Little to say …
Much to see and enjoy
there is something to be said with a few words
Heart and Grace
There is an old piece of wisdom that when a beloved breaks your heart
your heart can be so broken …
so literally broken …
that your heart can stop
It is a wonder that, after my heart stopped working correctly
pushing my blood pressure up to 210/120,
now I can see the beauty that I’d had not been able to see through all the abuse, control, isolation, critique, and threat of death ….
now I know grace as I have never before in my life seen …
beauty and grace …
there is not much more precious in life …
except love …
love even when one’s enemies will not be at peace …
love of one’s enemies though they still attack without mercy or cause.
Today I had to speak the truth of how ungracious a person could be …
And in return I was gaslit, yet again, by this person again, as by many others, who want me to respond with stupidity and anger, and I instead respond with words of truth and grace, so they call me crazy or mentally ill, because they do not know how to fight against graciousness and the ugly truth of what they do, of who they are, of what they’ve become … and all that responded to with grace …
but one day as in every situation of life, the light will shine through the brokenness of our hearts and spirits until …
until grace shines bright with truth …
the truth that love and grace always are the right thing to participate in … no matter the cost!
Now my blood pressure measured in twice at 125/73, not continually but twice, which is as low as it’s been for a long broken time now.
It used to be 90/60 for decades, but not recently any more …
I love that my heart is able to love again, literally, love being alive.
I love seeing the light … the photography basic that makes or breaks the difference between a mere picture and a photo of worth.
I love loving.
I love biking, canoeing, skiing, camping in the wilderness where others seldom can travel or stay or even arrive …
I love being alive and able to sleep, to stay awake, to not have to struggle through critique every day, to know my financial life is mine even if it is far from zero on the deep side, to know I will be loved, to know I will be treated as a person worthy of respect, to know I will be listened to, to know who I am, to be able to speak of my life, my family, my parents (great people they are and have been), my experiences of caring for people, preaching well, bringing together families for funerals, providing not just computers but the ability to use them to live and love, to fly through even the worst of situations, to survive what would have killed almost all others, to manage risk well enough to always have more than one out, to save the business … not just once but twice and many times, to know that the grace of God counts also for me and for all others …
I love being able to be me
and it is only by grace that I know that I can love, that I know, after what’s been done to me, how to love …
and only by grace do I know children need real love …
and only by grace do I know that I know how to love children, not just ordinarily but extraordinarily … to give children unconditional parental love, a love that gives life …
and only by grace
when the words of condemnation are still thrown at me, the words of Gaslighting, of dismissal as if I were not alive …
only by grace do I know that these words are not a reflection of me, but of the person uttering them …
only by grace do I know how to grieve for that person, those persons, who lie to me, about me, who attack me relentlessly without cause.
I am not perfect; I am a sinner and saint simultaneously since baptism in May so many years ago in the Lutheran Church in Pine River,
a sinner by my own choosing
and a saint by the grace of God alone
and always both at the same time …
and so are those many others that would throw their condemnations at me, accusing me of what they have done,
ignoring or forgetting that I have loved and sacrificed and forgiven some of the most horrendous things one can suffer at the hands of one’s spouse …
and I know I am certainly not anything like what those who lie have accused me of being.
I am not perfect, but I am, by grace, capable of giving others life.
and that is what I will do until the day I die
whether that is brought on … this or next year,
or whether my death is an event of old age many years from now.
Today a young woman held the door for me, actually she returned three steps to catch and hold the door for me and I thanked her and said I must look old
to have a young person hold the door for me, and she explained her mother told her, yelled at her, that she was to hold the door for others, so she returned to hold the door for me, and I recounted how this never happened for me until the last few years, and she kindly said I did not appear to be quite that old, but she did want to be kind as her mother’s words echoed in her ears.
And I thanked her, for her holding the door and for her kind words.
Words can give life, literally helping one to breathe and thereby hope
or they can cut the life out of the other.
How have your words, my words, been today?
Have they given life by giving truth and grace,
or have they ripped hope from one’s heart …
breaking one’s heart.
Or do our words, clear and unmistakably true and filled with grace spread out to others, healing old wounds and gracefully dancing around the broken cracks in life through which the light gets in so that the other feels and knows that they, if not perfect, are still made whole by grace.
Grace, hope, love …
One knows heart most of all.
Marry someone kind, with a good heart. Be a person of good heart. Teach children by example, how to be kind, not to lie to get ahead or to escape a false fear, but to be kind and gracious even in the face of terrible failures and disappointments,
God is gracious enough to also make you and I saints.
My wife … is kind and gracious.
But the stress of my ex is so great … it breaks hearts.
breathe so that grace can return.
and stay warm this cold winter, even if there is no shelter or hope or … or even if there is no more heart … breathe and trust that the Grace of God will carry also you and me through what is to come.
Let this be winter of dark hours after sunsets be not of death, but of beauty, of grace, of good hearts, and always the dark nights resolving with sunrises of hope.
