A Cutting Away

I am a student in this life.  It’s a blessing to learn and I have learned by experience, reading and observation mostly.   Yet, it’s a  curse as well.  As I observe and learn, there arises in me the urgency  to put into action the lessons I’m learning.  It’s well and good to study a thing in a book, a paper, or a treatise, but another to put into daily action the lessons learned.  Putting into action the good things we learn can cause you to remove yourself from your comfort space and face what you would rather not.

“In one’s life. there are levels in the pursuit of study. In the lowest level, a person studies but nothing comes of it, and he feels that both he and others are unskillful.   At this point he is worthless.”

Upon my recent return to my home town I took noticed that a lesson was in order.  Before I made the journey, I felt such heaviness that hung around my neck as if wearing a slave collar popular for 17th and 18th century Europeans to adorn their slaves with.  Not that I felt some oppression by returning home for as a child I had a happy life.  But, a feeling of foreboding as if I should become aware of something.  I needed to see my aging mother since so many miles separate us and it had been more than a year since I saw her last.  This time, however was to be different since there was a lesson in store for me.

“In the middle level he is still useless but is aware of his own insufficiencies and can also see the insufficiencies of others.”

My father transitioned almost five years ago and my mother has carried the household with the heart of a warrior.  While she and my father were married she was the traditional June Cleaver 1950’s – 1960’s house wife, taking care of us and the house while my father brought home the bacon.  She attended all of our school functions, made dinner and found time to even play with us  children.  When she worked she never held a job long since my father really didn’t like her to work.  Be clear, my father made sure she would have funds to take care of herself financially.   Bu,  as her eldest child, when my father transitioned I felt it my duty to provide as much as I could to assist her in maintaining her living standard.

So, as I stepped into her abode, I could see there were small repairs that needed to be handled, painting, and just general upkeep.  I spent most of my time there taking care of these household requirements for any home owner.  In just a few days the house was bright and shiny again, and I could see on her face the pleasure she took in looking at her newly painted walls.  So, how could one who does this for their personal God, the living God that gave you life and not only by giving birth but by giving you life more abundantly be scorned?    My mother wiped our tears, cleaned our bodies, healed our wounds (mentally and physically), fed us good food and gave us the truth and rights on how to live as an upstanding being.  How does one lose friends and be scorned by siblings for giving back as one should?

“In a higher level he has pride concerning his own ability, rejoices in praise from others, and laments the lack of ability in his fellows. This man has worth. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.”

Lesson learned.  Yeshua said he came not to bring peace, but a sword.  I understand now this a time of harvest for me in that it is time to cut away the tares.  I am sure I appear as a tare to some, it’s their duty to cut away the tares from themselves.  I have been asked by friends back home when I will return for a visit and when I reach they find very little time to commune, verse, or spend any quality time.  Those were the actions of former friends.  Yet, when your sibling treats you in the same manner it becomes a deeper matter.  Surely, such behavior would be understandable if there were some riff between us,  argument, or falling out of some sort.  Nothing ever occurred as I would never allow such to happen.  But, this is the road and I fully accept.  On this trip I was able to get clarity on so much.

“But there is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way arid never thinks of himself as having finished. He truly knows his own insufficiencies and never in his whole life thinks that he has succeeded. He has no thoughts of pride but with self-abasement knows the Way to the end. It is said that Master Yagyu once remarked, “I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself.”

Facebook Religion

Facebook is really a good tool to stay in contact with your family, former college and high school classmates and friends.  It’s cool for me since I live so far from home I can vicariously be where my family and friends are on certain occasions.  I also love Facebook for the information I can glean from people I have as “friends” that I actually may have never or had any physical interaction with.  I may have never laid my eyes on some of these “friends” in my life, but we share certain interests and often share information surrounding those common interests.  What I have noticed however, more and more, is the growing Facebook Religion.

Religion is a “tie that binds.”  On a certain level of thought I fully understand the idea behind a religion.  It represents a way in which people can travel to different places and connect with others that they have no other connection with, but through religion.  A Christian can travel to anywhere in the world and should be able to connect with others of like religion to worship and commune together.  The same I would believe would be true for practitioners of Islam and Judaism.  Yet, on another level the word religio also means to tie, as to restrain.  Often I hear my Christian friends and family say something to the effect of “I would cuss you out if I weren’t a Christian.”  Or “I sure would try to date that chick if I wasn’t married and a Christian.”  Religion is a “Tie that binds”, surely.

