Chronicles in Ordinary Time 145: Life is difficult.

rain clouds

Back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, there was a comic strip the dinosaurs read, called “Lil’ Abner”. The series took place in somewhere called Dogpatch and would probably be considered as highly inflammatory in today’s culture. One of the characters in the strip was Joe Btfsplk, a fellow who carried a black cloud over him all the time, and unfortunate things continued to happen to him all the time. The other two characters above should be far more familiar; they too had misadventures.

This has been me for the last two months…

MJ cartoon2

Only the problem has been a desktop computer, rather than a laptop. First World problems, rather than Real problems. I have 5 computers, which is why I only carry a semi-smart phone. If one wants to connect to the Internet, it’s possible, but one REALLY needs to use the Internet, to make it worth the trouble.

In mid-January I edited what was to be the first of four classes that I had filmed. My editing computer of several years died on me. Since the local company that built the computer has gone out of business, I didn’t make the effort to have it repaired. I instead ordered a computer from the only computer store of size left in Portland. It turned out to be the first of four desktop towers I purchased in six weeks. The first was inadequate to my needs, I broke the middle two, and almost broke the one I’ve decided to keep. The story is long, and includes dinosaur-Firewire technology…

I’m a control freak.

In the last six weeks, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my life, waiting for computers to restart and load and restart. Not particularly liking the world I’ve found surrounding me, I attempt to create a space where I am in control—fully realizing that I’m never in control of my circumstances—the thought is merely an illusion. Nonetheless, I’ve been aware of a black cloud raining on my First World parade. Mostly it’s a black cloud because it’s something I can’t control…

“Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
M.Scott Peck

For the most part, I can only tolerate reading headlines from news stories; perhaps reading only three or four articles on any given day. We seem to be living in a time of cruelty; and the cruelty seems to have escalated to a large degree in the last year. Lies and deceit have become common, and accepted, which is the part that baffles me. Why do we tolerate such behavior?

I read an article about a dying whale on a beach, which was used as a selfie prop; people standing on this dying creature; people carving their graffiti into its side, the whale’s eyes moving around as all of this bestiality is taking place. But bestiality cruelly dishonors the beasts of this world…

Canticle above

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
Henry Beston, The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod

I fully believe and cling to Grace and forgiveness in Christ; the Creator’s choice to enter time and space and experience life as a human being—a life ended in torture. When we experience pain, a feel a need for healing, we have a Creator who knows exactly how we feel.

At the same time, I feel that we humans will have much to answer for when we arrive Home. The way we have squandered the wonder of this world. Yesterday, as I write this, was the 50th Anniversary of the My Lai Massacre, which took place on March 16, 1968. American soldiers decimating the population of a Vietnamese village, with hundreds of deaths including women, children and the elderly. A shooting that occurred for no reason beyond that they could. A massacre stopped by one man, Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot who threatened his fellow soldiers with death if they continued the massacre.

We humans have much to answer for.


















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