Imagine

with a faint apology to John Lennon

When times get tough, we often turn to the words of a poet or a balladeer to give us hope, to soothe our angst, and sometimes, to crank us up. Many paint only a picture of an ideal. . . in essence, a dream. John Lennon gave us that in “Imagine.” Imagining away religion, patriotism, hunger and competition seemed to smooth away all of the ugliness of the world. After all, “with nothing to kill or die for” we certainly would live better lives, wouldn’t we? Imagine such a world as that.

image: Jean-Frederic Fortier/unsplash.com

If I’ve just trashed your favorite song of all time, please stay with me for a minute.

In the later verses of the song, John Lennon writes of bringing the world together and sharing the wealth of the world. While we can dream of a time when that would happen, the writer makes it unlikely by entrusting that exercise to humankind without a higher power.

A dream of that magnitude requires a vision and definite action. While dreams can burn softly like candles, only true vision fueled by process can ignite the fires that bring change and progress. Our prolific Beatle has a point here. Too often, action and progress, framed only in mortal idealism, give way to greed, lust, and attempts at domination. Imagine if there was none of that.

But that same action and progress, when formed in the image of One who is greater, brings about what Lennon is really seeking . . . Heaven on earth.

Imagine walking side by side with that One. Imagine sharing and building together. Imagine loving each other as God loves each of us. At the very least, it gives us something to “die for.”

Phases of Life

What are you looking forward to?

Rarely a day goes by that I don’t find myself in a conversation with someone who has no idea of what I’m talking about. It’s all about context, you see. OK. Sometimes it’s about my inability to communicate clearly. But most of the time it’s about context. Our phases of life just don’t match up.

phases

It’s disheartening sometimes to mention a song, or a movie, or a book — or a President! — and have the other person look back at you with a puzzled expression. I sometimes inwardly groan as I anticipate how hard it will be to bring this person to my level of experience.

But then I think “I don’t have to.” Each of these good folks have their own phases of life to look forward to. Looking back at mine is not something they need to invest in. And, to a large extent, it’s really not something I need to invest in.

We all have a chance to live our phases. We can only imagine what those times will bring.

Back in the Saddle Again

with a little saddle soap and some new tack

A recent glance at my website confirmed something I already knew. I haven’t been writing much lately. It’s time for me to get back in the saddle.

Saddle

Photo credit: Wagner’s Saddle and Tack

All of that cowboy lingo aside, I have been missing my time sorting through my various misadventures and grand schemes and then capturing them here on my website.

And, I have fallen victim to massive software failures and a nefarious attack by hackers — or at least their evil autobot programs. But now, thanks to new and professional security mechanisms, I’m back up and running. Hopefully, I have also cleaned up the mess left behind by the hackers.

I am also throwing aside all good advice about website management and bringing my PeaceBytes.org content over to this site. It will take me a while to get that done. I’m hopeful I can salvage the domain names and get all of the newsletter pieces sorted through. In the meantime, please feel free to let me know when things aren’t working well for you.

Bottom line, I’m hoping to write more . . . and soon.

By the way, I specifically chose the mule picture. I can be a bit stubborn, too. Thanks for your patience!

A Brand New Year!

A brand new year!

It is always my hope that I will do better in a new year. Better diet, more exercise, less sin, more friends, and a lot more family.

Yet, I never seem to get there.

Pounds cling to my body, chances to stretch and to strengthen are too often left by the wayside, I do what I want — even when I don’t really want it, I sit alone and I think about me too much.

I’m excited about a brand new year. Despite my failings to improve in my 60+ years, I still have hope. In fact, in many ways I have done better year after year at many of these resolutions. It’s just that I have had such a long way to travel — and the path stretches out in front of me for quite a ways.

As I age, I’m becoming more and more aware of the danger of emphasizing SELF-improvement over a joyous, focused effort to walk closely with God.

Better times are often less a product of what we avoid and more the result of what we actively pursue.

That’s where we should be headed this year. No doubt, we may veer from that course from time to time. But with eyes trained on Him, we can’t help but do better.

Happy New Year!

Newness

the best option

The last few weeks have been difficult. Too much travel. The loss of someone special to our family. A bit of anxiety. A real desire to unplug and let life pass effortlessly for a while. Then, I received my gift. Newness.

I fell asleep burdened, but woke with new hopes, plans, and goals. Indeed, one of the functions of sleep is to allow our brains to clean up the clutter, organize itself, and make connections that our forced consciousness can’t quite master.

And, so, I awoke . . . to newness.

If you’re struggling, look for that moment of newness. Call a friend. Get your name on a prayer list. Find one new thing to do today that brings you closer to who you want to be. You only have to find one. Other newness will pursue you.

Newness is a gift from God. Open your present now.