June 2008

Writing is relaxing…it is energizing…it is incredibly simple and devastatingly difficult at the same time. I find that if I don’t regularly site down and reduce thoughts to paper (or electrons these days) I become creatively constipated and unable to function properly.

It spills over into my business, family, and other relationships. (On second thought maybe ’spills over’ isn’t an appropriate phrase after that constipation crack.) I find that the more I work my creative side the better it becomes. Amazing isn’t it - kind of like going to the gym. I tell all of my classes about thinking creatively and how it will impact their life but I have to do it myself on a regular basis to drive the lesson home.

In some ways it’s like golf. No one is the complete master of the game and you’re goal is to always be better the next time.

We are all apprentices in a craft where no one
ever becomes a master
Ernest Hemingway

Eagles are amazing creatures. Unfortunately today most of us get to see them only in zoos or protected habitats. The days where eagles soared readily above the skies over America are diminishing rapidly.

There are a few places where eagles still congregate during certain times of the year. The knowledge of these regal birds being visible in these areas bring the tour guides running. But as inspiring as they are to watch you have to imagine how awe inspiring it would be to be able to join them.

To be able to lift off from an aerie or tall tree and to take to skies at will - depending on nothing other than the strength of our own wings. To ride the rising air currents for hours on end and we seek sustinence from some small game animal below. To realize that our very shadow drives hundreds of rabbits and squirrels to their lairs. It would be an amazing thing.

Apparently Isaiah wanted us to understand that having trust and confidence in the Lord brings us this same sense of freedom. We’re free because He was willing to suffer and die to bring us that freedom. Not because of what we are - but because of Who He is.

“Even youth grow tired and weary and young men
stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength. They will soar on wings
like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they
will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Comparisons are natural. Comparisons are normal. It seems that every human being compares him or herself to others all of the time. The whole idea of ‘keeping up with the Jones’ come from this concept of comparison.

The list of what we compare is as long as the list of what we own.

Our car vs. their cars
Our kid’s school vs. their kid’s school
Our wardrobe vs. their wardrobe
Our bank accounts vs. their bank accounts

Some things are just beyond comparison.

Our thoughts vs. God’s thoughts
Our concept of heaven vs. the reality that God has created.
Our ways, at our absolute best, vs. the goodness of God’s ways, at His worst (as if He had a worst)

I guess as long as there are at least two little boys - each one with a marble - we’ll be suffering through comparisons. But we need to learn to look past the ephemeral to the eternal where we know that everyone will have whatever they need. After all - heaven couldn’t be heaven if our thoughts were going to be focused on who had the most. I believe that God spends much of His time helping us prepare for that kind of future. After all - it’s going to be here whether we’re prepared for it or not.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9

D Day has always evoked memories for me. Being both the son of a marine and a student of history - thoughts of that day have often flooded my mind - sometimes overwhelmingly.

D Day took on a new meaning for me several years ago. After suffering with lung cancer for several months I lost my father on June 6, 1998. It was tough but it wasn’t a totally devastating time in my life. I think that it was because I had been blessed with getting to know him in some new ways.

During the last 10 years of his life I got him to move to our town so that he could watch his grandchildren grow up. It turned out to be a multifaceted blessing. My kids have excellent memories of “PaPa Chuck”. They got to see him at his best. He was a better grandfather than he was a father - but I think that may be true of most people. As a father he was concerned about all of the normal stresses of life - as a grandfather he was focused on his grandchildren.

PaPa Chuck
It was good for my kids to get this experience - however it might have been even more important for me. I got to know him differently. Of course there were issues and problems - but I came to know him as a friend. I accepted the history, overlooked the errors, and the thoughts that come to mind now are pleasant memories of good times. The old junk that most of us carry around is gone - and what I remember now makes me smile.

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