Gillian hit the ball with her father’s arms wrapped around her. Then she ran with his legs. Then she bounced in his arms, and then she ambulated according to his eyes.

It was all done with help, but when Gilly arrived at first base she smiled and laughed with her own face. For the moment she was the star of the REFINERY Church’s picnic baseball game. She had slugged a rubber ball with a rubber princess Anna and Elsa bat, she was on first base and she was absolutely delighted with it all.

I have noticed lately — by means of a couple of small observations of miniature people — that one of the best things we can do in life is to help a child get to first base.

Last week I walked into the REFINERY Church courtyard to find a bunch of gorgeous little children kicking balls, blowing bubbles, and running after each other. Their teenage moms and dads were their with them. I strolled on into the adjacent gallery, a large oak-floored room with pictures of beautiful orange, red and blue Mediterranean scenes. There I found more children and more parents, all around some tables doing crafts together. They were more stunningly gorgeous than the pictures.

What was it? It was the Incredible Families program from the San Diego County Department of Mental Health offering young parents who had lost their children an opportunity to reunite with them through supervised visitation, shared meals and prescribed parenting classes. If the parents follow the program, they get their kids back!

I was looking at nothing less than the restoration of the American family in a safe, sacred space. And I knew this counted. If you get somone back to first base, after they have lost first base, then they have more of a chance of getting to second base — and back home.

This matters. When we help a child, we save the future. When we help a parent we save a child.

Nothing much beats this — loving children, protecting children, empowering children, empowering their parents.

Love a child, save a child; create opportunity for others to love a child, save the world.

Let me blow your mind, and then I’ll you why it matters.

Psalm 145:3, “There are no boundaries to (God’s) greatness.”

God is limitless, no boundaries.

God is … infinite …

We see the infinity of God in three ways in scripture.

God is timeless. God has no beginning, no end.

2 Peter 3:8, “A single day is like a thousand years with the Lord. “

Secondly, God is everywhere present (we say he is imminent), or present in every point of space with His being, and yet God is also transcendent, not limited to any one space.

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

Nowhere.

Last Friday morning at 2 am my alarm went off.

I woke up and thought: My phone has taken over my life. I got up and drove out past Pine Valley on the 8. Just past El Cajon, still mostly asleep, sipping espresso, about 2:30 am, I realized why I was on the freeway when everybody else was sleeping.

I wanted to see the Perseid meteor shower. I did — 75 fiery lines in the night sky in about an hour.,Universal gravitation tugged the remains of comet Swift-Tuttle into my world. Looking up, I was so taken with the Milky Way arm — 100 billion solar masses. So vast, but God there, in me too, and in an infinite number of other places too.

I apprehended the hem of the physics of eternity.

God is infinite in time and space, and God has no boundary on his understanding

Psalm 147:5, “His understanding has no limit.”

God is limitless, unbounded, unlimited, unrestricted, without end regarding time, space and knowledge.

Matthew 19:26, with him “all things are possible.”

Let’s try to get a grip on this.

God’s Infinity, the concept of infinity, is not just a very, very big number – it’s a lot stranger than that.

Consider big numbers. A Googol is a very big number, a 1 followed by one hundred zeros :

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

To be happy imagine a googol of bowls of ice cream.

Then there is the Googolplex — ten, raised to the power of a googol.

Carl Sagan calculated that a Googolplex is bigger than the number of elementary particles in the known Universe so we can’t even write down that number because there is not enough matter in the universe to form all the zeros.

And yet a googolplex is nothing compared to infinity.

If something is infinite, it is endlessly bigger or smaller. Infinity is different than size. With infinity there is no finite counterpart in our numbering system to talk about it.

It is like seeing something you can’t see. Infinity is like caterpillars turning into butterflies. It happens when you aren’t looking.

Sometimes people (including me) say infinity “goes on and on” which sounds like it is growing somehow. But infinity does not do anything.

It already all is.

Consider the infinity symbol, the figure eight on its side. Like the symbol, infinity has no beginning, no end.

Consider fractals.

A fractal is a mathematical set that exhibits a repeating pattern that displays at every scale. It is also known as expanding symmetry or evolving symmetry.

An example of this is the Menger Sponge. The box pattern repeats — infinitely.

