I was recently informed of the death of three friends. I felt a sting and pondered. Disquieting. Uncomfortable. Once they were and no longer are. A lot to consider. Out spilled the following. The stinger will come for us all.
Stinger, Beam Me Up!
Dead and gone.
Gone and alive.
More alive that formerly.
Never to die again.
Not to be seen again on this side.
Reunited at some point.
Won’t have to ask.
Will know by experience.
Sting is on this side.
Heaven better than epi-pen.
I wonder if those in heaven regret having lived so long on this side.
Sting me up, if that be the case.
Looking for Scotty. Nothing grim about that crew member.
I remember a daytime TV program from my childhood. It was called “Romper Room”. It targeted preschool children younger than 5. It was franchised and syndicated from 1953 to 1994. The program had an oversized bumblebee as a mascot. His name was Mr. Do-Bee. His purpose was to teach the children proper behavior. He always started his sentences with “Do Bee”, as in the imperative “do be”; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romper_Room.
Thinking of “do be”: We are human beings. What one is doing is the product of being. As such, healthy doing follows healthy being. Logically then, unhealthy being leads to unhealthy doing. Perhaps we can take the advice from Romper Room’s Mr. Do Bee and correct some unhealthy beings and unhealthy doings and replace them with healthy beings and healthy doings. It would be really gratifying to start with “do be” and hear “well done”.
Unfortunately, some of us have been scripted with “don’t be”. Of course, “don’t be” is impossible. You cannot not be any more than you cannot not behave. You will be and do regardless the directive, since you cannot not be and cannot not do. The “don’t be” often becomes an unhealthy “be” by default. “Don’t be” influences, and can even dictate, whatever doing ensues. Re-read this paragraph from the beginning if you cannot get what was written. My hope is that you cannot not get my intended message.
Are you following me? Please “do be”. Let me share a “don’t do” which became a “don’t be” but did not help me with “do be” so I could “do do”. I remember my first date advice: “Don’t do anything you would be ashamed of.” “Don’t do” became a trigger for “don’t be” and don’t do”. So, the “I be” and the “I do” became my unhealthy “go-be” and “go do” because there was not a healthier directive to form a healthier “I be” to direct a healthier “I do”.
Did you get that? How nice to have healthy directives so as to develop a healthy “be” so to have context for a healthy “do”. In the words of Romper Room: “Be a ‘do be!’” How important that we discover who we are as human “beings” so that we can learn to engage in healthy human “doings”. Oh, to have the right seeds sown, on the right soil, to produce the right fruit. We can get this and even teach this! Do be! Do do! “Go be” and “Go do”!
“I have jumped the track and I am free at last” (Thomas the Train).
The Delta variant of COVID has interrupted us shortly after we began to develop some hope and optimism. It has necessitated a return to some safety precautions. Irritating, depressing, anxiety producing. Perhaps you had begun to feel optimism. You were picking up speed and steaming along. Then, it is as though your train has jumped the track.
Oh, the importance of the track. One analogy is provided by Rick Warren. Life is like a railroad track. It has two rails. One is what is good about life. The other is what is bad about life. We cannot get anywhere without both rails.
I was recently reminded of an old Thomas the Train cartoon. He stated, as he lay beside the tracks: “Free at last!” But, we are not free without rails, rules, and limits. There is no freedom without limits. It is true for anything we consider important in our lives. The work we do, the games we enjoy, the activities in which we engage. All require limits. Limits provide freedom and safety. How free is a fish in a fishbowl? We tend to prefer large fish bowls. But, regardless the size, we cannot survive without one. Stressful. Trying. Anger provoking. Anxiety arousing. Depression inviting. Though limits and rules may seem disruptive and irritating, we cannot live without them. As I drove to work yesterday morning I stayed in the right lane. Fortunately, those traveling in the opposite direction stayed in their right lane; my left lane. All went well even though a farm vehicle slowed me down until I could see a clear path to pass. I am glad I knew the rules and the potential consequences of ignoring them.
Freedom? Not without rails, rules, limits, and/or boundaries. Imagine your favorite sport without limits. Chaos. Utter chaos.
I have mentioned my friend who is a major influencer in my decision to do some writing. His name is Mark Tappmeyer. Our friendship dates back to the summer of 1982. He recently shared a poem he had penned. I really liked it and responded with a short paragraph. Mark emailed back with this response: “Richard, whether you know it or not, you’ve written a prose poem–a modern and popular category. Perhaps one for your blog.” MT
Wow, without knowing what I was doing, I produced a prose poem. He suggested I share it. I requested permission to include his poem that stimulated my prose poem. He willing consented, even giving me permission to include his poem with citing his authorship. Not a chance!
His poem reminded me to the seductive power of temptation. Yes, the serpent is crafty, crafty beyond anything else. Best to stay out of his reach and run if/when he should make an appearance in our garden.
My friend wrote:
The Serpent Advises on Apple Eating
“Now the serpent was more crafty . . . .”
You should know that from a tree in the middle of the garden hang globes of fruit—like fist-sized worlds.
You can, without much reach, pluck and munch. But that’s just one of several ways to eat the fruit:
two stones, flat and river-washed, can mash the tiny skulls into a pulp for those who like to slurp,
or each ball of sweetness can be sliced and dried into a fruity leather for packing as one roams from home,
or, my favorite, dice and bake them into pies or tarts, which shouldn’t be resisted.
It depends upon your appetite, which in truth lies-sss behind all apple eating.
“Succulent, seductive tidbits of temptation. All alluring. The asp is apt and able. Temptation threaded through a big hole. Bad noose! Then, the serpent disappears. What an asp-hole.”
Indeed. The asp is a purveyor of propaganda, the asp who comes to steal, kill, and destroy. He allures us by appealing to our appetites. Sometimes we did not have the appetite until he enticed. His temptations, when heeded, lead us through a noose. Then, the asp retreats until another opportune time. God help me to be mindful, discerning, and obedient.
Homonym/antonym: repent/re-pent. One means to feel sorrow and change direction. The other means to shut up or shut in. May the Holy Spirit convict me so that I might repent vs. re-pent. “If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. How remarkable. Freedom vs. being bound up.
Holy/holey. One means sacred, devoted, set apart. The other means a gap or an opening. Oh, that I might be holy vs. holey. I am reminded of how D.L. Moody responded when he was asked if he was full of the Holy Spirit. His response was, “Yes, but I leak”. I do, too, but I want to be less holey and more holy.
No, no has been a greater enticement than deterrent.
Know, know has informed the no, no.
My diet is more substantive.
My body, mind, and soul are healthier.
Stay with the regimen.
Its benefits are conspicuous.
No to no only. Yes to know, always.
Do I “no” Him more than I “know” Him.
May I “know” Him vs. “no” Him.
Help me know YOU, the only true God and Jesus Christ who YOU sent.
Richard L. Brewer
September 18, 2020
John 17:3 (English Standard Version) “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
1 Corinthians 13:9-12 (English Standard Version) “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”