Hey Preacher Man

Right out of the gate we start with a startling quote from Henri J.M. Nouwen: “It is becoming increasingly obvious that those who avoid the painful encounter with the unseen are doomed to live a supercilious, boring, and superficial life…Pastors who see this feel more like circus directors than leaders to a new life”. b.

In other words perhaps, a lot of people that attend meetings about spiritual matters about God (out there or up there) instead of God within us, become part and parcel of that superficial life. As Jack has written before, the casual and totally insipid greeting of “how are you doing” countered with “better than I deserve!” is also boring and superficial. ‘You have no idea of what you deserve,’is Jack’s immediate thought. Either the greeting is met with confusion or a laugh. Jack tries with “I recognize your voice and your face but the name section of my mind was wiped out by the seizures I had years ago”I’m Larry!” is followed by a little laugh and glance elsewhere in the lobby and the encounter ends.

Sigh. Another encounter light,much like most of them at church. Jack is another one of ‘those’ people perhaps? Always looking for something, hand extended with a curious look. What’s your name? Who are you? eventually.

Close encounters of the non kind. (another column with Jack observing most of us are trapped in our own little existential world ) It’s easier not to go there. It’s easier to look for that Lazy Boy chair out in the sanctuary and watch the Bible on the cell phone (lighter in many ways and easier to carry) Nothing gets in or out is the lock down. It usually begins and ends with our mind focused on what to say as someone is speaking. Jack does not listen well, at least he knows that weakness of his.

I so want to get to know them. I like his/her face and I can see curiosity and perhaps an open depth that is obedient to the spiritual lock down a lot of us have. It’s safe and in some ways, reassuring that the odd ones, (like Jack) don’t get past the door. So close! Maybe this time I will find a soul that is curiously seeking as am I. Eager to explore. To hear someone else besides ourselves pontificating in some way. After all, aren’t we all more brilliant than most? It stuns Jack to realize that lie is about himself.

We are told to rise for the intro of the excellent music production and Jack dutifully gets up and instead of singing, opens his Bible and reads in a Sotto voce voice. Jack is a musician and also doesn’t like being told what to do. He can be irritating. Usually, the scripture Jack is reading is interestingly in harmony with what is being sung. Just Jack, he used to lead worship in other places and never said ‘ please rise’ Another rebel, nothing important to you reader, really.

Eventually, the sermon is presented to the room. No one rises. It is much easier to follow along with Bible in hand and for some, much easier to journal. The pastor/minister/priest gives a dissertation on the scripture at hand, in a few cases with interpretation in original languages. Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Jack likes that, illumination and thought provoking for certain. Exegesis of The Word and the scholarship of seminary shows forth. Brilliant really. Sort of like reading an excellent book about his wife. Or her reading one about Jack. Intimacy is not brought forth by words. Love letters are in the Bible and that’s better. Still, talking to the one you love and hearing back leads to an intimate relation.

Not enough though. Most ministers are told to concentrate on “large scale church attendances, getting people together in churches, schools and hospitals” b. Quite a few times Jack has heard what he came to hear. Passion, exhortation to go deep, deeper than we think we can go. Dive into our heart and meet Jesus there. Listen to Himallow Him to speak and guide us. The ministering gives us the opportunity to move in the waters of life. How deep under the water with Jesus do we want to go? Let that sink in. The minister is not a social organizer, he wants us to awaken to life itself. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

a. Eddie the laundry worker in the movie ‘Time changer’ b. Henri A.W. Nouwen

Song of Solomon

It is a book that is either devoured or skipped. Misunderstood on the surface and dismissed with all those images of sheep teeth and couches and dark tents.

It is another book, written by the wise one, Solomon. He wasn’t just writing about worldly romance and the flesh longings. Why is it in the Bible anyway? It is there to show us who we should be, how we can see our time here as a great battle for our hearts. A battle against the world and it’s blindness’. A battle against our own weak love.

Solomon 8: 6-7 as a starting illumination. “Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; For love is as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave, it’s flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised”

How about this line: “I am my beloved’s and his desire is toward me” There are many such allegories in this book and a lot of them have been dismissed as even pornographic or lusty. My oh my, again why would this be in scripture? In my limited study and instructions I have found Jesus in every book, every prophet, every word from Genesis to His revelation. Indeed He is mine and I am His. I have searched for him without even knowing who I was searching for. The ‘watchmen’ have beaten me as they did Him. I have indeed heard His voice right outside my door but I opened the door and there was no one there. I was blind and could not see but I could hear alright.

