GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

A well-remembered adage flowing freely around the tables of Alcoholics Anonymous was this:

“You have got to give it away to keep it.”

Sobriety, the clean and serene, the return of sanity, the restoration of family and community was a gift of a Higher Power whom we trusted and revered. It was freely given through the grace of a loving, magnanimous God. Many of us, needing definition to this God, rely on the Christian concept of Jesus, the Christ. I have to give Him away to keep Him.

Celebrating the birth is part of this Jesus story that has given meaning to life as well as understanding to death. A boyhood verse learned in Sunday School said, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Alcoholism kidnapped my relationship with Jesus and set me in the darkness of the deep valleys. My story is found in the New Testament book of Luke, chapter 15, the parable of the prodigal son. Through Jesus, my Father and I have claimed victory over alcoholism and spiritual death.

Yes, yes, yes, I will go tell it on the mountain, in the valley, on the streets and wherever anyone will listen. Tonight I celebrate the birth of the Son who saved me from insanity or jail or death. Tonight is all about God’s gift to humanity. This little light of mine – I’m gonna let it shine.

O HOLY NIGHT

It is an extraordinary Christmas Eve. The normal candlelight services are mostly online only. Family gatherings are limited. Did you make yourself weary with the decorating, the house-cleaning, the meal preparations, and, of course, the shopping in a covid-19 environment?

Not me. I determined several years ago that simplicity was the best way to celebrate Christmas. I have moved my pre-lit tree from a corner in my craft area to centerstage in the living room where I can sit at night and early morning admiring the beauty of a tree with only lights and icicles. The other ornaments remained in their storage containers. Simple, right? As for gifts….lottery tickets by the handful provide entertainment and anticipation.

My Christmas Day meal has been planned for several weeks. The most extravagant dish will be a casserole of oyster dressing – Jim’s favorite holiday treat. Along with a roasted turkey breast and giblet gravy there will be cooked carrots, cranberry sauce, pickled beets in a strawberry jello and fruit cake. This is my idea of Christmas dinner done simply.

We can’t help but think of the many families struggling for food and shelter, searching for a light in the darkness of our country this year. The video I am sharing touched my heart in a mighty way reminding me, and hopefully you, what it is we are honoring and celebrating at this time of the year. It’s not about the decorations, the glitz, the food or the socializing. It is all about the gift of love given to us by a gracious and merciful God. It is about life lived victoriously in sobriety. It is about me caring about you more than me. It is about trusting the heart over the theology.

Enjoy the season. It is meant to be joyous and festive, but don’t forget the reason for the season. Merry Christmas and a blessed 2021 to all of you.

Mood of Christmas

HOWARD THURMAN – THEOLOGIAN & MYSTIC

For Thurman, the “Mood of Christmas” was not merely in the Christ Child, but in what Christmas is offering us across the entire sweep of creation and time. He writes:

The symbol of Christmas—what is it? It is the rainbow arched over the roof of the sky when the clouds are heavy with foreboding. It is the cry of life in the newborn babe when, forced from its mother’s nest, it claims its right to live. It is the brooding Presence of the Eternal Spirit making crooked paths straight, rough places smooth, tired hearts refreshed, dead hopes stir with newness of life. It is the promise of tomorrow at the close of every day, the movement of life in defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than hate, that right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil. 

Daily Meditations Archives — Center for Action and Contemplation (cac.org)

You love me anyway🙏

I find it difficult today to feel loved because my heart is not one of empathy or sympathy surrounding the health crisis enveloping the Administration.   This post was written 5 months ago, a reader put a like on it today and I had to review it to remember my words.  THANK YOU readers for making blogging more heart work than brain work.

Have I denied,
have I abandoned,
have I blasphemed,
have I lied,
have I been the prodigal,
have I been Judas,
have I been Peter,
have I driven the nails,
have I been the mocking crowd?

YES, BUT YOU LOVE ME ANYWAY

I am the thorn in Your crown
But You love me anyway
I am the sweat from Your brow
But You love me anyway
I am the nail in Your wrist
But You love me anyway
I am Judas’ kiss
But You love me anyway

lyrics from SIDEWALK PROPHETS

Sarah Young – “Jesus Calling”

disconnect

Welcome to my little get-away.  Do you like it?  Before we settle in let’s toss some of the excess baggage.  There’s no room for those resentments about the past nor worries about tomorrow.  Get rid of that backpack of responsibilities weighing you down.  Settle in under my palm tree and let’s look just beyond the horizon.  It’s calling us, isn’t it?  Rest for the soul. 

A daily morning read is “JESUS CALLING” by SARAH YOUNG. From her inspiration come these words:

“I delight in your enjoyment of everything that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable. Think on these things, and My Light in you will shine brighter day by day.”

Jesus is telling us to enjoy our lives living in words and behaviors that are noble and good. How often do we think about personal nobility and truth? We were designed to be God’s Light shining here on this world’s darkness. Are we doing that or do we, with our words and actions, add to the darkness?

St. Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, wrote: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the peace of God will be with you.” chapter 4: 8-9

Today’s tumultuous times need God’s peace to guide us and keep us on an even keel. The wisdom of the ancient mystics shares with us how to do that. What will I dwell upon today? Where will I allow my thoughts to go? Whom will I entrust with my inherent nobility and truth?

We were not meant to be rattled every morning by the world’s headlines, to be shaken by humanity’s cowardice and bitterness, to be sent into our dark corners by fear and hatred. Rather, we were created to shine forth with God’s goodness and mercy in purity and nobility. The challenge of the One we call Lord is set before us.

another 72 hours

unshackled-2So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

Well, how was your weekend?  Did you get all those chores accomplished?  Maybe an afternoon family BBQ by the pool?  Did you maintain sober-living for the past 72 hours?  Not just alcohol free, but truly sobriety-appreciating behavior?

