A View on a Walk Before Bed

A View on a Walk Before Bed

After a day of writing, skiing, and grocery shopping, the sun set at 20:00 ish and though the solar power had held out through the whole day I was ready for fresh air and then to be done for the day, not to run late with generator power.

So out I stepped, took just ten paces west to take in the whole western sky after the sun had slipped from sight.

 

I looked at the photo thinking that the camera had somehow changed the clouds to be edgy.

Not at all, to my surprise. The clouds were identical in the sky as on the display.

But some of the view simply was not in the photo, so

I set the camera to panorama and turned it to portrait to capture more of the view.

And the results are a file ten times larger, and a photo without the intensity of the first, but with the whole view.

Satisfying to be able to capture the whole great view, but then lacking in the focus and intensity of the experience that is captured more with the first simpler photo.

A small adjustment to the exposure brings the photo closer to the actual view.

 

Which do you like better?

 

And which do you prefer for questions of life,

To see the larger view, a bit distant and aloof, an observer detached and able to forge a path towards a goal,

Or

To engage in each moment fully focused on the intensity of it, letting it slip out of its context and allow oneself to move from moment to moment without a compass, a context, a tradition, an ethic that would guide and inform you of what you see?

Or

Do you want both and cannot keep them both in view

OR

Do you have it all in view and cannot sort out the big issues from the intense events

OR

Can you see everything, live each moment to its fullest, and know the greatest peace assured that the big picture is both in view and not your own direct responsibility, only that you see the world

Through eyes of Grace, with Forgiveness your primary mode (for yourself and for others) of responding to great beauty and destructive ugly evil from where/whom-ever, just so that you can still experience the beauty of grace dancing on the light sparkles and shadows of the mundane spectacular!?

 

Forge a path, it is not foreordained where or how you will step next.

Choose wonder, grace, beauty, truth, and always faith, hope and love.

They say you can’t go wrong …

But you can and you will … so learn to forgive yourself and others freely, so that your next step is graceful.

Finding Ones Way Home

Finding Ones Way Home

There are developments
So late
In life
That they really are
A part of
Death,
Or rather
The final stages
Of living.

So I was reminded at a funeral this past week. Instead of the usual disheartening eulogizing, her son repeated some of the beautiful humour Carolyn shared with them in her final days, humour and care for them, when they least expected it.

One needs to find the beauty
That is all around
While one can.


Sometimes the wonder is clear as the sun sets.

… and the humour …

That comes in so many forms.
Take the pallets burned with garbage left all around by some fools a week or so ago:
Yesterday
two people full of humour
Decided to visit the same campsite,
with rocks bared showing the fire ring,
And burn a few more pallets, wood and nails, right next to the fire ring.

They must have had lots of joy,
Because they were simply too full of themselves,
Too busy,
Too important,

and/or

too stupid

To pick up the countless nails the burned pallets left behind,
Which is actually criminal.

Then there is the humour and beauty of being alive when so many people have threatened my life,
and
Of being gracious to the cruel enemies whose lies have brought so many people to think that my life
Is only worth ending,

that my life is their’s to claim in a false or misplaced revenge

for things I did not do, but others have done to me.

 

They find their way home, foolishly resolving their conflict by
inflicting on me the repute and punishment that is properly their own.
Their homes must be crawling with invisible mice and rats of great humours.

My home is a huge place, the whole outdoors
and a small place that may indeed
(if just one error picks it’s day to appear here too soon)
sink as ice becomes mush.

But for now the beauty is all around.
Breathe,
One has at least a few more days
To share the goodness of life,
Before the cost of one’s enemy’s lies are unjustly one’s own to bear.
At least the left over nails from the pallets cannot be used in a crucifixion

Or can they?

Is this
The path
Home
Through wind blown
Snow?

 

So today there is the beginning of path or roadway of sorts that may survive long enough to allow home to move on top of soil before it is too late.

How are you going to find your way home, today and each day,

while you still can?

Solipsism and Perception is Reality

Solipsism and Perception is Reality
Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders -> Chaos
OR Beauty

Solipsism is a way of defining how it is that reality can be known, and it limits that knowing to only the individual.
Everything else is at most something that the individual mind makes up or knows.
So interesting
So interestingly subjectively hopeless.

Defined per Wikipedia solipsism is “is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one’s own mind is unsure; the external world and other minds cannot be known and might not exist outside the mind. As a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist.”

I am not patience enough to list the foolhardy problems that arise from such a position. There is a mound of evidence to contraindicate taking such a position, if one thinks or feels at all. But then this idea is to deny all that one thinks exists or feels outside of one’s own mind.

Nonetheless this manner of approaching the world is very alive and active as is reflected in many people’s behaviour.

