Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

I have recently been thinking about some of my favorite bible stories from my childhood and this one had an accompanying song about the same subject but I can’t seem to recall how the song went…oh well…

The book written by the prophet Ezekiel is a hugely interesting volume as he paints awesomely descriptive pictures with words as well as some extremely precise end-time prophecy, however, Ezekiel chapter 37 stands out as the format of one of my favorite bible stories as a child.

In this particular chapter Ezekiel writes of a weird story of a bunch of bones that go though a sort of progressive reversal entropy as they reassemble from dry bones into whole human shells lying there awaiting the breathe of The Lord to complete the process of bringing them to life. I have decided to approach this review of the chapter from a sectional viewpoint, separating it into two main sections.

Ezekiel 37 verse one through verse ten could be a description of any one of us. Most of us have been self-absorbed within our own humanity at some point in our lives and have turned our backs on God and His Word while dallying and dancing with Satan, whether we realize it or not. I know many feel that life is full of gray areas, but it is clearly and simply black and white, according to Christ in Matthew 12:30 “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. (NKJV) Whenever the latter is the case, we are spiritually dead and as dry as kindling in the wastelands of our own self-worth and self justification without the Lord, just as these dry bones lying in the valley. Ezekiel tells us in verse 1 the Lord sat him down in the midst of the valley. My mind goes in weird directions sometimes and when I saw this I instantly wondered, “what valley?”. From a personal standpoint, I’ll call it the Valley of the Shadow of Death and since Ezekiel was with the Lord, he obviously feared no evil. When we are away from the protection of the grace of The Lord, we are lost and evil overtakes us and sucks the life right out of us until we are no more than piles of bones amidst the dusty remains of our former selves. Only the grace of Our Lord can reassemble our spirit and breathe the breath of his grace back into us, making us whole.

Anyway, there are more verses to this chapter than 1, and the description from verses one through ten is just pure fun. Continuing with verse two, Ezekiel continues describing what he sees in this valley full of bones, as the Lord has him walk amongst those remains. Verse three finds the Lord asking Ezekiel a rhetorical question and then tells him to prophesy to this very odd crowd, explaining to him what to say. When Ezekiel begins to prophesy, the weirdly fun portion of the chapter come leaping at us as the whitened, dried bones begin to physically react to the prophecy of the Lord culminating in them coming to life after the Lord breathed life into them, creating a massive army. Suddenly, the chapter does an about face as the Lord explains the meaning of the chapter through his prophet Ezekiel starting in verse 11: Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ (NKJV) and continuing through the rest of the chapter. A good summary can be had from verses 21 and 22: “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; “and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. (NKJV). If we reflect on the history of Israel as the Holy Spirit has given us, we know that the nation went from the leadership of Moses and Joshua and then went through several regional judges until their first king Saul, then on to kings David and Solomon. After Solomon they had a civil war and the kingdom split and the people eventually were killed or taken into captivity. Therefore, what Ezekiel is quoting is future events and end-time prophecy that is still to come. OK, to continue.

Isaiah 11:11 It shall come to pass in that day [That] the Lord shall set His hand again the second time To recover the remnant of His people who are left, From Assyria and Egypt, From Pathros and Cush, From Elam and Shinar, From Hamath and the islands of the sea. (NKJV) reiterates the same thing; that The Lord is not finished with Israel and even though they disobey and take idiocy to operatic levels as has been proven by their history1, The Lord has punished but still loves his first chosen children.

We within the Christian community in this gentile era need to get over our “look at us…we have Christ and are so special and you had your chance and screwed up” mass ego trip that many denominations hammer at from their pulpits Sunday after Sunday and realize that we are, at best, an opening act while the real performers warm up in the wings. At the worst we are a traveling side show that the Lord gracious has allowed to perform…lets hope we don’t get booed off the stage, regardless which we turn out to be.

God Bless, Jim
1-30-20

1 I’m not Israel bashing, if you look at our compressed history compared to their few thousand years, we are extremely more stupid than they.

“You wander down the lane and far away, leaving me with a song that will not die…”

                                                                                                                            Nat King Cole

In one of those chance encounters that can happen so unexpectedly in a person’s life, I saw her, my childhood friend and companion of so many years ago. I spotted her immediately as she entered the hallway just a few feet in front of me. I don’t really know why, but I desperately wanted to rush up to her and announce my presence…but I couldn’t. I’m not sure if simple shyness or fear of a cold reception held me back, but whatever the reason, I found myself silently walking along behind her, fearful of approaching. For reasons unknown, she suddenly stopped and turned around and my fears and uncertainties instantly disappeared in a flash as she walked toward me, a smile blossoming across her face.

“Ricky, it’s so good to see you!” she gushed as she unabashedly threw her arms around me, “how have you been? It has been so long.” I despise the name Ricky, having worn it throughout my childhood, but somehow, coming from her it sounded sweet and natural and fitting. We continued to hug like the long-lost friends we were and it lasted for a moment and an eternity and felt amazingly nice. I found myself not wanting to let go but people were beginning to stare, so I reluctantly let go.

