Happy Winter Solstice

Alone in the woods in the coldness and darkness of the Rocky Mountain winter Christmas and the New Year holidays become meaningless dates on an arbitrary calendar, nights to be endured not celebrated… The birth of Christ, celebrated all over the world by families almost certainly did not occur exactly on the 25th of December anyway. In those Spartan circumstances another date becomes meaningful, tangible and measurable. It is the solstice, the day when the sun halts it’s southward journey assuring us that the next day will be a little lighter, for some an encouraging concept even if only a few seconds at first.

Fortunately the great celestial moment is not quite as important to me this year. After a decade of sickness, death and hardship I am finally on the rebound with a new town, a new job and a new home. Amazing what modern insulation, a solid roof and a good furnace can do to ease the hardship of a Colorado winter!

Rest assured the birth of my Saviour has not been forgotten, in fact the miracle of a new start making me all the more appreciative of His great mercy and divine provision. Personally I subscribe to the belief that He was born on the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles, the clue given by the Apostle John as he describes His coming to tabernacle among us. 

Although I will not refrain from the joy of the traditional holiday season this year, I feel no guilt in also celebrating the wonder of His magnificent creation, marked today by the amazing annual astronomical event in the heavens 

So it is my sincere hope that my readers will also receive some comfort in knowing that the light of day is on the increase and the warmth of spring is not that far off!

Happy Solstice!

Advertisements

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving, ​This day in November of the year 1621, when the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians gathered at Plymouth to give thanks to the Almighty for their survival and a bountiful harvest.

This Thanksgiving I too give thanks for my survival, the culmination of a decade of hardship, loss, sickness and death. I Watched Planes, Trains and Automobiles for the first time in years, a long tradition abandoned after Tricia’s passing. To be honest I wasn’t sure I would ever want to celebrate the holiday again and I am stunned at the developments of this year. 

The year began with an injury severe enough to prevent me from my usual duties unloading trucks at Walmart, another winter of wretched survival and the terrible isolation of life in a 1971 camper trailer.

This Thanksgiving finds me in a new home in a new town with a new career, surrounded by friends and family and a turkey baking in the oven. I know none of this would be possible without a miracle crafted in Heaven by the Almighty Himself and there are no words to describe how grateful I am.

I am well aware however, that there are many still living in quiet desperation who will not be celebrating in comfort this year and it is my fervent prayer that the Lord will sustain them through the hard times as he did me.

 “I will give you beauty for ashes and turn your morning into dancing.”

Alone

Alone is a funny thing, it isn’t always the same. I’ve never had a problem with being alone, I’m at peace with myself and it is what it is. With that type of alone you can just head out into the woods and experience the comfort of nature, or you can head across the street to the bar where there are other people who are alone and then you aren’t alone anymore. More than likely there will be someone to get into a conversation with and if you need to kill a couple of hours, a couple beers and some strangers will do the trick. This is one step up from alone and destitute, where you are cold and hungry, existing completely outside the comfort and shelter of normal society and in actual danger of not surviving, someone who has no close friends or relatives and has gone homeless for example.

A third kind of alone is not as easy, it is the alone that you experience when you are with people you know but don’t have a close relationship. For example, casual friends from church or work but not a spouse, parents, siblings or girl or boyfriend. Many times, when you are with those type of people they are with someone who they are in a close relationship and have invited you along to join them in a dinner or event of some kind. This too can alleviate the most intense feelings of loneliness for a time, but even though you are with people you know there is the feeling that you are an outsider and you can’t really shake that knowledge. So in many ways, being alone alone and alone with other people at the bar who are alone is better than this alone with acquaintances feeling.

Over the holiday weekend I discovered a fourth kind of alone, in addition to the first three levels of alone. I had plenty of invites for Thanksgiving dinner so there was no danger of spending the day alone alone at the bar, or hungry and destitute alone in fear for my life. I have to say however, it was the most intense feeling of alone I have ever experienced. The kind of alone that makes it easy to understand how the holidays have become the most prevalent time of year for suicides. It is an involuntary alone, an alone that comes with a longing to be with someone but for some reason circumstances have prevented it. I call this one exiled alone, an alone where you have been shoved aside or left behind. For example, the death of a loved one, insurmountable distance, divorce, rejection even perhaps the time or distance put out of reach by a demanding job. This kind of alone can be intensified by sadness, anger, bitterness and jealousy. It is the worst kind of alone of all, an alone accompanied by a crushing, suffocating and unrelenting pain in the chest, pain that no worldly comfort seems to be able to relieve. At least with destitute alone there may be a church or shelter available to give you food and blankets, but with exiled alone no one can help, there are no words to make it better, no one can say or do anything to comfort this level of alone save maybe God Himself. With this type of alone, for someone without strong faith in his Savior, alone all too often results in another sad holiday statistic.

For anyone who may be reading this, I have these words of comfort from the words of God to the prophet Isaiah “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”. In these times remember the promise of our Savior “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.”. Even in the times when we are most alone, we are never truly alone because the One who is forever is always at our side, in good times and bad, poverty and prosperity, when times are easy and when times are hard.