Tag Archives: faith

Fear, Faith, and Politics

The 2016 Election is unique for me, in that it is the first in which deciding my course of action is a matter of spiritual crisis rather than politics. Now content to consider myself a Christian first and a conservative after, I was previously aligned with Republican positions. This was a result of Ronald Reagan’s second term being my first election after reaching voting age. Those were good days, when faith and admiration in conservatism were rewarded with quantifiable gains in American culture and the economy lasting two wonderful decades.

Things were as they should be. So we thought then.

What happened, slowly, and cyclically, was the degradation of character in the children of America’s success. Affluence sired distraction culminating in the arrival of the Internet, after which it was possible to find a peer group to affirm and reinforce any level of substandard thinking.

Faith and Christian witness should have found a foothold there in the arena of ideas as well. It hasn’t, at least to prominence, and there’s a particular reason why; such can be called consensus censorship.

The sense of community enabled by long-distance collaboration discovered a powerful mechanism to avoid facing criticism of their behavior. It was for the few to assume the appearance of many, and thereby control discussion through threats, intimidation, and economic sanctioning.

Too many bought into their specious arguments and let their false premises ride. Left-think occupied cultural ground faith should have contested, and territory was lost. Defining sin was labeled intolerant by those who identify with and advocate for sinful behavior, and conversation was chilled by force. We became mired in an intimidated, secularized national culture.

Since then we’ve degraded into the nation whose choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made our democratic process a laughingstock. In this tiresome time, when many are contemplating fateful courses of action and pondering the nature of civic duty, I am reminded of a foundational premise from long ago. In this I concluded our primary concern is to deliver back to God our soul in some semblance of order after a lifetime of formative experience.

Fear will not do that, nor compromise, nor faithless pragmatism. Those are vices: grand delusions cast as a veil to guide us away from our potential and our work.

A statist Congress of one flavor or another will not save us. Neither will a Supreme Court stocked with the same affliction of compromise and willingness to consider expansive government an established paradigm. The only power able to redeem our nation is the Spirit making the longsuffering seedbed of virtue overcome the lure of vice. Easy answers, lesser evils, and incremental reduction to nominality are not and never were the path toward a better tomorrow.

It’s a time for a revival of faith in a nation in which the gift of the Spirit seems to be withdrawn. When this episode of history is over, we each will have at best held our ground, or diminished into compromise, or at worst embraced reprobative thinking and provoked predictable, disastrous consequences.

It is evident that someone is going to have to rebuild. Only those who appreciate concepts of the level, square and plum and who know how to live will prosper soon. Those precepts have been available for millennia. For as long, we’ve been presented case studies of nations who forget the God Who Is and lapse into idolatry, and the thought we live in another such epoch is sobering. Unfortunately, it is also an increasingly unavoidable conclusion.

Faith, as I’ve said elsewhere, is given to overcome fear. That gift from God allows us warn and advise while opportunity remains. Faith invites the Spirit, who brings discernment as a gift in return for our hospitality. Clarity follows, where we see God remains dominant throughout Creation, and the noisome discordance of the enemy fades in comparison to divine glory.

All is not lost with an election cycle. One need not align with Baal to hinder Moloch. Even with things as they have been before, and as they were predicted long ago, God will be glorified in the days to come. No device of the enemy, no weapon formed against His plan will prosper. The decisions of our days should reflect our sure knowledge that it is so, and that He will keep enough of his own people for Himself, if we hope to be numbered among them when this is over.

It’s a time when everyone will have the opportunity to define themselves in the ordering of their loyalties. Mine are defined: The God of Israel bought me with the blood of Christ long before I was, and better men defined the righteous and descendant principles of just governance through the American Constitution. Afterward follow my marriage and loyalties to the ones I love.

People whose perception culminates at the level of human government might see things differently than I, and it seems much of the right wing acts out in just such a way these days. Fear those as much as you do the secular leftist; in each camp is the temptation toward pragmatism that has marred humanity in the past. I’m no prophet—only someone who pays attention.

