First things First

There is a strong tendency among men to jump into action. An immediate thought of doing, something, anything that will show the way we feel. An action defined by using our strength or resources to accomplish the task that seems to fit the bill. Demonstrating commitment or love to the world at large or a small piece of it.

Jack felt he was really getting through to his family, especially his wife, when he would do something on her behalf. Fixing something, maybe even a meal or a surprise action or gift. It wasn’t enough. That is Jack’s love language. Jack would wonder what he did wrong and why if it felt so good to him, why it didn’t last or feel the same to someone else. There was something missing in Jack. He didn’t listen to her, he listened to himself.

There is a short piece in the Bible (have patience now, this is important) that the most important thing we can do is love our Lord with all our strength, spirit and mind. That’s the first part of two. The second part is a lot like it.

Love your neighbor as yourself. It’s like an instruction manual with only two things to do to find fulfillment, peace and romance. The simple part of any instructions, you have to do them in order. You cannot build a house without first laying a foundation. You cannot lay a foundation without preparing the place. Before that is perhaps the architect’s plan and so forth. There is always a sequence to building and it starts with a vision.

Where does that vision come from? And why does it fit in with your life? Did we do the first thing first?

There is a very old piece of wisdom which Jack has mentioned before. It’s from the Jewish Talmud and it is a conversation between a Rabbi and Elijah the Prophet. The Rabbi complains that the Messiah has deceived him for not showing up that day when He said He would. Elijah laughs and says, “ He didn’t say He was coming, He said to listen” And so, we make the same mistake, over and over again.

We jump right into the second part of Jesus’ explanation of all of scripture, of all the prophets to love our neighbor. But again, we gloss over the first command which is Love Him. All of us. All of who we are.

There is no shortcut to loving by going to work. Jack has experienced this in several ways. He was a part of a ministry in Lino Lakes called, ‘God’s grease Monkeys’ This must be a calling for me! Thought Jack.

Jack was sort of on board with this Loving God but he wasn’t waiting for that still, small voice of his Lord. He thought he was on the right track, seemed logical. Jack grabbed tools and showed up, even recruited a some good friends. The ministry was not where Jack needed to be. He didn’t listen for that quiet voice.

Now, the same thing happens when Jack tries with works of sacrifice to show his wife his love. He doesn’t listen to her as she wants him to listen and not rush into talking or doing. Just listen. That’s how the house is built. Not buying 2 by 4’s when we think that’s all that is needed. Listen and hear well. All of Jack’s heart, soul and mind. Love his Lord first by listening to him. He will show Jack how to listen to others and understand their voice. It’s hard a lot of the time, but it’s pretty good. Jack Gator

The Joy of Music and Art

As it is, so shall it always be. Music, an indescribable and fleeting thing. The string is plucked, the drum resonates, the bowed instrument plays one note that blesses the fleeting sound. One second it is there.

An eternal second, there is no time involved and the resonance goes into eternity and the joy flows abounding within the players. So quickly the musicians are drawn away from the object of the music to the playing of it. C.S. Lewis puts it well…”To be drawn away from the love of thing, he tells to fall in love with the telling”.

There is nothing liken to music, perhaps draftsmanship or painting the light. Again, the romance of the stunning scene to the love of creating the painting. Both the musician and the painter are vulnerable to elevation of self. We do not realize the breaking of our admiration of our talents and contributing perhaps one or two notes or a splash of sienna releases the joy and appreciative laughter of the hearing and seeing Master of all of it.

Images of musicians with the anticipated music played on perfect instruments abound. Especially for ones that have felt the joy and dance with a word sung or a set of notes played. Another image from Lewis: “If one could just read the score of that heavenly music, they would never be ill nor grow old.”

So many years, so many bands and sitting in with other bands. Jack was consumed with applause. For him. The pride of even placing in a fiddle contest would make Jack proud. Of himself. Jack is not as fast these days (getting really close to 80 years old) and actually, that helps. There were so many instrumentalists in Jack’s life and the attaining of blazing speed with difficult passages was the goal and passion of so many. Just listen to bluegrass sometime. The song is over before you can even remember the words. Nice music, don’t misinterpret Jack’s words here. Nice music and really nice people play bluegrass. There were, unfortunately, some artists that would overplay and smirk at Jack’s slow waltz’ or jazz. Emulating Bob Wills and his stunningly beautiful waltz’ was Jacks goal. He tried the Orange Blossom Special when playing the bar circuit. Jack would not play it until the third set when the patrons were drunk enough to enjoy Jack’s fiddling.

