Grieving Over, Yet?

I woke up this morning, a good place to start.  In my goings, my comings, my interactions, I am asked that profound question that has been lurking close by, since the dinosaurs: “How are you doing today?”

Me: “How ‘you doin’?”

Others: “I’m doin’ good.  How you doin’?”  (Just like the commercial, with a New York accent – “How You Doin’?  I’m Doin’ Good.  How You Doin’?”)

Me: “Well, I woke up, this morning. That suggested that it was going to be a good day.”

I have a theory: most people know, that on some level, it is good to wake up.  Not everyone wakes up.  This morning, when sleep slipped away, I thought of my grieving.  Anyone who has (miraculously) read any of my posts might know that my dad finished up his race (a metaphor for his life), last year, 2016, June.  The grieving process has, seemingly,not been, successful.  Some say that this kind of loss involves a lengthy process, longer than a year and four months.  And yet, I’ve been on the other side of the forest from joy, from victory, from strength, from my dreams … Get the picture? The weariness of grief shows up in more ways than one: the darkness, the sadness, lack of motivation, the loss of dreams.  Evenings, the fatigue may hit like a freight train.  I don’t think this is as simple as I would like it to be.  Is your grieving over?  To think, that there is more life, a different life, just over the horizon.  That is a good thought.  Some of you have already reached that point.  Don’t stop: I’m right behind you.

Sunset Other Side of the Trees





“Prodito” In The House, Hope Rolls On

Prodito in the house !

Prodito (Latin):

The breaking or violation of a presumptive social contract, trust, or confidence that produces moral and psychological conflict within a relationship among individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations.

Standing up on a rock cropping in the mountains … 9 to 10 thousand feet elevation … watching a mass of evergreens  when the wind comes toward you is a beautiful image.  You can see the wind move in the distance, the trees nodding their crowns toward you, closer, closer, closer, and the force glides past you, over you, through your hair.  And then, it is gone.  Some friends are like that.  A “friend” is not always a friend.  It is one thing, someone speaks  something difficult to hear, with some measure of truth.  It is another thing to, as in “prodito” … break / violate a social contract / trust / confidence … that brings about moral / psychological conflict within a relationship.

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My family and I went out on a limb to help someone … a friend … a few months ago.  Over a period of about ninety days, we bought them meals, provided transportation with the bigger goal in mind of helping them get on their feet.  We helped them with expenses.  We were like family.  Then, things started to “go south”, gaining momentum.  I talked to the man, drew a clear boundary, with a calm voice, tactful words, and clarity.  Result?  He went berserk.  I read a number of pieces about betrayal; spent a few hours pondering the reality and concept of betrayal; processed the impact this had on me, along with my family.  I am actually curious if any of my fellow bloggers have identified some of these “categories”, themes, thoughts and emotions.

  • I wrestle with anger and sorrow.  Sorrow, redemptive, healing; anger, unreliable, reckless, selfish, leaves me in a bad place.
  • The quotes I have perused, self-pity emerges as a common theme.  Self-pity showed itself, a distraction from the better path to healing.
  • Betrayal is experienced by everyone, on some level; some experience betrayal on a far more intense, traumatic, level (than others).
  • Am surprised that this could happen to me?  Yes.  No.  Betrayal happens, coexisting with formidable pain
  • Lastly (for this post), I see a profound opportunity in compassion and forgiveness, for this man.  Could it be that a great deal of pain drives this man to “choose” this destructive style of relating?

I know there is more to all of this.  I am interested to know how others have handled betrayal, and what their experience is.  I know that I can learn from this, regardless of my own pain.  I also know that prodito was in the house for a short while.  But no more.  And in the same house, which is our home, hope rolls on.





An Image of Hope

Hope, from an image.  Not just an image, but a painting.  Not just a painting, but a Rembrandt; Rembrandt’s The Return of the Prodigal Son.

The Return of the Prodigal Son

Rembrandt’s painting connects with a biblical passage, Luke 12.  Here is my “Readers Digest” version, a short paraphrase that does not do the full story justice.  So, accept my apology.  A younger brother, working with his father and older brother in the field, complained to his father about the hard work, the boredom.  He wanted to leave with all of his inheritance immediately.  The father agreed, with great consternation.  The younger brother left on his adventure, and it was not long before he blew his inheritance on drink and revelry.  Hungry because he had no food, no money.  He got a job at a pig farm, and saw that the pigs were getting fed better than he was.  The younger brother then decided to go back home, humble himself before his father (he was truly humbled, broken, devastated) and apologize; he would take a job as a hired hand.  At least he would not go hungry.

The Prodigal Son, welcomed by the father

 When the prodigal son came into view from where his father stood, the father ran to his son with unfathomable gratitude that his lost son was back.    He instructed his servants to put together a feast.  The (above) painting shows the younger son, the prodigal, in his ragged clothes, humbling himself before his father, expressing his sorrow for being a fool, and leaving home.  The older son’s jealousy and anger with his younger brother.  The older brother stands to the right in the painting, looking on, with jealous and angry with his younger brother.

Rembrandt painted The Return of the Prodigal Son about two years before his death, suggesting that Rembrandt identified with the Prodigal.  Rembrandt died penniless, before his fame could catch up with him.