I felt the same closeness and affection toward her as I did when we were children. In fact, some of my earliest childhood memories were created with her as we spent many of our formative years together. We sat next to each other in church and also at school, we played together, sang together, discovered the world together and cried together. We  had developed a bond that I have rarely felt with anyone since.

Eventually though, the inevitable happened. At the end of our third grade school year she moved away. I was totally distraught and it seemed like my world was collapsing about me. I still recall the overwhelming sadness I felt the day she left. Life moved on and I moved on with it and even though the emptiness and grief waned, I never quite forgot her.

Thirty years have passed and as we sat and talked, I perceived and experienced the same bond I had felt as a child. It suddenly seemed like only yesterday we were hopping and bouncing on her pogo stick, or playing with stuffed animals or discovering new things and treasures within our yards or walking together to her grandfather’s store to share candy or a coke. I’m not sure whether she felt the same sensations or not, but I suspect she did by the smile on her face as we spoke. Eventually we parted, promising to keep in touch.

This evening as I pause from catching up on work, I can’t help but wonder what life would have been like if she had not moved away all those years ago. I know her life would probably radically different that it is now. She is a successful teacher and mother, happily married to a well respected physician. I am very grateful that I had the chance encounter to meet the grown-up version of my closest childhood companion and I am jubilant she has the wonderful life she has been blessed with. A person can never really know what extreme and considerable differences small changes could have made in our lives. However, as I sit here in the gloaming of the evening twilight, I still wonder though, what it would have been like if she had never moved away.

For Darlene

1996  written under the pseudonym, Richard Corey

Half The Man

Posted: November 9, 2018 in Life and Memories
Tags: , ,

“…I’m going to be like you Dad,

You know I’m going top be just like you”

Cat Stevens

He was born beneath a shimmering winter moon in the old south during the infancy of the roaring twenties. He entered the world as the fourth of five children to his loving, hard-working parents who scratched a living from the rural Middle Tennessee soil. They named him Hubert after a close family friend and for the first seven years of his life he learned the ways of the county as he ran, romped and climbed after finishing his daily chores at his home that his God-fearing father had built by his own hands as a wedding present to his doting wife. At the dawn of his eighth year Hubert’s parent made the decision to move the family to the larger town in the area, to give them a chance for a better education than that which was available to them in the small one-room school house in the community. The family moved to town three years before the crucible of strife and hunger created by the great depression descended upon everyone in America like crashing wave, changing almost everyone’s life, virtually overnight. Hubert’s father was a carpenter and home builder by trade and with several homes owned by him, as well as a garden and a few chickens, their family fared better than others as Hubert learned to hunt and forage to assist in providing sustenance for the family. While growing up in this difficult time he quickly learned to survive by using his wits and his fists and was largely self-educated after quitting school in the eighth grade, he grew up street smart, tough and mean.

When he turned nineteen at the beginning of 1941, his love for animals and nature caused him to turn to the only institution where he could be outdoors and ride horses and get paid for it…he enlisting for a year with the local Nation Guard post, subsequently becoming a member of the US Army National Guard Horse Calvary. Ten months into his tour while relaxing at home on a ten day furlough, he was listening to the family’s Silvertone radio on a chilly Sunday morning in December when the broadcast was interrupted by the announcement the Japanese had just bombed Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. He was immediately inducted into the Army and for almost four years following additional training designed to hone his skills as a soldier, he lived in the heat, stink and slime of innumerable South Pacific Islands, dodging bullet, bayonets and bombs. One bomb got too close and he spent the rest of the war traveling from hospital to hospital, finally receiving his discharge papers on November 19, 1945 from Walter Reed Army hospital in Washington, DC.

He finally arrived home to Cookeville, Tennessee to an almost non-existent job market, a young wife and a coping disease called alcoholism. He drifted from job to menial job until the arrival of a beautiful daughter forced him to start fighting the bottle and looking for meaningful work and sobriety, turning his attention and concentration toward providing for his growing family. Not long after the birth of his third and final child, a boy, he opened his own business while struggling to seek ways to balance his time between work and family.

With the birth of his children he became he became a loving father who taught his children independence, responsibility., self worth, strength and kindness. The lessons of life he passed to his children was readily absorbed by the two girls as they grew to become successful and responsible adults and parent. The boy, on the other hand…maybe no so much.

I am the boy and this man is my father. I have watched, respected and attempted to emulate him all my life without too much success, though I still try as I attempt to apply the I moral and social values he taught me. More importantly though, I have learned to fight for myself, fish, hunt, hike, write my name in the snow, (I’ll give you a minute to think about the last one) and how to laugh from him.

He is the foremost of my heroes and I love him. Watching my children grow and develop makes me realize just how daunting the path of being a father really is to follow. I try to view them through his eyes as I attempt to draw upon the lessons that he taught me growing up. If I can learn to be half the man he is, I will be grateful and happy, and I will also consider myself lucky, for I still have a tortuously long way to go.

Written under the pseudonym Richard Corey 1998

Dedicated to my father, Hubert Bussell

Jan 27, 1921 – November 9, 2013