The following is a beautiful post written by a gentleman who is a fellow blogger. May it inspire the men who read it, and may ladies be encouraged to share it so more men will read it. Perhaps someone will write a counterpart to it for women, on how we should treat men.
One year ago to the day, my mom left this world.
I dreamed about her last night. It was as though she had never left. We went swimming together in an indoor pool within a huge log house with lots of windows letting in sunshine through a filter of tall evergreens. Later in the dream, we met up again with plans to return to the pool. Nothing at all crossed my mind to hint she had died. It seemed totally normal.
Man, I love dreams. That was a good one.
Only in the past few days have I begun to go through the boxes of my mom’s stuff that I brought up here last year. The thing that gets me the most is seeing her writing. Her nice, neat, left-handed writing was the same since I was little up until the notes she made during her final week in her old home.
Here is a photo my sister sent to my cell phone a year ago while a few of my kids and I were an hour into the drive on which we embarked after hearing the news of my mom having suffered a massive stroke. My mom was unconscious in a hospital bed as my sister held her hand and took that picture.
That’s the hand that penned letters, words, and thoughts I will always cherish. That’s the hand that raised me. That’s the hand that led me with love.
I didn’t get there in time. My mom passed away a couple hours after that photo was taken.
Some will understand when I say I will see my mom again and things will be better than ever. I look forward to that.
Scientific studies aside, getting outdoors rejuvenates me. The more, the better. Well, within reason. I draw the line at sleeping in a tent unless absolutely necessary. Too many traumatic associations of tent-camping with toddlers keep that as a no-go for me.
Here’s a taste of my yesterday dose of wilderness:
Abandoned cabin at Pothole Ranch on BC’s Gang Ranch – second largest ranch in Canada
“Mom, we need to go do something in the wilderness,” said my oldest daughter, who’s been working hard as a supervisor and safety coordinator for road construction all week.
“I know,” I said. “I’ve been so busy. But I am going to have to just make it happen.”
“Yes, that’s when we need it the most,” she said. “I read a sign that said we should get out in nature for at least 20 minutes a day. And on days when we’re really busy, we need to get out even more.”
It is true. I get so buried by the “gotta-do’s” in my life that I run out of Steen:
the cooking, the cleaning, the grocery restocking and the other errands in town;
the appointments for various family members;
the overseeing of my younger children and their learning and socializing;
the paperwork and the organization of it;
the bill management and everything finance-related;
the scheduled and also the unexpected;
the prioritizing of urgencies, and the abandoning of priority to the emergencies.
And that’s not even mentioning the book project I try to squeeze in every day. Those documents are always open on my computer, in front of which I sit for a few minutes at a time, several times a day. Some days I only add a few lines. Some days I edit what was already there. Some days I can’t squeeze in a moment or a word.
I often leave my phone on a charger where I cannot see or hear it. Almost every time I check it, there are messages. I have lost friends because of my inability to sit down and return calls. I try to at least fire a text message or email in reply where possible.
My home is surrounded by wilderness. All I need to do is step outside and I hear birds singing. Trees and other foliage grow wild everywhere I look in my yard and beyond it. And the air is fresh and clean.
I walk in nature every chance I get, even if it is a few minutes to see the sky. I go for longer walks when able, alone or with family members, hiking up hills or meandering along forest trails; and breaking up the walk with sprints to get in some higher intensity intervals for increased health benefits is a nice way to spice up a walk. Outright longer runs are satisfying, too.
And every so often, I get to expand the radius of my wilderness enjoyment. Yesterday’s trip to Farwell Canyon, BC, meant 2-1/2 hours of driving to reach that spot, but I was with three of my kids, listening to music in my son’s Jeep while he drove, laughing, talking, and enjoying the views. The journey was as much a part of the destination as was the first step outside onto silent ground.
Water running over rocks. Sandstone hoodoos. Blue skies bedecked with white clouds. Grass, trees, and many more greens than I can name.
I need it.
I love it.
I thank God for it.
I look forward to more of it, in abundance, never fading or decaying, in the place my Lord Jesus has prepared for me, which is far better than even the best taste of wilderness this world has shown me.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)
Here is a picture of me a week or two after I’d been thrown face-first into a wall in the late 1980s. I went to the doctor about the face wounds at the time, but I never thought to get my neck checked out. Several years later, I started getting headaches and neck pain that would last for five days, every few weeks.
In 2012, a chiropractor did a full spine X-ray on me. His assumption is that it was that unhealed whiplash type of injury, way back then, that is the cause of my spine having grown in a twisted manner, somehow flaring up into these frustratingly painful “attacks” that don’t respond to even strong medication like morphine.
That’s the drama part. It’s ugly. I deal with the outcome. But, I keep in mind that a lot of people have their own predicaments that are worse than mine.
The good news is that I am free from that destructive relationship.
