Run the race.

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Life is all a journey as you stumble through the years,
Sometimes through strife and battle and often lonely tears.
Sometimes through days of sunshine, when the soul within you glows
Sometimes in days of certainty, you know the way to go.
Sometimes in bleak confusion, unknowing steps you trace,
But all in all you’ll get there. You too will win the race.
Not one against the other, in striving to compete,
All pushing on and shoving, thrusting others from their feet.
But hand in hand beguiling, each happy golden hour,
The weak and tired enticing to draw upon your power.
Till that gate arriving, when journey meets its end,
You’ll be a man, my brother, a fortress and a friend.

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At first glance it may seem unfeeling or closed minded, but it’s really commonsense mind hygene. “Dirty feet” leave a trail of mud that you’ll have to work hard to wash away, meanwhile you may become a “muck spreader” yourself if you are not careful.

So how do you define dirty feet? A few forms of mud spring to mind – negativity, critical mindedness, gossip, degrading mindsets, predudice, etc. Where can we pick up this mud? Media plays a big part, TV, movies, music, and sadly social media sometimes. Saddest of all is when someone we know, going through a bad time maybe, comes knocking with “dirty feet”. Do we then turn them away? No, what kind of friend would that be, but be on guard. Offer clean, comfy slippers and a bath if needed, but don’t entertain those thoughts.

Most folks don’t want dirty feet and are thankful for your help, but there are those who delight in spreading mud everywhere. Show them the door!

It’s not our constitution.

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No, this is not about the US constitution (I’m UK anyway lol!) but a query for a copy of the constitution of the CVSS sailing group I volunteer with. The sailing club that share our lake had noticed that, though from many varied backgrounds, we always seemed to all get along well without the divisions and politics they were having problems with – so common in our society. They figured it must be our constitution that kept us all so happy and unified and thought perhaps they could get some tips from it.
They were wrong of course. Though we must all read the constitution it was hardly something we thought about. The reason for our lack of friction, I feel, had a lot more to do with the volunteers themselves, particularly the founders, who devote a great deal of their time to it, always smiling and encouraging, without any pay etc. To start with, it takes a big hearted person to donate their time free of charge, in all weathers, on a regular basis. Add to that we take the disabled sailing, which takes someone with patience, empathy and good humour. I’ve found with many volunteers they have someone in their close family who is disabled which tends to expand the heart and deepen the spirit. In addition, perhaps it may also have some bearing that a large number of volunteers are retired and thus have reached the maturity of being at peace with who they are. They are not out to establish their place in society so find it easier to let things pass. Also the water, lake, wind, and sun (when there is some lol!) tend to relax and calm frazzled nerves.
I must admit in the three years I’ve been there, I’ve never witnessed even a cross word (though as we are human beings I’m sure there must have been some). Any needed “corrections” are always given with love and a sense of humour and any irritations quickly forgotten. Even debates on politics and Brexit (we do have a few folks with strong opinions lol!) were tactfully deflated and laid to rest by some nonchalant words of wisdom.
I wish society as a whole could operate in this way, but as stated, it would take more than a new constitution.

sailors

(Just a few of our volunteers – including all days and seasons we have over two hundred I believe)

beating the air.

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A swan lifts from the water

Wings bat feverishly at the air

The body, heavy, resists

Weighing it down,

Creating drag.

Yet it fights

Believing it is destined to fly once more.

It is not glorious and graceful, as is its descent onto the water.

Dignity laid aside

Snow white plumes sullied in spray

It battles opposing currents to gain lift.

So is life.

If you wish to soar

You must first battle, undignified, unwieldly

Caring nought for the observer.

Those bound to the land do not understand

Lacking faith for the battle they look on

Surprised when finally you glide upward

Wings aching but heart swelling

Caught at last in the updraft.

deeply disturbing

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One of my daughters recently posted this picture while visiting the US. I was in total shock. Halloween has stealthily crept upon the scene here in the UK (No it is not a British tradition quite the opposite!) but I had no idea of the scale it had been perpetrated in the USA. Don’t get me wrong I’m a great advocate of dress up parties even working for a while as a face painter, but this I found disturbing.

I questionioned astonished, “why would any mentally sound person want to put on such a macarbe display?” It was beyond my conprehension. The usual defence of halloween is “It’s just for fun!” I find that even more disturbing that such things can be thought of as “fun”. So what is the real reason for the fascination people have for evil? Why do people choose to watch horror movies etc? I couldn’t understand it at all.

Then a still, small voice whispered in my ear. “Are you really so innocent of such things?” I thought back to the time before I came to know Jesus, recalled a kind of morbid curiosty I had in my teens to read weird or even macarbe comic books etc. In every case there was no second reading only repulsion, but never the less a fasination was there. Can I say now I am cleansed from such things? Searching my heart I find still the seeds. When reading a news report of some major tragedy, earthquake, shooting etc. while appaulled and full of compassion for the victims, there is a certain part that tallies and compares the score, is this the biggest, badest yet?

It seems an inborn part of man this morbid curiousity, a facination for evil, a part of original sin perhaps, build into our DNA? No, I cannot throw stones at the family that made this display and thought it fun, for the seed lies in my own heart in some deep dark corner resisting still the light of Christ. Yet it disturbs me that at this time of year it is given leeway to walk abroad so blatently. Perhaps it is more apparent to a stranger who lacks familiarity.

 

Did God get it wrong?

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When I was young I envied my mum and sister’s movie star legs. Why did I get my dad’s short muscular ones I queried? Why couldn’t I have been beautiful instead of OK, brilliant instead of smart, talented but not the artist I dreamed to be, and most of all why wasn’t I one of those social types at ease in every situation, bubbling with small talk and confidence?

I got a clue on my first medical examination.

“You’ve got great legs!” the doctor told me. “Never going to have trouble with those legs.”

“But…” I mumbled, uncomfortable with the compliment.

Later it became clear as my mum’s legs soon grew subject to varicose veins, while at sixty six, in spite of multiple pregnancies and excessive use, I can still wear shorts without embarrassment  . Around the same time my friend, who happened to have the 36 double D bust I’d coveted, shared how she could never find a dress that fitted, found running painful and, most of all, wished guys would look at her face instead of lower down. Being more observant I slowly realised being “drop dead beautiful” had it’s down side. People too often judged by the exterior resulting in the beauty becoming vain and shallow or frustrated because she wanted to be loved for her inner self. If I’d not been dyslexic to offset my smartness I’d not have made a good teacher, have changed so many little hearts to believe in themselves. Being OK but not beautiful, smart but not genius, talented but never quite perfect, kept me humble but not despairing.

I now picture God with his weights and scales, his tweezers even, getting everything just exactly right and balanced for the role he created me to play. There were no mistakes. Much as I lament my inadequacies I see they are all part of my balance. Even the social awkwardness I still suffer means I draw closer to him in a way I never would have done had I been little miss popular. The only way I can conquer my social awkwardness is to focus on the needs of others to overcome my shyness. This has poured my life into a mould of happiness and fulfilment.  Those focused on others are rarely troubled by depression and tend to enjoy a depth of friendship the bubbling socialite may never know.

Though I was in rebellion, I see now with hindsight God didn’t get it wrong. Nor does he expect from me what I am unable to give. I am as he made me and in that is content and peace.

The truth is always simple.

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I seem confused by so many issues nowadays, political, social, economic, etc. yet I know the truth, when one finds it, is always simple. It cannot be found in reason, debate or search, (though these are helpful). It just quietly comes with an infinate certainty when you least expect it, and there it is, in all its profoundity and childlike simplicity. It is that very simplicity resounding in your heart that you recognise as truth.