Think about these things in every book of scripture where Jesus is revealed time after time. Could this be yet another book of revelation? Of course. Jesus shows up and is given a tithe. The name given is Melchizedek. He shows up under that name a few times. Just to ‘prime the pump’ of man’s astonishment and wonder. The questions, the queries and the exegesis begins when ‘Mel’ shows up.

Another name of the reason for living, the creator of living and the totally righteous one. Jack’s favorite name. Moses asked who shall I tell sent me? “I am” Tell them that.

Actually, a beautiful song written by Misty Edwards uses the exact words of the song mentioned above that starts in Song of Solomon 8:6 Perhaps not comprehended by congregations but Jack has learned it and it indeed, is a powerful image of truth. Since Misty is part and parcel of iHOP it may be discouraged from being sung on some platforms. Some like to judge the sheep because they don’t Baa the way they do. It is another move towards the heart of Jesus to me. I am His and He is mine. Talk to Him without thinking of the next thing to say or proclaim. Yes, He is creator of anything that was made. Ask Him why he made you. He will tell you if you listen. I try to ask him questions, not “lift up” someone he made. He knows these things. Ask Him for faith an truth.

Regards, Jack Gator

Prairie Life Near the Twin Cities

It was subtle and it was a destroyer of families. Work for the men in tall buildings, not within walking distance.

The new city age of commuting, milk men down the alleys and trolley cars. The fifties, when Jack single digits old. It was subtle and the beginning of an ending. The most important thing of all disappeared. Intimacy.

The way things used to be, such a common phrase indicating nostalgia for the ‘good old days’. It is much more than that. Jack’s father worked as a fireman and Jack’s mother eventually worked downtown as a secretary for the public schools. Gone was grandpa’s little farm and both families living close by to one another. A neighbor near the farm complained that Dad was supposed to live in the city to be a fireman. The move to the city was inevitable and plans were made to buy a nice house in the north side of Minneapolis. The country life was comfortable for Jack. The creek down the hill offered fishing and adventure. Life was the smell of good earth.

“Hey kids, tomorrow we get out the rock boat and get the rocks out of the main field.” Groans from Jack and his sister but with memories of Grandma’s supper with the fresh doughnut holes with chicken dumplings and real mashed potatoes. The ‘boat’ moved slowly and Freddie, Jack’s friend nearby, joined the ‘party.’ There was always a bit of humor that came forth too. “Hey, that rock looks just like Mr. Mosher!” Grandpa laughing from the old International also saying that’s not the way to speak of him. Guilty as charged, but still snickering when we looked at each other. Working the land together as Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about in her newspaper columns.

Not long after those halcyon days of laughter and sharing in the good times and difficult or even sad times, it ended. Gone,the best days of Jack’s life. The fire department was a good job for Dad. Secure income.

They moved into the city as Dad could continue working for the fire department, and in order to be able to afford the nice city house, Mom had to work and leave Jack and his Sister alone at the new home. A lot. The one room school house a mile away was not the way things were done in the city. There weren’t any potato fields or big vegetable gardens either. The biggest loss was the absence of parents when they were needed. Not being available at home when bad things happened. Jack was lost in the waves of change. Waking up at Bunyan’s Vanity Fair. The cute girl next door was a forbidden friend for Jack. She went to the ‘wrong’ church.

Make your own lunch and wait after school for Mom or Dad. Alone in the house. No more family games and no neighbors or relatives coming by. The big church downtown and bullies at the neighborhood school were incomprehensible. No one seemed to care about children at home or at the next door neighbors. Gone were the sights of a broken piece of equipment on a neighbors field. “I going to go over to Rick’s place and see what we can do” sorts of things. Day cares started up and everything had a price. From workers of the soil to wage earners surviving in toil. Children did not understand this. In a child’s eye it was abandonment and loss.

And so it goes as progress turns into regress for the new price of hearth and home. Jack’s home now had a fireplace in the living room but it was never lit. The big coal furnace in the basement provided the heat but the hearth never provided a family room’s comfort. Now the gathering of family was the flicker of the black and white television set and intimacy was knowing the names of the characters on the screen. Substantive life became substitute life and families losses were substantial. Children became actors in the play of city life. Do well at school and play with the strangers and you might make friends if you don’t cry. First grade in the big city.

