It’s that marvellous time in the
morning. The light is broken through the darkness, the sun yet to
shine is promised. All is quiet, except the contained roar of burning
wood in the furnace, the left overs from the water heated for coffee
cooling in the pan on the stove, and every once in a while a plastic
container popping loudly as the freeze of last night (or perhaps
still left over from the -32°C storage for a week while I was in
surgery) is slowly pushed back by the flames conductive reach.
Earlier, before the light made the snow
clear, an owl kept measure of the coming dawn with it’s ominous
who, who, who. Who indeed has done all this?
Who is the owl calling to the end of life
on this earth? There was an owl in this man’s drive, not a live
one, but carved from wood. A sign, that stood for years; he was
driven to take his own life by the woman he trusted most; she driven
by an irrational fear that attached itself impromptu on whomever was
close enough. The owl stood and still stands, a sign of a death not
Of course, life is never done with us
until death harvests what is left of us.
In the quiet of the dawning day, not yet demanding so many things be finished, or progressed, or started, one can see the rhythm of the blessed goodness of life. A breath in, a breath out. A heartbeat on the left, then on the right. A cough from the wood heat smoke of yesterday still irritating the fragile, allergy-beaten sinuses.
This is the time that imagination sets
the course of the day. Can you imagine forgiveness for one’s
enemies who attacked and/or harmed you all your yesterdays? Can you
imagine doing forgiveness, not just hoping it is what you’ve
thought well enough to make real?
Can you see the temperature, so cold in
the morning at -20°C, holding the frozen food frozen, the ice packs
in the fridge cold to avoid fuel to keep a fridge cool, the frozen
things frozen outside awaiting a later day for the ground to become
soft? Or do you have to imagine the pain in your hands working out in
Can you see the sun creating electricity
to store in the batteries to give you light, and then with time, you
are able to create words of truth and freedom? Or are you afraid of
the light, for it burns invisibly hot through one’s skin and eyes:
therefrom grow cancers and cataracts, and age-related macular
Can you imagine the sounds of squirrels
chirping, wind breathing softly, kind voices greeting each other,
preparing for the day’s tasks whatever they may be: school, work,
ice fishing, travelling to deliver the goods? Or do you allow the
haunt of yesterday’s abuse and lies run loose bouncing off every
occasioned imagination and sound or light?
Just done, remember the soft warm feel of
water with soap cleaning the breakfast dishes, and cool water rinsing
away the suds.
Imagine Julian of Norwich’s words of
hope realized in your coming days: all will be well, all will be
well, all manner of things will be well.
Now, breathe in and out, the gifts of
life here to share: clean air and water, food sufficient for all,
clothing appropriate, shelter sufficient, meaningful labour, and love
(given and received).
Now, the day calls. Make your way as you have been made able, to share what you’ve been given: blessings upon blessings, forgiveness, love, and hope.
There are so many
things in life that remain a mystery.
As the sun rose
after a bright moonlit night I kept working inside and missed the
marvel of the sunrise through the trees.
provides little light above the trees, so even when I was able to
emerge, this caught my eye. I moved easily to get my camera for this
was far to complex a shot than possible with a simple cell camera
which I also did not have on me.
Then as I mounted
the steps to go inside I noticed the light change and with a panic
that only a photographer can know too well, I ran to catch the light
at play before it moved to something, somewhere else.
Back outside the
light returned to play, and these two of the few I took surprised me
I went back to work
after adding them to my desktop slideshow.
This evening they
showed up for the first time, which brought me to decide to postpone
sleep until they are up for others to enjoy.
The challenge is to
find the right composition and play to show what caught my eye.
Here the lines are
strong, though the mystery is less if at all.
Here the mystery
lays fully in the frame.
There was no fog, as
one can tell with a trained eye. This is smoke from the campfire
burning up some junk wood and chainsaw chips, with the temperature
just right that the smoke traversed quite a ways through the trees on
its way to ‘freedom’ in the atmosphere.
Small mysteries include how people can possibly not understand what Nelson Mandela and Bishop Tutu demonstrated so diligently:
It is very difficult requiring great patience and diligence to throw off oppressive, racists, unjust rulers.
But if one simply replaces them with one’s own version of oppression, racism, and injustice then one actually only takes a step deeper into greater difficulties for which one is then responsible: Getting rid of one’s oppressors becomes a step deeper into oppression, from which one has less likelihood of getting free of, for one has deepened the cycle of revenge … and that can take more than generations to be free of.
Mandela and Tutu demonstrated that FRFEDOM from one’s oppressors only is possible if one finds a way free from being the oppressors first, last and all the way in between, which is so much more difficult than throwing off one’s oppressors!
