It was the warmest day in early fall. Faint, wispy clouds above, water running slowly over fragments of glacial rock beneath.
There I am standing, ankle high in the water, and I’m thinking about just how perfect this feels. Some folks gather at the rocky banks. My mother joins me in the water along with my friend, Stephen.
We wade out into the center of the Little Miami River and I trudge through the water trying to find a deep pocket to stand. Stephen and I hold my mother’s hands. I ask her if she is ready to be washed clean of her sins.
I say that as she is submerged beneath the water, it is a symbol of being buried in the grave with Christ, and that as she comes to the surface, she will be a new creation, a symbol of the resurrection of Jesus. She says she is ready to be made new. She never learned to swim and is glad the water is not too deep.
We lower her body down into the water and the slow current courses over her. We raise her up and she exhales and smiles. Then, my friend and my mother grab my hands. They tell me that what I am about to do is a response to how much God loves me. My mother tells a story of me proclaiming my love for God when I was a boy. They dip me into the water and raise me up. There is cheering for my mother and I from the banks.
Make us new, Lord. We are thankful for this baptism day and hold it as a reminder that while our clothes will become soiled again, you can wash us clean and that you delight in redeeming us. Your desire to bring us back to you never fades. Your resolve is unending. I pray Lord, that not one would be lost, for even if one is lost, then our sum in none. I pray that we would be a complete body when we are returned to our former glory. I pray that we would forgive one and other like you forgive us. Lord, this season has been difficult for my mother and I. I pray that we would not give up loving each other well. I confess that I think I know what’s best, even now. There are things in this life that seem so unnecessarily painful. I want them to go away. Make them go away, Lord. Please. From a man full of doubt. A man whose faith is as strong as a dead leaf in autumn. Tossed and turned by a slight wind. One day I hope to be like that river, Lord. That made up its mind when it will bend. Amen.
If I set myself on fire, would you see me then?
If you could see the flames from far away, would you come close?
Why do I have to be so dramatic and drastic to get your attention?
Why can’t you see all the clues?
Do I have to spell it out for you?
I’m dying every day and you could help so easily,
With a simple, subtle gesture, but you don’t.
There I said something, you can go back to pretending I’m not on fire.
My writing is not as good as it was three years ago. Maybe I was happier then. Maybe I was closer to God then. Maybe my mom didn’t have cancer then. Maybe I wasn’t all crazy and mental hospital-y then.
My writing is not as graceful as it was three years ago. It’s ugly. And fragmented. It stops and starts and ideas never really resolve.
My writing is not as moving as it was three years ago. I think I’m regressing or something. Plateauing sounds kinda nice compared to what I’m doing – slowly dying.
My writing is not nearly as good as it was three years ago. But I keep writing anyway.
I found a dark and quiet place in the middle of the city –
quite a feat, it being so loud and light most of the time.
The night is blackest there. The sound is stifled there.
I suppose it would be like finding the loudest, brightest
place in a winter’s forest – a place that feels out of place, but
exciting in its oddness.
I had an up and down week. There have been some real down, dark moments. In the middle of that, I sat outside at the end of the day, today with a glass of whiskey and a cigar and enjoyed the nice weather. I came to a couple epiphanies. 1: My religion is basically this – Just do your best. And 2: I’m not sure what the Bible means a lot of the time, but if a guy named Jesus came down to earth and died and took our place so we could have a relationship with God; I think that’s beautiful. Maybe I’ve been overcomplicating things. Maybe it’s way more simple that I thought.
A noble person does the hardest, good thing, so they may grow, and does not do the easiest bad thing, even when it might seem justified.
I am thinking out loud in the form of a blog post. Feel free to join me.
What makes someone a “good” person?
Is it what we do for others like: serving, complimenting, being kind to loved ones, respecting every human person, respecting all other forms of life, giving away money, providing emotional support? Yes, I believe it is those things and many other things that I have not mentioned.
I think it is also what we don’t do. When do I try and intentionally hurt someone? When do try to belittle someone for having a different belief? When do I hate?
I can say pretty confidently that I don’t try to intentionally hurt people and that makes me feel pretty good, but I think a “good” person would be defined a little differently by each person that you asked.
Does it matter that humanity has a uniform idea of what a good person is? Do you belive humanity DOES have a uniform idea, basically?
Oh, and honesty. That is a mark of a good person in my opinion and one thing that I hope people say about me.