Take the two truck crews that showed up for a weekend of drinking hard ice tea, a fire and lots of smoking. One truck had a camper in the bed, the other brought in … well what passes for firewood if one thinks the world does not exist outside of one’s own mind:
This is after a few snowfalls covered the worst of it and the cans and garbage were already cleaned up.
Any intelligent being will recognize that these pallets are a number of pieces of wood (which burns) assembled using many nails (which do not burn, adaaah.)
And that partially burned pallet sits on the ashes of at least one and likely a number of other pallets.
No effort was made to clean up the nails after the fire went out …
Or the cigarette butts, packages, broken cigarettes, all the aluminum hard ice tea cans or other garbage left strewn around the previously well kept campsite.
The real stupidity is that there is a fire ring just a foot further to the right in the photo from where the pallets were burned. There at least the nails would be contained with others through the years left behind and only partially cleaned up, not for lack of trying by myself and others. But we just do not have a strong enough magnet to make the work plausibly possible.

Of course there are laws against not packing out all one’s garbage, but apparently only what is in these people’s minds exists, nothing else …
Including punctured tires, feet, and injured children … oh did you all get your tetanus shots lately?
Solipsism … a fool’s excuse for living with no respect for the land and other people … and even for one’s self.
Which leads to some pretty dark experiences in life:

There are other variations of this destructive take on life as if it was all about oneself. High Functioning Borderline Personality Disorder hfBPD sits right there at the top, along with Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPD.
We used to have such respect for the neighbours to the south’s leader, but everyone knows his proclivity to extreme and extremely destructive narcissism. Now it is more than a personality disorder, it’s nationalized and affecting world order/chaos.

The hfBPD is perhaps less well known, and partially therein lies the fact that it is much more disruptive to order, more chaos producing, chaos so severe that those close to the effectively ill person end up trying everything to mollify, contain and then escape the chaos, even going so far as killing themselves.

Spouses, friends, parents, children, no one is exempt who is close.

The destructive force is so severe because the hfBPD person learns very early on in the disease, usually with roots in childhood abuse or trauma, to write a ‘script’ for every situation in their lives. There is no room for self-failure or critique of self. Anyone in the script is absorbed into the person’s life without border or restraint … at first.

But then the craziness starts: control and abuse of every kind overwhelm life with vilification and projection of fault, relentless criticism, isolation, financial control, sexual control, gaslighting …

The hfBPD person uses everything and anything that will manipulate the other into fitting into their part in the script. Everyone in their script must adhere to their role or they are exiled. And exile is brutal: by manipulation to suicide, or ruination of reputation or even charges and convictions before the Courts for what one has not even possibly done.

But the hfBPD person is so adept and convincing and charming and adroit at creating scripts (it’s been a daily requirement since childhood) that the rewrite of one’s ‘history’ to bring ruination is believed by nearly everyone … and the Court’s love it. The false story is so simple, so easy to believe, so naively familiar … and the courts go to all sorts of contortions to convict without any solid evidence, transforming obvious truths to be judged lies, and blatantly obvious lies to be facts.

Truth is lost, as if everyone watching lemming-like agrees that ‘perception is reality’. That’s solipsism in its most recent and destructive form:
It’s true if we perceive it to be.

There are many pieces of life that must be ignored in order to embrace solipsism in any form, and that is true of embracing ‘perception is reality.’
Perception is wonderful. It can, under good circumstances, provide us hosts of information about reality.
But perception does not determine reality, and oh what a spiral out of control into dark chaos it brings when a person starts to behave as were that true and reliable. When one embraces that perception determines reality then all truth is lost in a meaningless competition to make up history from as many falsehoods as one can string together… all so that one comes out on top of the heap of chaos that one creates.

There is reality and we can experience it.

The pink west sky at sunrise is real, a pastel touch of beauty.
Yes, the sun rises in the east and yes, at this moment in the pre-sunrise suspense the western sky is lit up and the east is still dark. That’s just a matter of physics to understand the sunshine of the morning sun hits the western clouds before it shines below on us on the ground observing the sun’s progression, which is actually the earth’s progression in it’s rotation.

The gentleness of the red against the blues and greys on white of winter entice one to marvel.

Looking across the sky the colour paints a small piece of the morning.

It is when one submerses oneself in the place and the moment that one marvels that such beauty follows so dark a day just hours before.

 

And then after the sun rises bright white above the eastern trees the brilliance reflected off the snow is mesmerizing.
Waves of blown snow provide contour and depth perception to the otherwise too simple snow covered ice.

It is here that reality, not perception, touches one’s soul and inspires one to also recognize a corollary truth, similar in words but universes distant from solipsism in all it’s forms:
How we respond to reality, to all that happens to us, determines more of our lives than what happens to us.
Or to say it another way, if you cannot notice beauty, you cannot know it either.

Reality offers perception.

And if you choose to experience reality informed by faith, hope and love then you will know beauty,
And you will be one that contributes to the world by inspiring others to see the world, wrinkles, evil and all, in all the beauty that it can convey.

