Jesus at the foot of my bed

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Jesus and Lucifer (source: Unknown, Net)

 

“Have fun!” The friendly cashier bade an elderly lady goodbye and turned to me. “Found everything you needed? What’s so funny?” A big smile adorned my face.

“Oh, the vision of a rounded, bent-over, old lady ‘having fun,'” said I. She smiled and continued to ring up my few items. “Is that really what people do?”

“Oh YEAH, honey!  That’s what my father did, right up until he closed his eyes. Was just a while ago.”

“Oh, I’m sorry.” I wasn’t sure what to say.

“No, not at all – he was cheerful all the way. Just closed his eyes one night, and was gone. No fuss, no mess.”

“Glad to hear that! My mother too, but she struggled a few days in a hospital.” A pang of guilt arose within; I hadn’t been at her bedside when that happened last year. She’d struggled for a decade with old age and infirmity, and with a mentally challenged daughter to care for. And I – I struggled with…but never mind, I couldn’t get to her bedside soon enough.

“He was in a hospital too, bedridden for a couple of years – almost. A week more and it’d have been exactly two years. Someone ran him off a 300-ft cliff in his car.”

“Heavens! However did he survive that? Was he in a good car?”

“He was in his Chevy truck. The fall banged him up something awful. But he was bright and funny to the end.” She’d finished scanning all my purchases, and the machine displayed $9.24. I gave her a tenner and searched my threadbare pockets for a quarter. “The best part was his story about being in the hospital bed. He said he was never alone.”

“What do you mean?” I found my quarter and handed it over.

“He said Jesus sat at the foot of his bed. ‘What did he say!’ I asked him. ‘There’s nothing to be said,’ said he. He was just peaceful.”

“Oh, he was fooling you…” I couldn’t resist bringing logic into the narration.

“There’s nothing to be said,” said she, handing back my change.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

 

 

 

 

Posted in Literary, nonfiction, Philosophy, Social, Writing | Tagged , , , , , ,

Great Power must come with Great Responsibility

Very little changes in years that pass…

Humbling and Humility

Wisdom from life experiences, from Marvel's Wisdom from life experiences, from Voltaire, in Marvel’s “Spiderman” (source: web, the616project.com)

The power, of life and death, granted to our community protectors, must come with training, alike parental responsibility, where compassion governs force.

Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Eric Garner. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. How many more children of our society must die before our parental instincts wake up? How many more families, and lives, must be destroyed before we recognize the brutality institutionalized, the grievous injuries inflicted?

Yes, this topic twists my heart. I have first hand experience of excessive force by police, of egregious rush to judgment, of vindictive prosecution that brushes all human considerations aside. It hurt me. But even more, it continues to hurt my children.

And while I, and others like me, may work to salvage the lives of our children, society as a whole fragments. Mistrust fills minds. The sight of figures of authority…

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FREE: HnH E-Book, July 17, 18

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Humbling and Humility (cover image)

 

You’ve likely heard a captain of the financial industry describing our government’s function (dysfunction?) as “all the stupid shit.”

Is it, really? Things may be simpler when one’s investing, counting beans of gold. That we understand. But political machinations, cover-up’s, collusion, conspiracies…but sure, call it what you like. Manure.

Or call it what it is: deep-rooted corruption. A government that is no longer by the people or for all the people. Ideology and agendas have taken over intended governance. Lies and deception now control the voting populace.

Is it just “Washington” that is so afflicted? I beg to disagree: my own story, penned in Humbling and Humility, may surprise you.

HnH (the ebook) is free through Amazon on July 17 and 18. Get it, read it, and let me know what you think!

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Posted in Literary, nonfiction, Political, Social, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Saving Easter

No, no ‘passover lamb’ was pardoned, nor were any eggs picked or left undisturbed. A life was brought back from certain death: my daughter saved a fledgling, not by accident, by precautions she took against such eventuality.

Fledgling saved by catch blankets

Chick saved by blankets and pillows circling the palm

How did this come about, you ask? It’s nothing short of a miracle in my mind.

We have a sparrow couple living up in the branches of the high palm tree in our backyard. It isn’t very common for sparrows to nest in palm tree branches – but this is an uncommon backyard. Food appears magically every morning at 7am on the wall. Birds of all sorts feast upon this daily bounty; they’ve come to depend on it. With such providence, what homely pair wouldn’t nest nearby?

My daughter called me, tearfully, yesterday, while I was in class mid-morning, tutoring a student on a complicated engineering subject. A chick had fallen down from the palm tree onto the hard ground beneath. I could not get back home right then – and promised to call back.

The baby bird died. She’d tried to save it, but the fall from such height had broken the flightless thing’s body. I came back to find the bird buried in one of my seedling patches with flowers lovingly placed nearby.

A grim, determined look assailed me…I knew she’d composed herself and done what needed doing. Her little cousin – whom she babysits often – followed her, lamb-like, and helped her with a strange spectacle.

My daughter was arranging all her blankets and pillows around the palm tree!

“What are you doing?!”

“Don’t want another chick to die like this, Dad!”

“But – but those pillows! We need those!”

“You don’t use them, DO YOU?!”

Humbled, I too helped her, lamb-like, and replaced the pillows with old ones I could find. And old sofa cushions. See them in the picture? Gave her any old blanket or bed cover I could find. The palm tree now wore a soft cloth skirt near its roots.

I hugged my daughter – twice – as she left to drop her cousin. Not a word from her.

Texted her later that night, thanking her for her care and love for our backyard beings, suggesting treats at a local movie theater or restaurant. No replies.