Simple Light Going Places
As I watch the crescent moon through the screen door, coyotes howl and moose call (bulls in rut), and the ever haunting loon cries allowing the beginning of the night to commence with a sense of fullness even in the solitude and loneliness of a quiet lake.
Geese in formation fly overhead, already the norm now for more than two weeks, and that much earlier than normal. Will it be a short fall? Or a long fall and pleasant winter?
The view to the lake is familiar and simple.
With only the zoom that changes perspective:
The quickly disappearing spectacle of light overhead demanded attention, the greatest pseudo urgency for hours of quiet:
But there it is, someone moving out of the light into the light.
Spreading a trail of light, a beacon lit by the golden light of the setting sun reflecting off the shiny aluminum skin.
Where are you going tonight?
Parents: do you know where your children are?
Children: do you know where your parents are?
And parents do you know where your children are going?
And going to be tomorrow?
How can I keep from singing?
From there we retreated to our own little sanctuary in the middle of the sanctuary, watching out of the window as the light gave way to darkness.
The promise of all truth and Grace is that the sun will rise; what is done in darkness will be exposed by the light to be known for what it is.
On this promise, generations have lived Grace, beaten at every turn but still standing by Grace alone, yet forgiving and trusting that truth will be known. Truth will be known. Truth will come into the light and expose the death of life that has hidden in the darkness.
As sure as the sunrise, the light will come.
This promise provides sanctuary from the onslaught and attacks relentless.
This promise provides sanctuary from false words that rob life from all met by them, and with that grows hope; and that is a hope that no darkness can destroy.
With that hope, no matter the attack, how can I keep from singing?!
There are innumerable accounts in written history and in literature (reflecting the truths of life throughout history) … accounts of abuse and bullying ruining lives.
The accounts cover the gamut from horrors of war, to abuse between identifiable groups as often as not closely related to each other, to religious based hatred gone amok, to scapegoating of all kinds including systemic lies created and augmented against an innocent and even admirable person … lies that ruin the innocent in order to allow the larger group experience some cathartic release of dissonance created by their own internal conflict which is too expensive for them to honestly recognize and deal with (see Girard), to conflict between intimate partners where one, often a high functioning borderline personality which is able to charm others to believing the most horrific lies about their partner bringing the innocent and admirable partner to ruin for actions and despicable behaviours that actually belong to the person with borderline personality.
While our (my family and I, and many others including my ex) faith is Lutheran Christian, a particular faith based on mystics’ and sacramental (mundane made holy by God’s Grace alone) theologians through countless generations, and while our Canadian society now identifies bullying as an unacceptable behaviour and focuses on children, youth and young adults, we are doing very little to name, address and eradicate bullying by adults of adults. And we have not ‘cracked that nut’ because our leaders who could call us to account more likely as not have built their careers on bullying others in order to get ahead, to gain the power that they exercise.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bullying “Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict. Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations of such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size, or ability. If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.”
Between intimate partners bullying takes on a very personal, psychological devastation of the victim as the very relationship that ought to be based on unfettered trust and ought to provide unconditional love, while the victim engages in the relationship to provide all of that for the abuser (often as not unrecognized as the abuser by the victim until it is too late), the abuser exercises all sorts of control, projects her own failures on to her victim and makes unreal demands of behaviour of the victim who soon enough recognizes the extreme costs to not complying … the costs are devastating loss, often loss of children, financial security, home, and reputation … and in the end always the loss of one’s own life.
See http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1100-men-abused-by-women-booklet.pdf, http://www.humanservices.alberta.ca/documents/PFVB1401_men-abused-by-women.pdf, http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/domestic-violence-against-men/art-20045149, and https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/women-abuse-men-often-called-abuse-fiff/:
“The ease with which the genders in the piece can be reversed shows that abusive relationships are about power and control, not specifically male or female behavior, and that women use the same power levers, as well as some of their own (such as withholding affection or sex) to dominate their victims. Additionally, in “genderizing” abuse as a primarily male behavior, we minimize and, in a way, legitimize, women’s abusive behavior.”
So we focus on bullying by children, youth and young adults, projecting our own abhorrent behaviours on them in order to exorcise our own cognitive dissonance about our own behaviours that have netted us our privileges and power. And we focus on abuse by men of women, fully denying the devastation caused by women abusing men, women who are more often than not dominant passive aggressive manipulative controllers who exercise demeaning control over their males partners that way too often leads to suicide as the only escape. For the foundational work on surviving the devastating effects of a loved one with borderline personality disorders see STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul Mason, Randi Kreger, and the companion THE STOP WALKING ON EGGSHELLS WORKBOOK, Practical Strategies for Living with Someone Who Has Borderline Personality Disorder.
