Thursday, September 4, 2008


When we are young
Wandering the face of the earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we're only immortal
For a limited time

We start so hopeful, striding through the day, in command of ourselves, our destiny, and the circumstances around us, and somewhere, something changes. We realize that in the pride of our "wisdom" we put too much faith in our ability to alter reality the around us.  We carry on, unmindful that having never intentionally cast the lines loose, we have drifted from our moorings.  

The engines however, drive on.

Though his mind is not for rent,
Dont put him down as arrogant.
His reserve, a quiet defense,
Riding out the days events.
The river...

We begin to see cracks around the edges, the mortar begins to weaken, the color fades and the foundation is no longer strong.  To casual appearances, we are still strong.  We continue to drive on, shouldering the burdens of the day and if we are lucky, some of those around  us.  Those who are perceptive begin to see the toll, the stride is no longer so long or so strong.  We do not march, we simply walk and over the days and miles we begin to shuffle. The shoulders, once so proud and strong now begin to sag, the back is bent and the legs bow.

Driven to the margin of error
Driven to the edge of control
Driven to the margin of terror
Driven to the edge of a deep, dark hole

Realizing we are no longer the Superman we once longed and worked to be, we begin to look for that which we have lost.  No one is so weak as the man who once thought himself the hero, standing at the edge looking over in fear and dread, unable to fly, and dreaming in vain.

When the dust has cleared
And victory denied
A summit too lofty
River a little too wide
If we keep our pride
Though paradise is lost
We will pay the price
But we will not count the cost

The realizations set in.  Having stood apart for so long we realize we are not high above it all on the mountaintop, we are simply on a low hill whose gentle slope is now too steep to climb.  Helpless to carry what we have taken on we no longer posess the ability to set it down, much less carry it on.  Our vision fogged by indecision and the encroachment of despair we don't know where to turn.  Those who we have drawn as close as we will allow cannot help us, how does the soldier tell the child they can no longer carry the fight, and must leave them alone?

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee...

As the world moves on, we find ourselves unable to keep pace, the shuffling gait can no longer propel us through the day and the sense of dread gives way to loss.  With one last gasp we attempt to perform that one last heroic feat.  We hope that simply by dint of force we can regain what we have lost.  A story has been told of someone who could bear any burden, scale any mountain, fight any fight and carry all others to a place of safety.  We hunt down the hurting, the broken hearted and offer to salve their wounds as we find a strength in our bones that will also carry us.  In their pain and tears they take the hand extended, not knowing how frail it is.

In that instant we collapse.  Everything falls.  The foundation crumbles to dust and the weight of that which we have borne, whether by choice, circumstance or appropriation falls on all.  Every tear is poured from the broken bottle, the small hurts which we have tried so desperately to allay become cudgels that assail each person who we have wrested them from.

The vague sensations, the bright and nameless visions which once were angels beckoning us now mock us. The tears we once checked now come unbidden and unstoppable.  Wracked in grief and loss, the hands on our time and minds no longer stroke and soothe, but grope and tear.

It may sound absurd...but dont be naive
Even heroes have the right to bleed
I may be disturbed...but wont you concede
Even heroes have the right to dream

Nothing is so desperate as needing that which we once thought ourselves to be, locked in the fortress we have built, yet desperately wanting to be at play in the fields of gold.

I cant stand to fly
Im not that naive
Men weren't meant to ride
With clouds between their knees

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Hating the Better

Maybe it's the fact that I'm superior to others in almost every way, (don't worry, we cover pride in the next round of posts) but I have a particular distaste for the human characteristic that causes us to despise those that are better than we are.

I mean "better" here in a very broad, but objective sense. This past season, the Boston Red Sox were a better baseball team than my cherished Cleveland Indians, who in turn were better than the New York Yankees. By measure of grades, I was a better student than most at my university. Someone who received similar marks at Harvard was probably a better student than me. I think you can see where I'm going.

