Thursday, July 31, 2008

Falling, Falling, Falling UP!

Well as usual, the Pensive has inspired another blog. Since I have been surrounded by funerals lately and close calls; this subject just reverberates. After returning home from LA, CA; some dear friends drop by with their two young boys (5yr-10yr olds). Of course I hit it off with the kids; they were great. Not more than a day later I get some news that would seem like a rude joke. The youngest, little Stevie had to be rushed to the emergency room for continuous vomiting. Believe it or not; they discover a tumor the size of a man's fist pressing against his organs. Go figure; not more than 48 hours we were playing Wii baseball and he was a little wild man running around and having a blast. Its Tuesday now and I hear the emergency operation went well...5 hrs well. Naturally his parents had asked for prayer. Would I dare to sink to my knees again after losing my mother and father-in-law in spite of prayer? How could I swallow children deserving these kinds of things? ...and had He answered my other 2 prayers; did that make them better off if I hadn't prayed?

keep praying

If your gasping at this point; perhaps you arent accustomed to this level of real. Somewhere between yesterday and today I hear that my favorite history professor passed Tuesday. He was only 57. I hated history until him. He was an innovative free thinker that put history in a framework of simutaneous current events so the facts and dates made sense instead of some issolated list of crap I would never need again. Cheers old friend! Well its gonna be quite a month; but that doesnt shake me; I am still falling up. I say falling up because its the one thing left we (some of us) cling to; sometimes beyond reason and ration. It is certain that if one lives long enough; your knees will bend or your brow will break; sometimes both. Thats ok. I get it. Its all part of the gig. Everybody dies and everybody has to be born to get here before going somewhere else. That may seem like over simplification; but is it really. T.D. Jakes has a great song with Kirk Franklin after 911.

4 911 (ft. Bishop T.D. Jakes) - Kirk Franklin

Lyrics are a lost art form these days; but sink into these. Good leaders, heroes and role models all have something in common. Its not that they arent in touch with reality. It isnt that they dont see all the bad things going on around them. Its not even that they dont have fears, needs or faults. Its seeing it all and deciding in spite of what the five senses tell us to do what they know/believe to be right; believing in the greater especially when they feel lesser....that takes hard work, fortitude and endurance. Thats where I'd put my money.

[Jakes:] Hello...
[Kirk:] Hey... I got some stuff I need to talk to you about
Lately, pastor I've been...having all these crazy kind of dreams
It's hard to sleep, I can't eat...scary, you know
[Jakes:] I know what you mean
[Kirk:] I mean, every since that Tuesday, seems like life's just getting real strange
[Jakes:] I hear ya
Anthrax, terrorist attacks and... I ain't even trying to get on no plane
[Jakes:] I feel ya
[Kirk:] ...and you know when I try to pray, there's a voice that telling that God's not real
[Jakes:] You know that's just the enemy
[Kirk:] Yea, but you ain't feelin' me
[Jakes:] No son, I know just know you feel...
See, just because I preach and teach don't mean I don't get scared sometimes
[Kirk:] yea, whatever, but you T.D. Jakes
[Jakes:] Well, then I don't make mistakes...
[Kirk:] Well...
[Jakes:] Now, let me tell you what's on my mind...
When your smile is gone (He cares)
[Kirk:] Yea, but I feel so alone (He's there and...)
[Jakes:] Although, your heart is heavy, God said: (every burden I will bear)
[Kirk:] See, but you don't know my (my pain)
And I'm getting so sick and tired of all (this rain)
I just got laid off, and to top it off the rent's due, so tell me what I got to gain?
[Jakes:] Well, see, trials come to make (you strong)
Storms won't last (last long)
[Kirk:] But how can I trust God in all this mess?
[Jakes:] Well, see that's the reason for the song
See, wherever you go there's one thing ya got to know
God, is right there by your side (weeping may endure for a night)
And he told me to tell you everything (everything's gon' be alright)

....but isnt it odd. People of extreme character are the first ones we call "nuts"........