The Koch snowflake is another fractal. Here the progression of open triangles at the perimeter diverges to infinity. The infinitely expanding snowflake is a reality that we cannot measure or count but we can imagine.

Do scientists apply infinity, or just discuss it? Some apply it.

The most popular explanation of our Universe is inflation, where the universe creates an infinite volume by stretching space indefinitely.

And some scientists theorize that perhaps black holes have infinite density.

Infinity is practical.

It is applicable to pragmatic theology too.

Consider with me how the concepts of infinity and God intersect.

God’s infinity, his limitlessness, is at the core of his very nature and one of the principal things that makes him different from us. It fact, it seems logical that God be infinite or he would have come from another source, had a beginning, and therefore not be God. If not infinite he would have an end and therefore not be God. His being infinite is that which ever makes him God.

Infinity draws the line between man and God. God is infinite, we are not.

And there are other ways infinity helps us understand and apply theology.

First, realize that infinity can make you happy! Immeasurably happy. Literally!

Infinity allows for the possibility of deep, lasting happiness because in infinity, happiness can go on and on, or better yet, always be.

You can expect not to be bored in eternity. Heaven will  not be boring harp music around the throne because there will be an infinite number of things to discover, sing, paint, invent, explore, see! Infinity will maintain excitement. If infinity goes in both directions, smaller and larger, and it will, then there will be infinite detail awaiting our research.

In contrast, the finite world we live in is full of ends, limits.  Ends cause feelings of loss.

My mom has dementia. I am losing her a bit everyday. Ends separate.

But infinity has no ends, and it contains the possibility for deep joy and ultimate recovery because the good will never end and what is sick and hurt will be swallowed up by it. Harm will not last! But the good, being infinite, will be ever-increasing and end all finite endings.

infinity will make us happy!

The second thing infinity does for us is that it helps us better understand and cope with the problem of evil and suffering.

How could God allow suffering? He only allows it temporarily. Evil is finite. Good will last forever; evil will end. God allowed evil within the finite universe.

Syria’s civil war is the worst humanitarian crisis of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population — more than 11 million people — have been killed or forced to flee their homes.

We known God hates this. He will not allow it to go on forever. We shouldn’t either, but do everything we can to help.

Taking in refugees, feeding refugees, stopping such things is God work.

The Top 4 Christian humanitarian organizations fighting poverty, slavery and world hunger are as follows:

Compassion International
Food For the Hungry
World Vision
Samaritan’s Purse

These organizations do great things to alleviate suffering.  Yes, God will himself ultimately set all things right so we should also get busy helping right now. You can give to these partners who are in the trenches working with God.

Let’s make this very personal.

Has someone hurt you? Your hurt is not infinite. Forgive them, as Christ commanded, and open an eternity of forgiveness. The hurt will pass, and the pain will pass, the forgiveness will remain.

What if the person who hurt you is a Christian? And they go to heaven? And you have an Eternity with them? Yikes! Part of the good news is that the  infinity of forgiveness will make it okay, and the infinity of space will allow you to live an infinite distance from them and yet remain in heaven!

Our sense of evil and suffering here seems long and horrible but within infinity God simply views it differently, as having already done what it needs to do to perfect and transform us.

He sees the beginning, middle and end of evil and suffering all in one glance and sees that it has no ultimate power over him or us.

In other words as said earlier, the infinite good, already all is and swallows up all evil.

Lastly, infinity has a soteriological component.

Infinity can save you.

John 3:16 For God so loved … he sent … his infinite son into our finite world.

The incarnate Son of God and his reconciling work is a bridge that God has established which enables the finite creature and the infinite God to have personal relationship. God, or part of God, for a short time, exchanged his divinity, or his infinity, for our humanity, so that we might one day exchange our finiteness for his infinity.

God has chosen to inhabit the finite universe, in Christ, therefore, we are saved from oblivion, through the expanding, fractal-like symmetry of God’s love … forever.

Zeno, the Greek, was born circa 490 BC. He was a philosopher, and he imagined some paradoxes of infinity, one being the paradox of the infinite path.

The paradox of the path is that by ever subdividing the distance left along the path, we never get to the end.  One-half, one-quarter, one-eighth, one-sixteenth left to get to the end of the path, etc … forever?