Gone the instantaneous comfort of a mother’s loving touch, the guiding hand of a father as the soil turned rich under the plow and disk. Love for neighbors seen and demonstrating love for everyone. Gone was “It’s been a good day, let’s read that book! Who knows where we left off?” Instead, lonely days. Akin to a room of the house suddenly disappearing. But dad and Grandpa were good carpenters and could rebuild the loss . There is another carpenter that will restore all our loss. He is the best restoration worker in the world. Jesus, He will make all things new. A perfect man with wood in the shop and wood on the cross. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

The Continuation of the Golden Calf

An old story that still rings as true as in the days that it was written. There was a lot of people that had a leader. Millions of people with one, highly respected leader. He went away and those people went astray. He wasn’t gone for long, a month and a third roughly. Five weeks it is said. Not long in our day either. You could walk to Kansas City IF you walked 25 MPD. That’s pretty good walking. Non stop all day, munching at the Two Dollar stores on the way.

So, that leader went walking up a mountain to talk to God. By himself. God reiterated what he had told this leader about life and he wrote it all down by hand so the leader could walk back to his people and have a solid and readable ‘book’ of instructions to a good life. After all, it was the least God could do to help those people live as they ought to. As they were made to. An owners manual in the Holy Glove box to look at and get some quick answers to complex life situations. Things like hatred, greed, anger, lust and fear. Look at the index, it’s all there.

Not long after their leader left to get that manual of life, the people got antsy and full of themselves (just like we do when we think we have been left alone) They decided to look to that leader’s brother and get some answers as to what to do. The brother, second in command, offered a solution. After all, any problem we have can be addressed and fixed by the Government.

That man came up with a solution to the peoples anxiety. He made an idol. It’s what all of us do when things don’t go as we wish. “Give me some peace! Show me Something substantial that I can grab onto!”

We do exactly the same things. Nothing has really changed at all. Our leader tells us he has the cure for what ails us. We turn to entertainment to sooth our troubles and pretty soon, that gold album gets on the American idol show and even turns into Platinum! Ahh. Lets have a party with dancing and put that old gold album on and rock out! The idol of ourselves as usual. This feels good!

It happens over and over and when our leaders are not friends of God, it goes south pretty fast. Remember a few years ago when we were all going to die if we didn’t do exactly what we were told to do? Not to turn to God and talk to him and look for guidance. Turn to the leadership and worship their solution. Did it work? Of course not. Idols are intoxicating with comfort and self importance. Get angry if your neighbors don’t do what we are told to. “We are here from the government and we are here to help you!” Ronald Reagan said those were the worst words you could hear. For an actor of heroes, he knew a few things about rescue and courage.

Close your business’ Hide in your homes and shake with fear. Put a piece of cloth over your face and trust us, it’s for your own good. Monty Python couldn’t do it better. We worship our gods (small g there) The ‘experts’ on our media, Doctors from the government and band aid companies that assure us all will be well….maybe someday.

Meanwhile in the ensuing years when the meteor doesn’t strike or the dead are not clogging the streets, a new threat is discovered and the fear is supposed to begin again. A ‘vaccine’ is touted to protect us and it doesn’t. Time to get that Navy hospital ship back to port and recall the Morgues on wheels. Get some pictures on the front page and ramp it up. Conspiracy theories are the prize in every Cracker Jack box and they are all different.

What are we to do? A savior has come and he has the truth with him, and on him. There is a cure for everything and everyone and he doesn’t get money from the government to distribute it.

He has taken the ‘cure’ for the fear. Amazingly, unbelievably, He died from taking the rebellion and fear of all men and after three days, destroyed it and walked the earth again and told us he did this for us. He also wants us to live with Him. Forever. Just ask Him. Make sure to talk to Him, (right now!) its OK. It’s the best thing for me and you. It’s not another favor from the government. It’s real truth. You may not like the truth as it shows us clearly we worship ourselves and our comfort. Jesus will show us who we are meant to be. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

Fire of Eternity

From the beginning was fire, without there was nothing. Creation of the innumerable suns that we see but do not understand the how and why of them. Close as our own sun. Supplier of heat in the cold indifference of the outer space. Perhaps first experienced of the Angel with a flaming sword at the entrance of Eden.

The shepherds warming themselves in winter drawn by flaming suns flooding their vision with the result of fire, light. The advent of the one that explains the cleansing of a man with fire in His eyes. Also at the end of life. The sea of glass on fire.

When Moses was first given a sight of fire that did not consume and conveyed awe and respect. Enough fire to change history as the fire spoke truth with two words, I AM.

We now take the fire into our lives for heat and cooking and light. Remembering the early days of lamps and wicks and now not even comprehending the fire that creates the electric results. ‘Power plants” running on coal fires or nuclear fires. Solar power created by the inferno of a fire so big it is almost impossible to comprehend the size of the fire. Where did it come from? How can it burn with out running out of fuel to consume?

The stars in our sky familiar for navigation but still unimaginably distant and again impossible. We have feeble explanations for eternal fire and light that were created by an explosion of eternity. Perhaps an explosion but from what and where and who lit it?