Another small mystery is how it is that so many people think that their lies which ruin other people, are not seen as lies, and that there are terrible consequences, natural consequences and God wrought consequences for such injustice. Even people entrusted with great authority, or perhaps most of all, people entrusted with great authority seem to be oblivious to their own lie’s baldfaceness, and the unjust consequences to other people far beyond the persons they lie about, and the ruinous consequences to themselves. Lies rot a person from the inside until there is nothing left inside, until one is physically alive, but there is no soul left.
While God punishes people for their sins, or forgives them, But unless one repents (changes 180° the sin) the sinner suffers the sin more than anyone else.
Another small mystery of life is how people can think that doing nothing about lies and injustice are even options for life.
Bringing light to bear upon lies and injustice may seem to be costly, even one’s job, or peace, or reputation … but to do nothing in the face of lies leaves one rotting inside as badly as the liars and perpetrators of injustice.
One can look a far, or not so far, just south of the border, to see how destructive lies and ignoring them, can be. But one ought also to pay attention to what is happening in one’s own town: in the politics, the power plays, the wealth thrown around and cow towed to, the public officials, elected and appointed who are entrusted with maintaining good order and justice. Of course one also needs to start in one’s own family, and with one’s self.
The mystery of life for me has been how so many people whom I’ve met are so unaware of the themselves, as they hammer others down and about to make their way forward and upward through life. It’s as if kindness we completely unknown, honesty never heard of, and fairness and justice concepts that mean whatever gets me ahead at whatever cost.
The profound mystery is how light plays on all these self-deceptions, colouring the world ugly.
Except by Grace the colouring can be also a thing of beauty as one forgives and loves despite the cruelty focused at oneself and at others.
Forgiveness is not always possible: sometimes one needs to leave the judgement to God, and move on, not forgiving and fully remembering the sins, but not condemning. The sinners suffer their sins. God eventually judges them, no spin, no evidence hidden, no witnesses excluded — God knows all with or without evidence and witnesses. And since God exists beyond time the consequences of that judgement begins at one’s birth; thus sinners suffer their sins more than are punished for them.
As an ordained person, responsible and with authority to bring forgiveness to sinners, and also entrusted with the terrible authority to bind sins for God to judge, I have seldom done other than pronounce forgiveness, until the last few years. Now the injustice that I have been the brunt of, which is not limited to just me, but most men abused by women, falsely convicted in our courts … which forces me to estimate that more than 75% of men convicted of a crime against their spouse or partner are truly innocent; so pervasive is this turn. We used to hear that men without a thread of truth could bring their non-compliant wives to jail to be ruined or to mental institutions to be drugged out of their minds for decades. Now the system has changed: and it allows women, without truth, to bring their husbands and partners to jail and mental institutions.
These sins, that make this possible, that invite women to do this, as if this deals with the real abuse of women by men, and clearly ignores the real abuse of men by these women … these sins cannot be forgiven. They are bound for God to judge.
The rest of us need to work to bring light to these injustices, or we rot just like the perpetrators.
The small mystery, or not so small mystery, is why this takes so long for us to bring the light to bear upon such blatant sin?
Those are small to immense mysteries. They are dwarfed by the real mystery.
The real mystery is
This coming Sunday
we read: love your enemies.
How is that even
The answer is simple
and elusively complex.
Just do it!
But the prerequisite
is that one knows two things at least:
That one does not
deserve to be loved by God, not at all.
And that God still
does love you, fully and without reserve or hesitation.
And the third thing
to know is that God calls us to love our enemies as God has loved us.
They may not deserve
it, but we are to love them anyway.
It’s a matter of faith.
Simply possible for
the Holy Spirit through us, since God makes us saints.
Miracles are welcome! May the cards you and yours are dealt bring peace and joy. May your responses to especially the ‘off suit’ cards bring others peace and joy beyond all expectations. 365 days to let God wow us with what God can pull out of us, and what the Spirit can pull off in spite of us. Breathe, Smile, Play, And ‘dance with Grace.’
And occasionally laugh out loud
Just to let them wonder
What you’re up to.
God certainly knows how to weep, grieve, and suffer with us; But I think God enjoys the breathing, smiling, playing, dancing, and laughing A bit more.
Make ithe New Year as awesome as each past and yet coming at us; Unconditional love is the key, So open the gates. We are not alone.
The afternoon came late with snow
Enough to cover the browns of fall
And cover most everything with the white of winter.
It is not enough that it’s change.
This one, many of us would have wished, would have waited a month or more.
Makes for a long winter, or so we say.
We don’t mind change, we just want to be in control. We want to choose what change comes our way and forms our futures becoming our past.
So what change would we choose?
The lists are endlessly wishful, and just about totally impossible.
So what to do with this change, this snow change.
It’s a little thing, really, snow in November.
It’s the cold, the cost for fuel which may become impossible.
And that is not just a little thing.
Which does not melt the snow or reduce the cost for fuel.
What can one do with such a change?