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Descent Into The Force: The Reclaimer

The Force Reclaims Us All

It is said that there is a long black train that comes for us. Everyone rides. When, not if, it comes you MUST get on or be thrown on; there is no avoiding its path. You cannot simply lookout for its tracks and run the other way. This train requires no rails; its smoke is dark as its whistle is deafening.

They say there is a ship just beyond the horizon that comes into shore only to pick up more passengers. Noone ever sets foot on the shore from this ships return; they only board to go away. Its not a particularly fancy ship, no geat masts that require huge winds, its wood is not mahogany or anything special. Some say the captain is always smiling; others remark that he has never been seen. I do know that once boarded the ship glides beyond the horizon, beyond the sea, beyond the edge of the world. Its numbers cannot be traced; the coast guard cannot stop or interfere with its voyage. It always makes its drop. That is the sovernty of the force; to send and to claim as it sees fit. People call it by many names; but in the end, whatever your choice, it is soverign

Today I lose an valuable old friend and father-in-law. His memory, his laughter, his intellect and our discussions during quiet times speak volumes to my soul. Though we appeared quite different, we were very much the same. Beyond the flesh of men, the soul knows its companions. He raised an incredible daughter whom he dearly loved and sought to pass on his wisdom and character to anyone in earshot; especially children and family. Our legacy is not what we do for ourselves; but the impact we have on others. I look forward to seeing him again on another shore far more brilliantly lit. There we will sit like giggling little kids, laughing at all our doubts, questions and fears. Even reciting our favorite poems just like before. Farewell old friend; until we meet again.

The Little Ship

I stood watching as the little ship sailed out to sea. The setting sun tinted his white sails with a golden light, and as he disappeared from sight a voice at my side whispered, “He is gone”.