The point is, that there are always people who have accomplished something others of us want to and haven't. It may be because of a difference in talent, or effort, or just time, but someone is on that pedestal that we want for our own.

But I think that the proper moral line has to be drawn somewhere between ambition and envy. It's good to want to accomplish great things, and even to desire good things, spiritual and material, for oneself. What has never made sense to me, though, is the wishing of ill will toward those that are ahead of us in the race, or higher up the ladder, or whatever metaphor you want to use. (C. S. Lewis would've written this better than I am.) Why should it upset us that someone else simply did what we ourselves are trying to do? Why should we want to take someone's success from them when we'd lay hold of it ourselves given half the chance?

So what is the right reaction to someone else's success, then? In my world, for what that's worth, it's congratulations. Then it's on to taking the lessons that person has to offer and making ourselves better. A good rule of thumb, too, is to know who to learn your lessons from. Very often the ones who set themselves up as teachers are those least qualified, those who haven't walked the path themselves. It seems obvious to me that the best route to where someone is standing is the road they've taken, but too often we follow those who don't "do," but instead criticize. And in the end, aren't I better off that way, by trying to eclipse those who have done well before me, than I am sitting where I am while trying to tear them down?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

wrath of a nation

So, judging from the dates of my fellow authors they have been waiting for quite some time for my contribution to our little experiment. For that, I apologize.

This entry will vary in some ways to my others in that I lack the concentration needed - and health at the moment to be around for long this evening.


I have not had anything to say on this topic which is why nothing has been written. Even now, I fear my interpretation will be on a road that you will not say is one of wrath - but it as close as I know.

Today I had a man sit before me and pour out his heart. He showed me a card that gave him tax free status as a disabled veteran in the state of Oklahoma. It all began by us discussing the benefit - than led to how he obtained it in the first place. This day several years ago triggered the PTSD that had been lurking since his time in Vietnam. He told me story after story. I listened. As we finished I stopped him from just leaving and thanked him for his service and sacrifice. His eyes searched mine, as though he were dreaming - - - perhaps he heard me wrong - but no. He knew what he heard was true and as our eyes teared up together he shook my hand and walked away.

And I remembered the man last month who told me he had only been told "thank you" three times since Vietnam.

And the man who cried on my shoulder at the VFW fearing his daughter would return to the same fate as he: the wrath of a nation.

I can't help but think of the deliberate choices that were made toward our American Service men and women as they have returned from duty. There have always been those who support - - there have always been those who have not. It is easy to think of the horrible stories associated with the return of soldiers from Vietnam - -but it still occurs. I have had many a friend return from Iraq the last few years and have the term "baby-killer" thrown at them.

What causes this sort of wrath? I don't have an answer. To me, these men and women deserve all the respect and honor that one can receive. How their sacrifice can be made such an ugly thing I will never understand.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


1. a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another's advantages, success, possessions, etc.

Tafas: [talking of Britain] Is that a desert country?
T.E. Lawrence: No: a fat country. Fat people.
Tafas: You are not fat?
T.E. Lawrence: No. I'm different.

Aeryn Sun : I have always been a Peacekeeper. It's all I know, its what I am.
John Crichton : You can be more.

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee...

Every problem in this world can be traced to one of two things:
  1. Usurpation of the place of God by man.
  2. Selfishness.
We envy because we think we have been denied something we deserve without putting in the work necessary to get it. In other words, lazy. To put it another way, selfish. Selfishness is the foundation of our base natures. We want the world to revolve around us, to come easy to us, to bow to our will; and we don't want to pay the price. The price exacted by poor choice, or by what must be done to achieve our goals.

As a culture we have tried again and again to kill God, or at least marginalize Him. We have created a bubble of altered reality through legislative and legal fiat, acting as the small child shaking its fist at the universe, claiming it isn't there. When, in our shortsightedness we think we have banished Him, we laugh, cheer, pat ourselves on the back and congratulate ourselves. We proceed on our merry little way, blithely disregarding the swirling storm around us, unaware of the debt which will one terrible day be called into balance.