Choose to love, for the road to redemption begins there. -DA

Megachurching

I admit not being a regular attendee of Christian services. I was raised Catholic, and the disillusionment of discovering—on my own—the depth of commitment to false doctrine in that faith caused me to move on.

Truth is what I craved. Bits and pieces of it surround us, pointing to the state of actuality our God wishes to display in His progressive revelation. To see it, one needs to look, so I did. I was, at the time, studying martial arts, and Eastern philosophy often is dominant there. Buddhism struck me as more of a philosophy, and the Zen flavor as practiced in Japan seemed an unworkable perspective of denial.

The image of Christ heading the sanctuary in every Catholic parish stuck with me, sanitized as the portrayal of the Crucifixion might be. From childhood I grasped its significance, and in my wandering my exposure to that basic truth—that the events relayed in the New Testament happened, and that the implications thereof are profound—never did entirely let me go.

Precept by precept I defined what I believed, tested those interrelationally, and remain satisfied the mission of Christ was actual, necessary, and personally needed. Step by step, my faith became R.E.A.L. I Realized my need, Explored for truth, Accepted God’s gift of forgiveness and now Live what I believe. Salvation is a simple message, really; it is so simple, a child can understand it. Its basics are all we need. What accumulates after is doctrine:  the good, bad, and cumbersome.

Because we need salvation, some, driven by fear or guilt, are desperate to have the assurance of it. Fear and faith are incompatible emotions. Of the two, opportunists leverage fear in exploitation.

I attend services to assuage the Editress or humor friends as politeness requires, and on this last occasion encountered just such a pastor, who I will not name here. I will not attending there again, as my exposure to the man leaves me with a vision of him at home, masturbating to a photo of a popular mega-church icon.

One must belong to a church to live as a Christian, you see. One must undergo baptism to belong to a church. One must tithe in support of one’s pastor. One must help the church grow so the cycle may repeat. The message with this organization is consistent, and tiring, when faith would like to hear less of obligation and more of divine love, saving grace, and the sufficiency of Christ.

While there is a Cross in each of the two locations of this growing organization I have attended, I find it significant that it displays off to the side of the sanctuary, almost as an afterthought. The messaging area is what holds prominence.

When someone tells you who he is, you should listen. Discernment, that gift of the Spirit, allows a faithful person to see others from the inside out. Followers need leaders, I guess. It is a pity that sometimes one encounters ambition in the search for edification.

As for belonging to a church, congratulations:  you have belonged to one since you accepted Christ as your savior and received Him into your heart. No one else did that. He did that, Paul tells us, so that no one should boast.

Paul also made a point that he had baptized no one but two disciples of his own and another household. The testimony of ceremonial water baptism is a beautiful thing. You should undertake it, if at all, on that basis rather than under coercion or sense of obligation.

Likewise, giving is evidence of how you live. There is no biblical obligation to allocate a given percentage to any organization, particularly when your own books have not balanced first. Your greatest contribution can be the satisfaction that you are a burden or debtor to no one. Following that happy circumstance, give as much as you wish.

Testify to what Christ has done for your soul out of the vital choice to love. Your faith will leave you no choice but to see the desperate need for clarity in the world surrounding you. God’s enemy is using pain, fear, and desperation to propagate disorder and hopelessness, in which the plans he influences will prosper for a time of trouble.

These days are necessary in God’s plan, as were every bad period for Israel, her diasporas, even the Holocaust. The world needs Christianity’s message as much here at the end of the Age of the Church as it did in the first century, and for the same reasons. Our need to find Him, the nature of truth, forgiveness, and the benefits of faith have changed not at all.

My character Jon Anthony spoke of his personal method of understanding being reduction to essence, where matters of faith become simpler when better understood. Such a mindset might not lend itself to achievement or ambition, but there is the peace of valid faith and a worthwhile way of life waiting for those who embrace it. It is my hope you will. If Jon’s, Sean’s, or Boone’s stories can help you, so much the better.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

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In production news, Novel8/Sean3, King of a Lesser Hill, is approaching the ninety-percent mark in Main Edit and remains on schedule for a late September release. Next month’s post here, God willing, will present how writing the novel personally affected me, and how this story, set in 1995, remains relevant today.

 

Avoiding Reset

There is a particular, nonexclusive disconnect, which prominently shapes policy at the Left end of the political spectrum. It now also affects the middle-right to the point where a once-distinct, two-party system in the United States has merged into a conglomerate of statist thinking. Such has returned us near to where we began in July 1776.

In April, I touched on the foundation of normative thinking supporting a functional individual mindset, the prevalence of which results in stable society. Dysfunction, however, is becoming an increasing concern, particularly after the tragedies in Orlando this week.

My character Jon Anthony’s premise, one asserting we all will choose a fundamental orientation to love, hate or indifference, remains. What I’ve come to call the Tripartite has dependencies, though, and those plot in a matrix of good, evil, strength, weakness, intelligence, and passivity of intellect. We fulfill each to our limit, and define ourselves by the overall score achieved.

Take matters backward yet another layer. Our success or failure in reaching potential in turn follows another, vital indicator of progress; we all have a primary tendency to learn from direct or indirect experience.

Direct experience collects during a lifetime, limited by the number of trips around the sun we managed to our present state. Indirect experience is a store of wisdom from ages past, available, as are so many lessons, to discover but remaining unseen without an effort made to look.

Self-discovered waypoints lead to a realm of ego, arrogance, defining sin, and hedonism. It produces gratification on demand and thinks nothing of tomorrow. This mindset pays no attention at all to the natural laws April’s post touched. Its focus is on consensus, even if the only input available is insular. Dedicated delusion constructs a bubble of dreaming and is a dangerous place to reside.

Yes, I said dangerous. Death’s baits are adventure, pleasure, and self-indulgence. Inattention to natural laws, those observed rather than settled upon, leaves the individual or the society gone astray vulnerable to disaster.

Natural law abhors a false premise. Its reset for dysfunction is systemic collapse. Commitment to folly puts off this reckoning through repeated extensions and bitter defenses into the terminal stage:  blaming other influences for unavoidable consequences. All liberal positions exhibit one or more fundamental disconnects from reality, as their deplorable results testify.

KCEYPUnless one commits to continual examination of perspective in an orientation toward actuality, reviews the experiences of lifetimes past, and in Bruce Lee’s philosophy adopts what is useful and rejects what is useless, one limits his or her data set to individual observation. We are all vulnerable to incorrect conclusions. It is best not to settle and live there, because people die doing that.

Paul, in Romans 10:17, declares faith as delivered by hearing, and hearing by news of Christ. A long chain of experience, reaching back to the initiation by our Creator of a personal revelation of His will to His people, remains a well of wisdom, of observation, of example, of experience available to draw. What has been true, false, wholesome, and dangerous is yet today, and for the same reasons. Life and death follow wisdom and folly, and shall while free will endures. Natural law does not change with the times. Those are merely the markers of where we stand, or fall before the next generation tries again.

Choose to Love, -DA

*****

KLH225x337DSIn production news, Novel8/Sean3, King of a Lesser Hill, is approaching midpoint in its primary edit. Ritter and company’s Bosnian experience remains scheduled for a late September release.

Currently, the three titles in Boone’s File are on sale during Boone June. If you’d care to recommend our spunky redhead to a new reader, there’s no better time. Buy links, as always, are on the sidebar.

That Works

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

True that, Ferris. But what do we see when we look? It depends on how we approach observation, doesn’t it?

I grew up in what retrospect paints as a difficult environment. Namely, a farm located miles out in the country. I came late to the Greatest Generation, and my father lasted ten more years. Afterward, I had another eight to live with people who were dealing with too many of their own issues to provide any nurturing an ideal situation would offer.

Those years made me retreat to reading, they made me strong to the Glory of God, and I have no complaints. Most of all, they taught me to think about what I saw rather than take information for granted. What I heard about myself and about the world was, at times, demonstrably false, and presented by people who derived comfort from disparaging others to fortify their self-image.

So I became analytical as a means of emotional survival. I learned to think, and I discovered the gift of discernment, and both benefit my life and my writing to this day.

So, what do people see when they look? Short answer:  they see what is there, or they see what they wish.

My working premise says ‘what is there’ is discoverable by design and definable in actuality. Dependable discoveries stand after examination and relate to supporting truths subjected to the same process previously. In this way, knowledge grows. After sufficient experience, one may anticipate consequences with a degree of accuracy to allow us a claim to dependable, guiding wisdom.

That is the good road. It’s taken if we see what’s there.

The other choice is to see what we wish. Premise and extension play no part in a perspective based on convenience.

Indulgence? It feels good. Do that. Unearned moral high ground? Occupy it. One pursues advantage rather than achievement, because it is easier. One craves the feeling of well-being rather than circumstances beneficial in the long term.

One turns inward instead of outward. One stops looking around, and misses something vital as a result.

Most folly in current affairs results from ignoring the most vital aspect of reality, namely the will of The God Who Is. Faithful people have no obligation to argue morals or policy or any other subject from a secular perspective.

If, for the purpose of outreach, one must, I would lead with a simple observation: whatever goes against its nature does not endure. Natural law states one circumstance follows another in emotionless causality. Function outperforms dysfunction, and increasing the volume of conversation does nothing to alter this vital dynamic.

Nature does not support pretentious thinking. As things are what they are, so are we, within the limits we are set. If we accept our situation and adopt normative thinking instead, function builds on function to a satisfying experience.

The price of pretentious thinking is an essential state of dissatisfaction. A flawed premise must extend repeatedly in the pursuit of a utopian vision only existing as a mirage of philosophy. As such, it is incontrovertible to those dedicated to normative, healthy, functional thinking, and breeds conflict. The process, unless abandoned, can continue to the point of systemic collapse, whether it is on a personal level or societal, and that is why such must be rejected as an act of love rather than enabled.

Natural law favors function over dysfunction. It nurtures the former and abhors the last. In the end, it wins every time. The process can be less painful when better understood.

John, in the tenth chapter of his Gospel, relates the words of Christ: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

Seen as it is, marriage becomes something understood rather than self-defined, as does sexuality, and gender, and any number of other topics available to view as one wishes instead of observe and accept. Natural law, satisfied, promotes life over death, love over hate, and peace above conflict. Dissatisfaction dissipates as function calms dysfunction, and finally, life is good. One would expect such from the work of a loving God.

Look around to see if I am correct. Life moves pretty fast; if you don’t, you could miss it.

Choose to love, -DA

*****

KLH225x337DSIn production news, Novel8/Sean3, King of a Lesser Hill, is out of Content Edit and progressing through the first chapters  of primary editing for a late summer/early fall release. Ritter and company’s adventure in Bosnia and Herzegovina promises to be an experience you will not forget. For humanity’s sake, some events never should be.

Holidays in an Epidemic of Faithlessness

Things, being that all-encompassing term for the current state of affairs, are generally unsatisfactory and not working well for the world as a whole. Only a minority polled seem to think that good times are here. Only the most unshakeable optimists see bright sunshine ahead in a gloom perpetuated by nearly any means of observance one cares to employ.

We passed Thanksgiving here in the States and headed straight into the orgy of consumerism known as the Christmas Shopping Season. While everyone is distracted, in Washington our leaders betray the interests of the electorate they were appointed to serve. Overseas, relations between almost everyone are as tense as they have been since the end of the Cold War.

It was not always like this. There was a time of greater stability, greater accomplishment, greater prosperity and greater peace of mind. Typically, such times come after cyclic historical upheavals.

The 1920s were one, when the country cut loose after going through the first experience they would call a Great War. Economics had not evolved, however, to the point of being able to circumvent the Great Depression. It took the mobilization for another worldwide conflict, twenty years after the first, to break that cycle of malaise perpetuated by an over-involved government. World War Two followed a generation after the end of the first because people already tired by war avoided hard decisions and stalwart commitments which might have forestalled the ambitions of a madman.