We worked in the backyard again this morning. My son helped pluck weeds and my daughter tended her peas and potato patch. She moved over to the palm tree, and I saw her gesticulating, shocked by something. Another bird on the ground? I wasn’t worried this instance – the skirt may well have helped, and being here together would be easier in a crisis.

A fledgling! It was on one of the blankets laid out, hiding from the sun in the shade of a pillow. And it was alive, and unhurt!

She picked it up carefully and brought it over. Its mouth was wide open. Dehydration, a need for food. We quenched its thirst immediately, and my son went to find a shoe box and a soft towel. Having taken care of chicks before, my daughter knew exactly what to do with this little thing. She fed it and settled in into the box.

“You saved a life – you thought of what may happen.”

She just smiled.

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Review: The Delight of Being Ordinary

The Delight of Being Ordinary
The Delight of Being Ordinary by Roland Merullo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Intriguing, imaginative, and decidedly irreverent.

The book title intrigued me – how did Roland Merullo bring out the essence of simplicity, the joys of shedding pretensions and embracing humility in life – but, in my limited perception, no significant enlightenment in this aspect could be gleaned within. Instead, one finds costumes, a fancy machine, a road trip funded by unlimited Vatican wealth (that, in a handful, could almost pay the bill for said Maserati), Mussolini, and the decadence of Italian movie stars. Sure, ‘great men’ are taken out along Italian roads for a few days’ break from their exhausting royal duties – an adventure playing truants – which, if you’ll excuse me, is rather remote from anything ‘ordinary.’

Let’s move on. Spoilers ahead, but you’ll forgive me.

Imaginative? Certo. The author marries Orthodox Christianity to Buddhist reincarnation and rebirth, and manages to also spring an immaculate conception upon unsuspecting readers near the end. Predictable? Arguably, though he invents a new religion-less religion of a great mother and a great father enjoined in creation. Hmm.

Just what was he getting at? Let’s leave that aside – it is just a road trip, after all. Only, it isn’t! It’s also a good lot of musings on religion, on similarities and some differences, on doubt, self-doubt, restraint, and reconciliation…a hodge-podge of self-help reading material on Catholicism, Tibetan Buddhism, and various aspects one comes across in contemporary lives. He uses religion, and religious beliefs, in his attempt to get to non-religion. Seemed rather irreverent to me.

So – having explained the gist in a boring, linear fashion – a few thoughts on the writing. It is engaging and even enjoyable in places. It is a fun story with reasonably rounded characters and inconsequential ones thrown in for good measure. There is an unhealthy obsession with Il Duce within, but given that the adventure is set in Italy, he had to have something to bash – perhaps to make a powerful institution, that in part collaborated with German Nazis, look good in comparison – and a dictator summarily executed by the people he tormented was as good a choice as any. There are descriptions of national tragedies, the Italian countryside, and aspects of the culture that are interesting. There isn’t anything exceptional; for want of a better description, let’s just say the writing delights in being ordinary.

A Goodreads Giveaway received and reviewed.

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The Light from Within: A Letter

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A Southwest Sunset

 

“My friend, do not lose yourself in blinding faith. Find yourself through sparks of insight. You will then advance toward the soothing flame of enlightenment.

“Life, at all levels of abstraction, can be visualized as Chakras, or circles of energy. It involves stages of knowing, communicating, acting, and observing, leading to knowing again. Causation is circular, not linear as most religions would have you believe. Neither is it primal as Aristotle and others imagined and taught.

“At the highest levels of thought known to us is knowledge of the self or self-awareness. That leads to a realization of identity. And to a state of continual learning and refinement, and tranquility beyond par. When shorn of all ego, pretense, and material attachment, one is free from all ‘maya’ or illusion. Such a self attains…whatever you may want to call it!

“But one doesn’t get there by believing things, following others, and closing one’s mind! Fill your mind with blind faith and belief, and there will be little room for any light to enter within.

“Only the light that shines from within can be true enlightenment.”

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Posted in Literary, Philosophy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Review: The Moonstone

The Moonstone
The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rewarding, engaging, and yet bewildering.

Wilkie Collins’s writing style is unique. At the start of this very long work of fiction and mystery, he addresses a reader so very often that it’s simply distracting. And, he does so to apologize for diversions, digressions, that he introduces into the story. Now isn’t that a mite facetious? Doesn’t that appear insincere? It gave me pause, enough of Mr. Collins’s creative writing techniques and this work thought I, but I’m glad to have persevered on through. The work is indeed engaging, with all sorts of twists and surprises, and ultimately rewarding to the diligent reader.

As the long story unfolds, he springs another novel technique, surprising (and distracting) even a seasoned veteran. He changes the voice – by moving the story forward through the very distinct perspectives of his interesting characters. He yanks a reader from one perspective, somewhat jarringly, into that of another…and the narration, the attention to detail, the musings and judgments all change. One feels much the same as his principal protagonist, who, having gained learning and experience in the German, Italian, French, and his native English cultures, displays a bewildering variety and transitions in his movements through the complex story. Yet, somehow, Mr. Collins makes all this seamless, more or less. It did not seem to help that the various narrators all seemed to know what others had conveyed.

And yes, Mr. Collins does tell a lot more than he shows. Perhaps this was one of his more contemplative works.

The story does take an incredulous turn, toward the end, bordering on metaphysical hocus-pocus, which he does introduce early in the work as well. It is hard to suspend disbelief in such matters, and this work is no exception.

One more curious instrument with which Mr. Collins shaped this work. He ages a voice, one that he employs to bring closure, having begun the story in the same. I thought he did that exceptionally well.

A very long, complex, convoluted work of mystery and fiction that may exhaust most contemporary readers, but will surely reward aspiring writers.

I enjoyed it!

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