So much is offered to us. So much that seems so little, but on closer examination is so great a treasure that we cannot fathom it. Yet, we choose to be niggardly with our dreams and focus on that which is fleeting, and even as we grasp it in our hands it disappears and we are left with nothing. We turn our eyes on ourselves, and wonder why we are so empty. We concentrate on our own desires, even to the point of cloaking them in piety, in good works, in appearances of sainthood, but in the end we are no different than the abject narcissist, save that we lack the integrity to be honest with ourselves.

All of this leaves us empty, wanting and bitter; thus the seed of envy is sown and harsh is its fruit. Rather than lifting our eyes and aspirations to higher things, we turn to ourselves and finding that lacking, we turn on others. "Things" become our aspirations, position our highest goal, and the fawning of others becomes our creed. The drive to fulfillment and happiness is strong indeed, but our thirst for these is only slaked by contentment, and contentment is a choice that only we can make, independent of circumstance.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Dies Irae

So much style without substance
So much stuff without style
It's hard to recognize the real thing
It comes along once in a while

Wrath is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as "Forceful, often vengeful anger". We indeed live in "Days of wrath". Anger has become the coin of the realm in politics and much of the public discourse. So many seem to want to own the problems, yet avoid, if not outright ignore the solutions. So often it seems its more important to feed the anger, like some sort of internal furnace to keep the heart warm, than to actually address the issue at hand. However, this is phenomena is not solely relegated to the body politic, it seems to have now spilled to the body catholic.

It doesn't matter who you are, or what, or how, you believe, it's apparently more important to simply be angry than to actually contribute anything of consequence to a stiuation. This is by no means limited to either end of the political, cultural or religious spectrum. So many rant and rave, and at the end of they day, their words are hollow and pointless. It would appear that the point of discourse is simply to rail against something or someone, and never offer any substantial alternative. When finally pinned down, those who prefer argument over discussion have no rational basis for their diatribe.

Anger is no better substitute for rightness of thought than conviction of belief is for truth.

Substituting cowarldy acts of violence or vandalism for converting minds has become the norm for so many, they think nothing of vandalizing someones vehicle if they believe that it is a detriment to their environment, rather than discussing it with the owner, and simply leaving if they fail to convert them. They feel it is more effective to simply skulk in the dark of night, and smash windows and scratch poorly spelt, tired slogans into the paint.

Once again, we seem to be losing grasp of reality.

Some of our views are spaciaous,
Some are merely spaced....

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Expression of Hatred

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate, and Hate leads to suffering. - Yoda

Be angry, and do not sin.
Psalm 4:4 (NKJV)

Whenever I hear the word, "wrath," I picture God describing how He will "pour out" His wrath on whoever is deserving on that specific occasion. Wrath, in that case, is obviously not sin, and sometimes a man's wrath is not sinful depending on how the word is used.

It would figure that as I prepare to write this, I would have the concept of sinful wrath illustrated for me in my own life. I had it sort of defined for me. One thing sinful wrath is not is a product of love. I don't think it can even coexist with it. One thing I believed I've learned is that wrath I'm not capable of real wrath against someone a care a lot about. Remember that we're talking about man's wrath here, not God's.

I've also learned, much to my surprise, that I am very capable of wrath against folks I don't much care for. I think of a moment recently where a picked up an iron bar outside the building I work at and thought, "I'm gonna make you famous," as I imagined myself turning the rod on my lazy ass coworker. Now, I was being humorous, and would (probably) never physically attack someone who wasn't directly threatening me. But is was an example of wanting to pour my anger, maybe even my hatred, out on this man's unfortunate bald head.

So what's the difference between healthy anger and sinful wrath? Reasonable anger is something that occurs because of love, not outside of it. It is a reaction to perceived injustice, however slight, and seeks to be understood. Wrath is also a reaction to perceived injustice, but is void of compassion. It seeks to destroy its subject, or at least be rid of it. As is often the case, the good seeks reconciliation, the bad seeks separation.