While our faith calls us to recognize that each person is simultaneously a sinner (dammed mess of a human) and a saint (a perfect example of God’s grace embodied in a human – but not by merit of the person, only by the Grace of God transforming that sinner into a saint), and as recipients of Grace that makes us able and deserving (by grace alone) to even breath air yet alone enjoy the privileges of life Jesus Christ calls us imperfect yet perfect humans to exercise that same grace toward each other … which means we sacrifice our lives (from small bits to our actual mortal lives) to exercise forgiveness and unconditional acceptance of other sinners in order that they also can hear of and experience the transforming power of God’s Grace for them … while we are called to sacrifice in contrast the people of the world around us, and even many of us, including those with borderline personality disorders, systematically and habitually exercise abuse and bullying against all in their path in order to get ahead, and then falsely judge others for supposedly being exactly what they are.
Caught in the devastation of a borderline personality disordered beloved, and the ensuing scapegoating and bullying that threatens to not only ruin my life but likely end it, how does one, living by Grace Alone, respond?
There is only one response: to live with grace, to live as well as one can, to find Grace and Beauty in each moment in each person encountered, and to live with as much joy and gratitude as possible.
For me, as a photographer among many other vocations and skills, that means to use the equipment I have left (one result of abuse was the loss of my some of the best SLR cameras, lenses and lighting equipment, as well as software) to capture and share beauty right in my ‘own backyard.’
Enjoy with me that these photos are possible, even with a cell phone camera. What a marvel compared to my first digital camera that cost more than three times as much!
On the water with my wife’s canoe, the marvelous item that makes our presence literally on the water possible. While others have yachts and houseboats and ski boats and fishing boats and even kayaks, this simple and relatively inexpensive, therefore possible, possession requires our own muscle power to get it into the water and then our own muscle power to move it across the water … but what a view into the marvels of beauty:
Shoreline Trees Caught in the Sunset Light
The Loon of Haunting Cries
(Sorry it’s not with a telephoto lens to capture the loon properly!)
Sunset on the Water
A Rare Selfie: Golden Light on a Face Made Ancient by Abuse and Bullying
Relaxing by the New Fire Ring Properly Made (as we clean up yet another trashed random campsite on crown land.) That’s sand on an area without roots likely below, covered with the sand not 10 feet away and clear of trees above, ringed with substantial enough rocks to contain the fire in a ring large enough and a bit oblong to not necessitate wood laid into the fire also laying across the ring of rocks and outside the ring.
We bask in a night’s rest in the quiet beside the lake, to the lonely cry of the loon … As the sun rises we wake to the white bark of birch against the marvelous sparkling water of the lake.
Life is good, even if some (many) people simply cannot be even decent yet alone grace-filled. As for me and my family (and all my children), we will live Grace and appreciate beauty.
Hanging Loose, Hanging Tight
We found ourselves out in the mountains again. Observing the environment of plants, animals, humans, and machines.
The spectacular sights outside our window in the morning make it all worth the effort.
The expanse of the clouds above the mountains off in the distance as we were nestled in the privacy of the trees on an open field with the sun setting made it wonderful.
And literally taking the kitchen sink, the bed, the toilet and tub, the table, the fridge, stove and furnace, and our clothes and luggage make for an easy waking in some marvelous spots.
From a very helpful machinist we got the tip that there were three falls just a few paces off the tarmac. We investigated in a heavy downpour.
We only found two but these are a combination of human engineering and beaver damming that result in protecting the road from surely otherwise eroding away.
A bit upstream we found another falls and rapids series, and never did find the third as we were soaked and cold.
But the creamy white and the wild wet rocks played along well, as long as we could hold out.
That evening we hung the truck and camper not loose at all but very secured to the side of a decommissioned logging road. The specular light turned the green canoe (another part of the trip) into a bronze wonder.
There, on the side of the mountain the wake up out the door view was even more breathtaking and then breath giving, as the sun played with the clouds and the valleys were visible for miles and miles.
The dreamy feel comes from the fog laying low on the mountains as fresh rain evaporates to fill the air.
The vegetation is lush, framing (sometimes blocking) the views.
At our feet daisies and red paintbrush flowers created a carpet of colour.
The sky for just a moment even took on the hue of the lush lilac coloured flowers dotting the mountainside in lines and groups.
The sunsets were awesome.
The light bedazzling bringing the trees to life otherwise not there.
And that is good photography.
Some of all that can be reduplicated with ordinary photos and lots of software work, usually hdr, to try to bring out the light, but nothing works as well as finding the moment the light dances, and being ready to capture it, in order to share it.
While I was out I remembered quickly the difference the exposure time makes on water.
Sharp and clear here.
A landscape with just one spot of colour.
Or a portrait to lose almost all the colour except the one rose.
And playing with the focus if you just let the camera do its thing, sometimes everything wrong is in focus and the thing out of focus.
So you have to make sure you control what is happening to get what you want.
Sometimes the great difference in light levels is just too much and something is lost.
And then multiple exposure HDR can sometimes bring the light of everything to be seen in one photo. – But with better software there are better options.