Tuesday, March 29, 2011


And what does grief feel like? Two of my dearest friends died two days ago. Their funerals are at the same time tomorrow, separated by two hundred miles.

Both had been friends over three decades. One over four. Grief is remembering the laughter. Both were jewells at seeing hypocrisy.

I will miss the banter, the meals we shared, the laughter, the flow of ideas we shared, the joy at just seeing their faces. Meeting at places far from home. A chilled fork. A new heresy.

Yes, the real griefs are the joys we will miss, the sly smiles, and those times when hurt or afraid they listened without a word, and cared.

Hubert and Louie I will miss you. Thanks so much for what you added to my life.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Poetry in a Messy Room

Conquest of time is never easy. We are trapped by who we are, often lingering before the bell rings.

Today I am sick, a springtime cold. In bed I read Merton's poems and remember that I too once dreamed in poetic sequences. The moonlight shining like the sun during lauds on the day my friend James Hamilton was buried.

Some trips linger longer than others. Joy or sorrow limiting the range. Of course, we always dress well. Our signature at events of significance. Sometimes an umbrella is needed, or a helpful hand.

When sleep returns our visions replay the scences, sequenced between night and day. I will...I wi l l..... i

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thoughts On Marriage 43 years Later and Today

At the end of this blog is Bob Herbert's last column working for the NYT. It is a good sign of the times, but what about OTHER TIMES? How did they differ?

Today Tammy and Daniel get married in the same church that Janet and a I married in over 43 years ago. Brides and Grooms are an optimistic sort. Marrying inspires, gives hope, a victorious vision of the future. Marriage for most of us is the mountaintop, the pinnacle of life. In marriage one can accomplish anything with ones mate. Children, kindergarden, jobs of distinction, are the signposts. Who carries the garbage, keeps the weeping checkbook, and who sorts through the high pitched voices, is not the addendum we expected.

When Janet and I married in 1967 we dreamed big. But the outskirts were invisible. We were warriors in 67 also. The Vietnam War to protect us from communism. In less than a year assassians killed MLK AND RFK. The country was filled with riots. We did land a man on the moon and I loss my job because of govt cutbacks.  There were few if any jobs for engineers.  Two years into marriage I was unemployed for a long time.

Todays tragedies seem similar to another era. Americans still seem to love war, complain about the rich, are politically adversive to either party, and have visions of a Joshua to lead us to the promise land. Times may not have changed as much as we think.

So what can I say to the newlyweds?

Times are always filled with choices and empty voices. For those times we listen to proverbs. "He shall direct thy paths."

Keep your voices to a dull roar.

Give each other the chance to be heard.

Respect others. Follow the footprints. Love God. Follow the signs.

Enjoy each other. You are partners on the journey.

You may now kiss the bride!



Losing Our Way

Columnist Bob Herbert signs off for the last time. Lots to think about here. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2011/03/26/opinion/26herbert.xml

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Merton said, "keep warm anyway you can, love God, and pray."

Anxiety is always our answer. There is always an unfinished to do list that daily increases in length. The impossible to get done list. And if we tire, we can always share the blaime with another. Such is the form of human nature.

Today is put up curtains day. One of my least favorite things. Tomorrow we do again with different colors. Days of trial to take up the time and keep up efforts for others. Never enough. Our power consists in our ability to control others. And if nothing else, here is what the president did wrong today. Why do we never except the non purity of us all.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 92 today.

The sun shines. I must go, say a QUICK prayer and work.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spiritual beggar

"Being a spiritual beggar is seeking to live God's will rather than one's own."

Monday, March 07, 2011

When Prayers Are Answered

When prayers are answered:

Yesterday, our pastor, Mark Marshall, preached the most challenging sermon I have heard in a long time, based on the passage from Luke 7:1-9. While listening I developed my outline while listening to his.

The story happened in Capernaum, a city that may be the centerpiece of most of Jesus ministry. I went there a couple of years ago. Locals pronounce it differently, Caper-Ney-Um. It is near the sea of Galilee on the side of a mountain. A large statue of the Apostle Peter is near the entrance. It  was his hometown. Jesus healed Peter's mother here.

There was a prayer request.

Jewish elders had the request for a centurion's servant who was about to die. The need was amplified by the fact these Jewish leaders bring the request, not for themselves, but for another. (Note: When our prayer is for others it is big enough.)


They "pleaded earnestly." He helped build our synagogue (yes, I saw the ruins of it) and he cares for our nation. This request is extremely important! This plea is the SECRET to successful prayer!!

I often take the prayer request from our church home each week. Once the length of them got the best of me. Some of the request were to simplistic to me, then my wife, Janet, pointed something out to me, "the real prayer request are on the back page!" Sure enough, there they were. The homeless we help with had heartfelt needy prayers, "I need food to eat, I need a job, I need a place to live. Father, forgive me how I have failed you." After reading those request, I suddenly realized something about prayer that was the most important lesson I have ever learned. !!

A True Prayer is From the Heart and TO THE POINT !

This thought changed my prayer life. I describe it to my classes by having them place their hand over their heart and then pointing a finger toward the sky. Try it! "From the heart to the point."

The "pleading earnestly" from the heart (We care very much for this centurion, he has done so much for us, we plead earnestly from our heart to heal his servant.) Jesus, hearing the request and need says, "Let's Go!"

The Recommendation

Often someone asks for prayer and I think, "What's the point?" I have even asked that question to the person requesting prayer. This requires extensive thought on our part, what are we really praying for?
Why prayer for a broken arm? It takes on a whole new dimension if it is a professional baseball player and his whole career is on the line. The prayer, "Lord, we love him, may this be the point in his life when your ultimate direction for his life is revealed." See the difference? Sure your prayer is heartfelt, but WHAT IS THE REAL POINT?

The Faith

Jesus was so amazed that he said, "I have not found such great faith even in Israel." Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well. Are we surprised? Gee, this prayer really works.

In my Kindle downloads are the answered prayers of George Muller, a prayer giant of another era. I read the prayers to try to understand what he was really praying for or what is the point. His secret is the same HEARTFELT TO THE POINT.

As our pastor closed he asks one of the most important questions ever asked to a Christian that has been hanging on to me like a wet cloth and one I want you to struggle with also:

Think about that. If not, why not? Thanks Mark.


Friday, March 04, 2011

Week Over

The weather has been nice most of the week. Rain expected all weekend. Tonight is rook night, our monthly gig. Lots of food and fellowship.

I accomplished a lot this week, lawnmoving, fixed a chair, organized a little, exercised, watched bbq show on travel channel which made me hungry.