Sunday, December 28, 2014

Vee Was Running (updated)

   Vee was running. Up the street, past the grocer, the police station and Mrs. Abel’s Millinery-
She ran with the wind at her back, laughing and singing to the beautiful day.
“Vee!” her mother called, waving a dishrag from their fifth floor window.
“Vee! Home for lunch now!”
   Vee nodded, ran back and started climbing the tenement steps two at a time but her feet hurt and as she looked down she saw her feet all red with blood, and then they were blood and hurting horribly.
“Veronica!” came her mother’s voice again, strangely angry.
Vee looked from her feet up to the window where the dishrag fell away from her mother’s limp hand. Her face burned and
“Veronica! Wake up!”
   Nurse Margaret, hand raised to slap, was next to the hospital bed, her hatchet face dark with anger.
“I don’t know why an ignorant beggar child should be such trouble! You complained about me to Dr. Aust again, didn’t you?”
   “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I only asked…”
   “You asked to be moved next to the window. I decide the bed arrangements on this floor and you don’t need a view.”
You need to quit whining and crying to get your way. You’re no princess to be waited on! Just trouble, an orphan who should keep her mouth shut!”
   Nurse Margaret pulled back the blankets and pointed.
“There! Look! Your feet won’t grow back- you will be an invalid, a nuisance and worthless all your life!”
   Vee shut her eyes as Nurse Margaret stalked away, cursing the misfortune of having such a child on her ward.
Pulling the blankets up to her chin, she wanted to cry but had no tears left.
   Mother and Father and Jack.
   A picnic outing, where the Chicago World’s Fair had taken place a few years earlier.
They were excited to be riding the elevated train, watching the buildings whizz past so close that at times it seemed that you could almost touch them.
   Mother in her best, lunchbasket at her feet.  Father looking dignified in his suit, Jack running up and down the train car as it sped across the sky.
   He cheered as the Ferris Wheel came into view but then the train lurched sharply, grinding noises so loudly, and…it fell.
   Vee didn’t think her father could be scared, but he looked frightened, locking eyes with his wife.
   Jack ran and tried to brace, to protect his little sister in the few seconds before it all went dark and she awoke in a hospital bed with bandages where there should have been feet.
   Vee felt her face and wondered if it was red. Soon she was asleep, and no more dreams.
   When she woke the next morning, her bed was next to the window; she could see it was a warm summer day.
Two Lemon drops landed on her bed and she turned to see Dr. Aust smiling. He knew they were Vee's favorite treat.
   “Good morning, Veronica. Did you sleep well last night?”
   “Good morning, Dr. Aust. Yes, I did, and thank you for the lemon drops and for moving me to the window. It’s beautiful outside today!”
Dr. Aust reminded Vee of her Grandfather, except instead of a butcher’s apron he wore a nice suit.
   He was smiling, but a frown clouded his face for a moment as he pulled a paper from his pocket.
“Vee, I know what happened last night, and I’m sorry that Miss Hampton acted so horribly towards you. She has been dismissed, and she won’t be mistreating you anymore.”
   “Doctor! I’m sorry! I didn’t…”
   “You have nothing to be sorry for, child. One of the other nurses witnessed what she did, and told me. I apologize to you on behalf of the hospital, and I must beg you forgiveness for something else.”
   He handed her a postcard.
   “Veronica, this card came for you some time ago, and Miss Hampton…kept it. It was in her locker and I’m sorry that I didn’t know about it until now.”
   Vee read the card, postmarked two months earlier, four…no…five weeks after the accident.
Dearest Veronica,
I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to get back again to see you, but you have a home here with us as soon as the doctor releases you.
You will be like our own daughter, and my sister will be smiling down on us from Heaven- we are family. Have the hospital send word and Henry and I will come for you when you are ready. Love, Emily.
   Dr. Aust pulled up a chair and sat.
   “I met them, Vee, when they came to see you-you wouldn’t remember, as we had you medicated for the pain. They’re good people-have you been to their place before?”
   Vee nodded.
   “Once we went for a Christmas visit-snow was up higher than our heads, and they met us at the station with a sled and two horses! No buildings at all! Just empty prairies and a few trees all the way to their farm.”
   “I grew up on a farm myself. Do they have cattle?”
   “A couple of cows, some pigs, chickens and a garden. My aunt makes the best pies!”
   Aust smiled. “I’m sure that she does, Vee. That postmark says Topeka-do they live close to there?”
   “I think so, though Mom talked about growing up near Hays.”
   “I’ve been there, and it’s a nice town. Vee… I want you to think about something.”
“Your life is…changed. We all have things happen that we didn’t expect, and the best way to keep moving forward and doing well is to not let your troubles hinder you.”
   “Doctor, I think Nurse Margaret has been…hindered. She’s not very happy.”
   “I think you’re right. You’re a bright girl, Vee, and I’m sure that you will do well in life. You don't know, but I delivered you when you were born, and I knew your parents well.”
   “Mother pointed you out on the street once and told me how nice you are.”
   “She did? Well, bless her. You’ll be starting a new chapter in your life; it’s important to make the most of a fresh start.”
   Vee nodded.
  “I’ve had a lot of time to think, here in this bed, and when I go to Kansas, and I want to use my middle name, which was my mother’s first name.
It will remind me of her and Dad and Jack every time someone calls me Dorothy.”
   “That sounds like a fine idea. Do you remember anything else about the farm?”
   “Well, I slept in a big, big bed with lots of quilts, and on the wall facing there was a cross-stitch Aunt Em had done: “BE IT EVER SO HUMBLE,