Now playing in the church..not A church, but THE church is Jack’s desire. A little mandolin to fill in the missing notes that Jack hears in his spirit. The mandolin is referred to as the violin’s ‘walking stick’. (The tuning is the same as the violin) Jack’s current worship leader mentions when the really high notes of vibrato ring out, it makes him laugh inside. Good description of joy in worship. Third position on the mandolin is a LOT easier than on the fiddle. It has frets. Those incredible stratospheric violin passages are pretty swell if your fingers are doing OK and you spend every day in the practice room. Since you were single digits old helps. Jack gets in awe when he hears those players. He wonders what they are thinking during those concertos.

So Jack needed applause to feel wanted and accepted. Now there is joy in worship when everything makes a brief tapestry of beauty. Offered to Jesus with love and adoration. It’s the only thing that works now. Applause may reflect how others in the room feel that too. It’s heart felt. The neat thing is that Jack now knows they are really applauding the beauty revealed of Jesus, the heart of everything. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.

Save big Money on Vanities!

Jack Just finished reading Ecclesiastes and checked his in box. Really. He did not know that a Big box store was into the Prophet of extensional thought. It caught Jack’s attention for certain. An advertisement as wisdom perhaps? There is no money involved in being vain. A homonym pun for Jack’s mind.

I have a new friend in our neighborhood. We swim together a few times a week at the pool about 20 miles away. He has been taking lessons on swimming and has a whole kit bag of cool accessories for serious swimmers..Special flippers, hand paddles, snorkel. Stuff like that.

I asked him once in the locker room what he thinks will happen when we die. “Worm Food” was his answer. The sort of answer of Camus, Sartre or Nietzsche. The sum of the reviewers in a book, ‘The Terror of Existence’ was “every endeavor, be it good bad or indifferent, will one day become undone, as death ends at the grave.”

Jack cannot fathom why this intelligent and caring man would exercise so well and diligently, only to believe it all comes to naught. All is Vanity says the preacher.. Perhaps to enjoy the response of his body and to prolong the inevitable death? {The usual unpleasant experience that we all must do).

There is nothing new under the sun and we whirl about our little solar system in the unfashionable western spiral arm of the Milky Way, It will all wind down to dust, stardust as it is said. Nothing new under the sun as the rivers flow into the ocean and it never gets full.

A walk in the graveyard with all the old weathered gravestones that once were placed there by a grieving family. Now forgotten as the once fancy pillar of stone becomes covered with patches of moss. The so called eternal stone deteriorating and indeed, becoming building materiel for the ambitious small creatures with a much shorter life spans than.ours are. Vanity, all is vanity.

No standards of life, no real solid instructions on what to focus on and how to actually live as we all know we should. A moral life is some how attractive to some of us and why does this happen? Who beyond our small view of life can we rely on to show us a way out and a way to live that has meaning, eternal meaning? Only one man ever claimed and demonstrated that there is life beyond the grave. You cannot weigh or measure love, beauty or devotion. There is no end to something you cannot measure. How can this be?

He can do those things and bring them to us when we die. There is only one who can and does create eternal beauty. A man that conquered death and offers eternity with him. It is the only thing that is not vain. Chase and look for Him. He is everywhere and also with You as you read this short column. True life that is not vanity. It has and will belong to of the giver of life. As the wonderful song says it so well: “I can only imagine what it will be like. Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all? I can only imagine” a. All life, all of us, all that will be and every thing that was. It’s Jesus. It’s pretty good.

Jack Gator

a. Mercy me

The History of Jack Gator’s Name

In the beginning (Jack’s favorite three words) Jack was enthralled with fiddle contests, playing in country swing bands and always admired excellent fiddlers. After all, in his middle twenties he lived in the neighborhood of ’40 acres of musicians’ He wrote a column on those times. It is available at the web site. Http://www Gatorsgracenotes.com It was publisheda few years ago in the Intercounty Leader.

