by Andrea Elizabeth
you know you believe in the Great Cloud of Witnesses when praying feels more like public speaking.
“He therefore, I believe, wants them to attend chiefly to two things, to eternity itself, and to that point of time, which they call the Present. For the Present is the point at which time touches eternity. Of the present moment, and of it only, humans have an experience analogous to the experience which [God] has of reality as a whole; in it alone freedom and actuality are offered them. He would therefore have them continually concerned either with eternity or with the Present–either meditating on their eternal union with, or separation from, Himself, or else obeying the present voice of conscience, bearing the present cross, receiving the present grace, giving thanks for the present pleasure.” C.S. Lewis
I think everyone who wants to serve people should watch Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. He’s on CW (dfw ch 33) every Saturday morning. He’s a dog psychologist, rehabilitator, and their person trainer. With most dogs it’s a simple fix of controlling their dominance behaviors by exhibiting calm assertiveness to redirect their energy. Timid dogs are more difficult. Today there was a real stumper. A doberman had been on the kill list 3 times and given reprieves for sweetness at the shelter before a cat rescuer lady adopted her. She was too nervous to even eat unless the lady coaxed her for about an hour every day. With firm direction she would leave the house and get in a car, but she was not enjoying it. Cesar took her to his concrete dog facility – before he acquired his rural ranch – and she perked up a little with the pack of dogs, but still didn’t want to eat. He helped her attitude with physical activity – a treadmill and swimming, but she was still not enjoying life. Until he took her to his newly acquired, undeveloped property, where she came out, leaping and bounding over the hills with the pack.
My theory is that dogs know when their friends’ lives are ended abruptly, and she had prepared herself three times for the same fate. Maybe she even was given a glimpse of her awaiting happy hunting ground. People with whims kept that from happening, and a lady took her away. So if she was going to live, the lady had to work at it, and it was draining her. Once you’ve seen the other side it’s hard to come back. I’ve heard astronauts experience the same thing upon re-entry. I’ve seen it in the eyes of people who’ve had terrible almost fatal accidents and their families will them back to life. To live on someone else’s will is very hard. But there are people motivated to keep you motivated. And there are heavenly places you can go where it’s not so hard.
If The Paper Chase, about a Harvard Law student’s obsession with his professor (see synopsis here and here), is really about a person’s desire for an authoritative, all-knowing, guiding, caring God, then why don’t we seek the original? Because we can’t really separate God from people. We are like God and are to become more so for others. Deified people will know your name and what you’ve done and what you need to do. People on the road to truth and beauty will know general directions, but not your specifics, which will leave you disappointed. There comes a time when you have to tell the people you thought should know you that they are SOB’s, and turn their unread evaluation into a paper airplane. Their response should be to tell you that’s the smartest thing you’ve said all day. But how would they know that if they don’t know what else you’ve said?
And then there’s the part making fun of contracts as silly pieces of paper that we’re so foolishly governed by. The Orthodox wedding ceremony doesn’t have an oath. Orthodox don’t talk about covenants so much either. They talk about ever free fixes. Except birth, you’re pretty much stuck with that.
If I were to seduce you I’d do it with bread, wine, oil, water, candles, incense, music, heartfelt compunction, deified humans in color, and nature. But it’s not enough for most. They’d rather feel sorry for themselves and self-medicate.
Online people don’t know what you look like. I have had the experience of feeling kindred to someone, and then I see their picture and they are young, skinny mountain-bikers or hikers. They have well fitting khaki shorts, dark hair, and nice tans. I get the feeling they are surprised when they see me. I’ve met them in real life too. Many times. They pass me on mountain trails with their backpacks. Usually they are going down as I laboriously go up because they got up much earlier in the morning. Or at least they had the advantage of camping on site, so they didn’t have to travel hundreds of miles that day to get there like I did. The problem is that I don’t sleep well on hard surfaces like they do. The thought of carrying all my supplies on my back and sleeping on the ground is very daunting. It could be my stage of life with its wear and tear, but the two times I tried it when I was younger and smaller weren’t nice. But they were on concrete park cabin floors. I think the tent, air-mattress time was better. I’m pretty afraid of bugs, too. So if there is a hotel option nearby, I will go for it. You don’t have to plan so carefully.
I think I also have an objection to air mattresses and gear you have to get at a sporting goods store. There’s something contradictory about having to go to a specialty store to go natural. Hotels take barely any shopping at all, so I don’t have to network with an elite group to go to a more natural setting, as heavily regulated as that setting is. Border patrol keeps the Mexicans from crossing the Rio Grande. There are signs that say it is illegal to purchase things from aliens. We saw a few trinkets with money jars next to them right along the river. You aren’t allowed to take your dogs on the trails. They export, import, and kill animals according to their current studies of the original environment. Nature is apparently high maintenance. But that is because our habits have become so unnatural.
I cannot tell you how close I am to hightailing it back to Big Bend. Commitments barely keep me here. I was not ready to return a week and a half ago. I can dismiss my yearnings as typical mountain top experience such as they tell you happens to you at summer camp when you’re a kid. Going back to the real world is hard. But what if it’s not the real world? What if the mountain top is the real world? Then why are there valleys? Valleys are nice too if they aren’t tainted with western civilization. You can have your cities and your daylight savings time and your electricity. And don’t call me a hypocrite for utilizing any of these even in Big Bend. That’s a civilized, western juridical accusation, and I wont bother to answer it, not that I haven’t already in posts past.
There are remains there of early pioneers’ dwellings. The hand piled stone ones are fine, but the trucked in ones that are possibly related to exploitation aren’t so nice. I much prefer the primitive cave drawings and arrow heads. They bear witness to a belief in the sacredness of the earth. Did indigenous people never over-kill? Maybe they did. But left-behind bones are much better than concrete. Bones and rocks are skeletons of God-created life that Ezekial will call forth one day. Concrete will be cremated to return to the bones and rocks it once was.
Give the jewels to God. I’m satisfied with the dust, and if water trickles and seeds blow in, thank you, Lord.
Just finished Episode 9 of Season 5 of Walking Dead as we do not have “cable” and we think it’s worth $1.99/episode as we can’t wait for it to come out on Netflix like we can Supernatural, on which we are starting season 9. Back to WD, I think it was the best death scene they’ve done. It is popular to think that “good people” will go straight towards the heavenly light, but there was doubt in this case. Were the departed friends real, will it really be better, do the bad people still have access, is it all a mind trick? The dying person’s process of fighting death was very well done too.