About Bacon…..Or the fruits of our labors

“Bringing home the Bacon” is what we called it in my generation; and perhaps beyond. The implication here is that men had a role to play as husband and father. There was no competition, nor was there a slight to women who had a desire or need to work.

It was assured that we all have a role: i suppose viewed as a natural one. Every culture has it’s hunters and nurturers.

Today, it is the subject of great discussion as to who is committed to do what. There is significant evidence that some men are choosing to be less responsible as providers. Depression and drugs have crept into the picture, and they are registering  new and disturbingly low levels of testosterone

Women have, as the result, been moving into a dominant role and have statistically become better students, and actually many are receiving similar wages and taking over key, high level positions in the marketplace. In essence, they are bringing a higher percentage of the bacon because of the quality level of their labors.

Through all of this the institution of marriage has begun to suffer; as has that of parenthood.

The question may be one of; “which came first , the chicken or the egg.”  Was there first an apparent male abdication (purposeful of unintended) Or has there just been some kind of female uprising in the form of women’s rights ? And, has it weakened the role of the male of the household?

I think it is the former… and so do the so called experts. I do not know who said this, but he, or she, is right.  “They do not make men the way they used to.” And, just who would “they” be ? The answer may well be ; Society.

Society, and many schools, have been downplaying women’s gift of managing the home, and performing the many thankless tasks of making it a place of love and learning. A place where children can grow to be responsible and mature in their respect for how families must function to bring true and lasting purpose into every members life.

Things are not as simple and dad plowing the fields or wrestling with machinery, or mom just cooking and cleaning, and ironing shirts. But the requirement for dedication to some of the other seemingly simple things like tutoring and monitoring, with honest assessments, the lives of children; in this way more complex world. It cannot be usurped or assigned to others.

Can we live to day in a separate-in-focus, but equal world? Can we dismiss the idea of dominance, and upgrade our thinking  to being part of a larger, and requisite foundation that is necessary to support marriage and the family? More than ever, men must contribute strength to the marriage. More than ever, women must manage a stable and nurturing environment as only they can.

The stones are in our hands, and they are often heavy. More often than not, it will take two to carefully lift them into place.

Let no one claim superiority in the project. The victory is in the HOUSE that spans generations… those who must go forward and do likewise.

One to be treasured by God and history.

WORDS to die by…..

Many of us might feel  it’s morbid to be focusing upon death…..Certainly, if we are middle age or younger. All would say that there is no need to create more anxiety than the world already provides us.

And, they would have a great point. There is way to much to do about today’s issues, than to be led astray by speculation.

A plaque on a number of walls written by “Anonymous” suggests: “God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, and.. The Wisdom to know the difference.”

The key words would be; Serenity, Courage, and Wisdom.

What then does the same God say about those attributes?

“Trust in the Lord and do not lean on our own understanding”

“Do not fear, I am your God. I will strengthen and help you”

And, finally: “So teach us to number our days that we may gain the heart of Wisdom.”

These three precepts have a common denominator: they do not originate from within us.

On occasion, I suspect that we all have decided just to open the Bible randomly, hoping God would reveal an answer to a specific concern. I just did that as a test. What emerged was Hebrews 22: “Therefore since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of Witnesses, let us lay aside every regret and sin which clings to us so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is before us'”

What often comes in our “last days” reflections is a “shoulda/coulda” syndrome. that poses a threat to our ability to understand our purpose in life. Focusing on those supposed shortcomings hampers our ability to move in the direction of God’s plan.

It may seem that, in the context of God’s commission, we may all well die and lose responsibility for many things in life. But, none of us know the distance we will cover, or when the finish line will appear.

 

God’s very clear plan for our life’s review, is that we measure the events of our lives  in recognition that there has always been “A cloud of Witnesses” that surround us…past and future. They do not judge us… they are representatives of God, who try to impact our lives for the better,

And those who have passed; Will they be looking at us as” partners in the race”? We are the ones having the luxury of more time to finish with honor and respect for God’s intentions.

It is not that we might have more time to do His will….. but that we will live to do his will more times.

 

 

 

Nothing like old news!

Ah, to be a paperboy again!  This dates back about 75 years ago when I was a whippersnapper. …….  Today, I may be a poet.

My ears fill with the metered hiss

Of the wound- tight newspapers

As they sail into the porches

Of my Beachmont  route

Composing a riff of rhythmic thuds,

as they break the silence of the moist Kentucky morn

Now and then an impatient subscriber ventures out

To retrieve or catch the news in flight;

Their robes clutched about them

And, treating me to an occasional wave,

Each paper, a payment on my self esteem

And, a sponsor of a fresh doughnut…..