That night, after watching the moon come up, Vee dreamt of Kansas.
Dorothy was running...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Day I Was Caught In A Lie

Yep, Guilty. And it hurt. But the hurt went away.
Before we proceed, please look to the right, at the picture from 1978.
About a year after that picture came The Lie, which I've detailed here before,
but it's been a while, and there may be fresh(er) eyes reading this to whom it would be new.
(Don't laugh-it could happen!)
NOW I can understand all that was going on, but at the time: no way was up, all was confusion and I was failing at life.
God was after me.
He was piercing my conscience through with many arrows, and I felt that I was not going to make it.
I fought. I wanted nothing to do with God. But...
I had Christian friends that were praying, writing to me, witnessing to me, who told me that
God loved me.
I didn't feel loved-I felt troubled, as if my whole world was falling apart, that there was no hope.
I had grown up in a Lutheran church, but felt that was a sham-I never saw God there, just
well intentioned hypocrisy.
I did know a few Scriptures; one that tore right through me:
25“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 
26“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:25-26

This wasn't taught in the Lutheran church-we were told that we were confirmed as Christians
BY the church, and that we were headed to Heaven.
I wished to save my own life, but that just wasn't happening.
I KNEW I was headed to hell no matter what the Pastor recited over us each Sunday.
I was running from God, from 'what does it profit a man', from the reality that God existed.
And God was patiently working on me, bringing me to the point where I would no longer trust in my flawed self righteousness, but instead seek Him.
It was in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan that I sought out a bookstore, hoping to find some Science Fiction or Fantasy to escape into, where I could hide from Him.
Shopping mall bookstore, near closing time, empty except for the owner.
It took less than a minute inside for me to realize that it was a Christian book store.
The owner, a genial man, engaged me in small talk for a bit before he asked "The Question":
"I assume that you are a Christian, right?"
I looked him in the eye and said, "Yes I am".
In my heart I knew it was a lie.
He cheerfully said something about it being a special time of year, and I realized that it was near what I then called 'Easter'.
I nodded and got out of there quickly, having added one more sin to the pile on my heart.
It wasn't long after that when I finally DID give up and turn to God, and my life was saved
not because I was good, but because God Is.
I'm pretty sure that I will see that book store owner in Heaven.
I hope to see you there, too.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

cheery holidays

Not that it's anyone's, but fear not-I'm not any of the 'esseds': distressed, depressed, coalesced.
Earlier whilst flipping channels during football I came upon good old Jacob Marley visiting his former work-mate Scrooge in an iteration of "A Christmas Carol".
Which this being the season of, made me of a mind to share the poem/image above.
I guess I'll pick on Jeff Winger for this next bit-if you've seen the TV show "Community" you know that the show runners are/were up for any odd twisted episode-they go/went places where most sitcoms feared to re-tread.
If not familiar with the show, this probably will make no sense, but it was on a major network
(Their estimation, not mine), so I'm going to assume you have at least a passing knowledge.
Christmas episode: Jeff and his crew go through a quiet study day, classes and lunch and more classes until they gather in their study hall and go over their assignments.
No carols.
No messages about family.
No beatific children discovering the joy of the season.
No major drama that concludes in 22 minutes with a group hug.
No snark (remember-Community draws outside the lines) towards any religion.
No Christmas Party where truths are shared/discovered.
Just a quiet school day and then everyone leaves.
On his way home Winger stops for a coffee and the barista wishes him a Merry Christmas.
Jeff says, "You, too."
Roll credits.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Shiny Faced Mortuary Choir

