Try this: EARTH - FIRE - WIND - WATER - SPECTACULAR VISTAS TEEMING WITH DIVERSITY - WORK - PLAY - NEW DISCOVERIES EVERYDAY
OK, so you don't think I was there. Peace! Brings me back to that pesky little question: why am I here? Why am I here in this moment of time? I've done a little checking around - well, more than just a little - way more than that! This keeps popping up. CREATED 2 CREATE. Ringing any bell? No? What about this? CREATED IN (fill in your blank). No bell yet? Check this out: BORN 2B AWESOME. U like? I like 2.
Let's speculate for a moment. Let's presume you have an enemy out there. I'm not saying there is one. We're just presuming! Enemies? Really? Okay, let's say you've got enemies out there: a cross between The Big Bang Theory's Dr. Sheldon Cooper and Howard's mother teamed up with the teenage daughters of Reality Housewives. Let's say, they want well only for themselves; they really don't want anything good for you; they want to invade your space; they want your hands for their bidding, your mouth to fetch their lies and your head on their trophy wall. Or war! Well! Let's say, they own a thousand well-practiced weapons that can turn you into an obedient zombie. Impotent! What do you suspect will be their first target? That's right - boom-boom - your nut-package. They will crimp your style, stifle your creativity; frustrate your awesomeness.You say, yes; they'll shout, NO. If that's their goal why in the name of tarnation (there's a word for you) are you aiding and abetting their diabolical mission by crawling under their feet? STAND UP! BEHOLD WHO YOU ARE! STEP OUT! BE CREATIVE! BE AWESOME! Light beams! Into their faces. Right between the eyes. Don't get in a drag-down with them. Well (pssst, don't tell the Big Guy I told you this) if you're going to go down there in a drag-down with them then at least be way more awesome at it than they are: give 'em hell. Ay-yai-yai! But what if while you're down in that mock giving them hell you discover that they are lodged right between your two ears? Now what? Just sayin! You were born with potential. You were born with trust. You were born with greatness. You were NOT created to crawl. Find your wings. Fly on up.
Reclaim your awesomeness. BE CREATIVE! I'll show you how.
First, there are a few lessons in creativity well worth noting. May I introduce you to Ms Julie Burstein? She is way better than I am at revealing these, so pay attention while I slip aside to take in more of my awesomeness. See you in a wink.
letting go - savoring the sentence - embracing
Hi. U like? Second. Know that it's being done, daily, even in the most unexpected of places, and in most unexpected ways, transforming lives. It is being done, lifting many to higher places. It's filling in cracks. It is shining a guiding light along many journeys. Even whilst bombs are falling from clouds and minds are being booby-trapped for battles that will always be lost, some are picking up the broken pieces and creating newness. And through it all the lad is learning. He is growing in the stepping out: finding beauty in the cracks and joy in his laughter. Examples he comes across are so awesome they inspire him. Behold how it is being done in this space. Take careful note that the lesson here is about creativity - not about a place! Imagine! His name is Immanuel. And I am the dreamer.
So, WHO ARE YOU?
And WHY ARE YOU HERE? 2B AWESOME! Third. My man is the Master. Knowledgable. Ingenious. He was young then, early thirties, caring, impassioned, a man making things happen in this world - feeding, healing, uplifting, re-building, counseling, reasoning, inviting - exemplary love, a sample of God. Whoah! The son of a marvelous woman. I am His and He is mine. His name is Provider. Some call him Jesus. As leader of The Great Adventure, his fame was spreading far and wide and up into the palaces, as was too the wonderful works of The Twelve Gathered, which kept astonishing thousands, so much so, some in high places grew jealous and envious and resentful, as is the nature of ego, and such that when King Herod was celebrating his daughter's birthday and he offered her whatever she wanted, her mother told her to ask for John's head - John, the cousin of Jesus, the forerunner, whom Jesus loved - and Herod for the sake of his reputation, sadly granted it. John was for that reason captured then beheaded, and his head was delivered as a gift on a platter. Who-ah!
And The Rest buried John's body.
Immense grief did not stall Jesus. He told The Rest to let the people stay and be fed, for these people were hungry having followed him out of the city and into the evening. But there was not enough food, just five loaves and two fishes. Jesus took that and blessed it and gave it to The Rest. And they fed everyone full. The leftovers filled twelve baskets.