If today finds you sober and serene, give yourself and your Higher Power a hand.  If not, tomorrow is another day to start your adventure through sobriety.sober emoji

Leonard Cohen

unshackled-2So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

“For the millions in a prison
That wealth has set apart—
For the Christ who has not risen,
From the caverns of the heart

For the innermost decision
That we cannot but obey
For what’s left of our religion,
I lift my voice and pray;
May the lights in the land of Plenty
Shine on the truth someday.”

—Leonard Cohen

“pig in the python”

 

 

“sharp statistical increase represented as a bulge in an otherwise level pattern.”

young, mature, old

Picture a python that has just eaten a pig.  We are the bulge in that python’s belly.  We are the baby boomers.  Born between 1946 and 1964, we were part of the phenomenal birth rate increase following the end of WWII.  Life in the USA was good.  It was a time of jobs, prosperity, security, enforced peace, a resumption of  families supported by dads returning from the sacrifices of war time.

We grew up with the images of “Ozzie & Harriet”, “Leave it to Beaver”, “Father Knows Best” teaching us how life should be.  Beginning in 1959 we watched 14 seasons of the Cartwrights on “Bonanza” showing us how ‘real men’ lived.  Back then the “Nightly News” was a reporting of factual events rather than an attempt to entertain or politicize.

Our parents intended for us to have it all, a better life than they had.  Job security was the norm enabling dad to spend his entire career with one employer.  Mom stayed at home keeping house, prepared great home-cooked meals for her loved ones, chaired the local PTA, drank socially with her Wednesday afternoon card club.  Junior and Sis went to segregated schools, attended sock hops on Saturday night, dreamed of being the prom King and Queen, prepared for college and an independent life with families of their own.

Remember those days?  Me neither.  Here’s how it really was.  Bobby’s dad was escaping to the city on ‘business trips’ to meet the young, hot secretary from the office for a few hours of sex.  Betty’s mom was sneaking martinis every afternoon before the kids came home from school.  Junior was getting high with his friends and Sis was given to bobbing in the back seat of her boy friend’s car.

And we became emancipated.  Woodstock, the Beatles, the Doors, Janis Joplin, Joni Mitchell, the Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam war protesters, the political corruption all met within the 1960s to create a generation of young people unwilling to accept the status quo.  We were called radical and degenerate for rejecting ‘Ozzie & Harriet’ and the ‘Cartwrights’, following, instead, a desperate departure from our parents’ dreams.  Much of that idealism was relinquished with the passing years, and most of us settled into responsible adult relationships and behaviors just like mom and dad.  But, a few of us became ‘forever dropouts’.

My name is Larry and I am a baby boomer.  Today marks my 73rd birthday.  Still haven’t figured out if I’m still a dropout or just an anti-social senior citizen.

cropped-laughing-emoji2-1.png

come and rest

disconnect

Welcome to my little get-away.  Do you like it?  Before we settle in let’s toss some of the excess baggage.  There’s no room for those resentments about the past nor worries about tomorrow.  Get rid of that backpack of responsibilities weighing you down.  Settle in under my palm tree and let’s look just beyond the horizon.  It’s calling us, isn’t it?  Rest for the soul. 

Our society (read between the lines here – the greed of Western culture) is insane with its preoccupation with material goods and financial success.  In the years leading up to 2008 and the economic meltdown, I was part of that insanity – accumulation of unmanageable debt, an absence of a savings plan, and basing self-worth on net-worth.  Then, the year 2009 brought a major adjustment to my life’s vision.  Bankruptcy including the loss of my business, my income, and my home at the age of 62 involuntarily initiated a different style of living.  It was called simplicity, something I had always admired, but never truly embraced.  It was fine for other people, however, I saw it as poverty.

I learned to love simplicity after the necessary adjustments were made to spending habits and lifestyle.  I gained a freedom never before experienced, an opportunity to escape the treadmill called the American dream.  It affords hours daily to simply be, to commune with one’s nature, one’s Maker and the beauty of the earth given to us as a dwelling place.  Resting in awe of the incredible life process we experience is a daily ‘activity’.  Would you like to come and rest with me?  Sit under my palm tree and gaze at the horizon?

Jesus, who escaped to the serenity of a garden frequently, said it this way to his disciples: “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” MARK 6:30  Productivity and success are radically redefined when pursuing this lifestyle advised by the ancient mystics.

cropped-unshackled-3.png

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

 

peace like a river

disconnect

Welcome to my little get-away.  Do you like it?  Before we settle in let’s toss some of the excess baggage.  There’s no room for those resentments about the past nor worries about tomorrow.  Get rid of that backpack of responsibilities weighing you down.  Settle in under my palm tree and let’s look just beyond the horizon.  It’s calling us, isn’t it?  Rest for the soul. 

What we see beyond the horizon is merely a reflection of that which we know is indwelling.  Steadfast and unchanging, it is the arm into which we lean in feast and famine, in light and darkness, in joy and sorrow, in peace and conflict.  Comforter, counselor, redeemer, shepherd – faithfully waiting for us to quietly enter Presence.  Don’t wallow in yesterday, don’t worry about tomorrow for today in this moment we are reassured that sitting under our palm tree, gazing into the horizon is soul work of the utmost importance.

When peace like a river attendeth my soul,
when sorrow like sea billows roll,
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
‘it is well, it is well with my soul.'”
Horatio Spafford

So many of us have lived our lives placing unmerited value on the opinions of others while discrediting our personal truth and reality.  Breaking the shackles of people-pleasing requires honest self-appraisal, a healthy dose of self-esteem, and an enormous commitment to self-realization.  unshackled 3

pride8

….as near as the destination may be, it’s still the journey that matters….

 

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