No. Not on life’s spiritual path, here we are not stuck with infinite divisability. Christ gets us unstuck from never getting there. All infinite subsets of difficulty exist within the infinite set of God’s salvation in Christ. We get to eternity through him.

Ultimate infinity is part of what God has saved us for, and living within the infinite salvific love of God we keep advancing along life’s path, we step over sin’s subset thresholds and in Christ become larger than life, universally infinite in motion, love and freedom. We get on down the road.

Infinity is real. God put the awareness of it within. The Bible tells us this.

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecc. 3:1.

God put eternity or infinity in our hearts. He put the idea of the reality of infinity within.

Recently, I weighed myself. I had been avoiding this, avoiding seeing myself heading toward infinity. Why? Getting larger can make you feel smaller.

But if I am infinitely valuable to God … and myself … then I have the power to change, to fight. So I redownloaded MyFitness Pal, and I am counting calories again. I am an infinitely empowered person in Christ!

You Christians are now in Christ  — whatever your issues — forever,  and thus infinitly. In Christ, you are infinite, and thus infinitely valuable.

God put infinity right here — feel it! — in your hearts, a sense of the possibility of it. This is empowering. Join him in it! Do stuff! Get spiritually better. You are headed that way. Even after you have gotten physically worse, and die, you are headed for better!

God made us to last and to grasp this is to have hope for something so much better than we now know. This matters because we matter — to God.  Something that is and will be ours forever has already been placed like a gift within us.

It is infinity.

Up close I could see dirt, some cracks and the cobwebs  — yuck!

Stepping back — beautiful!

It was our super attractive stone pavered outdoor stage at the REFINERY Church. Only a few months old, it already had the ubiquitous outdoor hodgepodge of collectivia, but if you stepped back only a few few — wow! The gorgeous parabolas, the symmetried tiers, the country manor brown stone and grey stone  — lovely.

It’s a simple approach to life, and it works, to keep us feeling better, moving forward, doing well, staying in touch with what is within but without the beauteous is.

It works — the step back —  on houses, gardens, organizations, communities, countries, the world — our brains.

A friend called me last night. She was traumatized  by  comparisons. I reminded her, “Yeah they this, but you — that!  Look at you, you gorgeous, much-accomplished, on-the-way mess!” Look how you have outstripped them all in this and maybe that. She stepped back, looked, laughed, and felt better.

Up close we see the flaws, the lack, the missing element — a man, a woman, a job, money, status, beauty, lunch  —  a little bit back and we set the overall shape, the puzzle pieces placed, the patchy, pitchy perfect panorama of the present.

Back off!

Your’ll feel better.

 

 

I want to solve all your problems — so read on.

I’d like to help you know who to marry, who to do business with, how to related to people you despise and who to elect the next President of the United States.

You will never have gotten so much from one blog post. Some of you will never come back.

Not really.

I want to focus here not on what to think, but how to think. I want to address Christians, and say that to be godly, we must learn to think and choose well, particularly in the emotional and divisive climate of this Presidential election.

So, what to do?

To be wise, first exercise self-control.

Practice a robust self-control.

Galatians 5:22 tells us that the fruit of the Spirit is “self-control.”

If your follow Christ, if the spirit of God really lives in you, then you have the power to control yourselves. Self-control is the tasty fruit on the green branches of the true Christian.

Someone told me recently, that they were having trouble thinking negative thoughts at work. Then someone else said to them, “You know you are choosing that.”

Really!” They thought. “I choose what I think.

Yes, you do, and you can choose to put negative thoughts out of your head.

When your thinking gets fearful, negative, anxious, you can gently turn your attention to something positive.

Someone, a Christian, recently began to gush in front of me who they were going to vote for for President, and then why. It was awkward, not very well-thought out.

People are quite emotional about this election, and not very rational.

I didn’t agree with this gushing person, there was a lot of hate in what they said, but they had been drinking too much and they were ranting  and so I controlled myself, said a little and then shut up

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.”

“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”

All this, being pure, peace-loving, considerate, impartial  — it requires self-control. We Christians can do that. When someone says what they think in front of us about their politics, we should have the self-control to listen, and to withhold speaking too soon, to give our elves time to weigh a good response.

