Friday, July 26, 2019

The Shadow Show

Avery and I were in our usual spot early in the morning; I'm sitting in my chair and he is on my lap. Most mornings we are engrossed in either Mickey Mouse or Chuggington. Believe it or not, it is good brain stimulation. With the sun coming up earlier every morning the windows on the east side of the house flood the rooms with morning light. This morning, as we were engrossed with Mickey giving Pluto a bubble bath, the sun  cast a perfect shadow of the small tree just outside the window.

The first sparrow landed on a small branch level where the top sash and bottom sash come together. I could tell he was out there, I am just assuming the he was a he. He jumped down to a lower branch and his shadow was distinct and very detailed. Detailed to the point that Avery and I could tell when he was scratching his head and wings. In a moment a second sparrow joined in and they jumped back and forth for a few moments. Now, the other sparrow might have been a she, spring-like weather is confusing everything.
For a few minutes we watched a combination program of Shadow Show and Mickey Mouse. I preferred the Shadow Show, though I wouldn't tell Avery.

At one point in the sun-lite window program three or four sparrows took turns jumping from branch to branch. The closer to the window they were the more distinct the sun made their features. Their heads were easy to distinguish as those of sparrows. Their size was not distorted by distance from the windows as well.  All in all it was a thought provoking time. Distinction of form and movement, yet behind the cloak and security of shadow.

Security of shadow; knowledge of what but not who. As I watched I saw only shadow-sparrows. Real identity unknown and unknowable. I thought of the shadow that I cast. My shadow, just a dark image of my size and form. The real me is unknown by shadow. The shadow displays no motivation, no intent, no emotion, no passion, only an image of present position brought into distinction be the sun.

We look at life and the human condition as a shadow or through a glass slightly out of focus. We understand and perceive through lenses clouded and out of focus by past experiences, prejudice, ignorance, self-will, well, just a maladjusted and broken character.

If I would be able to look into the heart of a person; like God does, all of the time, not just when I'm sensitive about it, the world would be a different place. The Shadow Show was a pretty good use of my time this morning. Of course having Avery on my lap helped.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Do Not Let Your Dreams Die

When I was in elementary school I wrote a story based on a movie that Mickey Rooney starred in. It seems that he was in the wrong spot at the wrong time. He was caught in the fall-out from a nuclear test and some crazy things happened to him. My story was entitled, The Radioactive Rabbit. It told the story of a poor cottontail that got caught in the same fallout as Mickey Rooney. He grew to be about six foot tall and had some pretty nasty habits. I loved writing the story and I really loved the feedback I got from the teacher.

Some years later, in high school, I wrote another story. It was the true account of me and a dog named Scout. On a February night, about 20 below, my dog Scout didn't come home. I went out in the night searching for him. I eventually tracked him to a cedar swamp where he was caught in a coyote trap. The trap was frozen to his paw and I was unable to open it. I broke the chain and carried Scout the mile back to our house.

Over the next weeks Scout got gangrene in  the wound. Every day my mother helped me clean the wound and pour antiseptic on it. Close to spring we had to decide if we were going to put him down. The wound was not improving and the smell was awful. I resisted the thought but had to agree that we would give Scout another week to show some improvement.

A week later we noticed that the smell was not as bad and we thought we could see very small hairs beginning to grow. To this day I remember walking up the driveway and Scout running with three good legs and a bandaged paw greeting me. His recovery was fantastic and he became the canine celebrity of Huron Beach.

I wrote a story about Scout and sent it in to Readers Digest. I was sure that everybody would love the story and I would frame the copy of the magazine. I wasn't prepared for the rejection letter that came in the mail. Not only did I feel rejected, the dumb people were rejecting Scout.

Those two experiences of writing brought me to the highs and lows of trying to express myself with written words. I have had other rejections since then. And, I am blessed to say, I have received very positive words of encouragement and how my words have helped people. There are many days when I feel that I have nothing to say to the world. Putting my fingers on the keyboard, as today, helps me put those days behind me.

I love and hate writing. That might sound like I have some kind of mental defect, probably do. When the words form faster than my fingers can maneuver I am enthralled with writing. When I sit and star at this computer and my mind and spirit are blank, I hate it.

I want to encourage any who read these words to, never give up on a dream. Life circumstances can suck the very energy out of us and our dreams. We can imagine a million reasons why we should not continue with our, Fairy Tale. Do not give up. Get back to it.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

The Bedrock of American Government

From the brick mason to the engineer the importance of bedrock and foundation is beyond question. A structure built upon solid bedrock will never suffer failure due to compaction or movement, unless of course it is built upon unknown faults. Footings and foundations set upon bedrock are indeed the safest of all possible structural beginnings. Next to that, an engineer must "design bedrock", that is, he must design a foundation that will stand as firm as bedrock. These foundations can require up to thousands of tons of concrete and miles of steel reinforcing bars. Only when that foundation is certified can the structure begin.

The bedrock of the American system of government is without a doubt, the Triune God. Documents from, The Mayflower Compact to The Constitution of The United States give explicit acknowledgement to God's providence and care. There are at least thirty five direct references to the Holy Spirit in early historical writings and official documents. Moreover, there are more than one hundred and sixteen direct references to Jesus Christ in the writings and official documents of the early colonialist and founders. An interesting note, the name, God, in referring to, In God we Trust, is used nine times, Under God, used twenty four times, God as having involvement in our country, used forty three times, and God, The Name of God, used thirty eight times. Historical and official writings during the first years of this land refer to Jesus Christ more than any other person in the Trinity.

Upon this bedrock of Divine Life the earliest settlers created the culture of absolute trust and faith in God. In fact, it was an absolute dependence upon God and His care. When the environment within the colonies became one of oppression and tyranny the colonialist knew that the land they loved was given to them by God and their early forefathers. The freedom within their spirit was being threatened by an oppressive crown and a deaf, distant government.

When the smoke of many battles cleared and the dead were laid to rest the thirteen colonies became the, United States of America. They formed, as was noted, the Greatest Experiment in Self-Government, ever devised. Beginning with the Federalist Papers and finding culmination in one of the greatest documents written, The United States Constitution, the foundation for freedom and liberty were set upon the bedrock of Divine Life.

The lives of the newly self-governed quickly began recording a new history. The lives of individuals and communities began recording for future generations the truth of a free people. Men and women were given the opportunity to explore their dreams and determine their own destiny and future. That is not to say that everything was perfect and that the new freedom structure, America, was not without calamities and trials. Each generation built upon the previous and a monument and  memorial to liberty and freedom reached into the sky. The height and beauty was so awesome and powerful that liberty seeking people braved the storm and sword to come to the land.