There was such a panoply of musicians that Jack had the privilege to hang out and play with. Peter Ostrushko. Brian Wicklund, Craig Ruble, Pop Wagner, Mary Dushane to name a few! Mary wound up on the Prairie Home Companion. She played at Jack’s wedding along with Bill Hinkley, Kevin Mcmullin and Jack. We surrounded Julie in her gorgeous wedding gown and played Helsa Dem Hardemma, a Swedish waltz. What a heritage of being surrounded with music for years.

When Jack was living up north in Wisconsin, he began competing and judging in fiddle contests. When asked by the newspaper to come up with a photo, the only thing Jack could find was a drawing of a young alligator playing a fiddle. He was leaning back on his tail in the cartoon. The nickname of Mr. Gator stuck. Jack even had license plates proclaiming ‘MR GATOR’ Such fun silliness.

Much later a fellow writer (Jesse Selin) drew the Gator picture and then we had to come up with a first name. A masculine one with punch. Jack’s favorite author, C.S.Lewis was nicknamed Jack, and it fit.

Jack’s real name is Norman Eric Peterson. Sort of Scandinavian. Images of sandbakkels, fattigman, lefese an of course, barrels of lye filled with lutefisk come to mind. The cookies are hard to spell and hardly anyone knows about them. Local church basement cooks, however, know these things. These images are first to come to mind and don’t seem masculine (except for the lutefisk ocean crossing ordeal) Not that Norm is ashamed of Norway and Sweden’s images, there just isn’t that instant familiar image of Norm in most of us. Friendly and as a child, a bit rough and tumble. So, the name stuck and you, dear reader, are too. It also helps for the third person writing and as Jack says; “The names are changed to protect the guilty.”

So there you have it. Jack did indeed have a rough and tumble life with prison escapes, FBI encounters, Top Secret rank, Luftwaffe pilots, Russian surface missiles and facing down danger with it all. The name fits. (He does not own a battle axe.) He is Just a slightly dense Norwegian that is ready to sail to the new land. And risk his life to do so. Adventure seems to be a trait of Norwegians and Swedes. They like to work hard too.

Words and history combined with a lot of trauma. Jack likes to write to entertain, intrigue and show those narrow escapes. All of it happened due to shape a man able to witness the saving grace of Jesus. It’s pretty good, Jack Gator

Patterns of Causality

There are many phrases most of us use. These usually are heard when we speak of a life event, small or large.

Perhaps a crop fails unexpectedly or a deer is found in front of you while speeding through the highway. Many times these life events seem negative, but cannot be understood. Such things are said to others that seem casual but have world views that alter the basic ways we feel.

An example: A neighbor suffers an accident that kills them. A neighbor that could be seen as a ‘bad neighbor’ that has done things most of us would refer to as wrong behavior. The usual phrase would be: “He deserved it” or “that’s what happens when you go against Jesus’ command to love our neighbor” Bad Karma, darkness generates dark results, the inevitable outcome of sin. Forgiveness not judgement is very hard but is our part of the neighbors errors.

These thoughts are a result of our fear to assign events, good or bad, to a thing resulting in attitudes or behavior of us or others that has consequences. A logic statement that is basic is, ‘Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.’ It means: ‘After something, therefore because of that something’ Confused yet? An example of belief in charms we have nearby. Talismans, anything to deny God and the horror of an uncaring and empty universe.

Being relieved that you remembered to put that plastic replica of a saint on your dashboard or your Bible in a certain reserved spot at home or in a public worship setting. Horse shoes nailed open side up by your doorway.

Anything, anything to express a reason behind an event, good or bad. Being relieved that you were wearing the same outfit you had on at the casino when money came your way again. Your lucky shoes perhaps. Up to the point of blaming ourselves for failing in some way perhaps has logical explanations that the universe is not random events. There is a ‘Post Hoc’ event that determines Propter Hoc ). The usual example for that feeling about bad things that happen to us is ‘ Well, I guess I deserved that’ or someone else saying it about you.