Let the quiet voice inside, the Holy Spirit remind you to stay calm, and loving. If you speak your opinion, speak simply, truthfully, respectfully, stick to issues. Avoid personal attacks. When you adamantly disagree, I recommend that you still exercise self-control, gentleness and respect so that you walk away able to talk with that person again.

And alway remain open — to rethinking your position.

Look again at James 3:17

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is … “impartial.”

Christians, be impartial.

Wow! What does that mean, to be impartial? It means to weigh both sides, to avoid bias, to be fair, to be just, to not be prejudicial, to not be only for “your” people/

Take the current issue between the police and our black communities.

We Christians need to care and pray for both. And we need to try to understand. Why are blacks upset? Why are the police afraid?

We need to ask God to break our hearts over this issue, if we are not already grieving. What kind of thinking, training and behaviors would help change this horrible conflict? Let’s pray for protection, solutions, for understanding for both sides.

On political issues, most of us tend to get stuck in one mind-set, perhaps the same as what we grew up with. Some of us, who watch only our one, favorite news station may have become very bias. We are perhaps eating too much,  of our favorite political, one-sided ice cream.

Last week I brought home a bag of Brussels sprouts and also, a tub of vanilla bean ice cream. I ate both. Well, not together.

One of them made me gag.

I must admit, I have a bias. I prefer the ice cream. I really only love Brussel sprouts I if I put bacon on them.

So I told my wife, don’t bring home any more ice cream. What? Why?

Because my doctor told me to lower my cholesterol.

Just because I prefer something, doesn’t mean it is good for me.

I would suggest you read opinions the opposite of your own, Brussel sprout opinions, and weigh the issues as unbiasedly as possible. If your partiality is so strong that you find yourself ranting, and attacking others, and calling names, you have lost your Spirit-given self-control.

What we need right now are people who understand the differing sides of the issues, and who think of solutions that work for everyone, thus becoming the peacemakers of James 3:17.

Those of us who become overly one-sided and resort to emotional, personal attacks on others do not have the Spirit of Christ within.

Stay in control, be fair and then — very importantly — work at thinking Biblically. That takes work. Think like a Christian first — think like a Democrat, Republican or Independent second.

Do not let one other person or political party or pastor or spouse for that matter represent or control your mind.

How?

Now is the time to be reading your Bible at least as much as you are watching the news. The news might confuse you. Your Bible will clear your head.

So you might ask.

What is Biblical thinking?

That is a tough one. Many Christians limit it to thinking with Biblical morality.

That has truth to it, but I believe that true Biblical thinking is not so much about putting out a moral, legalistic formula that we then bash everyone else with. Biblical thinking is thinking like Jesus.

Jesus weighed every person and issue in front of him individually and fairly. The only group he much went after were those with a religiously legalistic platform. Jesus was always tuned into God, listening to what God was telling him rather than to the moralistic leaders on the national Jewish or Roman news.

And secondly, Jesus preached that the greatest Biblical, moral commandment is love. This election year, following Christ, we need to keep our love on.

If Jesus is your Lord, then remember that Jesus taught you that your political goal, your primary Biblical morality, is to love your neighbor as yourself. Listen, political Christians, no one adequately leads you except Jesus. Maintain a limited, parsed support for your preferred candidates and their worldly views. Put your main trust in Christ, and measure your candidates and their opinions with his yard stick of love.

Hebrews 12:1 Fix your eyes on Jesus. 

What else, what else is wise?

To be very wise in 2016, stay positive. There is a lot of fear and a lot of negative in our country today. This is causing lots of hateful, uncontrolled, fearful responses to others.

But Christians, “God did not give us a spirit of fear but a spirit of power and love and self control.” Do not be driven by fear and by its sibling, negative thinking. Control your mind. You can!

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such thing.”

Think about what is good in others, even those you disagree with, and what is good in our country. There is a lot of good, and a lot of freedom and protected rights in our country.

So now we come to the part where I tell you who I am going to vote for President.

I am going to vote for … whoever is most like Joseph.

Joseph?

Joseph is my favorite political leader in the Bible.

His brothers sold him into slavery, but he learned through this difficulty to rely on God. I love to follow leaders who have been humbled by God, who have been trained by  brokenness, who have been pruined by difficulty in such a way that they have given up their selfish motives and live primarily to serve others.