The better news is that I am free from an even worse destiny of missing out on the most loving relationship I could ever imagine – one with the Creator of all life, thanks to His Son, Jesus, giving His life to pay for my ticket to Him. Call it crazy if you will, but it’s a long, long story, longer than mine, and it’s all there in the Bible for you to read yourself. If you’ve read it and still don’t believe it, I urge you to consider that if the Bible is right in that the only way to eternal life is through faith in Christ, and you reject that, you risk ending up in a situation you will deeply regret. If with even the tiniest bit of faith you can accept it, it is better than risking eternity in hell – IF hell really is as real as the Bible says it is. If it isn’t, we who believe lose nothing and we turn to dust. It costs you nothing to believe. I figure it’s not worth the risk to reject such a simple deal.
As for my own long story, it’ll take me awhile to get it copied to this WordPress blog properly, with all the photos and links, so for now I will just provide a link to where it is currently located, on my old Google blog. I never did properly edit it, as I wanted to get it out there in a hurry at the time, several years ago now. I apologize for that, and for any photos that don’t show up where they should.
If you are in an abusive situation, please know that at least one person understands. I would pray for you if I knew about it, and try to help you find a way out.
Someone else wrote this:
“Take you a glass of water
Make it against the law.
See how good the water tastes
When you can’t have any at all”
-Creedence Clearwater Revival, “Bootleg”
. . . . .
How universal is it to desire that which you do not possess?
Is it in every human heart to admire beauty, overtly or covertly, regardless of how much one already has?
Is it an empty space of longing that was allowed with a purpose, ready to be fulfilled in a dimension where jealousy, pain, and offense of all kinds are nonexistent, and peace, joy, and love are rampant?
Is desire a prerequisite to fulfillment that will only come when we are in perfected bodies, not decaying, not breaking, able to handle the weight of holding everything we could want, sinless, selfless, and furthermore having the capacity to enjoy it to the fullest?
Meanwhile, we live in a state of not fully living, and we continue to die.
Too much gravity to fly, yet not enough gravity to be held down.
Swimming in the lusts of our flesh.
Sometimes caving in and regretting, sometimes walking away and regretting, and sometimes feeling temporarily satisfied.
We admire, desire, and crave.
Those eyes, that hair, those arms, that mind, that car, that truck, those shoes, the sun, the heat, houses, land, gadgets, tools, travel, companionship, intimacy…
We steal, we kill, we destroy.
It’s not just me.
I don’t want it to be!
And we continue to thirst.
Then, sometimes, when we get what we want, we find that it wasn’t as perfect as it seemed.
Temporary ecstasy amidst temporary pain, not willing to endure the strain.
Almost living, always slowly dying.
Always – intentionally, really – incomplete…
I am sharing this from another WordPress blogger:
Reading the Word Matthew 16:1–4 (ESV) 1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be […]
For years, I couldn’t find a church where I was comfortable. I had been to many organized fellowships, but the more I read the Bible on my own, the more I didn’t feel right about the way things were.
I’m now to the point that I am simply not comfortable in organized churches of the land – and I am comfortable with that.
WE, the believers in Christ, are the church.
There is a lot out there in “churchianity” that is more like a business than the way the Bible shows us about the New Testament believers (the body of Chriest) and how fellowship looks.
I know my beliefs concerning this are unpopular. I get frowned upon by a lot of people who are happy to be involved in Sunday meetings with a specific format, to sit under the teaching of a “leader” who we assume will always know more than we can ever learn on our own by studying the Scriptures like a Berean, to help pay the mortgage and/or the bills of their meeting space, etc. But there are some of us who don’t see that as Biblically correct.
That’s the condensed version to reach out in case others share my feelings. If you can relate, I’d love to hear from you. 🙂
Here’s a link for a brand new blog for people like me who are fed up with Facebook. I can vouch for its author – that’s all I will say. It is, for now, an anonymously created site while the bugs get worked out.
I hope you’ll visit and help it grow.
“Have I laboured all for nothing.
Trying to make it on my own.
Fear to reach out to the hand
Of one who understands me
Say ‘I’d rather be here all alone.’
It’s all my fault
I sit and wallow in seclusion.
As if I had no hope at all,
I guess truth becomes you
I have seen it all in motion
That pride comes before the fall.”
-From Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again”
Those words of a beloved song came to mind as I thought about how good it would be to reach out and be understood.
“Cheer up. Look on the bright side. Here’s what you need to feel better.”
Best intentions aren’t always a solution.
Sometimes a solution is not the answer.
Maybe there is a reason for the feelings. I believe I will know someday, and all these pains won’t even be worth comparing to the joy that is coming.
Until then, though, I ponder.
Why is understanding in such short supply? Or do I just not know where to find it or how to hunt for it?
So much in this life seems so complicated and only results in what feels like futility.
Maybe someone will think about me. Maybe someone will pray for me.
I think I need to go out for a walk.
Maybe I will think about eternity. Maybe I will think about the sunshine breaking through the clouds. Maybe I will think about mud.
Maybe I will think about this song:
(Jennifer Knapp’s “Whole Again” performed live, acoustic version)