Sunday, June 12, 2011

IDEAL and Actual

Red stilts 1

Two brothers follow us along life's journey,
often a case of mistaken identity,
the first looking so like the other
one would think him a twin of his brother--
though they share little in common.

One, exceedingly handsome, clever, and witty;
the second, so twisted and dwarfed provokes pity.
Yet in certain lights, their images change places
along with their character, forms, and faces;
illusion becomes reality.

They show up everywhere, but rarely together;
yet one often assumes the role of the other...
The dwarf, on unseen stilts, masquerading as Ideal;
Ghostly ideal donning cloned form of Actual.
Beware the masked ball; it decides all!

Watch for their appearing at
Invited guest and imposter.

It is said one cannot chase Ideal without disillusionment--
nor embrace Actual without finding fulfillment.

Anyone out there remember the days of running, playing, fighting, imagining on stilts?  My older brothers made them with 2x4's and cut-off pieces of the block of wood to step onto.  (I think some fancy models made have boasted a strap).  Anyway, I loved the height they lent my shortness.  To be sure, a fall could hurt, but the interim play was fun.:)

And back in the "good, old days" (ha, who'd have ever thought that phrase would make me smile:) before we learned that Halloween had evil origins, we eagerly anticipated that holiday.  We were too poor to buy ready-made "costumes", but what a time we enjoyed construing a disguise that could not be easily diagnosed as being us.  The trick, of course, was to choose something totally out of character.

All, well, in so many ways, life, though more difficult in some aspects, was much simpler back then.
What about now?  As I encouraged in "Die Dreaming", we should never quit picturing a purposeful
goal.  But life is not the paperback novel I used to enjoy reading back then (and I would not suggest wasting time with "real life" fiction of any other kind:)   I think the balance is seeing the ideal already in the actual, enjoying that now, and working on our part of making the actual live up to our ideal. 
What might I decisively do to affect any desired change?

Dreams and ideals can alter with time; for all living, growing things change--and that means us, too!
(God, of course, is Unchanging because He Alone is in the ultimate state of Ideal Perfection).  The moral?  Neither settle for "dream death" nor live in the state of passive or unrealistic discontent. 
Let's reach unafraid, with non-cynical joy, for what lies before us--even expecting a miracle--but also embracing with thanksgiving each moment of today--and the miracle in our hands!  That means fully living.  Live alive! :)

Friday, June 3, 2011


summer breeze
Image credit rick020200 in Flickr

She blew in softly through a window,
A welcome breeze, no wicked, wild wind.
No doors were barred, no windows boarded;
I had my guard down; she was my friend.

Sunlight speckles sparkled her fair hair,
Seductive scent swirled in the air.
She grasped my throat with sudden passion,
Choked off breath, left me barely gaspin!

And I thought her safe, innocent fun--
Not a toxic plant; I should have run!

Any severe allergy sufferers out there?  If so, you know to avoid certain foods, plants, trees that induce an attack and/or to protect yourself with alternate plans and medications.  Some allergies immediately react, others build up to accumulative negative reaction; children may outgrow some but have to guard against others for life--and for their very life.

Felt tempted lately?  And what comes to mind when I ask?  Adulterous affair?  Fencing flirtation?  Single sex?'s no wonder if that be true in this day of sullied stories among politicians, preachers, and personal friends and family.  And, of course, I could certainly have titled this "Mr. Temptation".  (Ever wonder why most warnings are against the immoral woman?  Might the guy involved with the woman the pharisees threatened to stone been one of them?)  Anyway, public disgrace and private agony should certainly have taught us to be neither careless with our affections--nor judgmental with our attitude!  ("You who are "spiritual", restore...considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.")

A generation fed a continual diet of casual sex soon think it common course.  A few years ago, I was quite aghast to hear a university student's "christian" consensus that sexual compatibility was the most important consideration in a marriage partner!  I'm sadly alarmed at those who name Christ embracing sexual intimacy as the exciting climax of a dating experience.  (What happened to "let it not once be named among you?")  But we must also guard words from unwise bantering and innuendo, our hearts and thoughts from not-really-innocent affections and fantasies.  Strong bonds of "understanding" outside the marriage covenant, built with false expectations and limited vision, invariably weaken the strength of spousal unity, often unraveling it altogether.  Does true love destroy or protect?  Sacrifice for the loved one, or grasp for self?

Temptations other than romantic dalliances often visit us as delightful dares or familiar friends as well.  How sad when sheltered youth follow curiosity's lure into a noose of bondage and destruction!  The older are sometimes kept from God's best by counting other enemies as friends.  Regularly giving in to junk food and overeating hurts our health.  Getting mad at God, taking up another's offense, residing resentment erode our emotions, eating away the lining of our vessel so that we cannot be fit containers for God's love and joy.  "White" lies, getting back what is "rightfully" ours contaminates conscience.  Refusing to forgive clogs spiritual arteries from cleansing life flow.  Munching on worry, self-pity, discouragement, or "friendly" gossip, chokes off our esophagus so we cannot rightly digest the nourishment of God's Word.

Any of the above may seem harmless indulgence, even "delicious" at first--including those clever, caustic, barb retort bites--defending our "best" interest and "needs", huh?  But, as Joseph realized, the beauty may really be a beast.  "Submit to God; resist the devil". As he found, it's always better to flee than flirt! :)  We are told to "make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts".   The Word of God and Wind of the Holy Spirit can usher "Temptation" right out the door when she unexpectedly enters; just don't entertain her!