Monday, May 27, 2013

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day - that's what old timers called Memorial Day.  As I was a girl growing up, it was one of the days we went to my little sister's grave.  Two years after I was born, Roberta Lee Feser was born prematurely, and died shortly after her birth.  I had no inkling of any of these events until I was at least ten years old.  That's how it was back in the 1950's.  Some things just weren't discussed, especially with children.

But I don't mean this in a negative way.  I feel very fortunate to have grown up in the mid-20th Century. The century my own children face seems much more frightening and complex than the one I did.

I remember spending Memorial Day--and it was always May 30 back then--going on picnics with my Girl Scout troop.  Later, I would become aware of the flags and parades, speeches and cemetery ceremonies.  And I thought they were all good.

How many of you remember what you were doing on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001?  I was driving to the Houston airport, having gotten my mother through a bout with pneumonia that nearly took her life, and took a part of her mind. (Fortunately, I didn't get to the airport, where I would have been stuck for who knows how long.  I was hearing strange things on the radio, and turned my rental car around, going back to my parents' home, and staying there for another week.  In a sense that  first bout Mom had with pneumonia was the beginning of the end for the life I had know with my parents before.  Now she is in a Memory Care Facility, having continued down the long slow decline of  Alzheimers.

Of course, I probably don't even need to even mention how we all know that 9/11/01 changed the world as we knew it, forever.  Probably the only other ones who can understand what that day did to our national psyche are those who experienced Dec. 7, 1941.

Not all the changes have been good.  Many of us have learned not to take our lives and our freedoms for granted--that is good.  But it has also caused an aura of paranoia that keeps seeping deeper into our souls.  Sometimes it takes the form of people using our country's flag, as a drape to hide their prejudices.  Even worse is when I see and hear those who use Christianity this way.

I saw a bumper sticker recently that said what I feel is something important.  It said: "Don't Assume that I Share Your Prejudices."

I grew up in Arkansas in the 50 and early 60's--I was still a child when Dr. King's marches took place in Alabama.  But I was old enough to understand that my parents were not talking like the parents of most of my friends.  Instead, they encouraged us to keep open minds, not to judge people by the color of their skin.
I feel truly blessed to have had such parents.

So here we are at another Remembrance Day.  Yes, we should remember and be thankful to those who gave their lives for our freedom.  But we should be careful not to use that freedom as an excuse for prejudice.  We are called "One Nation Under God."  I pray that our nation may reach this goal one day.  But the only way for it to happen is for each of us to surrender our will, our thoughts, our habits, and--yes--our prejudices--to His Will.  The one who came to die for ALL sinners.  Really stop and look at that verse in John 3:16 (that gets tossed around too casually sometimes):  "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

One more suggestion.  Casting Crowns has a truly powerful song on their latest album, "Come to the Well."  It's called "Jesus Friend of Sinners."  One of my favorite lines in it says, "Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers."  And another "Help us put down our signs, cross over the lines, and love like you did..."

So I wish you a happy Remembrance Day.  There is a lot to remember...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thoughts On A Misunderstood Rock

With all the things going on in the world around us, I can feel the future I envisioned in my "Peaks at the Edge of the World Trilogy" sneaking up on me.  Here are some thoughts I recently had about the sequel I'm currently revising:  "When the World Grows Cold."

Many people have walked by the hunk of rock called Christianity, lying half-buried in the sands of time.  Most glance at the exposed part of this boulder and assume they know what the whole thing looks like—for good or ill.
          But the author’s task in fiction, especially fantasy, is to ask, “What if…” and then create a possible scenario—a fiction that may or may not come to pass in some distant future.  (Some things predicted in science fiction have come to pass, though many have not—yet--and some never will.)
          Being the “rock hound” that my father was, I stop at that boulder and chip away at it with my geologist’s hammer, exposing the new and unweathered shapes and colors inside—that few realized were there.  (By the way, even so-called ‘ordinary’ rocks look amazing when they’re put in water.)
          If I’m strong enough, I turn the whole boulder over to examine the underside of it, and see what dwells beneath it.  And what do I find?  More “What ifs…!”
          This book is not meant to be an exposition of Biblical prophecy—or a defense of any particular doctrine or philosophy.  Instead, it is merely a journey of my imagination, a possible scenario of what the future might hold.  And perhaps, as readers take this journey with me, they will discover a few answers to their questions--and probably some “What ifs” of their own.