Anything to not view our world as just random atomic activity creating obstacles or bridges that govern all events. An excellent research paper on this will start with the book of Job in the Bible. (it’s in between Esther and Psalms) The whole book is about a man that is accused again and again by his three friends that he has done something against God that has caused his misery.

Job’s friends accuse Job of being an unrighteous man, a sinner in some way. Job’s reaction to these accusations? As he has lost everything of value to his life he states: “ I know that my Redeemer lives” After all the things that God has allowed (not Done) Job will worship God. Faith, the very gift of God.

Do we look to the creator of all that is and all that will be as our servant? Do we look upon Him as evil? Do we look and worship Him in seasons of good and bad as our master and creator that loves us more than we can even imagine. There indeed is a seductive evil upon the world. As someone asked C.S. Lewis, “are you really asking me to believe in this creature with horns and a tail that causes misery and actually demands I worship him? Lewis answered him “ I don’t know about the horns and such but if you do desire to meet and see him and obey him, you will see him indeed.

As for me, I will worship my redeemer whatever comes upon me. It’s not easy but He is my treasure.

It’s pretty good. Jack Gator.

Delivery Truck Parked at World-Mart

There are ramifications to the recent shortage of shelf items at many stores. People know this well as it is common knowledge. ‘Out of Stock’ as, regretfully our local store owner relates. The industry of supply was severely stricken and the first sign was panic buying of toilet paper. Perhaps the usage of a ‘blip-vert’ on the national news that told people to rush and buy? The experimental process was a success and the masters of war were pleased with the propaganda machine they bought. The plan to wipe us out had begun.

From the very beginning of the communicable bio-weapon, fear began to invade the world. Isolation and confusion reigned. Corrupt government officials quickly took the reigns of civilization and began destroying everything they could. Agencies, edicts given (for our own protection of course) and spiraling inflation.

The development of a medical savior that didn’t. Continued control and pitting people against each other for not following the edicts of the commissars. Business’ began to crumble as they were shut down. Fines for opening a small restaurant were passed out by bureaucrats that used the weak will of the people to approve of them.

The strategy of requiring the whole world to hide their faces behind masks that had no effectiveness whatever. The weapon spread and the fuel of fear built flaming dread throughout the world. Children were at very low risk of contacting this weaponized virus but were also isolated, confused and ‘protected’ by medical experts that were not. A growing realization of reality among virologists throughout the world was publicly ridiculed. Social media was tightly regulated to eliminate truth which was labeled false news.

The medical industry made billions by creating an almost worthless, misnamed vaccine that didn’t. The only protection was natural immunity generated by people’s immune systems. Protests were quickly stamped out and the national media branded the un-vaccinated as criminals and those that refused to wear the useless masks and get the shots were denied entrance to transportation, hospitals and schools. Shunned and hated. Booster shots that did nothing and supposedly gave more protection were quickly brought to the fray.

Then the weapon began to fade away as immunity built. One point five percent of our loved ones were buried and a new government attempt began to start over with another ‘deadly’ disease. However,it didn’t work this time and only a particular type of men were affected. The earlier damage was already done with the perfect medical theater created by the stealth laboratory in China. A bio-weapon that brought the world to it’s knees. Communists that despise us did this and we walked right into it and embraced their lies and hatred of freedom.

The Lord of us all has allowed this war to awaken us. He did not create this war, he allowed it. He whispers to us that He will always be near. We open our heart’s window to Him from the inside and He is the invader that gives us the faith to endure. Jack has been given a small book to show him this truth. A very old book about a man that refused to curse his creator for incredible suffering and loss. His name was Job and Jack recommends reading about him and his friends (and his wife). A lot of the world despises our Lord and that is to be expected. We are a the crooked man who walked a crooked mile and we need to look over our shoulder and see our Father running after us. Stop and turn, and embrace Him. He will show us how to love. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

The Salesmen’s Chuckle

We notice it without knowing what has just happened. The chuckle. Or, as Jack sometimes refers to it as a cackle. What is it? The contrived sound, practiced for decades to be as smooth as a well known radio announcers voice. A deep voice in some ways, captured by seven hundred dollar microphones. The ones with all the rubber bands, suspended. High end dynamic mics. Smooth, easy on the ears and in the case of the chuckle, made to put you at ease.

