The Weekend of Mixed Emotions

My apologies. This post was written on Memorial Day, but I was unwell and not able to get my tablet to a wifi area until today. Hope you all had a good, thoughtful and thankful day.

Welcome to Memorial Day, a day of picnicking and fun, frolicking in the beautiful spring weather. But is that what this holiday is all about?

I pray that you all spent at least a short period of time contemplating those who gave their very lives to give you the freedom to enjoy this day. I find it interesting that even those who oppose war, think that it’s wrong and so very horrific (and it is, don’t get me wrong), don’t seem to care that if these fine young men and women had not been willing to sacrifice for us all, we would not be in a position to enjoy the day like this.

In the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), Jesus tells us that both a priest and a Levite pass by a man seriously injured by robbers and left laying in the road. It is the Samaritan, the one thought to be less than the Jews because they were of mixed heritage, who cared for the man, tended his wounds and paid for a place for him to rest and recuperate. He is one who took care of his neighbor, his fellow human being. I don’t care about your politics, how you may feel about our government, the individuals in office, their motives for what they do, whether what they do is legal or illegal, when it comes down to it, the United States cares for neighbors all over the world.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if Hitler had won World War II? I can’t. It hurts my brain to even try. Did we delay until it got personal? Perhaps. Did the entire world ignore the plight of the Jews in the Nazi death camps? Yeah, pretty much. I don’t know for sure, but I believe it’s against the nature of most to believe that such horrible things can really be conceived of and perpetrated upon fellow human beings. We don’t want to think the worst of our brothers and sisters until the truth of it comes up and smacks us upside the head. And whether you agree or not, it is against this general backdrop that the U.S. gets involved in conflicts around the world. As a country we are pretty much in a damned if we do and damned if we don’t situation. If we get involved, we’re meddling, and if we don’t, we are allowing innocent people to be persecuted, sometimes to the point of near extinction.

So, this forms the base of my weekend of mixed emotions. Add to it the military tradition of my family, a relative in every war fought by the U.S., even to the point of wars that were before the U.S. existed, (yes, back tot the French-Indian war), the nearer history of Grand-Uncle Everette who was a POW in Burma during WW II, my brother who passed away 7 years ago due to complications that stemmed from a disease attributed to Agent Orange, inflicted in Vietnam, the upcoming retirement of my nephew from 20+ years of service to the United States Marine Corps, and a wonderful time of fellowship with a newly formed small group from my church at Cantingy, a wonderful place of recreation and education at the First Division Museum. Oh, and yesterday would have been my parents 65th wedding anniversary were they still alive.

I have a tough time every year on Memorial Day weekend. I’ve always considered myself a war mongering peacenik. I tried, multiple times, to join the military, only to be rejected due to hearing loss. Finally, I simply minored in Military Science when I went to college. I got some of the training, but did not get to serve. And yet, there is a part of me, grown stronger since I came to know and love Jesus, that does not understand how we can allow ourselves to be driven to kill for the sake of land, or gold, or oil. Part of me says that it’s okay in order to save another, as Jesus did, or to liberate the Nazi death camps. And yet, God says, “Thou shalt not kill,” and that we should turn the other cheek, or go two miles when only one is demanded of us. Men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr died adhering to their non-violent ways. So how do we justify a nearly non-stop history of war? And my family’s been involved in them all.

So this is my weekend of pride in a family history that has protected this country’s freedom from the very beginning, thankfulness for those fought and died to keep me free, and massive confusion, wondering if it’s right to be proud. (I know it’s right to be thankful. THAT is not an issue!!)

Thank you to all who fought for my freedom and the freedom of so many others around the world. Thank you especially to those who paid the supreme price. You are not forgotten.

Learning More Every Day

I knew there had to be a way. And I finally figured it out. Now I don’t have to worry about how to get content off of the tablet word processor and into some form, place, format, someTHING to get it to post online. I knew there had to be a way to write right in WordPress in an offline mode, and today I found it. Unfortunately, that is one of the benefits of being sick. There’s actually time to figure out things that you don’t normally have the time to work through. So now, I have no excuse for not posting. I can write whenever I want, and then post when I get to a wifi area.

I love being inn learning mode, even when I’m not sick. Hmmmmm. That doesn’t sound quite right, but I think you know what I mean. I just love learning. I always have. It’s a great, cheap thrill when I get that “AH HA! moment.” There’s a special satisfaction that comes when you finally figure out something that you’ve been trying to figure out for quite some time. Or the general pleasure that comes from the continuous learning mode of taking a class. It’s all good. I love it all.

And I’ve been in learning mode again as I’ve moved on to my next class at Berean School of the Bible. This class is an overview of the life of Christ as written about in the synoptic gospels. (The synoptic gospels are Matthew, Mark and Luke. Though they are written to different audiences, they are similar in the way they are written, detailing the things Jesus did. John is a bit different, dealing more with theology. John wrote later, from his exile on the island of Patmos, having more time to reflect over the events of his time spent with Jesus.) I’ve been praying about a topic to write about here, to again fulfill my class requirement. So far there has been no specific theme recommend itself like there was for Old Testament Survey. But there’s been so much to learn. Jesus said and did so much. It’s really amazing. John even says at the end of his gospel, “Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” (John 21:25 ESV).

That is such an awesome thought, a world full of books! It makes me think of an old Twilight Zone episode. Burgess Meredith plays a meek banker who loves to read. He’s reading all the time. His wife bullies him, his boss and co-workers bully him, everyone makes fun of him for reading so much. One day he goes to the bank’s vault to read during his lunch break. While he’s in there, the then feared atomic war happens, but he’s protected by the vault. He comes out to a completely devastated world. He wanders aimlessly through the rubble until he happens upon the library. Books upon books upon book, and no one left around to bully or disturb his reading. With glee, he starts lining the books up on the steps of the library, stacking them up in anticipation of uninterrupted reading. He sits, leans forward to pick up the first book, and his glasses fall off, hit the ground and break. The final scene is him sitting there crying, muttering, “It’s not fair. It’s not fair.”

Time Flies!

OK, folks, I thought that I’d be posting about once a week. And I still think I’ll get there, but this is harder to stick with than I thought. So far, it’s not about having something to write about. It’s about actually doing it! It’s about being in a position to get it done.

I have a whole post written, but I did it in the word processor on my tablet. I did it 2 weeks ago. And there it sits. My wifi went out at home, so I wrote in the processor while I could, figuring I’d get wifi back up and send it. But wifi isn’t back up. And I’m not sure how to fix it. So I figured I’d put it to a memory stick and copy it to the desk top. But no, the tablet is not recognizing the memory stick. (Yes, I dropped the tablet, but it didn’t hit hard!) So now I’m not sure what to do, so, just to keep something out there for you, to keep you all interested, and just to do SOMETHING!, I’m writing this drivel and actually enjoying it. Hope you do too!

In the meantime, I’ve decided to schedule a regular time to write. I’ll be starting that next week, so I’m hoping you will see some good results from that. I’m blocking out 2 hours to write. I may make some adjustments to that as I see how things shake out. Some weeks may be more time, some less. Depends on what I’m writing and how much research it requires as well. So, for right now, I’m not telling you what day I have this time blocked out, so that if I don’t do it, you won’t be upset. And, as soon as I figure it out, I’ll get that other, completed post up. It’ll be worth the wait. It’s a good story!