First-customer delivered , for my trip home

Along the long downhill bridle path

Recently, I visited those same spaces

Some seventy years hence, via the internet

All of those sweet little houses

That once relished fresh news

Had gone sour with the push of time;

They were smaller and ill-kept…..barely newsworthy

The old images that I had rolled up tight and savored

These many years in proud recollection,

Fell upon the ground in sorry disappointment

Failing to land anywhere intended.

I should have left them in my bag !

Some memories are like that

Yet, many others provide the balance.

 

 

 

 

WHICH WAY IS UP ?

“Jack and Jill went up the hill

to fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And, Jill came tumbling after.

Some story, Huh? The problem is; that too many stories are just as exciting. Try this on today’s youngster!  We as adults can appreciate the predicament …. but, it’s hard to understand the whole process of just how these incidents happened. Or why, for that matter.

As writers and story tellers (and this would be all of us) we are told that if we use enough commanding adjectives, we can pull the reader into the story…..perhaps even a metaphor or two would garner attention.

How then might we make a successful story out of the above? Here’s a thought;

Jack and Jill were soon to be married. Their dream was to have a beautiful home of their own, and it was about to happen,  as Jack’s 90 year old grandpa Bill was about to go to an “old folks home” and they were to have his place as a wedding gift..They were there to thank him.

As Grandpa spent his last day on the porch watching the stream of cars go by, he dozed off and dropped his cigar on the porch deck.

It was some time before anyone one noticed that a fire had started. The breeze had drawn it away from him and onto a handsome wicker chair was blazing away. They were soon to find that the water had been shut off at the faucet…. due to grandpa’s negligence in bill paying.

The only option was the park next door; so up the hill they ran to the only faucet next to the fountain.

Jill turned around, only to find that Jack had tried to hurdle a park bench, and in his wild  rush his toe caught, and he was turned upside down striking his head on the concrete. Jill tumbled  head over heels down the hill in an effort to assist him and ruptured her spleen. They both lay there in  pools of blood.

Unfortunately, this was a turning point in their desire to get married. The house burned down as Grandpa watched excitedly from the front yard. Jack underwent surgery for the injury, having lost all memory of his relationships with both Jill and his grandfather.

He is now track coach at the High School…..high jump I think….and working on his third marriage….. still not being able to remember his vows.

Jill, now married,  moved to Kentucky on a huge ranch where they have sprinkler systems every where… from the guest closet, to the horse barn.

No one smokes…….no one would even think of jumping over park benches…  sometimes not even their children. They have only a small back porch featuring a huge barrel, filled to the brim  with  excellent water.

Well, at least she got it!

Grandpa wonders: “Got what?”

And you say……  Whaaat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping for better Ways

In the Home Depot of thought, I seem to be caught in the”Tools for Old Folks” department. Since age has caused me to give away most of my trusty devices, I find myself trying to replace them with ones of modern version or reclaim old rusty ones, with the thought that they may be re -purposed.

Well, to set aside that metaphor and go to straight talk. When you get to be over eighty (maybe sooner) you look for structure and relief from the common chores of life.

Developers are building Condos and Senior Living “Villages” that are supposed to bring that relief and keep us active physically and mentally. To some, this may be oversold…. and others maybe not so. Certainly, for those who have ended up alone and with diminishing health, it may well be the answer.

Back to the metaphor again (I love ’em): Life is a journey and we must change buses from time to time… some times you head out, you check on Mapquest,  and find it isn’t going anywhere near where you had planned.

Here’s the case…. My wife and I chose to sell our house and move to a “Senior Residence”.

She was recovering from pneumonia. It was everything promised; No household responsibilities, no cooking or bed making.. no lack of choice in an active schedule of activities and trips.

Our bodies began to adjust to the less active routine, and although they had a few basic exercise machines, and a pool (we didn’t use)… I fell into a routine of three-wheeled bike riding, walks to the park, and ritual coffee conversations with the single ladies in the morning. (few men ventured forth).

My mind and body began to say; “Is this all there is?” In short (and maybe not so short), we found ourselves on the wrong bus; Surely headed for the companionship of a walker ( as had many, because of falls and visits to the hospital).

Once you have adopted a walker…….You’re His !

When our retiring daughter, Vicki, suggested that we move with her to an owner-duplex, yet to be found in the same familiar neighborhood, we could not wait to buy and move; Not because of dislike for anything at the “Lodge”, but we were just not ]ready at age 86.

