Posts Tagged ‘ GOD ’

Zika

I could not make it, if I did not believe in GOD. I have known pain, and I would have taken my own life years ago; very much a case of “there, but for the grace of GOD, go I.” I came across an MSN.com photo spread on the Zika Babies, and while I was able to click on all 20 slides in the article, it was thru tears that not only welled up, but cascaded down my cheeks.

You see, my own Twins have just passed the seven-month mark, and they are delightfully, incredibly, thankfully “completely normal.” Meaning, I suppose they will have a life very similar to my own. From what I can understand, the Zika Babies will have a life unlike any other – any other “normal.”

When my wife became pregnant, my daily prayer was for the health of the baby (babies, it turned out). Thru-out the almost nine months that the Twins got to know each other, and their mother, long before they knew either oxygen or me, I prayed for health. What parent would not? Me, personally, I was remarkably unremarkable.

Yes, once again, I nearly lost my wife during delivery; but the children are, normal, or average, by any measure. (And, in this day and age, where technology lets us indulge in our obsession of numbers, “any measure” is quite a lot of numbers.)

There are days when the mundane routine of daily life takes center stage, and so it can be difficult to remember that our little boy and our little girl are the most important “things” in our lives. They are our First Loves, our Eternal Loves, our Reasons for Living. Altho rather late in life (better late than never), I have learned that my life is not about me. And, I thank GOD.

More tears.

Looking at those photos of those babies who have been stricken with the Zika virus reminds me of all of those babies who are born into this world with a Cross I will never know. Whether it be a disease wrought by Nature (i.e., permitted by GOD), or a burden imposed by men (again, permitted by GOD, but wrought by the hand of evil men – and women too: the devil is an equal opportunity employer). In any case, babies who will never know the beauty of THIS world. Babies unlike my own, who with GOD’s will, will know the beauty of this world.

But, when it’s all said and done, and we have all returned to dust, the Zika Babies, and my own Twins will have the reward of Eternal Life with GOD. Me? Well, the jury is still out on me. But, I could not make it, not another day, if I didn’t believe in GOD and Eternal Life.

If this is all there is, then the suffering I see on the internet would be overwhelming. There would be no point in going on. I would have to stop the deluge of pain and suffering I see in the world.

However. However, I have been given the Gift of Faith. No, I have no idea why. It’s not like I am going to do very much with my life – GOD knows I haven’t done very much at all so far. And the Twins have given me the gift of Hope. How could I bring new life into this world, if I didn’t have hope? I’m sorry for those who have none.

The Zika Babies remind me that this life on this world is not all skittles and beer. There are those we get too much of (Trump and Clinton come to mind), and there are those we never hear of (name one, just one, Zika Baby). There are those who raise the bar on what this world can possibly provide (Paul Allen and his yacht, Octopus), and those who can’t even dream of whether they will make it thru the night, or where their next meal is coming from.

So, for me, there absolutely must be a GOD. If there wasn’t, the Earth would spin off its axis. And, then there’s that Faith thing. I know – I am absolutely, totally convinced that GOD will balance the life of the Zika Babies. But, that conviction doesn’t stop the tears.

 

 

Bake a cake

Years ago (in another time, another galaxy), I had a wife who would bake a “German Chocolate Cake” for me, for my birthday. As it turned out, her father’s favorite was the same; but since neither of us knew that at the time, I don’t think that is why he let me marry her. In any event, a “German’s Sweet Chocolate” based cake is not a matter of opening a box, adding some water and throwing it in the oven for forty minutes. It’s not really a difficult cake to make, but it is involved and takes some effort time, and above all, a recipe (read: plan).

The ingredients are: 1 pkg. (4 oz.) BAKER’S GERMAN’S Sweet Chocolate; 1/2 cup water; 4 eggs, separated; 2 cups flour; 1 tsp. baking soda; 1/4 tsp. salt; 1 cup butter, softened; 2 cups sugar; 1 tsp. vanilla; 1 cup buttermilk; Coconut-Pecan Filling and Frosting (personally, I think using frosting out of a can is not only cheating, but rather defeats the point of a made-from-scratch cake). Yeah, not a box cake; but one that requires forethought and planning (I know my kitchen doesn’t have even half that stuff sitting on the shelf right now); and some time and effort when it comes time to bake. Being a triple layer cake, the temperature of the frosting is important (think Goldilocks and her search for the perfect bowl of oatmeal).

But, this posting is not about baking or the culinary arts.

There I was: 1:30 in the morning, siting (well, actually reclining) on the sofa, with a glass of wine (need you ask?), a candle (another given), and chant squeaking thru my smart phone. Enjoying the quiet and the steady strum of falling rain (it’s early days in the rainy season here in Seattle; ask me about enjoying the rain six months from now). When I was able to get my brain around this whole “creationism versus Darwinism” thing (musta been a recent reference to “Inherit the Wind” on Edmund Stone’s “The Score” radio program about the famous – yes, very famous, if you don’t know the story, shame on you – “Monkey Trial” of 1925 in the State of Tennessee).

I’ve never doubted that GOD created it all, everything, every-little-thing. And, I’ve always loved science; I’m not from Missouri, but I do enjoy a good proof.

Perhaps out of ignorance I accepted both the possibility that GOD did create and that things evolve. Maybe out of ignorance, but I slept just fine. In the vernacular: “It’s works for me.”

But, consider the cake: the right ingredients (my favorite herb, basil, just doesn’t fit), the right amounts and mixing (dry with dry, wet with wet, then combine – but is it combine the wet with the dry, or the other way around?). Let the chemistry begin. Add some heat, if you please; but not too much and not too long. And presto! What went into the oven is definitely not what comes out of the oven.