What a man!
He needed to rejuvinate himself. He told The Rest to sail to safety. "Cross the sea." Meanwhile, he went up the mountain to talk to His Father.
These - The Rest - must surely have needed to grieve.
But the sea was rough. The winds were strong and the waves were high, as would any storm barking like a runt from a distance.
In the wee hours of morning - the fourth watch - The Rest spotted what they reckoned to be a ghost - the ghost of Jesus - walking on the sea. Who-ah! This so frightened them, they screamed. But Peter! Oh, the mandingo! The BFF! He knew his Jesus well. Jesus said, "It is me." And Peter said, "If you are my Jesus, you will invite me to walk on the sea with you and I will walk on the sea with you." So Jesus did exactly that. He said, "Come." Peter went. Peter walked on the sea. Yes, Peter walked on water. But he saw the height of the approaching waves. He heard that runt barking, so loud, its waves rolling rough, he got scared. So he began to sink. Who-ah! "Oh, Peter," Jesus said, "Why do you doubt?"
Why do you doubt?
AND WHEN THEY WENT INTO THE SHIP THE WINDS CEASED!
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." ~ Jesus
"R U the light or the watchman?" This is your life; only YOU can live it.
IMPOSSIBLE IS NOTHING
DON'T STOP BELIEVING
Rise Up And Ride
Stop it right there! Keep your hand steady. Let me take in that bit.
For I am persuaded
that neither death
nor things present
nor things to come
nor any other creature
shall be able to seperate us
from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Did you see that? Did you hear that? Did you know that? OMG! Who said that? Did ya, did ya, did ya, oh, really! Got to be a whole lot more whereever that came from. OMG, I am persuaded, but don't just stare at me when you can discover with your eyes and ears and heart and mind what kind of inseparable love this is . . . then thinkon those things; lest you suffer needlessly the violations and condemnations of envious nobodies.
The devil is in the details.
God is EVERYWHERE!
Why do you think creepy critters are always digging out some quirky detail and stretching it out to scare you?
Runts barking in the distance!
Wolves ripping out hearts and spitting into jars! Foxes on the prowl!
Why go there to endure half-a-life?
ANY LOVE WITH CONDITIONS
IS NO LOVE AT ALL
THERE IS A BALM IN GILEAD
Some words feel good. Rolling off the tongue. Sliding through the air. Slipping into the mind.
Some words taste good. They are fresh and full of fragrance. They are wonderful. Marvelous. Simply amazing. Awesome.
Some words look great. The way they stand. The way they dance. The way they swing you smoothly into a dream.
I adore them.
I have, ever since I was a wee boy, and one of those adorable words is balm. I like calm too. And psalm. And palm. But I was never as mesmerized by alms. Something always seemed oddly broken about it, which is strange, because I didn't so mind broken at all; there's a weird kind of music in broken.
I know this must seem all kind of odd, but words have always had weight and texture to me. They are not empty. They are not meaningless. They are not bland.
Not at all.
I like the sound of that phrase too. And I like the word Gilead, ever since I was a wee boy.
Strange, I know.
Words are powerful.
Actions can deceive you.
I know; that sounds all wrong; but it is true.
Never mind that for the moment, let's get back to the beauty of my two words, balm and Gilead.
You see, someone decided to put those two words into a sentence. 'There is a balm in Gilead.' I don't know who did; there is just something about it.
The sentence came to me via a song. Now I must tell you that I did not like the song. I tried hard to like the song. Trust me, I tried hard. Boring. No, not boring. Laborious. With all my trying - hundreds of times - I felt like a mule harnessed to a loaded cart having to drag the load through mud.
However, old church ladies swayed, singing it like it is a rope, a longed-for rescue. 'There Is A Balm In Gilead.' One woman on the radio almost made me like the song - Mahalia Jackson. There Is A Balm In Gilead used to stick in my head like a recurring loop. There Is A Balm In Gilead.
And now I was about to make a huge mistake.
