October 28, 2008

Love's Legacy

On the way home from Cairo (pronounced kay-roe) on Saturday we (my Primitive Baptist pastor friend Chris and I) stopped to visit with Chris' relatives Tom and Joyce in Moultrie. It is a heartbreaking story. Tom’s most recent checkup initially found that he was free of disease with no cancer cells. They were on their way home after receiving the good news when the cell phone rang. It was the hospital and Tom’s doctor wanted him to return to the hospital immediately. It was very bad news. Contrary to what they initially believed the cancer was not dead. Monday morning Tom went back into the hospital to begin an even more rigorous round of chemotherapy and to determine if he would be a good candidate for a bone marrow transplant.

Tom and Joyce see the end of the road, they know how this will most likely end. But it was not the specter of death sitting quietly in the room that moved me, it was their manners, their genuine-ness and the love that filled them both. I had just met them but I was treated as family. My hyper-vigilance set off no alarm bells (which is rare indeed) so I knew I could trust them. We went to them to offer assistance and prayer but we were the ones who were comforted. In the midst of what some days must be a nightmare they were genuinely concerned about us, about making us comfortable. It was not an act, no polite show of manners, it was genuine concern. I am in awe of such courage.

The terrible irony is that the cancer radiation treatment Tom had twenty-five years ago probably planted the seeds of this cancer. Tom injured his back and somehow it seemed to trigger the malignancy laying dormant in his cells.

Many times in our culture there is great emphasis put on how we die. Was it an honorable death? And I hope that when the day comes I will face my own death without flinching. But I now realize that the real test is how we live. What legacy are we leaving behind? Did we love our enemies? Did we love and honor our spouse? Did we raise our children? Do we feed the poor and clothe the naked?

While I spent only an hour with Tom and Joyce I have rarely spent an hour better. In their own time of need they offered love/comfort to a stranger. And I suspect I am not the first. Theirs is a legacy of love, of kindness, of sincerity. Before we left we stood in a circle and held hands while Chris prayed for healing, for endurance, for grace. Holding Joyce’s hand for that brief moment was like holding the hand of my mother.

October 24, 2008

Releasing The Bosom Serpent

It may be a good idea or the height of folly but I have started a companion blog to this one. I see the new blog, The Bosom Serpent, as the equal but opposite reaction, the dark side of the force. NIMS will continue with posts from the narrative of my life through stories, essays, photographs and videos. The focus here will remain on Orthodoxy and the exploration of my faith.

At The Bosom Serpent there will be lots of creative pieces that are not a good fit here. There are already a few items posted at the new site but it is mostly silly stuff. Both blogs will continue until I get too burned out or just can’t keep up. If something has to give I suspect I would stay here at NIMS and let The Bosom Serpent go.

Let me know what you think. I have posted hyperlinks on both blogs linking them together and making it easy to shift from one to the other.

October 23, 2008

October 20, 2008

Too Tired To Move, Too Restless To Sleep

Below is what more or less sprung from my mind on this very black day. I apologize for the subject matter.

Depression is moment to moment torment, trapped in the everydayness, the immediate now. Bleak with no hope of hope, her box now empty, the wheel in the bottom of the turn. No hope of transformation.

Sleep is the only solace where life no longer impinges on my senses unfiltered. Prone to tears when even the smallest sadness becomes a behemoth. Swimming in lethargy too tired to move, too restless to sleep. Beyond the transience of melancholy out into the deep water of despair. The fall into the blackness unceasing, the crushing pressure, the blindness, heart racing, lungs tearing, thrust to the surface for a teasing gulp of life before being dragged down again. Into the dark depths, stranded in the blackness.

Knowing it will pass but not knowing how to hold out that long. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me a sinner.

October 10, 2008

Prison Blues

This my second attempt at making a video and my first posted here. The song is obviously not my creation but is Keb' Mo' performing his cover version of Johnny Cash's classic Folsom Prison Blues.

The images and poor production values are all mine.

October 6, 2008

Whisper Book On The Purple Cloud

My daughter created these masterpieces on the front of the refrigerator this evening. For the better part of an hour she just let the logical world fall away and and gave way to the delights of word play. I of course did everything I could to keep from interupting her.