Joseph learned how to forgive, and how to rescue others, and how to think outside the box of his Hebrew roots.

Joseph, once in he came into power, a Hebrew, stored away grain for all the Egyptians, and the Bible says, “all the world came to Egypt.”

Joseph was a servant, a lover, and he even gave food to the very brothers who had previously betrayed him. Joseph was a unifier. He brought people together.

We need more leaders like this in American today, leaders who will bring people together, black and white, rich and poor, Muslim and Christian, to feed us all the bread of forgiveness and the tasty, sweet dessert of togetherness.

Measure political candidates by Joseph.

Actually  I haven’t decided my vote for sure. I’m leaning one way, but I’m still hoping for a Joseph or an Esther to run onto the political stage. I would really like another option.

Lastly, to think like a Christian, let love rule you.

I want to repeat this, like a million times. Christians, let love rule! Measure every thought you have this election with the ruler of love. By their fruits you will know them said Jesus. The most delicious, tasty, godly Christian fruit is love.

Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. God is interested in the salvation of everyone. There is nothing xenophobic in Jesus. To vote like a Christian, is to vote for loving solutions for everyone.

Verily, verily I say unto you, you must even love those who vote the opposite as you. Perhaps they are balancing out your biases!

Last weekend I saw the musical Sense and Sensibility at the Globe Theatre in Balboa Park. It was outstanding. Funny! Witty! Entertaining.

At intermission I went to the bathroom. There were two old codgers talking there.

One said, “I couldn’t hear 10% of it.”

The other said, “Don’t worry it’s just a dumb chick flick.”

Why did they go? Their wives made them.

But it was more than a play for girls. One of the lines of the play stuck me as profoundly noble. Elinor, deeply hurt by a lover who betrayed her said, “I wish him (the betrayer). immeasurable happiness.”

That is so magnanimous. That is filled with such love.I took that line home with me and prayed for some folks who have deeply hurt me.

I prayed, “God, I ask you to give them, immeasurable happiness.”

As your think about your hurtful world, let love and forgiveness rule you.

1 John 4:7

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 

Okay, let’s wrap it up, and put a red bow on it. Or is it a blue bow? Or another color?

I have tried to remind you of several simple wisdoms relevant to the times.

Christians, In 2016 please control yourselves. Be impartial. Think Biblically. Think like Jesus. Delight in what is positive.

And love, love love, love both the political Brussel sprouts you don’t like,  and your favorite political ice cream.

But not too much.

When the bike flipped, I was in mid-air for some time, which did no damage to me, but when I hit the ground – that’s when I lost some skin.

I inspected myself recently but could find not dermabrasions, cuts, scabs or scars from my boyhood bike accident years ago on that rocky, dirt road.

I healed up nicely, which we do — often. We heal. This is part of life, this is one of the commonplaces of life and at the same time one of the miracles of life. Life is injury, disease, damage and it is often dramatic self-healing.

I attempted to think about this recently from God’s perspective. When he designed the creation, living things, God apparently designed in healing knowing that he had allowed the possibility of harm.

I don’t think this is all a post-fall thing either. I think that healing power is a part of God’s intrinsic nature and that he is by definition restorative and redemptive, the great Physician, and always was.

When God made life, he allowed for harm and death, for clearly the fossil record shows that harm, sickness and death preceded humans. Let’s not deny what is right in front of us. Organisms lived and died before human kind came on the scene. You have to put your head in the chronological sand not to see that. The science on this is solid. Consider the Cambrian explosion, and its demise. The fall brought spiritual death to the world; physical death preceded it.

And when God made us, and gave the risky gift of free will, he knew,  (because he always knows)  that harm and death — social, physical, spiritual, psychological harm and death  — would be part of the lives he made and so he designed in a healing power, built it into living things, and I imagine took significant delight in it. He must have said even in the beginning, “It is good that I have made creatures that can heal.”

Christian theologians have focused a lot on the negative consequences of the fall. But redemption, restoration and self-healing were built into nature before the fall and remained after the fall. God left us the power to heal. Healing is an intrinsic part of living.

It is one of the great miracles of creation that living creatures self-heal. Yes, we get sick, yes we are harmed, yes we suffer, yes we die, but before we do, we heal many times.