By morning more snow floated loose from the clouds
Onto the brow-beaten ground that is as much home as anywhere;
It’s enough to ski on.
And it’s enough to make a great time preparing for the winter to come.
For Saints all, it is an opportunity,
an opportunity to turn what many will complain about,
into a graceful chance to enjoy the wonders of creation.
Wonders are many, and the thankfulness one holds
For the little things,
Or the big things,
That make cold into a gift and wonder.
The canoe is stored for the winter; it’s too dangerous to canoe with water so close to freezing as one glides on the ripples, waves and fish spinning galore.
And the skis are ready.
Tomorrow will be the day to first cross country ski on the ground that God created and called good.
All will be well, all will be well, all manner of things will be well.
It is a sweet month, November is, a month when winter is not set, though the sun sets early and rises late. The hard cold is not yet, and the water is still clear for canoeing.
A month to prepare, a month that is the end of the church year, a month when travelers are few and far between and solitude and peace are more easily found in old haunts and newly explored places.
Then on the first day of this sweet month, with temperatures already below zero often in October, the cold arrived over night at -7 with a low forecast of -4. In town it’s -3.
Halloween was a cold one again.
And November came in with just a skiff of snow.
Snow on the canoe.
A closer look at the obvious presence
Of a beaver, obvious because of the telltale tooth marks on the trees, as the beaver prepares for winter, setting the food of trees in storage next to the beaver house, not 50 meters distant downstream.
This, just a stone’s throw from the wake up view, is the outflow creek of the lake. The beaver have taken this creek, dammed and controlled it to keep the lake at high water marks and made a quiet pond, a home for them, and for us to canoe on just down the creek a bit, over a couch some fools left on the ice one winter past.
This the stillness of wonderful weather, quiet from the throngs, and distance from the noise of the city, but not out of reach of the military jet sonic booms as they reach out to distant sorties.
Here the soul, on All Souls Day, can live well.
Here the saint, on All Saints Day, can live well.
Here creation is good.
Money is scarce, fuel for transportation and electricity (generator made) is short, and propane for heat is dwindling.
Ah, a wood stove in a shelter on a trailer, which would provide dry heat, a system for heat that costs labour and chainsaw gas and oil, and truck gas to haul in the wood. But that’s a pipe dream.
Even so, here, whatever may come,
all is well, all is well, all manner of things are well.
I went to sleep again to the sound of loons.
And woke to moderate temperatures (9° C) and the sound of the wind.
Sun catches the tree tops
Before the sun disappeared into the bright light of day behind the clouds
I paddled in my canoe against the wind and waves
And found beauty right there:
Launch in foam and little waves that seemed large.
Keep paddling, even if everything is against you,
When the wind blows against you as you head out,
The trip back home is easy.
Peace is not the absence of discord, But the presence of Christ in the inevitable discord.
Joy is not the lack of sorrow, dismay or despair, JOY is the presence of God in all that life brings.
Of course the basics requirements for life are good to have as well:
To be able to love and be loved.
And how many people of our current 7.7 billion on earth do not have the basic requirements of life?
Many, many, too many!
It is not for lack of the basics. There is plenty.
It is a matter of greed, hording and consuming beyond need, and turning a blind heart to those who need the basics, which are consumed by others as luxuries.
With thanks to God for the basics that I do have; and a prayer that the others will be mine before it is too late.
This time it was just a scare, until the response came back containing this:
After our discussion this morning I can clarify that the Alberta Environment and Parks has no issue with you camping on Public Land for the 14 day period and vacating for 72 hours as per the Public Lands Act and Public Land Administration and Regulation.
Which is exactly what I told the RCMP constables as they evicted me, an unjust and unnecessary eviction. Cost me more than a few days in court prep time, anxiety, and money to move the camper off in less than 14 days.
A trip to friends brought us to a familiar, wonderful view out over the mountains.
Though our visiting took priority over getting high on the mountains until the sun was well up in the sky. The sunrise was less rise than rain fall. So we enjoyed the clear air clean of the wildfire smoke from the many BC fires. The clear mountain air.
A breath of fresh air as good as good friends: priceless.
And after a jaunt up we went down by the riverside to enjoy the flow of wonder,
As water roiled serenely reaching for the sea across the rocks.
The last outing I had was a while ago, when ice still held the water under wraps
and the moon stuck itself hidden in clear view over the ice.
The greatest marvel though was definitely the golden
Wonder of the setting sun spread through the warp and weave of this universe.
of what may come.
Grace is the only aspect of life that brings real rewards.
Time is always on the side of truth.
Goodness shines bright. Think. Live. Be courageous,
Solipsism and Perception is Reality
Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders -> Chaos
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 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 eastand yes, at this moment in the pre-sunrise suspense the westernsky is lit up and the eastis 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?
Free! Free At Last
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.
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.
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.