Thinking about the cold and light snowcover in our garden as I walked it this a.m.. Thinking about deep injustices and as a white male how much easier “the old days” were, like before I reached about 9 years of living.
Before that I didn’t realize how poor we were, how distant my parents had become from one another, how fractured my family was becoming nor how illness, tension and suffering separates families -and people from people, sometimes even life-long friends.
At that stage my parents divorced, I began studying Civil War and other war histories throughout the world. My own search for meaning and reason stirred. My closest friends were messed up big-time but I didn’t recognize that then.
Eventually I realized I was at least as flawed and a walking train wreck as many of them were. Shocking but a good shock because it brought me “to the end of myself”. Jesus talked about a guy who got there a different way, but in principle I was no different.
As I aged and began to cast off destructive self-medications I also learned that facing and overcoming them with positive therapies (relationship to the risen Christ, prayer, daily study of The Bible, regular accountability including confession of my sins and other concerns) brought needed changes, healing and grace inside me. Allelulia!
I also gained great benefit through things like music-making, basic do-it-yourself guitar and other building projects, time in the woods and in nature generally. Slowly -and I mean slllloooowwwwllllly- the nature of service toward others when it -did not- “suit” me was clearly part of my calling. I’m still working on that last one, but a wonderful, godly mature wife, kids, grandkids and large live-in church will either bring one good growth or a hardness and withdrawal that chokes off one’s own sense of what serving love is, as well as how needed it is in and outside of fractured churches.
Now to be clear, as you’ll see from this bit of prose that came to me during my snowy garden walk this a.m., there is both gain and loss in all relationships including those of family, friends, even re. interactions with strangers.
To put heart and convictions into action costs and there are areas in which you can’t avoid it. I do my best in terms of personal responsibility, but there it is, it’s not only on me. “Love has it’s expense” happens to be a phrase in a lyric I wrote some time ago.
To take a stand in most anything will draw some people and alienate others. Jesus said His own life and teachings did so and He said this clearly enough on several occasions -even to the point of family and friend divides.
Things like ignorance, separation from people, a chosen “me first and always” focus is in my view, a waste of one’s life, time and gifts. Self defense and protection so extreme we refuse to consider the other person’s perspective is in my view, often merely a dodge from Jesus’s calling to love your neighbor as yourself -even though you may vehemently disagree with them.
I write all this to give background for the following. If it sounds like I’m depressed or dismayed today or for that matter, generally, I honestly am not. Counting the cost is a matter of reality, fact, not fiction.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn
IT WAS SIMPLER THEN -glenn kaiser
It was simpler then – the wood and weather
The joys of peace – in quiet acre
Before I noticed – my neighbor’s pain
The deep injustice – and my own stain
It was simpler then – family forever
Friends at play – fun our tether
When my perspective – was grounding truth
Before the histories – leveled all I knew
Oh the greening – and lifting fog
Oh the speck – indeed my log
Then the calling – with it, friends falling
I was simpler then – now to love, Amen.