Unfortunately, this vocal response is a fear reaction to uncomfortable conversations. Just mention a serious concern you have to an insurance salesman. Within a split second the chuckle rings out to disarm the conversation. It’s nothing like laughter, don’t misunderstand this. Laughter and gaiety are good for us. Even rolling on the floor with laughing sobs. A joke or a pun that just explodes in the room with merriment. That’s good! It’s good humor and the relaxation is very good.

What Jack is pointing out is obnoxious and frustrating at the least. We don’t notice that we have been conned out of intelligent conversation. Try it sometime. Select a person that you ‘sort of know’ and ask them in an inquiring way about a serious subject. Something you state you are having difficulty understanding.

Perhaps an illustration will do: “Hey John, I’m glad I ran into you! I have a real problem with an old friend that just won’t talk to me about our friendship” (slight laugh) Well it’s not me that’s for sure! “No it’s not like that. We used to be really close! (another chuckle) Ha, maybe you forgot you owed him some money! No John, this is serious. I need your help in understanding it. (more light laughter) You know me , I’m an idiot when it comes to women! Getting the picture? It goes on and on and it is a technique really good salesmen use to put people at ease. Nothing happens then, but somehow, this laughing salesman convinces you he is your friend and you sign on the line. They have classes that teach you how to disarm people with the friendly laugh.

OK, now go to the next level. You have just finished listening to a very moving sermon that so affects you that you journal: “I was having such a great time thinking about my sins!” You were moved. The power of conviction overcame you and you knew it was true. You knew the man spoken of is most likely you. In this case, a man that enjoys his comfort and the knowledge that God has a special Lazy Boy chair waiting for him in Heaven. Serious reflection and thought. The room is silent. The man speaking asks if anyone has any questions. Jack thinks about the explosion in his heart. The deepness of the sin still running around in him that he thought was normal.

Suddenly, an experienced ‘salesman’ makes a joke with a chuckle! “hey pastor, did your wife write those slides for you? Chuckle chuckle.”Every one is familiar with this, including the pastor and his wife. It’s over. The intimacy with everyone in the room. The held breath of believers that just heard conviction and truth. It’s over. Time for lunch. The salesman has done his work and he doesn’t have to think about what was said either. Am I ready to die? Nah, chuckle chuckle. There’s a lot of time left in this old carcass..chuckle chuckle. It’s disarming and it’s deadly and it’s a complete waste of time.

Jack can only imagine what it will be like to meet Jesus face to face when his turn comes to face eternity that he knows so little about. Perhaps smiles and the laughter of dancing with his Savior. No chuckles, just love. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

The Wreck of the Old 97 II

It was the call of the foreman. In the middle of the night as well. There’s been a derailment down by Red Wing! Report to the section house with some clothes and get aboard a section car or drive down to the mainline. Dreary and dreading, Jack drove to what he knew would be days of making wages the hard way.

Not resurfacing, not replacing ties on a crossing but cutting and drawing out bent rails. Pulling out smashed ties from steel wheels ruining them and gathering the plates and pulled spikes from the roadbed. Working around the broken cars while the huge cranes lifted pieces of them up. Sometimes lifting just the trucks of axles and wheels with the open bearing boxes dripping greasy packing.

The engine is already righted and placed on the continuing track siding, ready again to work. Sort of. The cleaning of the cab (the engineer and conductor were just injured but their coffee and lunch and such usually don’t fare as well) and the testing of the motor and generators has yet to be done. ’roundhouse’ men are already swarming about the engine panels and spreading absorbent around. It might run.

All of this mess creating by a train going through an open switch the wrong direction. Sometimes a yard engine would push through a set of points on a switch not set for them and get away with it. Fully loaded trains at speed hitting an open switch backwards is another matter. Oh yes, the switch would have to be totally rebuilt. Hopefully the wrecking crews transport would have brought some fourteen foot ties and all the steel and switch parts. The ties were a ‘bit’ heavier and the foreman would have to direct us in the building and precise gauging.