After all the sunrise, the pastel sky, the brilliant sun on waves of snow … all this or any other day’s experiences are all that more precious and beautiful
when one also does not deny the reality of willful lies and destruction, ugly chaos, and evil.
One can fight that part of reality, or one can choose to forgive it, in order that one can still notice, with faith, hope, and love all the beauty that the world has to offer.
And then one shares the ability to see beauty with others … or not.
Which will you choose to be today?

I was asked again today …

I was asked again today …

What question do you keep getting asked?
As a photographer I always ask: where is the light?
As a theologian I always ask: how do we speak of God?
As a sacramental mystic I always ask: have you experienced the infinite breaking into the finite?
As a father I always ask: what can I do for my children, for all children, especially as they become parents of children?
I do not get asked these kinds of questions lately at all.
The question that I am asked over and over again is very dark.
The question that I am asked again and again and which I was asked again today is:
“Why
I would not forget the past 6 years?”
There are great threats included most times with that question.
After all, my life was threatened very literally numerous times, once I was just an hour and a little cream from death itself, and those who threatened my life and still do will get away with it for sure, not only forgotten but helped to be forgotten.
And sometimes
There is great innuendo of promise that the present troubles would pass, if only I would forget.
And I reply as always,
That the past 6 years have been so poignant and transformed me in ways I even now cannot fully comprehend,
That to forget them would be to cut out a part of life,
a part of life that would leave me maimed, unable to heal.

Now most people’s predictable response would be first not to forget, but to remember … and to hate vociferously.
To which I respond,
That I certainly could choose to end it all with hate, it is in fact a natural response for every human.
But I choose not to hate, for hate is a viciously hungry monster which does not stop at just one thing, but wreaks havoc in all of life, even consuming all hope.
Just as lying does to those who lie, to those who condone it, and the children who are taught to lie impeccably?


There are views of great beauty out there, all around. If one recognizes beauty then giving in to hate sits too close to corrupting that beauty. Hate permeates and destroys especially beauty.
I have struggled my whole life to not allow hate to be part of me, as I certainly do now in the face of the past six years, not least of all the lies of the past three years in Court, and the injustice dealt me because of them.
I have struggled so that I know no other response than to remember clearly what is the truth of these past six years (not to be disillusioned nor gaslit into accepting the lies as if they were truth) and to continue to learn … and above all to forgive. Forgiveness is to remember and to accept what has happened, and to behave as if the transgression had not ever happened.
Forgiveness is not easy, not natural, and most certainly not inexpensive.
I have and I will continue to strive to forgive even my enemies and to pay the price of forgiveness.
Thus so I have answered …
and always I make clear that I have chosen
First
To protect the children
From the same abuse that, if not already, will surely be put to them …
And the same death that was put to me, from which they are at risk.

As for you, what will you choose, no matter the circumstance of your life?
Will you choose to forget, to deny life to be remembered, both the goodness and the evil of it?
Will you choose to allow yourself to hate? To be consumed in a course that has no end but to destroy those you hate and those you love, and even yourself?
Or will you choose the most difficult course forward, to remember fully and to forgive,
And to pay the price, whatever is taken from you?
Even if it be your health and all means to feed yourself and protect yourself from the elements which will be taken from you?
Even if you certainly will face an early death in poverty, though you could still share so much with the living, those who will survive you?

At that price would you, will you forgive?
So that you can hope?
Will you honour your own life by upholding truth?
Will you with forgiveness inspire others to remember the truth, to act on the truth, to trust the truth?

Each person can make one small piece of truth survive. Will you do so, starting today?
Will you be better than you would otherwise be, simply by forgiving that which is unforgivable?
Will you forgive, if for no other reason than by it the children will live, for only by forgiveness can the darkness be survived?

As for me, the question that I keep asking myself is simply this:
How can I inspire people, good and evil, to do the good that they would want to do?
For them to know the truth and hold on to it for the sake of all, to build great, great hope, even in one small corner, their own small corner.

Honour. Honesty. Truth. Hope.
All relies on grace,
And only God can create this grace out of God’s love for us all,
Sinners as we all are,
and we can but trust it is all possible, even in us,
since God makes us also simultaneous saints.
Is it possible in you?


Even in the greys, whites and blues of winter there are other great colours to find and celebrate,
green and orange amidst the white of the birch.
Surely God put some great colour in 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.

Open to the Light

The Darkness is profound.
The Light still shines.
There is no evidence to indicate it will get better,
But only hope
That the light will shine brightly
And life will emerge from the twilight zone of black being white, and white being black.

Blue and Gold on White

The mode of entry into this real world is simple: skis on snow.

There are past trails covered by the recent 6” and then 2” snow falls of moisture laden snow.


One covered trail heads straight to the light going down.

There are others that have circled around looking for fish beneath the ice.
Nice
But one rolls the dice
Whether it will be tomorrow enough
Nice ice.

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

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?