Think about this. God is by nature, healing. Made in his image, you are by nature very resilent. You can go through brutal things, physical, emotional, psychological harm, and recover. God has built into you a remarkable power to recover.

Take heart! Revel in this — by the grace of God, you have power to recover from many harms.

I know.

I have.

You too!

 

God is a fabulous interior designer.

His color palate beauties the red dragonfly, decorates the yellow lantana, covers the blue sky and decks out your lovely freckled, tanish cheeks.

His scale is grand, yet intimate — the sun, a perfectly fine-tuned distance for life to thrive; the stars  beyond our grasp yet in our sight; your fingers, just the right length to hold in mine.

God sets the gold standard for art.

His rhythms are found in a billion blades of green grass, a billion blue waves on the shore, a thousand glowing, self-organizing sand dunes, the even measure of your ever-present breath.

His transitions — take sea, shore, sand and rocky cliff —  the sky! Your toes, you ankles, your knees and curving, lovely hips.

He is the master of the focal point — bright white moon, gold sun on clouds, tip of sugar pine, your gorgeous green eyes.

His balance is perfect, whorl of red rose, the even length of your tapered, tanned legs, the sparkling river, the white rapids, the black round-rocked shore.

He is great at line and form — the jut of your cute nose, the majestic summit of Everest, the rolling velds of South Africa, an Okapi’s hind legs.

Everyday we step out into an art circle tour.

Reality is the Louvre — times a billion.

We live and move and have our being within the ambit of his every morphing craft, his living, breathing, changing oeuvre.

I see it; I’m grateful.

The other day someone told me, “I feel like I have tried so hard to do everything right, but I still haven’t gotten what I want — or what I so badly need.”

Bingo! Yeah, I have sometimes felt that way too.

Then the person said, “Why not just give up, quit trying to be right, and just do what other people are doing?”

Yeah, I have felt that weary-of-doing-the-right thing too. And I have felt that might-as-well-just give-up-now, good-egg pouting, righteous-fruit-despairing type thing.

What to do?

First, I’d say keep the big picture in mind, the long-journey in mind, keep the game plan right smack dab in front of you. Being good, doing right, living according to your values will take time to show off it’s value and yield its reward.

But that reward, when it comes, maybe months or even years down the road will be sweet and tasty — and worth the wait.

Hang on; doing the right thing pays off — over time. Good things take time.

It took so long for me as a credentialed teacher to really become a good teacher — years of practice, failure, tying again, showing up for class with a knot in my stomach, until one day — I led that great discussion on that great novel and made that great homework assignment and knew, I had really taught them well.

Hang on! It took years for my wife and I to develop a truly good relationship, lots of fights, hurts, make-ups,  forgiving and being forgiven, getting counseling, until we got it, mostly, kind of  — peace, love, power to do the right thing for each other, self-control, deep emotional connection.

Good things are seldom gotten easily. The good is always hard won, and yet the good-good is so very good when earned by a long moral march in the right direction. And when you get there, to something good you have long longed for, you will be glad you didn’t cheat your way there, or bribe your way there,  or immoralize your way there so that you are left with an uneasy heart or regretful mind, or nothing that is really good at all. We are capable of ruining what is good by how we get it.

Yeah, that is the reality to face on this issue. Doing the wrong things to get the right thing doesn’t work. It doesn’t get you the right things. Right begets right. Wrong leads to wrong.

In career, taking short cuts will lead to incompetence, and forcing your way to the top will leave a sad trail of bodies behind you.

In relationships, doing wrong to get to right often leads leads to a poor fit —  that we don’t see until too late — to a poor match and to the painful reality that it didn’t work and we are right back where we started, ten years later, but now brutally damaged.

Hang on. Doing right, being good — it pays off. Good isn’t a panacea. We must not treat it as such. We don’t get everything we want in life no matter how we live. And being good is not some nifty tool, we use to manipulate others or God to give us what we want.

Good is good, and good is and has it own reward. Good produces good; it produces good people, people in charge of themselves, able to exercise control, able to love, and able to do so much good for others.

Doing the right thing isn’t a shield against all pain or disappointment or loss, but it is the proven, safe route up the great eight thousand meter mountain of life to the gorgeous view from the top.

