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.
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
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 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.
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.
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. 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. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.”
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.
“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:
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.
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.
lies told to ruin others just to have … to have what … the lie that one did nothing wrong?
processes used to reinforce that there is no justice or grace?
perversions demanded with no understanding of the hell that was?
hopes beyond hope that are still waiting for next year, next year in Jerusalem.
loves and life giving beliefs that are perverted to rob so many of life.
deaths … senseless deaths … just because they could … and never have to be accountable.
travels that bring one so far and yet one stays all too close, and
travels that bring one almost nowhere, and yet one stays oh so far distant.
resurrections … only because life is more powerful than death.
renewed hope that someday … next year in Jerusalem … the truth will be revealed,
and acted upon … with grace.
Menschenfurcht und Gottesfurcht
27 Was ich euch sage in der Finsternis, das redet im Licht; und was ihr hört in das Ohr, das predigt auf den Dächern. 28 Und fürchtet euch nicht vor denen, die den Leib töten, und die Seele nicht können töten; fürchtet euch aber vielmehr vor dem, der Leib und Seele verderben kann in der Hölle. 29 Kauft man nicht zwei Sperlinge um einen Pfennig? Dennoch fällt deren keiner auf die Erde ohne euren Vater. 30 Nun aber sind auch eure Haare auf dem Haupte alle gezählt. 31 So fürchtet euch denn nicht; ihr seid besser als viele Sperlinge.
There have been so many …
but no pictures can make it right.
Nothing can make it right, except that …
that one remembers everything, and treats the Täter as if the Tat were not.
there is life and hope that next year in Jerusalem
Simple Spring Snow
As the heavens poured out the white, winter, down-duvet-split-open-softness on to our heads and campsite and woods the colours and light danced so quietly
as my boots crunched, the water gurgled and Karin’s beer spray protected us all from invisible rye and malt humour.
So is the bed of peace and hope.
There are a few children missing, but nothing more than what is being done can be done. So pray with us, for us, for them.
There are views of life that are so subtly similar, yet a step to the right, left or ahead provide a completely different perspective, seeing in through the cracks that are in everything the light that is Grace and Hope.
The Trees, alive with light on the walk out of the warmth into the wilderness.
Water the source of life, the wonder of life, the beauty of life. Green. Why?
Not because it’s cold, but because it is not cold enough to keep the glaciers from melting.
Glowing, white streams in the green of gorgeous. Can you see it here, too?
The River looking onto it from various points, perspective that changes light and subject, all the same yet completely different.
Turtles, of the snacking kind were at the table the night before, and here they appear again, a bit molded and quiet, looking not to be eaten anymore.
The soft look of fallen snow and fog on the mountains beyond the river.
Rocks … below and …
Rocks below … and …
Rocks beyond …
The River Upstream
More turtles and …
Rocks and …
Rocks and …
Rocks and …
Rocks … until …
There are no more rocks in view as one looks downstream to Pyramid Mountain.
The path back to coffee and breakfast.
As the snow hangs tight but loosened by melting, waffles wait with syrup from trees and butter enough.
The light and the drips of water frozen in place the evening before.
Each one entered a simple game to surrender to what cannot be forced against a ball and a pin with a club
But like in life one surrenders to what one is called to be and do
Profound or not
For it is what one alone sees
The Light of Grace
Yet there was for so many so little
So little that can be done when all that is
So we remember.
For generations there were always many who suffered at the hands of others looking to move ahead
At the cost of
Those around them …
And who betrayed those closest to them in order to get ahead as their loved one is left vulnerable
Because the beloved could not face the reality of the world that they created out of a profound fear of the light leaving them alone
So they attack
And whip others into a frenzy to attack their loved one for fictitious events
And the loved one is
Left as good as dead
In the dark
Once again paying the price for being the one that loved unconditionally, and loves unconditionally.
So we remember.
Fortunately the darkness will not continue to overwhelm and leave one to die
For this day we remember that the Light breaks in
Spreading against all fears
Especially the imaginary ones of abandonment that haunt
Who attack at all costs to save themselves from imaginary enemies projected onto their scapegoat.
So we remember
Loves unconditionally and inspires
Simple statements of truth:
“The success of love is in the loving – it is not in the result of loving. Of course it is natural in love to want the best for the other person, but whether it turns out that way or not does not determine the value of what we have done.”
“Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.”
Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light, Brian Kolodiejchuk, 2007
While seeking health and hope and renewal this was possible to capture the light from:
To what do you aspire?
Where are you looking this day?
What hope carries you
Through the darkness
Into the light
That arrives through the cracks of life and being and love itself?
So we remember that
As for me and my household we will serve the Lord,
For by grace alone are we able to stand when we are alone in the darkness waiting for the Light of truth and justice to arrive.
So we remember
Can you remember?
Can you see?
Do you remember the light of unconditional love?
It is Epiphany,
The day we remember
That the Light of Grace, Truth and Love
Illuminates every darkness
From the spark
Saints made by grace from Sinners, yet always both simultaneously.
This we remember
Their loved ones betrayed.
Can you remember this in your darkness?
What makes up your darkness this day of Light?
Whoever you are, the Light shines in the darkness,
So dance a dance of hope.
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Saint Mother Teresa: Something Beautiful For God, Malcolm Muggeridge, 1971
And what is between you and God is not that you need to think, believe, speak, write, do or not all that is right for God,
But that because God has long since done everything right with you,
And made you
A Saint always, even as you remain always a Sinner
And not having to earn God’s unconditional love
What will you do this day? Or any day,
Other than to respond to the greatest news
That the world has or will ever hear
How will you approach each day?
Why other than
To seek justice when it is impossible, for it is already given to you.
To speak truth when it will never be heard, for even before you were born it was heard from your lips, between the cries that wrack your life unpredictably, unwanted, to not be denied.
To offer grace even though the response is cruel, for only by grace are you still standing.
To love unconditionally even though those loved are inseparably exiled from your love, protection and security, for already unconditional love met you and carried you each day past, present and future.
To find joy even though it has been ripped from your heart by jailers and rules, for the Ruler and Jailer has already met you with a joy in you, specifically you, and all that makes up you.
For you have been accepted as you are, equipped as a Saint, a person through which the Light shines.
So Shine even when it is declared that Darkness will not be denied.
Justice, truth, grace, unconditional love, joy, and shining Light:
This is what we are made to be made of.
This is our Game, no matter the goals we take on, this is our Game,
Which cannot be won by other than surrendering to what is,