For many years I have used the image of a feather with its tip smoldering for many projects of mine, book covers, album art. To me, it has always represented the fine line between salvation and destruction, life and death. The fact that we all have our demons.
Last week at Oceanwood Camp with Project New Hope I learned a great story from one of the attendees, William.
He talked about being at a low moment in life, a place where he spent a lot of time curled up in a ball. Forcing himself to go outside for a walk, he saw a feather. It sparked an epiphany.
Alone, that feather was just blown by the wind. Together, with other feathers, it could carry goose. William then knew he needed others to heal, because alone, he’d be blown by the wind.
Beating our chest leads to destruction. You are seeing that play out all around us.
Meekness leads to healing and a life filled with God.
How to do that? Try this, make your life a psalm. Take the good, the bad, the happy and the sad, the tragic and miraculous, and remember that our life is a psalm and if we allow it to put us on down on our knees, we might just find God.
What a great week in Maine with veterans working on PTSD. Many thanks to Project New Hope who made this happen, and to Oceanwood Camp.
Life is about relationships and meaning. Isolation kills.
No matter your background, skin color, economic demographic, or anything else, we have far more in common than the things we let divide us.
After class today at Camp Oceanwood, I hopped in my car and headed for the Bush Family compound at Kennebunkport. I wasn’t the only one. When I arrived it took a while to find a place to park and eventually check out the Bush family vacation home, now inhabited mainly by secret service agents.
On the drive there and back I pondered the morning’s Ladder UPP session. It was a reminder that in many way, we are always starting over. Life’s transitions sneak up on us, and then all of of sudden, we’ve graduated, we’ve fallen in love, we’ve been beaten and bruised, we’ve grown old, etc.
Each time whether we want to admit it or not, we are faced with changes. What will we do?
We discuss this and more on today's The Pilgrim's Odyssey podcast.
What a great day in Maine. I spent the morning with veterans from around the area, then drove up the coast to find a coffee shop to catch up on some work.
It is such a blessing to see veterans from past years return and hear their stories. People who have been broken and survived to overcome their trials and traumas have so much to give to others.
Isolation is deadly, relationships are healing.
You can see the impact of isolation here in Maine. Covid restrictions left the Portland airport looking like a ghost town. When I walked into the rental car area I was the only person in the entire facility. Last summer it was full. My flight had 21 people on board.
Driving around Maine at what is usually high tourist season, the roads were sparse, and everywhere I looked restaurants were empty except the bigger, more well-known ones. When I arrived I visited a coffee shop where I’d stopped last year. I was the only customer.
With so many people living alone, or far from their families, what is going on out of public eye. How much loneliness is growing into other things.
Today, we talk about the impact of this loneliness and what you can do about it.
I'm at the Oceanwood Camp and Conference Center, in Ocean Park, Maine, leading a PTSD Retreat with Project New Hope from Wooster, MA.
It is a time of healing and rejuvenation. Project New Hope is a premier example of what it means to care for veterans, or anyone else. You are proactive and long-term. I like to think of it as helping them “come home.”
What is “home”. I like to look at it in the following way:
1) A foundation of meaning and purpose.
2) Focused rooms and a structure of just what we need – no more/no less.
3) A roof of humility.
That is what we all need, and that is what we’ll be working on this week, and talking about all week on The Pilgrim's Odyssey podcast.
Today on The Pilgrim's Odyssey podcast: Government has gotten too big and you are responsible for your home, its food, its protection, its education, and its faith.
Back in the day, our representatives were part-time legislators and spent most of their time back home.
Today, your immense, unresponsive, money influenced government cares little about you as an individual. Call a government phone number with a personal problem and see what your response is.
Change begins with each of us. That change begins with taking ownership for the things you can control - your home, its food, its protection, its education, and its faith.
I’ve spent a lot of time chasing the wrong things, in spite of the fact all I needed was right in front of me. Love, and the meaning you find when helping others.
When you are in a deep relationship with someone, the vapidness of worldly things are clear. When you help others, you realize the satisfaction of work that builds up and leaves a legacy.
Love is a powerful force if you will allow it to be. I was reminded of this on my weekend away with my wife. Together with nothing to focus on but each other, I realized how many things I worried about that were meaningless, and how much I took our love for granted. I doubt I’m alone.
When love doesn’t fill our hole, nothing else will and we just chase our tails and spend money on perishable things that fade away and leave us hungrier than when we began.
As a child I worked for farmers, baling hay, toting rocks, discing fields. It was hard, sweaty work. But whenever I was done, it felt like I had accomplished something. My mind didn’t wander, I was in the moment, I was ready to tackle whatever was next in life.
And Jesus. Honestly, it might sound simple, but before this quote from CS Lewis I had this thought and then realizing someone like him had the same thought brought it home for me.
“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [that is, Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic–on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg–or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse…. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
CS Lewis – Mere Christianity
If you look at Jesus objectively, you are forced to make a choice. And CS Lewis lays out that choice better than anyone.
My children love the stories of Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Simon Kenton – pioneers at the dawning of America. Two things stand out to me whenever we read these books – family and adventure. They are intertwined.
Family was a ballast of strength, a bastion of peace. After tough times on the trail, family reminded them why it was worth it and who it all was for. Home was the reward for the effort of their risk and labors.
Family and Adventure make life focused and deeply meaningful. Each day is a necessity.
My wife and I have a large family, 9 children, 3 to 21. It is not easy. It can beat you down. But it never lets you forget what is most important in life.