 

 

Someone told me last week that because of a decision I made, I would have immediate grief. I didn’t. Maybe they did, but it didn’t much involve them.

They said I wouldn’t be able to sleep. I slept fine. I had made an excellent decision and it had good results.

Sometimes we need to hear something about ourselves, sometimes we need to disagree with what we are told about our selves.

Someone told me recently that they didn’t feel good about how they looked. They look fine. I told them so. Then they agreed. We had a good talk about accepting our wonderful but imperfect bodies.

Sometimes we need to not listen to ourselves. We are wrong. We need to listen to someone else.

Life is constant process of discernment.

But how do we know what is right? When do we trust our own thoughts, when others? Experience, gut, context, speaker, time, education, mental health, intent, sincerity, history — so many factors weigh in.

One thing comes to mind to help. Are the remarks shaming, judgmental, condemning? Then they are very often not to be trusted.

Do the words or thoughts point to solutions, to wise processes, to helpful insights, to understanding, to a positive future. Then often they are good.

Discern; learn.

I looked out the window at Starbucks and saw them go past, running, one after the other. The big one was first, then the little one. They were laughing as they went along — to nowhere.

The little one had her arms around her waist — which is not efficient or conducive to either staying upright or going fast — but of course she wasn’t thinking about that. Winding around the patio tables and chairs the girls did a circle and then did one again.

Same hair color, same skin color, about a year apart, apparently they were sisters at play. Then mom appeared in my window — looking just like a grownup them — and hovered at the edge of the circuit, protectively, watching over them carefully. No one elses was on the patio. Mom allowed it.

Adults are about going places, acting according to protocol, getting things done. They go Starbucks to get coffee; they sit in the chairs provided; they go to the gym to run. Adults are about doing expected things at expected times in socially acceptable ways — acceptably. They control their impulses, they follow script. Mostly the rest of are glad about this.

Little children — they often do things because they want to when they want to because they feel like it at the moment. They run, on the Starbucks’ patio, and their watchful adults are there with them, teaching them the rules of living — be respectful, be appropriate, be safe, stay calm mostly, like us, unless nobody is around.

We have something to relearn from the children — when our own moms aren’t hovering at the edge of our minds — so that we don’t become too predictable, too restrained, too safe, too appropriate, too uptight, too unfun?

Pleasure, spontaneity, a good time, a wry remark, an impulsive dance or kiss or laugh   — this may be enjoyed in the most ordinary places, with just a little lack of restraint.

Perhaps, maybe, possibly — the next time you just feel like it — run!

Sometimes I write modern soliloquies. A soliloquy is simply a monologue, often found within a drama, that gets at a deep issue in the speaker. It is a heart, alone, but speaking outloud, as it wrestles with an idea, a decision or a need to act.  Shakespeare is the master of this art form. 

The soliloquy below is my  attempt at inspiring myself and all of us to speak — out of our unique person — what is inside of us, to speak with freedom, to speak ideolectically, to improvise, to extemporize, to neologize, to invent words to match our thoughts. I have given this soliloquy a light, jazz-inspired, fun, breezy, slangish feel. To help with this I added some nonsensical syllables, vocables, borrowed from popular songs or just made up. 

Hope you enjoy it and that it inspires you to be you. 

You can find more of my soliloquies at http://www.modernsoliloquies.com 

 

Do-Ba-De-Do!

Speak up more, not less, using your own ideo-vocalized mess.

Soliloquy — in front of yourself and everyone else-a-melse.

Monologue, dog!

You and I can flip-flop nonstop lolly pop but that gets trite fast and then we just so need to speak our favor-ite verbo-bite.

Bebop, hiphop, tipitity-top, slop-a-pop.

Ski-ba-bop-ba-bop-voc; do that thang nonstop.

Be-cause …

We have been flattened by the road-grade blade of the prepaid lexicographers.

We have been run over by the top-botched, pop-a-voc.

We have suffered weak-a-squeak.

We have sold out for safety and we have shut up way too much because we thought we were stuck-a-muck with duck and cluck.

Nope! Fess; you’ve got that vocable mess!

Unperson; you’ll worsen, but word-dive and jivity jive and you’ll revive.

See!

Be inventy.

Sync with your blink.

Que with your you and do-ba-de-do!