Title doesn't refer to the charming youths above-I goggle searched for choirs, and there they were.
This morning before work I turned on the TV for breakfast background noise, and a local
H.S. Choir was Caroling.
Close to 40 years ago MY H.S. Choir was doing a TV Christmas thing, and we, being unused to anything television-wise, were scared to dearth. I mean deer-in-headlights-frozen-with-bug-eyes-and-dry-mouths SCARED!
Our Choir director, hoping to get us to relax, called us the 'Shiny faced mortuary choir' which helped a little.
That teacher is now in his late 80's and he still directs a local community choir. They had a concert just the other night.
Yes indeed, t'is the season.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Good To Know On Which Sides Of The Moss Trees Are Growing

Obscurity, thy name is Doug.
In this inverted (logic and reason down, irration and illogic up) world, the old
canard (DUCK!) : {if lost in the woods, look to see on which side of a tree the moss is growing to determine direction} needed some inversion, too.
Or subversion. Or whatever.
Lets see...a North Korean dictator is dictating to Hollywood whether or not they should
release a film he doesn't like.
He didn't send drones, friends. Just some cyber espionage/bullying/threatening directed at Sony Pictures, which has knuckled under to the knucklehead and cancelled the film, "The Interview".
The enemy of my enemy is my friend. I had zero interest in seeing "The Interview" but now would pay a premium to go to a showing.
I thought that Putin had a big ego, but head-like-a-knuckle in NorComKorea makes Putin look downright humble.
The old canard (Duck! Again!) about moss is that it will only grow on the North side of a tree.
An old political canard is that the psychotic in charge of North Korea is just a puppet of Communist China.
If THEY wanted to check their political currency, and see if THEY could make Sony-a Japanese multinational corporation bow down to their puppet, just for grins and giggles...all of a sudden the trees are growing on both sides of the Moss.
In case you didn't know, Richard Ayoade plays Maurice Moss in "The IT Crowd", which is funny like you haven't seen since "Black Books". Unless you haven't seen "Black Books".
Shockingly, I agree with those in Hollywood who feel that Sony should have stood strong and told the North Korea Nimrod to mind his own. 
He hacked into Sony-if someone felt like doing a good deed, howsabout hacking into North Korea's internet, flooding it with "The Interview"?
Moss would know how to do it-he's an I.T. guy.
(srysly-look up The IT Crowd and thank me whenever.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cuba Chameleon

Wowsers. Yesterday Cuba wasn't on my emotional radar, and now it's a brand new day.
I don't know how this is going to play out, normalizing 'relations' between the United States and Cuba. There seems to be muy caliente response a'boilin' in the American Cuban community amongst those who have sought an end to the Communist regime of the Castro brothers.
Will this be 'good'? Catastrophe? Castro-strophic?
A boon or a boondoggle?
Looking for a silver lining: after extending an olive brance to Cuba, perhaps President Obama may one day seek to normalize 'relations' with Conservative Americans such as myself.
While there is life, there is hope.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

How Do You Approach God? How Do You Not?

This is a touchy subject, and this might be a shorter post than usual. Don't look so happy.
When I say God, I mean the true God Who revealed Himself through His Word, His Word who became flesh and dwelt among us.
I have seen sinners scared nigh unto death by the idea of facing the true God.
I have known some sinners who, rather than face God, invented gods to replace Him.
Accept no substitutes, as no substitutes are acceptable.
So, the True God exists.
How do you approach Him?
Is there a candle to light, an action to be done such as raising hands, speaking certain incantations?
God must be approached with the reverence He deserves. If your heart is so soiled, your life such that you would not dare to seek God...
then you are where I once was.
I did not feel worthy to approach God.
In my own strength, my own will, my own soiled (un)righteousness, I am still not worthy.
But God Himself saved me, imputing to me the Righteousness of Christ, making it possible for me to approach Him.
Why would He do such a thing for someone so unrighteous?
"16“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 
17“For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:16-17

Here is a blessing for you from God's own word:
 14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 
15from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, 
16that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, 
17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 
18may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 
19and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Okayfine-I've Holidecorated!

