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.

Sub Cold is so Cold

Sub Cold

There is a point

Beyond which one

Does not any longer

Need to make a point

About it being cold.

It is the definition of cold as one has experienced it.

It’s is Cold, – 35° right now and getting another 4° or 5° colder.

So at -40°

It is not about age,

It is about getting older, or at least hoping to.

Of course if you have a home with heating that works, and water that runs, and toilets, and beds, and a study, a kitchen and bedrooms and closets, and all the people and things that make it one’s living space, one’s home, then … well … then it is just another square tire morning after a night to stay home of have the right gear packed well in the car with a full tank of gas.

There is still beauty to see and enjoy and share:

 

Too much in the middle may just cloud the view or grab your interest.

A path may lead somewhere brighter … or

The journey past an oddity may be the better view.

Then again it may just be down the path that becomes a road that one may find the view one craves: clarity and hope.

And the view may turn out to be a bit of land and a bit of see the ice.

 

Usually the large picture view has more to tell and

Less that actually is of specific interest.

 

Whatever the view from your pillow, enjoy that you have a pillow.

Living is good.

Living and being less concerned that the cold will be a game ender is always something to celebrate.

And life is about enjoying having something to celebrate.

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?

Twice

Twice I saw the same sun set.
Twice I lost all time before it rose.
All days fresh, the wind wafts soft.
The new white floats quiet to hush history to a new start.
Ends are starts are either hope or exhausting.
Sleep
Through
To new light.

Snow fell soft to cover all tracks
and warm wind blows.

Will the light shine deep and wide today?

Full Life – Full Moon

Full Life – Full Moon

The way to full life is not any simple procedure or simple idea.
One cannot simply wait 28 days and it will appear.
The process of participating in life to the fullest is just as complex as life always is –
After one comprehends enough of the complexity of life one finds the kernel that inspires and fills life as never before,
Full life waxes and wanes as real life carries one forward through whatever will come.
One can simply wait 28 days for anther full moon, and complain how people are owl-ly those nights. Yet if you are out in the wilderness the full moon is real and advantageous, or not.
In the dark of night the moon shines this night full against cold, snow and dark.


Always the light comes at long last to reveal the way forward.

Out in the trees the moon shine is so bright that the shadows lay distinct lines, black on the white fallen from heaven.

 

This track gives evidence of life fully lived, of skiing in the romantic light of the night.

Before it gets so dark, at sunset the snow shines
Drifts and rolls of white hang on the shore under a sky getting darker by the minute.

Simple blues, and drifts and rolls of snow.

There is blue and gold and snow and dark ….

And this is a moment of the fullness of life, when one sees the light.
How do you measure the fullness of your life?
Find beauty this side of life, the daisies will soon enough hold themselves against the sky.

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.

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.

Morning Seeing Dimly

Morning Seeing Dimly
Morning on the Lake with hardly a clue where the rest of the world is.

 

 

 

The view from the door, promising a wonderful photographic morning

 

 

 

 

The ‘home’ birch.

 

 

Wiffs and Waffs.

 

 

 

 

A small hint of something out there.

 

 

 

 

The sun begins to give a clue it exists.

 

 

 

Is that blue sky there?

 

 

 

The sun is there.
 

Or is it there?

 

 

 

 

 

Or there?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trees start to appear.

 

 

 

Ducks flying into the fog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A birch wood of years gone by.
 

Birch and Reeds with Nuttin’ Else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The point out the door, after the return, and the fog is lifted – ing.

 

 

 

There will always come a time when we will see clearly, as the light shines

and the truth will be known and the truth will makes us free.

Morning Mists and Mystics

Morning Mist and Mystics
The wonders of pristine nature are fodder for a photographer, and in that there are rare and not so rare events that a photographer salivates in anticipation of encountering. We go to great ends to create our best chances of encountering light, special light in special places.
One of those is to find fog in the early sunrise light draped across our landscape.
This morning I woke a good hour plus before sunrise and prepped well for a morning outing in the canoe. As I stepped out the door to see the lake not 20 feet distant flowing with fog in the dawning light I gave up on the physical benefits of an early strenuous paddle about the lake and prepped tripod and camera, first shooting from land and then (of course without the tripod) from the canoe.
Wonders appeared and unfolded for a few seconds before melting away as something else emerged to exist only fleetingly. And that is a favoured series of circumstance to encounter, possible only by dedication, planning, preparation and persistence, hoping and wishing … and good luck.

This the mystic knows well and in truth: the infinite can be encountered like light particles waving at you in the fog. You know what you’ve seen and it makes the world a marvelous work of creation, touched and blessed by our creator and made visible, with dedication, planning, preparation and persistence, hoping and wishing … and good luck. Profound truth is never easily discovered, but only by wading through the labyrinths of confusion, betrayal and misdirection can one see and know truth, the truth of the infinite. And that truth is simple not simplistic, profound not faked, graceful not vengeful, creative not destructive or dismissive.

This was the misty view out the front door.

 

 

The view from the boat launch site.

 

 

Looking down, clear as a bell.

 

 

Reeds reflected.

 

 

The point of it all.

 

 

Reflection Induction

 

 

White birch over and under the fog.

 

 

Or standing the tall way.

 

The vehicle that took me to the sunrise and the sundogs in summer.

 

 

Back Behind

 

 

Sundogs in full force.

 

 

A few ripples.
 

 

The birch of another campsite on the shore.

 

 

The kitchen sink on wheels against the birch long standing yet pretty young.

Out of these mists rose the mystics of many makes, all connecting through the fog of our limited perceptions to the light still bright on the other side.

This mysticism of Grace gives life to all who encounter it, and guides one to give life to all others.

There is no room in these misty mystical moments or at any time for anything other than forgiveness of the other, and of oneself fully forgiven already.