And some would argue: Stasis! The cake, once out of the oven, doesn’t change…doesn’t evolve. But, for those in the know, we know that anything made with butter tastes better the next day (altho this particular cake seldom lasted that long, if there was anyone else around to help me eat it).

So, GOD created, not objects, but a system. An ecosystem. However inconvenient that might be to some people. The ingredients that came together continue to work together. We can muster all of the fancy tools of science to see that our world is not static; there are geologic as well as climate changes all around us to see every day. Did GOD create today’s “global warming” (the angst is definitely man-made)? Science has proven, as only science can, that the earth’s climate does shift from warm to cold – there is nothing to refute that. Yet, we are surprised. Is the globe getting warmer (or, is it colder; I forget) because GOD stuck his fingers in the pie (sorry, cake) and “made it so”? More likely, GOD created a system that is dynamic, not static. A geological world that is constantly changing (sometimes fast – we can see it; sometimes slow – we can imagine it). A meterological world (I wanted “climatic world” – but that just didn’t fit, altho the pun is almost irresistible) that is clearly “weird”, if nothing else.

And, within this system, this Divinely Created System, there are creatures (I guess, if you’re gonna have a Creator, you gotta have creatures) and objects. The system is Divine and so everything in the system is the result of GOD’s Plan (or, recipe, if you prefer). Do we human beings change? Do you read the news? In my lifetime I see behaviors that were unimaginable forty years ago. And I see activity that should have died out long ago.

I’ve never doubted GOD, or the existence of GOD. I have always loved learning; I have always loved science. For me, they have never been in conflict. In fact, if science (which comes, of course, from the Latin for “I know”) proves anything, it proves the existence of GOD.

The Lonely Dragon

My father once said he’d often been alone, but he’d never been lonely. As a professional writer his entire adult life, he always chose his words with precision. But, I never learned his secret of how to not be lonely. Alone is easy: I have been alone on an aircraft carrier; alone on a crowded street (to borrow the cliché); in fact, I prefer alone – as I believe most writers do. And, as I grow older, I find I work harder to achieve a state of being alone. Lonely is another matter entirely.

Apparently our old friend, Billy Shakespeare, used it first when Coriolanus goes to a lonely dragon. Then, on this side of the pond, Thoreau says that we are more lonely when we are among men. More recently Pirsig reiterates the idea of being completely alone, even with others.

What is interesting is that my father volunteered that he had never been lonely; and he never volunteered much, especially about himself. Yes, that does beg the question.

For my part, being lonely was a constant companion. Whereas I seek solitude, and peace and quiet (during Eucharistic Adoration today, a couple sitting directly behind me – I learned as I left, an elderly couple (their whispering was meant for the stage) – kept up a constant conversation – great Penance for me), loneliness is like unwittingly stepping in dog shit and not being able to scrape it off: the stench is as persistent as it is pungent (I must admit that I have never knowingly stepped in it, so I guess “unwittingly” is redundant?). Do I need to mention unpleasant?

I don’t know why my father wrote; he had the uncharacteristic inconsideration to die before I learned to talk to him. He once said that the only thing he ever feared was the empty page. I write to feel less lonely, and I revel in the empty page (or rather, I revel in filling the empty page).

My spiritual growth blossomed early and then took a detour in the desert, and recently has, thank GOD, returned to an oasis where it has, once again, blossomed. Very much a version of, “there, but for the Grace of GOD, go I”; but that subject is for another day. And with this renewal, the lonely dragon has evidently been vanquished. But, Dad was not what I would call a “GOD fearing man”; respectful, yes; conscious, yes; but neither Mom (my Roman Catholic roots) nor Dad spent much time on religion outside of church. So, I find it hard to imagine that Dad found strength in his Faith – not impossible, mind you: I am sorry to say I never knew him well (which, fittingly, my daughter could easily say about me; if she cared, that is).

Whereas, I was jerked back into consciousness, out of the stupor of wanting to be part of the American dream, when Pope John Paul II died. Perhaps it was a miracle that I was found – I was most definitely a lost sheep (of Biblical proportions, I assure you), but I think not. And having discarded so much desire of wanting to be part of the rat race, I began to hear Christ knocking on the door. Yeah, still a lot of work before I get the door open (the hinges are rusted shut), but I find I am no longer lonely. Dad may have exiled the dragons with his command of the written word (and, bully for him, if true); I have found peace in the Word of GOD.

2014 has all the signs of being a watershed year for me, and I have known a few. After 29 years with “The Company”, the position I have had the past six months is moving south. In one way, it is literally moving from Puget Sound to Southern California. In another way, this “crown jewel” of the company (to use the words from some high muckety-muck), is going south, as in down the tubes. Which puts me in the position of trying to find another paycheck; or, letting them put me out to pasture and thanking GOD that I don’t drink their Kool-Aid (the company, very characteristically has promised the press that it will help everyone find employment, and since I long ago learned not to believe either the company or the press, I am not putting all my eggs in that handbasket).

I had planned on working for another five, or ten years, which makes this news something of a fiscal shock. The desire to retire from the rat race and the ability to retire from it could not be more stark; but, Dad financed the raising of five kids on his pen (Mom raised us, but Dad paid the bills); surely, with far fewer mouths to feed, I can do the same? Besides, I look forward to having the time to explore the spiritual side of life, instead of chasing the temporal side of life. However, the habit of pursuing a paycheck for the past 43 years will be hard to discard.

There be dragons?

Yes, there may be dragons; but maybe it is time I left a sinking ship.