Monday, August 31, 2015

Want a Positive Perspective? Go Outside.

“Nature is calling him to health and beckoning him to joy.  He who forgets the humming of the bees among the heather, the cooing of the wood-pigeons in the forest, the song of birds in the woods, the rippling of rills among the rushes, and the sighing of the wind among the pines, needs not wonder if his heart forgets to sing and his soul grows heavy…..Charles Spurgeon

She unlaces her sandals and walks to the water.  Waves crash upon the sheen of sand, lit by the crescent moon.  Deeper she goes, salt and surf causing her shaved legs to tingle.  She hopes there is nothing under the water to scare her or cause her harm.  She shivers and smiles. 

She’s come to pray.  It was one of ‘those’ weeks---and the following weeks promise no better.  Part of the problem with all the regular life crap is that she can’t wrap her head around the why.  Can’t get perspective; don’t feel like giving a darn.  Giving in and giving up seem reasonable.  Can’t find God in the mix; can’t get herself out of the mix. 

When everything comes crashing down the beach gives perspective.  Pushing the pedal through the curves means less than half-an-hour from house to sand. 

Kicking at the water she half-skips, half-walks onto sand.  She lays down---can shower later.  So much force to the breaking of the waves.  They roll on forever.  The vastness of the sea; seems no end to it.  She feels small by comparison.  “A good thing,” she thinks.  Perspective; God created this.  Staring into the sky she remembers, “He calls them all by name; because of…His might…not one of them is missing.”

She recalls standing at the base of a waterfall on the Virgin River; water crashing down a red rock canyon.  The peace she felt that instant.  Pristine, cold water; refreshing, life-giving---life felt balanced and purposeful.  Felt full of possibility.  There was a purpose---a design.

She shivers.  Cold creeps in through wet clothes.  She walks back to the truck.  A quiet, subdued ride home.  Satan still roars; the problems still loom.  They seem manageable now though, “or should I say, managed?” she says to herself. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

What's Black And White In A Gray World?

How do we establish right and wrong without objective measure? “Too bad for those men, they’re cheating dirtbags and deserve no such discretion,” said the Impact Team, an individual or group that claims to have completely compromised the database ofAshley Madison (AM), the site for married men and women (the Impact Team claims ninety-plus percent of everybody on the site are male) wishing to have an affair.  The Impact Team advised AM that the site must be shut-down immediately or they would make public customer records, files and credit information and other significant data.  How can the Impact Team make a moral judgment about AM then break the law and commit some serious sin themselves? *

The Impact Team is blindly headed down a slippery slope.  They claim moral absolutes exist for others only.  Hypocrisy at least.  More likely the result of life lived in a culture that ignores absolute truth.  Is it okay for me to break the law and hack a company yet wrong for you to have a sexual affair?  Is it okay for me to publish the sins of one man or many men without going to each man first individually?  That is the Biblical standard from the same God that gave us the rule for marital fidelity. According to Greg Koukl, “An ethical discussion involves comparing the merits of one view with those of another to find out which is best. But if morals are entirely relative and all views are equally valid, then no way of thinking is better than any other. No moral position can be judged adequate or deficient, unreasonable, unacceptable, or even barbaric.”  So I question this act of barbarism.

I began to cheer when I heard this report.  The cheer stuck half-way in my throat.  True, having an affair is a egregious act.  Hacking into a company’s computer files based on your own personal values is evil on a different scale. The Bible states revenge is to be placed in Gods’ arena and not ours.  We are specifically told to put aside all malice, deceit, hypocrisy and slander.

One is reminded of the story in the book of Judges wherein a certain man sets up a shrine because he wants to become a priest.  The text goes on to say, “In those days there was no King in Israel…,” there was no law, there was no guidance and there were no absolutes.  It finishes with this famous commentary upon those days, “every man did what was right in his own eyes.”  May God deliver us from those who do evil and call it good.  There are absolutes; we must not pick and choose.

*Some evidence infers this is the work of an employee with a grudge...

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Summer Of Letting Go

Regret is like Necrotizing Fasciitis.  It will destroy you from the site of the wound outward.  The wife said the luggage would be fine in the back of the truck---midday, crowded parking lot, nice restaurant.  My gut told me otherwise.  I second-guessed myself and simply moved the truck to where I could visually check on it.  Walking back out to the truck the sight of cut tie-downs and missing luggage was like being punched in the stomach. 

Each of us spent the ensuing hours in negative self-talk, accusing ourselves, berating selves, pounding on our hearts as the poison in the wound spread outward.  We sensed the poison spilling out between us.  Conversation was cold and stinted.  A day in and we decided this had to stop.  The past is past and focusing on the ‘what-ifs’ would only rob the present of all its’ joy.

I’m close to my daughter.  The Daughter spent that week with us in the Sequoias.  Haven’t seen her much since then; she’s eighteen and her calendar is full.  Come September she will start college.  I’m used to seeing her multiple times per week.  Used to lots of face-to-face time.  That will change.  Most days I’m fine with that.  Still I feel a disruption in my soul someplace---a sort of emptiness.  Not all sadness. Its simply change and difference and growing up.

Sending The Daughter off to college is a predictable change.  The news I received at work yesterday was much less expected.  A different direction means I’ll be demoted.  I’ll lose some autonomy, a chunk of freedom and some perceived job security.  It rattles the cage a bit.

A friend noted that in her childhood the vacations where things went wrong were the vacations most remembered.  The good stories, the ones we tell over and over are those where the victor overcomes.  A cure is found for the creeping bacteria, the trip goes on despite stolen suitcases, and the daughters’ college experience deepens, moulds and changes her life.  The man demoted finds joy in the midst of it all.  The greatest regret would be a failure to push forward and persevere.  Conflict colors the ending and makes it a happy one.