All consuming fire that is mentioned in scripture that consumes what besides bushes and trees? As is said in publications of man’s wisdom. Scientific American, National Geographic that cannot explain how fire is possible everywhere we look. Even the burning of food within us to create movement from eating.

A sacrifice of all eternity accomplished with spikes made from a forge using fire to create and form them. Worship of a golden calf made the same way. The transformation of lives by light as in Saul on the road to Damascus. Blinding him as for a week he wonders why and is delivered by a man of God, fearful but obedient.

Songs we now sing: of a consuming fire, burning within me fan into flames. Even to this day, close by with fireplaces and stoves with glass windows showing the fire dancing within that gives us heat to gather around. A campfire to gather around for warmth against the outside of winters bluster and wind .

“He’s so cold” “The cold shoulder” “Chilled to the bone”. Without His fire we could not exist, cook our food and create so many things besides light and comfort.

Consuming fire, fan into flames. Burning, burning within me. Consume the indifference and let me see. You. The Light of the world. Let us see the light of your heart and transform me. The fire of my heart.

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.

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

Tuning Forks

A fascinating device, the tuning fork. Jack has owned one for some time. It doesn’t get used anymore because electronic ones were invented that are a lot handier. The fork, however, has uses that are not possible with the electric styles. You possibly have had one of these forks shown to you. Hold it in your hand and give it a sharp rap on something that won’t be damaging. The tone rings out and you can put it on your mastoid bone to hear it quite clearly. You can set it on the pick guard of your string instrument and tune up with it (they come in various notes, so make a note of the note.) Just tighten or loosen an A string till the tones merge into one. No fair tuning to a fourth of A (D) it will sound a simple chord, but the string will be a bit worse for wear if it is above the D.

IF you have two forks, and they are the same tone, one will vibrate when the other is struck. Sympathetic tone response. It’s pretty cool. But, who has two tuning forks in A?

The call of other things in our lives can also resonate with us. Jack has noticed in a small crowd of people, that a certain word will ‘resonate’ in his mind and capture attention. Words such as: Fiddle or Mandolin. We all know this well. How many times have all of us heard our first name across a room and instinctively turned towards the sound? The faint sound of a voice calling you to dinner (noon lunch for those who need clarification). Resonance is a good word to explain this phenomenon. Perhaps it is now time to introduce the next phenomenon of this fascinating ‘tune’. There are friends and then there are neighbors who can also be friends. A common problem to those among us that want to be a friend for everyone. They wind up unable to be close to anybody.

A person that is the closest friend of all is another step into friendship. Proximus is the descriptive word for best friend. It derives from middle French but the original Latin basic means ‘closest’ or ‘nearest’. A neat word which branches into proximity. So Bear with Jack a bit longer, words are powerful.

The best tuning fork that resonates is the one that is the sum of you. The common phrase is: “I feel like I’ve known him all my life!” Often Jack meets a total stranger that Jack knows has met his Proximus. It really is a common experience if you can ‘tune yourself’ to be aware of it. Several moments where that really stood out are some of Jack’s favorite short stories. A helping guide in a monster sized warehouse that took time to show Jack where something was. Not an employee. A woman that waited for Jack in her car that she had just run into Jack’s car in a parking lot. Many such encounters have occurred, those are just two that are easier to write about.

People that Jack has said five words to: “You’re a Christian aren’t you?” It is encouraging and it is obvious if your tuning fork is ringing true. Brothers in Christ carry that. Don’t be afraid to say it. You’ll know if you listen for that sound. The sound of light, the sound stars sing around the throne. Often the sound that indeed is light. It’s all frequencies on the wavelength of eternity. Listen, it’s for you. Love has a sound of it’s own and it’s pretty good. Jack Gator

A Battle for Individual Worth

Jack was experiencing another melt down. An appropriate analogy for the origin of Melt Down. A nuclear power plant of any sort, has to be kept cool. There is more heat available in nuclear fission that can be used.

Jack volunteered for the nuclear submarine service as an engineer and thus, he is somewhat familiar with these things. The reactor must be kept cool enough to survive, to be useful and not dangerous.

The melt down Jack was experiencing was internal and dangerous to him. He was loosing his cool. His core purpose of being was under question. Jack was reacting to his perceptions of life and his purpose under those perceptions. He felt he was too old and, well, sort of worthless. He thought of those mile long lines of old grain cars that are seen in a side track sometimes near the highway. Another thought of being set aside is the farm machinery we see near the fields where the new fresh green painted combine is moving among the crop.

