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Monday, October 21, 2013

Youthful Swimmers

  Periodically I teach the youth on Sunday at our church. In so doing I read scripture and attempt to follow a teacher’s guide.

  Like all study and research this process evolves. I will find myself pausing to reflect as the words, history and meaning seep into my consciousness.

  The thing that I am not always aware of is the slow but sure marinating of my sub conscious. I will present the lesson to what is, at times, less than eager youth. They are pleasantly willing nonetheless.

  As I gaze into their faces a need rises up in me to impart to them the value of these teachings to their evolving spiritual lives. I yearn for their expressions to open and receive these words so that they might avoid the traps of spirit that have scarred my existence in this world.

  My sons tell me I get a little “preachy” so I try to keep it dialed back. I try to ask them questions and cause them to reach into their hearts and minds for a place beyond the material plane.

  Then without fail … it happens. They teach me. They will answer a question or share an experience or thought and I will know that I am not so much teaching as I am swimming with them in a river of energy I’ll call God.

  You see, I've never been a great swimmer. I have managed to keep from drowning by holding back often pretending I'm more capable than I am. In the end I am simply managing.

  That is the secret I would have them know. That is why I become “preachy”. I want them to swim with the graceful ease than you sometimes witness in a pool or lake or sea when someone seems to blend with the water.  You've seen them, I know. There is so little sound. The water garbles like a gentle stream over smooth rock as they glide not through it but with it … IN it. 

  I would save these youth from my flailing and gasping experience. I want them to immerse themselves in the cool and caressing love that is Spirit. Even then they have a way of showing me that my need is subjective and possibly even unfounded. It would appear, in most cases, that they are better swimmers than I am.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Past Heaven

Peering out the window
I see the cars go by.
How much of all the chaos,
Really matters why?

Folks hurry along worried,
Racing to feed the maw,
Losing all their reason,
Sprinting for a fall.

It will not fail to trip them,
Even as they try.
Laughter only fools them.
Pain just makes them cry.

On the other side of heaven
Is a world where we can go,
If only we could travel,
Without the need to know

A map or way confusing,
A road to travel by.
Dissolve and lose the losing
Cast off the human lie.

Deeper I must fathom,
For narrow path beyond.
Light beckons from ether,
Word belongs to song.

There’s money, trial and worry.
There’s birth and death and pain.
But in the end what matters
Is a poet’s lone refrain.

If peace could flow like river,
We’d flow away to grace.
The sound would only sooth us,
 soften  the angry face.

So listen while you’re gazing
 and maybe you will hear,
The sound of lonely heartbeats,
The splash of falling tears.

Hold fast dear beloved,
This place will wash away
And then you’ll know past heaven
Where we might rest and stay.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Acecela of Fiji

  That first day when you came and sat on the window ledge by the breakfast table, I was a bit taken aback. I mean, a guy is sitting with his family looking out over the Pacific, still a little dazed from 16 hours of flight when a 6 and a half foot male weighing in towards 300 lbs plops down at eye level with you.

  You grinned that big grin with several teeth missing that said, “Hi, I’m friendly.” Your gold polo with the resort emblem clearly stated you were an employee.

  “Everybody calls me Ace. I’m here every morning. No worries. Where you folks from?” We bantered a bit and you moved on. Later you came out with your battered guitar and sang children’s songs to the little ones that were everywhere. They came and sat at your feet or you knelt down at their table.

  Even the most petulant would soften. One child reached over to touch your arm as if to insure that you were real. For the next six days you were always there; village tours, fire ceremonies, games and every morning with your battered guitar, singing to the children.

  You dressed as a Fijian warrior and did the war dance. You took us to a wedding of your niece and treated us like family. You took my teenage sons into town to shop for shirts that would signify we were of the same clan as you. More importantly we comfortably let you. You showed us your life. Most of all you showed us your heart and in so doing you showed us the heart of your people.

  I knew from the first moment that you harbored a story of trial and tribulation behind the dark pool of your eyes. We recognized the wounds in one another. Both of us sought to heal and pay back through our love of the children.  Everyone knew you. They respected you.

  The day before we left a father from Australia told us that he had come there to the resort yearly since childhood. He had a photo of you as a fifteen-year-old “cheetah of youth” lighting a torch, wearing native dress.

  Before the scars was this lithe, exuberant boy. Even in a still photo you could sense the need to run toward the next flame … the next person … the next experience. Even in that photo of a youth,
one could sense the joy and grace of a people such as I have never known.   I believe that you, my friend, more than anyone we encountered, are Fiji … from the laughing children to the scarred warriors.

  Thank you Ace. Thank you for putting your arm around my sons in friendship. On the last day you came to the breakfast table to say goodbye. You sang a plaintive refrain that I had not heard while my wife cried openly.

  I listened to the yearning hope of a powerful man with a child’s heart and saw in my mind’s eye a youth lighting a torch that reveals the soul of a people bound to land and sea.

 In that moment, on a balmy Pacific morning, you and all of Fiji became a part of my family forever. I suspect there are many you have caused to feel the same.