“God is in control.”  “The Holy Spirit has control of the television right now.”  I read these posts on Facebook and think to myself, “really???”  Facebook has become a station where those that maintain the title Christian can express Christianesque things that are accepted as valid Christianity.  Most of my family and close friends subscribe to this type of Christianity and often post the above on Facebook.  For me this is a type of religion, a religion  I call Facebook religion.  There are many, many followers of this version of religion.  Their comments often range from hallelujah, to almost typing out a form of “unknown” tongue in response.   Yet, how many of them would actually be willing to attempt to put into action the verses and Christianesque sayings they write?

Christians claim to be “Christ like.”  I suppose then “Christ like” is a version of Christ  conjured up in order not to attempt DOING anything Christ actually DID, other than praying.  A version of something, at the least, is a translation.  It’s also a turning and even hints at destruction.  Destruction would make sense if you don’t care to do the works of the original, so a new creation, a version of Christ is maintained and in turn this destroys the original.

This weekend I spent time with a cousin that lives near me, who happens to be from my hometown and of course we both have the same family as friends on Facebook.  The subject of Facebook came up and I had to let him know how I live and why I don’t respond to all the Christianesque chatter.  Christianesque chatter is just that, chatter.  I explained to my cousin that I cannot chime in on the chatter posted on Facebook by many of our family and friends since most of them are just talking and only willing to remain on a “Christ like” level of understanding.  They want to talk Christ, but actually attempting to do Christ doesn’t appear to be part of their religious plan.  I explained my position as one of learning.  Learning to put these lessons given into action.  I told him we need to begin to act out these words rather than just talk/write them.  Jesus went into the desert fasting, no eating, for 40 days and was confronted by “Satan” on the 40th day.  I asked him how many of those of the Facebook religious order would be willing to fast for ONLY three days without eating to actually DO as Christ DID.  His response….Blank stare!

Death Is Just Another Side Of Life.

The Angel of Death by Evelyn De Morgan

How many of us think about death? What comes to mind? I bet the picture that comes to most minds are the death of a loved one or maybe even our own demise. But, have you ever thought of death when winter comes and the skies turn gloomy and the trees turn brown? Or, maybe when the sun sits low in the southern hemisphere during the “cold” months, before it begins it’s journey back to the north? “Death“, my father used to say, “is another side of life“. And I’ve come to realize he was saying a lot in those few words. In the world of Tarot the Death card symbolizes change. I think now, that’s exactly what my old man was saying.

Recently, I’ve been mourning the death of relationships in my life. I never really thought about relationships ending to be a kind of death, until a friendship I had, “changed.” This person was, as some of we Southern Californians say, “the homie.” Or, as the text world puts it today a BFF…lol. But, I’ve come to realize the final “F” in the text means for the life of the friendship not necessarily until we take our last breath.

Even more recently, I’ve come to deal with the fact that family relationships “change” like friendships. Even though one is your brother or sister, there seems to be some growth apart. That loving friendship you once had with a sibling or relative that you grew up with and may have even lived in the same house while growing up, come to an end like friendships.

Most sad of all, are the relationships that end for no apparent reason. They just seem to go away, to change. I guess we just grow apart. It’s not a good feeling to know that this change will no longer bring the comedic calls from a brother or sister at any hour of the night or day. No longer do one’s brother or long time friends rejoice when you return home after being away for a long period of time. Yes, death is another side of life. Simply life “changes.”

Ode to my father

Earlier this month I lost my father.  It was no surprise, he had been ailing for about a year now and was slowly withering away.  I don’t write this post in sadness as my father had a great life and provided a great life for me and my siblings as well.  I’m sure he would probably say there were things he could have changed or done better, but from my point of view he was a great father and provider.  He lived on this Earth for almost eighty two years and had the opportunity to travel around the world on several occasions.  He could be very funny, always making you laugh.  On Friday eveningsIt was his time to cook and most often it was fried fish.  He would be sipping his “tea” while cooking and cracking jokes the whole time as the “tea” made him more and more tipsy, but the fish was always great, and of course it was late into the evening before we could taste his good cooking.  Daddy you will be missed, your humor, your determination, your stern ways and perseverance.  You taught us well.  And I thank you and salute you.  And I know our country salutes you for your service to the country in the U.S. Navy for 20 years!

I Did Not Die

Do not stand at my grave and weep

I am not there I do not sleep

I am a thousand winds that blow

I am the diamond glints in the snow

I am the sunlight on the ripened grain

I am a gentle autumn’s rain

When you awaken in the morning hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

I am the birds in circled flight

I am the soft stars that shine at night

So don’t stand on my grave and cry

I am not there…I did not die

…Author unknown