Old machinery, old abandoned houses with weathered gray siding and a grown over driveway. Set aside as a symbol of that old Grateful Dead song, “Old and in the way, that’s what I heard them say. They’ll never care about you when you’re old and in the way” That’s the illusion we believe.

We are old, yes. Our hair matches the old barn boards of gray..sometimes a silver gray. So easy to set ourselves on that shunt of rusty steel. Coupled with an endless line of others. Tattooed with gang paint spray and brake hoses disconnected. Forever. Out in the field, the old fashioned tractor almost hidden with the tires flat and grass growing through the frame. How it must be in the dormitories of the old we envision our end. Visitors these days like Clayton Moore with his mask asking how the food is.

Suddenly, Jack bolted awake with a memory of incredible worth. His worth to an absolute stranger a few years ago. After following an ‘instinct’ to visit an acquaintance in the big hospital, Jack had an experience that doubled in size as he thought of it.

When Jack left his new friends room there was a young man, walking slowly down the long corridor. An unusual appearing youth with large hoop earrings. Jack asked him if he wouldn’t mind if he walked beside him. “Sure, that would be OK. My doctor said I had to walk around this floor several times a day” Jack did not ask the young man why he was in hospital. At the next corridor junction, Jack stopped and said he was going to the right and it seemed his acquaintance was going left. Jack then asked if he could pray for the man. It was OK with him and a prayer with permission to put his hand on his shoulder was put forth. “OK” Jack does not remember his prayer but afterward the young man told Jack: “God sent you” Jack said, yes He did.

So now worth, eternal worth came flooding into Jack’s pity party and that was exactly what was needed. We are not abandoned machinery although existential thought and words say we are worthless no matter how old we are.

Jack has been reading a bit of Sartre, Joyce and Nietzsche for research. Some of that old ink stained Jack’s mind perhaps. Hopelessness, no meaning to life and other cheery stories can inculcate deep, they strain to dominate one’s spirit but God sent Jack a memory. A memory stronger than death, as strong as the grave and many waters cannot flood this love. Rich and priceless memories that fill Jack with hope and a life well lived through the eternity we all glimpse, as through a darkened glass.

It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

Creativity of a Wordsmith

The poet’s eye, in a fine frenzy rolling, does glance from heaven to Earth, from Earth to heaven; and as imagination brings forth the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name.” a

There is a great deal of unread and unnoticed wisdom floating about. Often, those words get clouded over with brash recitation. The meanings almost completely lost for the listener to the erudite speaker. We all do it. As a radio would just become background noise to alleviate the lack of conversation, so does great literature and poetry become in the hands of a tone deaf musician. After all, music is poetry put to sound. Prose and poetry are intoxicating concertos when done well.

Of course, there is a beginning to listening and that is a decision to be made by us all. Do we believe in what is being said as truth, real truth? Or does the attempt to inculcate us with excitement in discovered truth not appeal? After all, You and I are most ignorant of great wisdom that lies just about, flat and bound in cardboard or fine leather. Stacks of those at times around Jack’s comfy chair that somehow manages to lull him to sleep. Just when his hungry mind starts to come awake, Jack falls into a slumber. Too much of the fruit of the mind can be intoxicating. Small doses work better for Jack.

Am I getting tedious and bit vague now? Good, that’s the point. Trained at an early age to embrace ‘speed reading’, Jack become a bit of a prig without understanding as well. The words were read correctly and their meaning understood. There is a word that showed up on the old, yellowed report cards now and then, comprehension. A good illustration would be a story about a young boy that had an extraordinary experience. This boy in the story found a treasure that was revealed later in the book. Jack immediately thought of booty and coin like. Jack’s intellect was not engaged in the story.

The story in mind was a fantasy about real things of spirit and life. The author (a recognized master) had written the story to engage both our excitement and awareness of our selves in the story. After a paragraph or two, stories like this one should be vivid. We paint pictures and set in a sound track. After the story or movie per se’, the author rather insists we go beyond and play the melody of words that add a great deal. Great literature can resemble piano lessons. Suddenly the flatted fifth is beauty..

The next time this happens, Jack catches himself either dozing, editing to make the story make sense in his mind. ‘This isn’t relevant to me. Why am I listening/reading this? Just as wheat is combined, the sifting begins to yield the golden kernel hidden in a plain looking stalk. The loaves of bread in the promise are not seen by casual glances. Gleaning it is called and we are called to glean wisdom from everyone we meet in person or not. Our choice. Be arrogant and think of ourselves as complete as we are, or open up our hearts and find treasure at hand. Treasures abound if we look for it. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator

a. William Shakespeare