Stairway to Heaven

Stairway at Nye Beach, Newport Oregon

Oz is on vacation on the Oregon coast. The sky is gray, the ocean mist brushes his face and he feels something special.

Jacob left Beersheba a went to Harran to the home of his Uncle Laban, and on the way he stopped to sleep, and as he slept, he dreamt of a stairway to heaven, and then in wonder he beheld the Lord.

Surely, I am in heaven here in Oregon.

Stairway at Nye Beach, Newport Oregon
Stairway at Nye Beach, Newport Oregon

Genesis 28:10-17

Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the Lord, and he said:

“I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought:
“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

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the mist

The mist is rising off the lake, ghostly white
The sky is the palest blue, the softest pink,
The mist becomes clouds of lavender floating just beyond my touch
Through the trees, the sun is dawning, the night fades, and it is morn
And I descend the path to the lake, as the birds begin to wake
And I feel a peace within me, knowing the world is still asleep
For the moment this place is mine, and mine alone
If one does not include my crowded thoughts

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Those who were close to him called him Paul. French poet Ambroise Paul Toussaint Jules Valéry, (1871-1945) said,” A poem is never finished just abandoned.” I suppose that is true, that we are never really happy with the result. It is only weariness or time that moves on to the next thought. Perhaps I shall return as Robert Frost suggested, perhaps not.

What will the New Year bring?

What will the New Year bring?
Hopefully boundless joy, loving family and friends, few cares and an abundance of God’s blessings, then it helps to have a nut or two to tide you through the winter days, an adventure that lets you venture somewhere you’ve never gone before, and, at the end of the day, a thought to keep you warm in bed, may there be peace on earth.

 

Slumber wrapt

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To me in slumber wrapt, a dream divine, ambrosial night Morpheus conveyed to my lips by golden cup, more beautiful than Aurora’s light at dawn when the darkest night turns to the softest blue before the sky glows bright like a summer peach, I slumber still, in peace, with dreams more real than reality.

To walk

Walk – to move along or travel on foot at a moderate rate; to advance in such a manner that at least one foot is always on the ground, but always to advance and not retreat and wallow in the misery of hate.

Talk – to speak to another, and so, express ideas or thoughts.

“To walk the talk,” by example, to do what we demand of others.

Promenade – pour se marche à pied à un rythme modéré; Pour avancer de telle manière qu’au moins un pied soit toujours sur le sol, mais toujours pour avancer et ne pas reculer et étouffer dans la misère de la haine.

Parler – converse à un autre, et ainsi exprimer des idées ou des pensées.

“Faut-il joindre le geste à la parole,” par exemple, devenir ce que nous demandons aux autres.

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Plan B

[Another in a series of posts about World War I and the Battle of the Somme. This year marks the one hundredth year anniversary.]

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September, 2016, Fields of Flanders.

I am in Europe on vacation with my two brothers-in-law. Adam, Andy, and Art, in case you were wondering. Three A’s. Three lawyers. At times, three assholes, some would say. Adam says I am contentious. What does that mean? Three of us in a car on our way to celebrate (is that the right word?) the one hundredth anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The fields of Flanders are all about us. Beautiful, I think. The picturesque homes and farms, the flowers. The very image of peace and tranquility.

I am driving down the highway minding my own business, gawking at the scenery, driving slowly, but not so slow as the small truck in front of me. The one with the blue bike on the back and the box. Just in case.

Thinking, thinking about all those lost souls on the battlefields.

“I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything.” Anne Lamott’s words, but they ring true for most of us. I remember being thirteen, reading books on faith, even Thomas Aquinas, which is a lot for a thirteen-year-old to tackle, in church and wanting to believe, but struggling. Waiting for a sign but seeing and hearing nothing. Faith is not in a book and not in a mass. Faith is in believing in the bottom of your heart when there is nothing else. As I said, I have a lot of faith, I trust it is all going to work out.

But wouldn’t it be nice have a Plan B?

Thoughts on reading Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

P.S.

Faith is what you have when you cut and chop everything up. You pull it apart and look, deep into the inner recesses of what matters. So what if it is untouchable and unknowable. Lots of things are, but it is still felt, and felt all the more strongly because it comes from the heart.