Forgiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forgiveness
does not
and cannot
come easily
or
cheaply.

It is costly.

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

My forgiving has cost me …
everything.

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

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

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

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

See the light

by following the darkness of the shadows.

 

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

Share the light

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


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

So breathe.

Be gracious
and forgiving
especially of your enemies.

Cold Recovery

Cold Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

There are so many people that know the recovery needed.

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


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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

And it will be filled with Grace,

For all.

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

Who can, who will?

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

Who can, who will set foot in the light?

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

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

Indomitable Life in the Deep Cold Darkness

The cold of this past week was unrelenting.

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

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

I am nothing of the sort.

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

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

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

 X x x x

How is this even possible?

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

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

 

Yet in spite of the unrelenting deep cold darkness

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

Who will stand with me?

Or

Who will continue to stand against me?

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Martin Niemoller from Wikipedia

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

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

Wikipedia about Martin Niemöller

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

 

What do you see around you?

The COLD and the DARK settling in again?

 

 

OR

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

for there is no other choice.

 

 

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

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

 X x x x

A Little View, Cold Snow

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


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

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

Now if I just had a camera and time

even in this frozen

deserted place.

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

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

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

but light never lies.

Light just right delights.

Smile, the beginning of peace.

Smile, with delight, with delight I say.

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

40° … minus 40° or lower

The thermometer only goes to -40°. It was there well before sunrise this morning.

Frosted the view.

If something breaks it’s broke and I’m a gonner.

That’s the price of loving and always telling the truth, the inconvenient truth.

But the view, as long as you can stand to look, is wonderful.

Wish I had more time.

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.

Free! Free at the Last.

Free! Free At Last
2018
Like never before I am free.
Not the Martin Luther King Jr. kind; that would call for a celebration of great proportions.
This freedom is the Janis Joplin kind:
Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose ….
Starting this year with only my family and friends to lose.
Free.
What a way to live.
I brought in the New Year changing the oil on a borrowed truck. -28°C ! Had four hours to drive and no time to get it done earlier, nor could it wait until after the trip.
So in the dark, cold, numbness … at least the oil was warm, until it wasn’t and the engine was cool because it had not run for a bit.
And then the sleep time came well into the morning, with miles and miles to go again on New Year’s Day.
Back in the cold cold cold to a not-home.
The view is something, no horizon, nothing permanent, or hope-filled.

The path on the full moon morning leads down a ways.
 

After another night with the temperatures rising back to tolerable, this same view is just a bit different.

Freedom is variously not much, not much to lose.
A new year.
2018
Free.
At the last, finally free.

But the moon is still bright, as bright as a clear cool night. Only -10 or so. Tolerable like lots of life.

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.