Thinking back on those times. Meals at picnic tables set up in empty box cars, sleeping quarters about the same comfort level. Sometimes, Jack could drive his old 40 ford coupe to the job site and bring along his fiddle. At night, after a late supper, he could lean back on a chair on the end platform, feet up on the brake wheel and begin playing what he knew how to do. No one complained, it seemed to fit. A harmonica would have been OK too.

Lonely sounds like the late night steamers going around the big city. Blowing the steam whistle at every crossing. The letter of Morse code, Q, Long long short long. The last long drawn out and fading to a bit lower note. Only the steam engines could do that. When he was a child, half asleep, Jack would hear that lonely sound from the west side of the cities. It told him, “I am lonely. I know what it’s like” It went in deep to Jack’s memory. The trains still do it today. At all crossings. The electric air horns do not make the same sound however.

So the work was hard and dangerous and Jack made a little extra overtime pay. The food was not roast beef slices on Brioche buns but it filled. Jack’s fiddling got gradually better and the section crew was gracious for the sound and even the mistakes. It felt old time, out on the plains of the 1800’s perhaps with the very old boxcars. Sort of like the old 40 and 4’s of WWII vintage. 40 men or 4 horses capacity.

Same gauge tracks, same wooden ties, same spike malls. Bolts and fish plates and plates under the track. The old rails were 80 to 90 pounds, still found in older switch yards and piled near section buildings. 120 to 130 pound rails unless there was ribbon rail ¼ mile long to be dragged into place, wriggling like a worm.

Nowadays, Jack reminisces and as an analogy, sees his own life as a train wreck at times. Getting off the right rails and into disaster. Who runs the gauge and lays those tracks for Jack? What are the switch points for and what’s the point anyway? Jack was made to run well, run smooth and stay the course. It’s getting better now that Jesus is the engineer and lets Jack know when the derailment is possible or happening. He is the road-master and builder of it all. He wears the white hat of pure light and is trustworthy through it all. It’s pretty good. JackGator

What is the Difference?

It has been proposed that some things, some people actually, are so similar that no difference can be seen between them. For example: ‘what is the difference between Karl Marx and Charles Darwin?’

None. Neither of them believed in anything but what they could figure out on their own and they are both dead. Forever. Since neither of them took any time wondering about all creation and why they were included in it, they wasted the differences between them and everyone else. It was all speculation with a little bit of science and what could be manipulated such as objects of study or people. Same thing happened to them really. Dead end. Anything to deny creation.

A choice we all make when confronted with the obvious raw beauty of creation. We either bow down at the point where we see beauty can only be created by beauty. It’s not really in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the eye of the creator. Another moment of enlightenment of truth.

Jack has his favorite summer spot right in the middle of the Gator garden. It’s a round area and has dozens of Gladiolas and Zinnias with some Marigolds. There are other Perennials that Jack forgets the names of. Long stemmed beauties. The Glads take a bit of work which Jack enjoys. Staking and tying them to the stakes. Pulling off the dead flowers bottom up. The tricky part is cranking down the umbrella and tucking the Glads under or outside of it as it comes down. Jack ‘lost’ the previous umbrella to wind. It snapped at the pivot halfway up the post at night during a wind storm. Lesson learned. Grasp the wind and give it the bill for the umbrella.

So under the shade of the umbrella is a garden bench, a little worn from the weather which Jack has his water thermos, a few tools and on rare occasions, a book. It’s a good place to shelter from the sun when the summer gardening gets sweaty. Most often a place that Jack comes to immediately upon opening the garden gate. Actually, the main reason Jack hangs out at the center with it’s bench and flowers is for the gaze upon the fingerprints of the Lord. It feels good and Jack listens well and conversations begin.

Now that it’s labor day weekend and the tomato plants need aggressive trimming and harvesting, Jack needed a respite and suddenly he heard a hummingbird about. The birds usually are seen from another bench on the front porch. Two hummingbird feeders with bird mix of sugar and water. A pop stand for the birds.

However, this time it was in the Gladiolas and surprised Jack when it was a hummingbird moth. Buzzing and hovering over a flower in front of Jack’s delighted gaze. Usually seen or heard in the spring. Amazing creature with a similar beak and tongue outfit.

