Confession to my husband: I bought a bunch of digital books today. It's your birthday tomorrow, but you won't be home. You're even out of cell phone range. I'll spoil you when you return. Today, out of loneliness, with you and half the children gone--and to avoid what I should write, but don't feel ready to--I splurged on...
1. A collection of modern religious poetry in support of a blogger I recently discovered. It was only $3. And so far these parts have that hum to them I keep looking for. Maybe they'll help me get my writing to hum again?
from "Christmas Eve" by James Goldberg
...But Mary's brain has been flooded, washed
a secret place,
where her son can rest his head--
immersed in her water,
nourished by her blood.
If she can carry him
past just one more closed inn door,
That great and terrible moment will come
when he bursts forth into this world
to teach us all
how to be born.
Midwives I've been reviewing come to mind.
Parts like this wink at me, so I underline...
You had to wash the clearness out with mud so I could see again.
(as sung by Johnny Cash)
... Yes, I've felt the white-hot heat that forged
this iron rod I hold.
Oh, I've seen plates of fire God made
to refine these plates of gold.
Went and asked God for a vision--
and an angel said, Behold:
The future's filled with a fire, son,
to refine your plates of gold.
Plates of gold. What of mine? Still in the fire...
2. Then I turned to the monthly Mentoring in the Classics audios and study guides that have been building up in my files ready to catch up on when a nudge comes like today. Nathan started reading Louis L'Amour. This month the classic pic is L'Amour's Bendigo Shafter. So I downloaded it on my kindle app. Makes me miss my Naynay who is away, helping you. I read a review that said the main character is "one of the best male role models in literature. He's the type of man you want to raise your son to be... he's not perfect... just a man responding to his life course and making adjustments as events necessitate." I thought of you. Made me miss you more.
Here's what I highlighted today:
Ruth Macken had a way of making a man feel large in his tracks, so what could I do but better than my best? (p.6)
To destroy is easy, to build is hard. To scoff is also easy, but to go on in the face of scoffing and to do what is right is the way of a man. (p.7)
The westward way had a different effect on folks, and many of them grew in size and gathered in spirit. John Sampson was such a man. Back home in the States he had been the village handyman, and nobody paid much mind to what he thought about anything. He did his work and he took his pay, and that was the sum of it. Folks turned to teachers, ministers, storekeepers, and bankers for opinions. But once you got out away from home on a wagon train, a minister or a banker wasn't much help; a handyman could keep your wagon rolling...
...When we crossed the Mississippi and rolled out over the grass lands some folks were scared of the size of it all. Miles of grass stretched on all sides, the vast bowl of the sky was overhead, and there were a few who turned around and ran for home, their tails between their legs. There were others, like John Sampson, who began to grow and to take big steps in the land. Webb grew, too, but in another way. There had always been a streak of violence in him, but fear of public opinion and fear of the law had toned it down. Now a body could see the restraint falling away...
...We accepted danger but took no unnecessary risk. It is a fool who invites trouble, a child who is reckless, for life holds risks enough without reaching out for more. (p.12)
What would we do on a wagon train if we left it all and started anew, AD? Maybe it would be like it is now:
You'd play on one of your good violins,
I'd steal it to practice on, pretending I can play,
Then you'd steal it back and sell it to someone,
Then bring out a better one,
Before leaving for the week to sell the good ones,
While I practice on the better one,
Thinking of you.
3. Lastly, I bought a book we already have: Bonds that make us Free. Digital this time. Don't worry. It was only $6 since I had points to redeem. I Couldn't find our hardcover. Must have lent it out. (Anyone out there have mine?) I suggested to a friend we read it together and discuss. I promised it was all about her life right now. I secretly hope it will do what it has for so many: bring freedom. And maybe a Bendigo Shafter? But first, I hope it teaches her how to be free. Free of anxiety. Free of fear. Free of walls. Free of pain. I haven't started reading it yet (since the first time years ago). So I scan quickly to find something that hums, winks, or nudges me. Ah...
...an older, very concerned woman raised an issue about forgiveness... "If you forgive somebody, you more or less say, 'There's something that person needs to be blamed for, something he's done wrong to me, but I'm a big enough person to overlook it.' You have to keep in mind what they've done wrong or else you don't have anything to overlook. So you can't forgive and forget, can you? You have to remember the wrong they've done. That doesn't seem to be very charitable. So I don't understand forgiveness. I've always been suspicious when people say they forgive...
This woman was right to say that we do not, we cannot, accuse someone in our heart and at the same time forget about the wrong we're accusing them of doing. The best we can do, as long as we continue to accuse, is to counterfeit a pardon for them and try our best not to think about what they have done. But overlooking or "letting pass" a grievance or an offense does not qualify as forgiveness. Forgiveness is something else entirely.
First, forgiveness responds to the real issue, the real reason... [it] is not any wrong that others have done to us, but the wrong we are doing to them. Forgiveness concerns our wrongdoing, not theirs. And our wrongdoing includes our failure to treat them as we ought, or finding them at fault for this failure, and our refusal to forgive them for this supposed fault.
Second, our act of forgiving consists of repenting of this wrongdoing of ours, or in other words, ceasing to accuse those we have been accusing.
Third, when we cease to accuse them, we cease to feel there's anything on their part that needs to be forgiven! We no longer find them offensive. We see that from their point of view they are struggling against perceived offenses and threats just as we have been.
Thus forgiveness involves opening ourselves to the truth, letting our former offenders become real to us, and no longer believing there is anything for us to forgive. As they undergo a transformation in our forgiving eyes, we undergo a transformation ourselves.
This must be so. As long as we see others as needing our forgiveness, we will continue regarding ourselves as their victim and will remain accusing still. We live free of the bondage of accusing, afflicted feelings only by ceasing to find and take offense...
I begin to think, dearest, that the rabbit trails of the day had some order to them.Of all the initiatives people can take who feel a devastating wrong has made them miserable, one stands above all others in effectiveness. It is actually seeking forgiveness for having refused to forgive.
I like to see the bigger picture. Not just dots.
So I begin to connect the dots. I put them down on "paper" and look for the invisible lines in-between.
And I see some connections. I feel the bigger picture coming. I needed this. I had been trying to draw the picture without the dots. That's fine when you know what the bigger picture is suppose to become. But I don't yet.
So I get dots.
I need more dots.
And I need to write them down.
How does anyone see those greater things--the macro things--without recording the dots? I'll never know. Maybe they won't either.