Other paintings resonate with the theme of The Return of the Prodigal Son, such as “Merry Company” by Gerrit van Honthorst (1623), showing the Prodigal squandering his inheritance.

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“Merry Company” Gerrit van Honthorst 1623


I refer to hope, in this post, connected to Rembrandt’s painting, simply because the Prodigal found love, acceptance, and a place to belong.

Lastly, I cherish The Return of the Prodigal Son because I am a prodigal.  The difference is that I never really returned home.  I just made visits.  Yet, my father always loved me; always accepted me; always welcomed me.

All of this comes with strange timing.  Father’s day is coming up, and I consider that I could have been a better father for my son; as my father was to me.  My father is 93, and he recently experienced a fairly serious turn for the worst in the last 48 hours.  My brothers and I are hoping for the best.  Hope is what we have.  Hope emerges from different places, different people, different stories.


Awaken, O Sleeper

Summer is coming.  There will be camping this year.  Last year … too much happening … couldn’t pull the pieces of a plan together.  This year, we’re going to make it happen.   The kids take these little white things, stick them on thin sapling-like-sticks, and hold these little white things over the campfire. Ideally, they won’t catch fire, but instead take on a golden brown color.  The kids either eat them as is, or  put them on a graham cracker, add a square piece of chocolate, and top it off with another graham cracker.  Thus, a sandwich-like creation.

However, Spring has to come first.  Winter snow has been slowly diminishing.  I’m seeing more and more of the brown earth; less and less of the snow that has covered the ground; and the Spring runoff, both powerful and beautiful, is probably already happening.  I just haven’t made it up high enough to see it. I am being sprung by the Spring, as these processes are happening: the process of writing; and the process of my emergence from winter sluggishness.  My passions, dulled by the winter.  I am in desperate need of  the Spring, water flowing, color, warmth, and the pull of the wilderness.  I want to recapture my vision and my passion.  And I hope for the same for everyone.  Awaken, O Sleeper.


The Soul Is Restless

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Nights, sometimes endless …Inside, a burning fever, a fever of fearing the future, but longing for more … a fever summoning me from the slumber I cherish. I feel like there is something wrong.    This is not where I am supposed to be.  This is not the way life is supposed to be, a paradox, accentuated by that quote: “The hardest place to be, is right where you’re at.”

It takes an effort to go into the place, metaphorically a small storage shed, where some thoughts might need to be tweaked or discarded; where emotions need to be checked; where self-pity needs to be conquered, left on the battlefield for the wild animals to feast on …    And a question that resurrects me from my restless soul: “What do I know to be true?”  I know that I am a good man, that I do have what it takes.  I know that I do have hope, passion … That they are not gone.  They just to be tapped  and released.  There is a process.  And it is part of my calling to be faithful to the process, and there is some mystery in the process.  That’s okay.  And a restless soul is not always a bad thing.

We Are Moving, Hold On To Your Hats

My understanding is that … everyone … crossed over the turbulent, rapid-ridden river, into the new wilderness, 2016.  So, no no one needs to be left behind, although at there are times when we may feel that way.  Once again, that familiar piece of wisdom comes up, “You cannot always trust your feelings.”  So, let’s move.  And hold on to your hats.

The pain of countless tragedies, in 2015, is is a given … we shall not debate that truth.  Nor, shall we camp on those countless tragedies.  A big difference, between remembering, redemptively remembering … and giving over our power to the losses.  In one sense, we can say,”We have no choice.  We must move forward into the hope.”  In another sense, it is good to acknowledge  reality, especially in order for us to move on with intentionality: “Some may choose not to move forward.”  The choice is the reality.  Move? Or stay?

Walk with me, and I will walk with you, as we move forward … into the hope and the expectation that there are good things ahead, into the knowledge that we do have what it takes, into the light.  Winston said something like this: “This could be our finest hour.”  And, do something else with me: hold on to your hat.

Creeks and Rivers Running Strong

“Redundant” … I am a bit embarrassed that my short writing today is a bit redundant.  I’ve talked about the waters, here, in the front range area of the Rocky Mountains.  I’ve talked about seasons.  I’ve talked about my own grappling with my challenge, stepping into what is next.   And yet, this mix has gathered … like a small group … at the front of my present being.   As the gathering has come together, I … therefore … write.

Every single time I take a look at Bear Creek, it’s waters flowing … not only fast, but strong … I acknowledge the beauty of nature, and I acknowledge my poignant disruption happening.  I know that I would not allow myself to get caught in those currents, for they would overpower me, and slam me against the boulders.

It is one thing to talk about that which I see.  It is one thing to feel what it is that is flowing through my veins, pumping rapids of thought into my mind.  It is one thing to think about the metaphorical implications what all that is around me: a new season arriving as you and I connect; intimidating rapids storming through the passes; the rallying words of wisdom I read and hear.

It is a separate thing … to move intentionally with vision, and passion, and out of necessity … in order to transcend my own mediocrity, my small portions of subtle self-pity, and to fight well in spite of my woundedness.  I do, truly, want to overwhelm the lies that could keep me stuck in the molasses-like fog.

And this business of moving … I believe it is not as simple as I want it to be.  And it is true, that this business of moving  … is not as difficult as I sometimes think.