From the lost files of Thoughts On the Words of C.S. Lewis #2:

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C.S. Lewis was was a novelist, poet, academic, literary critic, essayist, , and . He is probably best known as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he wrote numerous other works, including The Problem of Pain from where the quotes in this series were taken.

“God is both further from us, and nearer to us, than any other being.”

That is a thought that needs to be pondered. In all our human understanding, God is far away, far above us. We know we are not equal to God. Yet, He speaks to us through His Word and is within the hearts of Christians.

What an amazing thought!

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Rome and the USA

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Caravaggio 1600 “Saint Augustine”

 

I am so ignorant of history, but in reading The City of God by St. Augustine, the comparison of the Untied States to Rome sometimes just jumps out at me. For instance:

“At that time, it was their (Rome) greatest ambition to die bravely or live free; but when liberty was obtained, so great a desire of glory took possession of them, that liberty alone was not enough unless domination also should be sought”

and this:

“I do not think that is was by arms that our ancestors made the republic (Rome) great from being small…But it was other things than those that made them great, and we have none of them: industry at home, just government without, a mind free in deliberation, addicted neither to crime nor lust. Instead of these, we have luxury and avarice, …; we laud riches, we follow laziness; there is no difference made between the good and the bad. And no wonder, when every individual consults only for his own good, when you are the slaves of pleasure at home, and in public affairs, of money and favor, no wonder that an onslaught is made upon the unprotected republic.” Cato, as quoted by St. Augustine

more from Cato:

“… the only time at which there existed a just and modern administration was after the banishment of the kings…afterwards the fathers oppressed the people as slaves, flogged them as the kings had done, drove them from their land…”

Kinda puts a different spin on “Make America Great Again” doesn’t it?

Life and Death

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“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as  microscopic swarm, the lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.”  -from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

 

I love this description of the beginning of life. Job knew all about life and death. Oh to be like Job; to learn how to accept when the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Here’s what he had to say: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1:21

I realize that I sometimes take the easy way out by quoting others, but sometimes someone else’s words are just a perfect fit for my needs.  Even when it’s a fictional character speaking, it was written by a person who more than likely had a similar experience.

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“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding on to words like “if.”

But we are always optimists when it comes to time: we think there will be time to do things with other people. And time to say things to them.

We fear it (death), yet most of us fear more than anything that it may take someone other than ourselves. For the greatest fear of death is always that it will pass us by. And leave us there alone.” – from A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

 
For the past few years I watched as my Mom lost several lifelong friends, which is bound to happen when you hit 80. But, it still doesn’t make it easier. In fact, it probably makes you think about death a little too much. Even though I saw this happening, I didn’t see it coming with Mom. And now, like Ove, I thought there would be more time. There were so many stories I didn’t hear, so many questions I didn’t ask, so much I didn’t say.

Word Pictures #4

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This is the fourth installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages. Enjoy!

“Anyway, the subject skims the joy off a pan of conversation.” Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

“The patriarch was a taut raisin of a man…” referring to Charley Guthrie in Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

“…exotic-looking people who seemed to be baked the same color as their houses.” – Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein

The sea

Took off her clothes

In the sun today

And naked

All night

With the wild wind lay

Written by Woody Guthrie while onboard the William B. Travis during travel for the merchant marine.

 

Ask & It Shall Be Given

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“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

I’ve heard and read  this verse so many times but never pondered it as much as Will did in Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. Grandpa explains it to Will in his simple, crusty manner.

Will: “One time I prayed for a million dollars, to test Him, and didn’t get one dime.”
Grandpa: “Thet was just wishin’. Hit warn’t prayin’.”

A little different from Joel O’Steen’s health and wealth credo.

“God can cause opportunity to find you. He has unexpected blessings where you suddenly meet the right person, or suddenly your health improves, or suddenly you’re able to pay off your house. That’s God shifting things in your favor.” – Joel O’Steen

“Well’m, faith ain’t no magic wand or money-back gar’ntee, either one. Hit’s jest a way a-livin’. Hit means you don’t worry th’ew the days. Hit means you go’n be holdin’ on to God in good or bad times, and you accept whatever happens. Hit means you respect life like it is — like God made it — even when it ain’t waht you’d order from the wholesale house. …When Jesus said said ast and you’ll git it, He was givin’ a gar’ntee a-spiritual healin’, not body healin’….And I found out a long time ago, when I look on what I got to stand as a dang hardship or a burden, it seems too heavy to carry. But when I look on the same dang thing as a challenge, why, standin’ it or acceptin’ it is like you done entered a contest. Hit even gets excitin’, waitin’ to see how everthang’s go’n turn out… Jesus meant us to ast God to hep us stand the pain, not beg Him to take the pain away. We can ast for comfort and hope and patience and courage,and to be gracious when thangs ain’t goin’ our way, and we’ll git what we ast for.” – Grandpa

“I believe if you keep your faith, you keep your trust, you keep the right attitude, if you’re grateful, you’ll see God open up new doors.” – Joel O’Steen

“We can ast for comfort and hope and patience and courage . . . and we’ll git what we ast for. They ain’t no gar’ntee thet we ain’t go’n have no troubles and ain’t go’n die. But shore as frogs croak and cows bellow, God’ll forgive us if’n we ast Him to.” – Grandpa

“They’s a heap more to God’s will than death, disappointment, and like thet. Hit’s God’s will for us to be good and do good, love one another, be forgivin’…’. He laughed. “I reckon I ain’t very forgivin’, son. I can forgive a fool, but I ain’t inner-rested in coddlin’ hypocrites. Well anyhow, folks who think God’s will jest has to do with sufferin’ and dyin’, they done missed the whole point.” – Grandpa

I don’t think Grandpa would’ve coddled the likes of O’Steen.

Dust Bowl Thoughts

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Oklahoma, April 1936. Iconic photo taken by Arthur Rothstein.

 

I recently finished Woody Guthrie: A Life by Joe Klein. It sparked my interest in that time period, especially since that is when my grandfather deserted his family on the side of the road in Florida.

The prompt for PAD Day 10 was to write a deal poem. Mine is based on my recent readings.

The Hand Was Dealt

Displaced, depressed
Wandering the windswept plain
On dust bowl shattered dreams

Homeless, hungry
Pushed on by black blizzards
Forlorn figures on the road

Farms gone, families scattered
Despondent souls eroding
Through dust bowl shattered dreams

 

 

Word Pictures #3

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This is the third installment of Word Pictures – a collection of lovely and descriptive passages.

 

“And he would stand at the window, watch the pink and orange of sunrise, imagine the mist tickling the mountain’s ear or chucking it under the chin or weaving a cap for it. ” from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

“… the passing hours had a strangeness to them, loose and unstructured, as though the stitches were broken, the tent of time sagging one moment, billowing the next.”  from  A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

“Darkness hung over Dublin: every shade of gray between black and white had found its own little cloud, the sky was covered with a plumage of innumerable grays…” from Irish Journal by Heinrich Boll

 

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting;
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
   Hath had elsewhere its setting
    And cometh from afar;
  Not in entire forgetfulness,
 And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
 From God, who is our home:

from Ode on Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood by William Wordsworth

“… the goodness of creamed peas and of poultry allowed a free and happy life and then rolled in flour and pan-fried…” – from Lake Wobegon Days by Garrison Keillor 

“Look lak she been livin’ through uh hundred  years in January without one day of spring.”  from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

“So she sat on the porch and watched the moon rise. Soon its amber fluid was drenching the earth, and quenching the thirst of the day.”  from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston