward the stranger to bring our behaviour to them so as to expect and in fact pull out of them the best in them, to assume that is who they are, and to interact with them trusting that they also wish to be their best also with us.

We can choose to behave toward our friends, the closer the more honestly and completely, to reflect back to the both the dark, destructive choices they are, AND the blessed goodness that God places in them in each moment.

And we can choose to behave toward our spouse: to be the most honest reflection of them back to themselves; not leaving out the evil that is the beloved, nor any of the blessedness that is the beloved, to give them the greatest success in knowing themselves most fully, for them to know the universe and their place in it, and for them to know God and God’s relationship to them which frees one to live full of grace, love, and hope.

And to hope that from strangers, our friends and one’s spouse, one will receive this ongoing loving revelation of who one is in this universe.

This is not easy, simple, or common, giving this gift of insight grace to others. It is easy to make the attempt half heartedly or even not at all, and to fail in either of two directions: either in giving only darkness or in giving only a rose coloured glass version of reality.

In either case the same darkness that destroys life

by giving the spouse or other only the reflection of all that is wrong with them,

or by giving the spouse or the other the reflection of them that leaves out all that is wrong with them.

The most devastating destruction comes though when one’s spouse not only critiques one constantly, but does so falsely. Either she does this because she knows only darkness and cannot see the light; or she sees the darkness that is herself, cannot face it, so instead projects it on to the spouse.

In this ‘dorian grey’ like struggle to survive without blemish, the spouse literally sucks the life right out of you until there is only death. Even if one still walks on top the grass and the dandelions are down one is left a shell of what once was a live human.

To know oneself wholly is impossible, but to strive to know oneself fully, both darkness and light, is to strive to bring life and grace to others.

To know oneself is to be humble, curious, and gracious, enough so that one can gently laugh at the limits that one is in the world; and to gently speak the truth to others, of their limits and gifts.

Reality is wonderfully composed, and never does it yield to darkness nor to pure light; for either is only knowable in this universe in conjunction with the other.

The darkness of the summer night and our human efforts to over come darkness with our own lights.

“A smile is the beginning of peace.” St. Theresa

So let us begin …

by gently, lovingly, smiling and even laughing at ourselves,

at the darkness that otherwise is so destructive,

and the light that is such a miraculous gift.

And in the morning the light and fog compete as the early summer light invades the sleeping hours of most.