What we discovered upon moving, was that the purpose in our lives started to kindle. Projects began anew. My body found that it needed the stronger demands, and my mind reacted to the problem solving that goes with the fresh challenge of income property ownership and fix-up.

We were getting old all over a gain: This time… still in the game; calling for substitutions now and then, requiring a slower pitch; never  hitting it beyond the shortstop, and often being called out at first. But, somehow occasionally scoring points with the help of others.

What then would be my conclusions?

Never turn things over to others that you can do yourself.

Don’t ever let your body get away from you.

Involve yourself in projects that require patience and problem solving.

Re-engage the Spirit full time, and challenge Him to encourage to things forgotten, and imagined difficult for you.

Finally, when you see the bus coming, don’t worry about the destination…get on and savor the trip…. just have a plan for getting off before dark.

And, Oh yes……..Bring an umbrella, just in case.

 

WHO AM I ANYWAY ?

We live in a world of contradictions and comparisons. The Constitution and other documents,  such as the Bible,  stress and provide regulations and reasons for equal treatment.

Contrary to this, have been the interests of man to separate us into social, business, and political categories…… all of which are mediated by the idea of compromise. While, because of my educational background, I have lived with the idea that the truth is somewhere in the middle. The quandary really is; “Just where is that …. and is that the place to be?”

If I were to place my finger on it, the greatest impediment to this is; that most of us treat so many relationships as “Going somewhere where WE feel comfortable, or reap some kind of personal benefit.”

There is an old expression : “Birds of a feather flock together” that reflects our affinity for joining people “like us” (or we would be like them). Even to the extent that we don’t mind wearing labels that define us.

The Bible says (Corinthians 1); “Bad company ruins good morals.

What a great choice, then, to grow smaller or bigger by some outside standard, when the Christian objective is to grow equal……..in Him.

Where I fall desperately short, is in my desire to be with “educated people”, and those with similar interest such as art and writing and “good” music (there I go again). My impatience with others comes from the fact that I have not always made the time to listen to their story…..to empathize with, or encourage them.

What a great formula for staying stuck in the same place.

What then would be the answer for me? It’s to come to realize that others have the ability to teach me something….and in many cases empathy and desire to make a contribution to their well being; Sometimes a delicate balance.

Additionally, I refuse to wear a badge. Even that of being a Christian; For if I were to be one…..I would not need to wear it to be recognized as such.

Well, I hope the Lord is listening to this confession as I read it over and reaffirm it.

But, actually…… Since He is ;”The author and finisher of my faith”; this is not His first rodeo.

But, as I seem to have Him “booked up”;

May I help YOU with an appointment?…… (that’s more better).

GOODBYE…this world

Here’s a subject that no one really wants to talk about; Except maybe a near-ninety year old like myself …..So I’ll ask it;  what if God says, “Get your things together… It’s time?”

We all live with the possibility of leaving this earth tomorrow, regardless of age. For some, it might call for option one” “Eat, drink, and be merry”.  The more common  one covers a tremendous amount of ground.

We think of our families; what was left unsaid or undone, our financial dispositions. And, the obvious disturbance of all of our wonderful plans and dreams, our planned retirements.

Would we be caught up in the fearsome “Would have, Could have” Syndrome? That would be many of us

Forbid that it could be even said at a fairly young age; “Whew, It’s about time; I thought you would never ask”….(more common than we would like to think).

What might prompt that response? Social inquiry would say drugs, illness, loneliness, and downright lack of purpose are the majors.

All of this would seem to reflect OUR intentions for ourselves, being fulfilled or not.

What about God’s intentions for us? Might a major question be; “Have I met some or most of those? But…..How in the world would we know that? I would inquire only “What do we suppose that Voice within us is all about?”

Is there  just some inherent  genetic disposition that keeps us on course?

Ephesians 2: 8 prescribes; “For by grace you have been saved by faith. And this is not our own doing. It is a gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.”

We all have our own, one-of-a-kind, bucket list. Seldom does it match His. And, it cannot alter His plan.

How WE leave this world may be our major concern…..What is His?

He expects one thing: Whether or not we dot all the personal “I’s and cross the T’s” is a private matter.

The voice within us declares: We must have faith. act out of love for others, and try to emulate Jesus in our behavior… even unto the risk leaving some ( even many) things being left undone.

Any number of objectives may well remain “in our bucket.”

It stays here on earth anyway.