But the sea was a narrow one. On the farther shore a little band of friends had gathered to watch and wait in happy expectation. Suddenly they caught sight of the tiny sail and, at the very moment when my companion had whispered, “He is gone” a glad shout went up in joyous welcome, “Here he comes!”
~~~ Unsigned ~~~~

The Ship of Death


Now it is autumn and the falling fruit
and the long journey towards oblivion.

The apples falling like great drops of dew
to bruise themselves an exit from themselves.

And it is time to go, to bid farewell
to one’s own self, and find an exit
from the fallen self.


Have you built your ship of death, O have you?
O build your ship of death, for you will need it.

The grim frost is at hand, when the apples will fall
thick, almost thundrous, on the hardened earth.

And death is on the air like a smell of ashes!
Ah! can’t you smell it?
And in the bruised body, the frightened soul
finds itself shrinking, wincing from the cold
that blows upon it through the orifices.


And can a man his own quietus make
with a bare bodkin?

With daggers, bodkins, bullets, man can make
a bruise or break of exit for his life;
but is that a quietus, O tell me, is it quietus?

Surely not so! for how could murder, even self-murder
ever a quietus make?


O let us talk of quiet that we know,
that we can know, the deep and lovely quiet
of a strong heart at peace!

How can we this, our own quietus, make?


Build then the ship of death, for you must take
the longest journey, to oblivion.

And die the death, the long and painful death
that lies between the old self and the new.

Already our bodies are fallen, bruised, badly bruised,
already our souls are oozing through the exit
of the cruel bruise.

Already the dark and endless ocean of the end
is washing in through the breaches of our wounds,
Already the flood is upon us.

Oh build your ship of death, your little ark
and furnish it with food, with little cakes, and wine
for the dark flight down oblivion.


Piecemeal the body dies, and the timid soul
has her footing washed away, as the dark flood rises.

We are dying, we are dying, we are all of us dying
and nothing will stay the death-flood rising within us
and soon it will rise on the world, on the outside world.

We are dying, we are dying, piecemeal our bodies are dying
and our strength leaves us,
and our soul cowers naked in the dark rain over the flood,
cowering in the last branches of the tree of our life.


We are dying, we are dying, so all we can do
is now to be willing to die, and to build the ship
of death to carry the soul on the longest journey.

A little ship, with oars and food
and little dishes, and all accoutrements
fitting and ready for the departing soul.

Now launch the small ship, now as the body dies
and life departs, launch out, the fragile soul
in the fragile ship of courage, the ark of faith
with its store of food and little cooking pans
and change of clothes,
upon the flood’s black waste
upon the waters of the end
upon the sea of death, where still we sail
darkly, for we cannot steer, and have no port.

There is no port, there is nowhere to go
only the deepening blackness darkening still
blacker upon the soundless, ungurgling flood
darkness at one with darkness, up and down
and sideways utterly dark, so there is no direction any more
and the little ship is there; yet she is gone.
She is not seen, for there is nothing to see her by.
She is gone! gone! and yet
somewhere she is there.


And everything is gone, the body is gone
completely under, gone, entirely gone.
The upper darkness is heavy as the lower,
between them the little ship
is gone

It is the end, it is oblivion.


And yet out of eternity a thread
separates itself on the blackness,
a horizontal thread
that fumes a little with pallor upon the dark.

Is it illusion? or does the pallor fume
A little higher?
Ah wait, wait, for there’s the dawn
the cruel dawn of coming back to life
out of oblivion

Wait, wait, the little ship
drifting, beneath the deathly ashy grey
of a flood-dawn.

Wait, wait! even so, a flush of yellow
and strangely, O chilled wan soul, a flush of rose.

A flush of rose, and the whole thing starts again.


The flood subsides, and the body, like a worn sea-shell
emerges strange and lovely.
And the little ship wings home, faltering and lapsing
on the pink flood,
and the frail soul steps out, into the house again
filling the heart with peace.

Swings the heart renewed with peace
even of oblivion.

Oh build your ship of death. Oh build it!
for you will need it.
For the voyage of oblivion awaits you.

D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Born Choiceless-Curse of the Nongod


We are all born helpless and in need of care. We all die much the same way...helpless and in need of care....

Its Thursday morning and you havent heard from me in some time. There are probably many reasons for such prolonged and unwritten silence but none of them seem available to me. Its one of those weeks stuck in between crunch time and waiting for the next wave...its not a bad place to hover. Our morning has been uneventful other than an interesting conversation between coworkers. The conversation began innnocently enuf; but the scope quickly went deep. If you live long enuf, it is likely you will experience some of life's unpleasantries. There had been a horrible accident this morning that resulted in a young child in a PT Cruiser having a belt buckle lodged into his/her skull.... Needless to say, that would require significant impact; not to mention a severe degree of pain. I then remarked of the erie silence that envelopes a room if you are present at someone's death. Coworker Crock told stories of a previous time when he worked for a wrecker service and some things that he would never forget.

elder careBy the end of it all, he remarked that he preferred to go quick; that way he could preserve his "dignity." My question also filled the room with an erie silence, "is dignity over-rated or just egotistical narcissism?" Certainly all men are born to die. We come into the world naked, hairless and helpless; how befitting is it that we leave the same way? No, none of that is a pleasant thought. Nor are the responsibilities of having to tell a parent what, when and what they cannot do...; that horrible loss of independence. Even worse; to be the person forced to endure the realization of the things you can no longer do for yourself, even the most private of necessities. Yeah, we eventually all agreed that we preferred a certain "quality of life."

We all agreed that we preferred to maintain "dignity." We all agreed that we would also have no choice just as the hundreds, if not generations before us. Its a sobering thought for a Thursday; nonetheless, thats the way it happened. Thats the way it was. Thats how we left it. I will be heading off to a dental appointment latter in the afternoon. I hope they have plenty of gas; that's really the best part of it all...could I get some extra gas to go please....comfortably numb....

Sometimes I wonder if the angels have
those kinds of days too and does it make them fall?
What is the great equalizer on the other side?