The thoughts of why was it there and where does it hang out at night? Why me, given the gift of seeing it a foot away in front of me? It’s impossible that this beautiful insect evolved at the same time as it’s food of flowers with their sweet nectar came into being. Similar to the bird and the honey bee. None of which could survive without the flowers. Especially the bees. Pollination and all that sort of thing besides food for the birds and moths.

Jack reads a lot and laughs at what he reads often. Dr. Suess and the National Geographic are fun to read. The latest from Scientific American was the speculation of the usual billions of years of evolution for all sorts of things that some scientist who was there took notes on. Nothing in that magazine Jack has read yet about the birds and the bees and the stunning beauty of the impossible coincidences. Jack knows how it happened and he doesn’t have a degree in scientific pontification to explain his opinions. Jack has a book that incredible as it may seem, gives the explanation in a few sentences of words at the very beginning of the book. Jack will loan you one if you wish to read it yourself! It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

A Heart Transplant

Jack, awakened from sleep by a lightning storm, rose and began typing this story. The story. We all have them. These days, fascination with heroes and villains and other’s stories given to us by actors and people we have never met, give us an excursion into a falsehood of story. Illusions of post modernism, to replace our own. Our own valid stories that get buried in entertainment and the latest gladiator. We are lost and adrift on a wave tossed sea, all the while believing in a screen writers fancy with words or a man that can do things we cannot. Adopting a cheap and false story that we believe we need.

Jack, fully awake now, remembers his story of adventure, loss, romance and treachery. It seems like a good plot for one of those movies. Instead of being prepared by strong men, Grandfathers and fathers, it was a familiar story now for many of the worlds lost children.

Jack’s last memory of his Grandpa was the man, lost in dementia, peeing on the living room curtains while Jack was in the basement, living in his mother’s inherited house. Fresh out of the 6th fleet. Now replacing the sounds of creaking metal and rushing waves with a washing machine and Grandpa’s old Chevy in the garage. No love lost either. An elder that should have taught Jack a carpenters trade. He didn’t know that was his life work, to love Jack.

Jack made his own way, creating his own stories of adventure. More akin to a brigand or a pirates desperate bid for value and purpose. Smuggling, guns and carefree use of narcotics without the age old, correct up bringing of being the village carpenter. Cabinetry and a small farm. Middle ages security and an inheritance for Jack’s children. A firm belief in the giver of life and the yearly cycle of Advent and celebrations of rescue from our Lord.

Rescue indeed. Jack’s heart had turned to stone when he was ten. His father had left and his mother’s lover had moved in. He was a Swedish immigrant and the reason his father left. There was a honeymoon planned and it was to be a trip to the old country across the sea. The plan was for Jack to stay at the Grandparent’s home in Golden Valley during the honeymoon. Jack came home from school and could not find Timothy, his beloved cat that slept with him. His mother came home and told Jack his Grandfather had killed the cat because it would not work for them when Jack stayed at their home. Jack began to ideate suicide, he learned how to tie a hangman’s noose. To firmly set that Stone heart, there was no honeymoon and the Step father stopped in Jack’s room one night and sat next to Jack on the bed, naked. Jack leaped up and ran out the outer door of his room to the garage. Screaming in fear and rage.

Jack’s heart was set on survival mode. There was no lighthouse on that stone. For seventy years. Last night as Jack prayed for direction for the next day, Jesus asked Jack if he would like to have a heart of flesh. Again, tossing and turning with the storm raging outside the house and inside Jack the promise of life started to take hold. The small changes Jack has been experiencing were now brought to light. Small cracks of that chosen stone revealed earlier that something was going on. The heart transplant was revealed and Jack wanted it to happen right away, that night. It was also given to Jack to begin the forgiveness of those two men. Not instantly but now the compass was seen and the course set. Next port of call, freedom from hatred and fear.

“He made me alive, when I was dead. He raised me up and seated me with Christ. It’s by His Grace that I am saved and it’s through faith, the very gift of God” (Justin Rizzo) Jack’s savior knows betrayal and forgiveness for men do not know what they are doing. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator