Saturday, August 4, 2012


Upon hearing that I am looking for a roommate to help with expenses now that my son is off to college, a well-meaning friend advised that I should choose someone young, fresh and full of energy.

            "The kind of man your age," it was suggested, "Who would be able only  to rent a room would indicate struggle and you need no more of that in your life."
            Like seeing that my apartment is "on the wrong side of the tracks" as opposed to being on an acre of land by the side of a river, the view of my external life can easily overshadow the brilliance of faith and spirit that illuminates my core.  My friend loves me well for who I am, but the advice hits home as hard as the tree fallen in a rash summer storm.
            We each know the internal song that resounds in the heart, but our voices may not always resonate as strongly and in tune as we wish to sing.  At times, the struggle can over-whelm and dim our spirits.
            Another friend recently confided that it is difficult to hold a faith in God's love when her husband lost his job and ten years of impeccable effort has yet to re-secure any solid footing on the ground they once took for granted.  No apparent crime in their past seems to justify the price of daily stress and sacrifice they have to suffer to keep a roof over their children's heads.  That others may have it worse is little consolation.
            Last winter, I weaned myself from my father's financial help and, physically and emotionally healed, have once again set myself on the road of living with passion and pursuing my dreams.  Immediately, there has been a corresponding decline in the number of blog entries and creative projects.  Once again, my guitar rarely sees the light of an opened case.
            Still other friends have suggested that the apparent lack of financial prosperity today may have something to do with integrity.  The karmic bill of running a business too short on stability and long on promises may be taking its toll now and in future lives until I make emotional restitution to the demons of my past decisions.
            This morning before dawn, I awoke with a beating heart, compulsively recounting bills and affirming there is not enough income to make ends meet. If I were content to sit at home with no internet connection and no interest in paying my son's tuition, at least I have reached the point that expenses could easily be met and there would be no need for a roommate nor sign of financial struggle. 
            If I could live without the love of friends and family, I could be doing quite well, thank you very much...
            But for most of us, that is impossible and certainly unacceptable.  Every time I think the message is to not give away so much, but take care of myself first, I lose sight of the rich and fecund forest right outside my door and think it must be a lot better over there on the other side of the tracks.
            Our faith is reflected in the love of those around us and regenerated in the way we take care of each other.  How we live is a better indication of our worth than where we live.  So each day, those terrifying thoughts that force me to open my eyes must be shoved aside by the actions of pushing my pen across this page, allowing the love to flow and my faith in the purpose of life to be restored.
            The danger comes when we are so absorbed in the math, we lose our grip on the love that surrounds us.  Fear builds walls and contracts our energy into reactive improvisations.  The weeds grow thick among the trees and our forests become polluted and full of junk or clear-cut for profit.
            Love is expansive, cutting through the tangles and radiating outwards like sunshine that draws others out of their own dark places.  Our faith is a choice, something available to us like a warm blanket in every chilling moment.  It is nurtured and affirmed by action.
            No matter our age or the amount of struggle, the more we open our hearts and love each other, the more brilliance is radiated from this tiny planet into the dark recesses of this vast and wonderful universe.

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