December 14, 2021

Tornados and Silence

The tornados that swept through the center of country have left at least 88 dead, over 15,000 structures destroyed or severely damaged, and current estimates on the cost are almost $4 Billion. There was a warning, but in that moment, nowhere to run.

The silent stillness that often come before a storm can make your skin pop as the barometer changes and the storm clouds begin to invade. The silence after the destruction, whether there is actually silence or not, cuts deep and clarifies. All is meaningless, all is temporal, life is priceless and so vulnerable.

Our spiritual life often follows a similar pattern. We are numb to the behaviors that destroy us. We are broken and overcome by fear and despair. We are left in an existential stillness that strips our ego naked and forces us to face all that matters – our relationships, our faith, our momentary existence.

My god, my god, why has thou forsaken me?

Silence

My youth is gone, my despair is total.

Silence

And we ask, where do we go from here?

Might I suggest moments like this give us an opportunity to create a life focused on meaning, simplified by fire, and fulfilled by relationship and depth.

Long talks. Long walks. Good books. Good food. An expulsion of excess and a rejection of the temporal.

December 10, 2021

Home With The NYPD

What an amazing day of training the NYPD at their magnificent Queens training center.

A warm crowd with officers from incredibly diverse and interesting backgrounds. All of them were motivated to help their fellow officers and families live awesome lives.

A few things I loved about the officers I met:

  • Frank and honest
  • Proud of their community
  • Most grew up there, had family there
  • A depth of character
  • Thankful and grateful

Great lessons on life that apply to all of us.

December 7, 2021

Queens, NY

A walk through the neighborhoods of Queens, NY reminded me of all I have to be thankful for living in Indiana, and all those in NY have to be thankful for surrounded by the most diverse culture in the world. A walk of dichotomies, it left me with a smile on my face and hope for us all.

December 1, 2021

The Last Resort

One of my favorite songs is the Eagles, The Last Resort. Written and sung by Don Henley, it is a stinging rebuke of our consumer culture. One of my favorite verses,

“Some rich men came and raped the land
Nobody caught 'em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes
And Jesus people bought 'em”

Greed, and those who preach against greed complicit in it.

You have the power to change your world today, or you can be complicit in the theft of humanity and things that matter.

Change your world means living intentionally. Whatever your situation, you can do that.

It might be becoming a priest.

It might be homesteading.

It might be going back to school.

It might be cutting back your lifestyle so you don’t need two incomes.

It might mean making faith #1 in your life.

But whatever you do, don’t become, or continue to be, one of those Jesus people who preach on Sunday but follow the rich men who rape the land.

Until next time, aim high, spread your wings, and keep your eyes on the things that matter.

November 24, 2021

Getting Real

This is life.

 

You are born into a family. One of differing degrees of function.

You grow up and are educated in some way.

You develop interests and hobbies.

You have triumphs, tragedies, and plenty of muddling. Hopefully more triumphs.

You work, you raise a family or you don’t.

You get old.

You die.

 

That is it.

So why not get real? Why focus on distractions? 

Our culture has become one of fantasy and when you get real, this culture gets threatened. Reality is dangerous.

November 11, 2021

12 Strong

Real heroes are all around us. Some of you might have seen the Chris Hemsworth movie, 12 Strong, about the Army Special Forces sent to Afghanistan after 9/11, the first in who worked with the Northern Alliance to overthrow the Taliban, from horseback!

This week in Texas I was honored to have one of the 12 in a class I was teaching and it reminded me of the heroes all around us. Remember them all, especially on this Veterans Day.

November 5, 2021

In The Sun, I Feel As One

Recently, I went on a short journey, a sort of pilgrimage to the childhood home of Kurt Cobain in Aberdeen, Washington. Thankfully, it was all I expected.

November 3, 2021

A Journey Into The Cascades

I’ve been on the road, reflecting. The times are a changing. Who will be our Bob Dylan? Where are we going? I’m no great musician, but I have some thoughts. And I have some stories.

I was north of Seattle, at the Tulalip Casino speaking to a group of fire commissioners. I took a road into the Cascades, the Alps of America! It was an amazing drive along highway 20 through green valleys and soaring mountains.

On the way back, I stopped in Rockport, a small community of 109 and home to the Bald Eagle Interpretive Center and a great hole in the wall pub, the Rockport Bar and Grill. A good time ensued.

October 7, 2021

Our Grief And Fear

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” CS Lewis from a Grief Observed

One definition or understanding of grief is: “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.”

The end of something brings an unknown. Venturing into the unknown can bring fear. Fear can paralyze us in our grief, and keep us from something new that could help us out of our grief.

A recent spate of CS Lewis quotes on the internet made me think of this, and also the incredible amount of change and unknowns we have seen the last few years. It started long before Covid with political and social upheaval.

Operating from fear can bring out our worst evils. Living bravely, in spite of unknowns, can bring out our best. It is a choice we make time and again, throughout our lives. How will you choose?

September 28, 2021

On Despair And Hopelessness

Sometimes the only comfort one can find when hopeless is understanding that you are the not only one who has felt that way. Yet, even that faint bit of connectedness usually offers little reprieve.

Our community was rocked the last few days by the suicide of young man, just 15 and the son of missionaries. Many tears, much confusion and sadness, but thankfully, an outpouring of support for his family.

It’s a topic I speak on almost every week somewhere around our big country. Even with this frequency of addressing the topic, every life given up to this horror is poignant to me.

What would I have you consider? How do I address this? These won’t be easy words.

Suicide is the result of what I call lonely logic. Alone in your head, it seems like the only solution to your despair.

The greater the pain, the greater we feel isolated and alone. The harder it is to ask for help.

How well do you really know your family and friends? Do you stop to sit still and listen to them? Do you really take the time to know their dreams and struggles, their triumphs and sorrows, their disappointments and joys?

Who really knows you? Anyone?

Suicide is a disease of disconnectedness and its evil father, despair.

Don’t sit there. Be proactive. Relationships are suicide prevention. I’m not going to give you a Bible verse because I know what God wants you to do. He wants you to love each other. In a real relationship. Deeply.

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