You see, my mother was a teacher, in every way you'd understand that word. Yes, I am the son of a teacher. And not that bright, come to think of it, despite plaudits and degrees from many colleges and universities, for I doubt one who keeps falling into the same old trap repeatedly is really that bright, but I was curious. Supremely curious. On this particular day someone had the brilliant idea to have some old-fashioned genius with a very deep voice drag that old song across the airwaves, like a tired slave pulling a cane punt, so slow, it occured to me I had no idea what a balm and a Gilead were. Forthwith, I shot up the stairs to my mother - the teacher - to inquire what these were. Dear God! Oops, I Did It Again! Just as the first sounds were steaming through my chops I realized my mistake.
True, she had already taught me this little gem: He who asks a question is a fool for a second; he who doesn’t remains a fool for life.
Well, I was a fool for so many seconds, I must've remained a fool passed puberty. And I should've known questions like this would put me in the same old box: "Mommy, what is a balm?"
"You don't know what a balm is?"
"Uh, er, em, ahem, no, mommy."
"And what are we going to do about it, so that we will always know from now on what a balm is?"
No such thing as the INTERNET then. I knew the drill, though. I got the dictionary.
"Do you know how to spell balm?" she asked.
Its peculiar 'L' was not going to trick me this time. "B A L M," I said.
"Wonders never cease. My boy is learning. Finally." And I was super carefull in my search. Any misstep could prolong my lesson. "Boy, what is taking so long? Can't you read?"
"Mommy, balm is an ointment," I said boldly.
Trust me, I saw all those other explanations, but I was not about to admit seeing 'aromatic, fragrant ointment' or 'resinous substance of medicinal value,' - all of them traps to turn my word-class into a worldclass laboratory.
"And we do know what ointment is used for, don't we?"
As confident as a medic I answered then made a dash for the door. "Where are we heading? What about Gilead?"
I didn't find Gilead in our little dictiorary. Perhaps, I didn't spell it correctly. Maybe it wasn't there. Not finding it cost me my Saturday. Off to the library to find its details. Life got interesting there.
It hadn't occurred to me whether folks my size were ever in that library. I told the librarian what I came for and she gave me a huge book. My lord. It was not a page turner and there was no way to get through one page full of such weird words - much less the entire book - no matter how long before my mother returned. My gut was churning when she arrived, for I was none the wiser coming out than going in, but I put up a brave front.
On our way home, I percieved she was about to ask me to share my learning, so I jumped on the offensive. "Mommy Gilead is a huge poem, way bigger than the dictionary, bigger than the bible. Mommy, it is huge."
"Gilead is what?"
"A huge poem, mommy. Mommy, you should see the words. They are not words like our words."
My mother burst into laughter. I figured that was good, though I didn't know what was funny.
"Boy, how do you spell Gilead?"
I answerd boldly. "I L I A D." No mistake, because it was on the cover of the book the lady gave me.
My mother kept laughing for a while. "Iliad is a poem, indeed," she said. "Gilead is a place."
It turned out to be one of those worthwile mistakes - a door opener - leading to memorable lessons. She took me into the gardens and showed me the Balm of Gilead. Did you know it is a plant? She told me lots about Homer, who authored The Iliad. Though, for a good while, whenever someone mentioned the term homo, I'd think, I know that guy. He is a genius.
Of several valuable lessons that error led me to, the one I want to share at this moment is one that didn't crystalize until years later whilst with a group who gave of themselves, their time, their talent, to live in an English village as one with the folks - lifting and loving, no questions asked - a beatiful life-affirming story that needs its own space and time. Being privileged to be in the midst of that joy made me remember one of my mother's lessons in that beautiful garden - A rose does not try to be a hibiscus; a hibiscus does not strain itself to be a rose; they become the best of what they are. Camouflaged creatures and camouflaged plants behave the way they do because they are under attack or because they are preparing to prey on another, and we are robbed of their natural beauty and joy. - Then she made me look at the entire garden, as a whole. Wow! This very lesson is being continually reinforced. It is a lesson in the ILIAD and brilliantly retold in the BIBLE, books which serve us best read, not in bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, but from top to bottom, inside and out - reading it ALL. And this is the caption of her lesson: THE WHOLE IS FAR GREATER THAN THE SUM OF ITS PARTS.
And I like the word WHOLE.
It doesn't sound the same as hole, yet some ears would never know it.
LOVED NO QUESTIONS ASKED
I cherish the moments
Every Moment Is Precious
- A weekly INSPIRATIONAL PRESENTATION, with gem-sparkling Personal & other TRUE STORIES -