I've come a long way in controlling my emotions in my adult life. But I find that I still must be wary of the "little foxes that spoil the vines" (Song of Solomon 2:15 NKJV). If I don't, I may find myself bouncing a yardstick of the skull of that lady in receiving one day.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

#4 - asleep in the light

The Seven Deadly Sins

Sin #4


...a little sleep, a little slumber.....a little folding of the hands.....

In the time that I have putting off writing this entry - all the way making jokes to my collegues about skipping it all together as an example of true sloth, I have been thinking of it only in the sense of our wordly deeds:  work, play, friends, family.  How many ways can I bail on it all?  Then last night I read two words that made it all clear:  apostolic sloth.  

As Christians we love the potluck, but hate the cooking.  We love to go to a church that is known for serving in its community, but don't show up to serve.  We say we will pray for our friends and then turn away and forget.

A friend who calls while you are crying and prays for you right then and there on the phone is a friend.  That person, at least at that moment has avoided the sloth that is most dangerous to his soul.

Those who are unbelievers see those signs of apostolic sloth even before the Christians do.  They are watching closer - to see if there is a reason to believe - to trust - to listen.  

In Keith Green's song he says "the world is sleeping in the dark, and the church just can't fight, cause it's asleep in the light.  How tragic is that?  Why shouldn't we be seeking to be what Christ is to us?  Why do we fill up our schedules with so much worldy stuff that we are too tired or too busy to give to the body of Christ?  Have we considered how shameful it would be to arrive in Heaven and for the Father to say "wake up," when all along we could have been awake, and instead be greeted with "welcome, my beloved?"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lazy Ass

That's been me. To be honest, I'm a little ashamed of myself. When I joined the shift I'm currently on, I got caught up in this culture of doing a couple hours of work, and then it's lay-about city. Seeing how much I'm getting done now, I can't believe that I let my integrity slip like that.

For those of us in the world of the employed, sloth is exactly that, and integrity issue. By not working my full eight hours, I was stealing from my employer. And you know what, next time I wanted something from them, I still would've been pissed if I didn't get it.

Proverbs 22:13 tells us, "The lazy man says, 'There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!'" (NKJV). That's what I did. I made excuses. My basic job was done, and I was going to school full time. I had a right to take it easy. And then I'd complain when my coworkers were slacking.

Of course, I feel better now that I've straightened up a bit. I'm giving what I'm worth, and I know the jobs of those around me will be easier because of what I do. It's a relief knowing that you don't have to worry about what others are thinking about you. Now if I can just apply that attitude toward blogging...

Saturday, May 5, 2007


A little sleep, a little slumber,
A little folding of the hands to rest;
So shall your poverty come like a prowler,
And your need like an armed man.

The common perception of sloth, or laziness, is an active avoidance of that which is physically strenuous. I wonder though, how many of us make it a point to be lazy? Do we have the backbone to petulantly shake our fist at the world and say "This I will not do, no matter the need!"? Genereally, no. We lack the wherewithall to do even that. So, we blame it on others.

We lay the blame at the feet of others, of our "schedules", of a universe aligned against us and the clocks we run our lives by. We blame our jobs, the ubiquitous "Honey-Do" list, and all manner of things, but it seems we cannot take our own selves in hand and get the job done. Somehow we all seem to talk so big of "Living our lives for no man but ourselves..." but as soon as it is convenient, we foist the blame for our own shortcoming, our own faults, our own failures on someone else. So much for being the master of our own destiny eh?

It is far past time for us to stop confusing motion for action, activity for productivity and words for actions. It is time to quit using others, and more importaintly our poor choices, as excuses for not doing what we say we will. Our days are numbered, and its not a very large number. Let us not get to our own "End of days" and not have done the things of value we had said we would.

When we are young
Wandering the face of the earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that were only immortal --
For a limited time