Chain! As in Marley's Ghost!
With a Key! (Avec Que) As In: 'With Whom'!
An actual Sleigh Bell!
The ghost of Jacob Marley and I Jingle Bell you a Happy Holiday!
Last year the display was a bit more muted-the bell/chain combo was hung in the front doorframe with care. Now-Big Time All Out Holidecorating in the front window!!!
Notice the Blessings abounding on my street-no sno through which to go. I haven't yet
needed my snowblower and that is a blessing.
So...what next in the celebratory holiday stuff? 
Listening to a song or two, maybe watch a  movie later. Children's Christmas program tomorrow at church.
I have to ease into this Holiday stuff.
Mister Grinch's heart grew to three times its usual size, which could be deadly!
Any Doctor other than Dr Seuss would call that myocarditis.
Be safe, citizens.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dance Like Nobody Has An iPhone-reblogged from FrDW

Enough day to call it a day.
Was listening to 'talk radio' whilst working in the kitchen tonight-my workplace gifted us our choice of either a turkey or a ham-I was cooking my greatly appreciated ham-anyway, talk radio tonight reminded me of why I get so sick of politics.
Election is over, but the song remains the same: more them vs us, more 'this latest tragic catastrophe will overtake us if we don't DO something!' garbage.
The long/short of it: Man messes up, and the longer something man-made lasts, the more it devolves into entropic chaos.
Our Republic is about 240 years old. I shake my head and pray, hoping for the soon return of Christ, Who will rule Creation from Jerusalem. And do away with all liars AKA politicians.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Loss, Loss, And Something Gained

Yes, it is the Day. Above is a picture of the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
It is also the anniversary of my Mother passing away, so yeah-we have that also.
As horrific as the attack on Pearl Harbor was, it was the impetus, the rallying point, which
brought us into the World War.
Without Pearl Harbor, would Hitler have won? I don't deal in "IF's" or "Might Have's" so it feels strange to posit such an idea.
War-as long as sinful man acts sinfully, we will need to confront evil with good.
War can be righteous. War can be sinful.
Cling to what is good and abhor evil-be honest and truthful and confront the liars as you meet them.
Love God.

Friday, December 05, 2014

No Cosby Christmas Special This Season...I Hope

"1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; With my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations." Psalm 89:1 KJV

 "2“But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. 
3“Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms will be proclaimed upon the housetops." Luke 12:2-3 NASB

Before you assumerate as to what I have to say about Bill Cosby, let me add the John Bradford quote: "There, but for the Grace of God go I".
We all have feet of clay, we all sin. What we sow, we reap, unless God intervenes and by His
mercy does not punish us as we deserve.
If the allegations made against Cosby are true, he will reap what he has sown.
It may sound self serving to say this, but I am grateful that God has not burdened me with wealth. If I had as much money as Cosby has made, if I had what this world calls "Power"...
I might be tempted to think I was above the law, could do whatever I wanted. That I could buy silence and cover up anything with enough money.
I have little, which is enough, and as the saying goes, "You go with what you came with."

Monday, December 01, 2014

Hope You Don't Mind

“Behold, You have made my days as handbreadths,  And my lifetime as nothing in Your sight;     Surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Selah.
  Surely every man walks about as a phantom;     Surely they make an uproar for nothing;     He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them." Psalm 39:5-6

I might have been a bit too hard on Robin Williams when I posted after his suicide a few months ago. Maybe.
The picture above is an aggregation of pictures from google from the topic 'Robin Williams/ children'. Why?
Life is precious. Life, the very breath in your lungs is a gift from God.
I have friends who have passed away in the past year whose children and families miss them terribly, all the more with the "Holidays" approaching. Life is precious.
The children of Robin Williams  grieve the loss of their Dad, and I have compassion for them and for all who have lost loved ones.
But it is a little hard to work up any compassion for Robin Williams himself. He didn't love his kids enough to want to stick around and be part of their lives.
So, why now, Doug? Why post today about Williams?
Let his story be a caution to those who may get depressed and suicidal during the upcoming "Holidays".
If one cares for, truly loves their family and friends...they should stick around and be in their lives. Even if your life isn't all that great.
If life seems untenable, too much pain...just remember that pain, like everything else in Life,  passes.
A handsbreadth, from pinky to thumb is all that we have. God sets the number of our days, and no one knows how many seconds or decades he or she has been blessed with until they are done.
So, go make your own 'uproar for nothing'. Amass your riches, make your plans, do what you will. Every man at his best is a mere breath.
But Live.