The Second World War eventually was won by those whom we now term The Greatest Generation. A golden age followed into my lifetime. American power infused and fortified the world in what academe termed Pax Americana, the American Peace. America was great, according to a quote often misattributed to de Tocqueville, because her people were good.

Then, not coincidentally at about the time Internet access became commonplace, everything slowly started going to hell. So, what changed?

Everything in the temporal realm was changing the whole time, of course. There are few enduring constants in any modern culture. Times will change. The problem is that human nature does not, nor does nature in general, whether it is observed in natural law or the nature of truth and sin.

There, in the essential and universal conditions experienced by all human beings, constants can be found. It does not necessarily follow that essential questions are addressed, recognized, respected, or even sought out by any individual, much less any modern culture.

Personal faith is one such essential characteristic, and entirely an individual experience. One will answer certain questions whether or not they are deliberately addressed. Does God exist? Do I owe my allegiance to anyone, any institution, or any ideal? How should I conduct myself in the course of this short lifetime?

The ability to answer questions such as these in clarity is what produces stability, accomplishment, prosperity and peace of mind. We live in a universe of actualities, in which reality is not subjective, but dependent on accurate observation. There is one best way to describe events in the past and ongoing occurrence, and that focus of expressed actuality is called truth.

We are, going into this holiday season, experiencing a worldwide epidemic of faithlessness. When our forebears accomplished great things, they did so in the belief their efforts were worthwhile. Men went to war, and women did without them. Essentials were rationed. War bonds were purchased. Patriotism was cultivated, and all happened because enough people believed.

Patriotism descends from spiritual faith. America, this culture of limited government, idealized individual freedoms, and accompanying responsibilities, descended from the Judeo-Christian traditions which produced it. Prosperity following the last worldwide conflict created an environment which seemed to make nonessential many of the moral strengths preserving the Greatest Generation and previous through their times of trial. Too many, in a sense, became the idiot children of America’s success.

When faith in The God Who Is was lost, afterward so did the concept of limited government fade away. The Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, through unattended moral laws of cause and effect preserving family structure, became a nightmare of urban violence and inescapable dependency. Government, which is only a secular model of the natural order of things, grew out of control as more people saw its lure as the answer rather than the reality of its drain on the economy as the problem.

Government can regulate, but legislation is unable to instill morality. The preservation of the American Republic depends on morality for the integrity of its elected office holders and their stewardship of our Constitutional system. That brings us back to the Internet.

Communications technology, made available to intelligent and discerning people, allowed self-education and the propagation of wholesome ideals and initiatives. The bell-shaped curve of standard distribution, however, decrees we as a species to be half-comprised of dullards, with flanking populations of outliers at the good end and the truly evil on the other.

Idiotic notions, once everyone could shut out opinions proving uncomfortable, propagated online. The ability to pursue truth as a non-subjective construct was abandoned in favor of answering the Siren call of permissive, non-judgmental modern-day liberalism. Great populations, as a result, now hold as absolutes and dedicate themselves to the extension of false premises. The notes they care to hear are exclusive and repeat endlessly in the symphony of deception which comprise the only forums of information the faithless choose to enter.

Faith is no longer viewed as necessary in a world where cell phones ask questions and provide the answers. The Internet is before them always. Their gods have moved, with never a shortage of voices in the new temple to affirm apostasy.

“Things” will continue to worsen in this environment of faithlessness, of course, until such time (in the current system) as the smartest five percent of the dullest half are convinced, absent divine intervention. We are, I firmly believe, almost there either way.

Revival has put off catastrophe before, if enough of us are found when angels walk unseen to make their tally. People, by their divinely engineered nature, thirst for explanations to essential questions. Here, we have been leading horses to water since December 2011.

This endeavor the Editress and I began, with what since became the first title of Jon’s Trilogy, was not undertaken to advance any agenda. Only precepts which reflect actuality interest us. I encourage everyone to drink their fill of truth. Lessons abound unseen if unsought. One connects to the other throughout Creation, which is in its essence a purposefully discoverable matrix of objective reality meant to declare the Glory of God before each individual soul.

Truth, as my character Jon Anthony said, suffers not from inspection. Trace every premise backward to its essence. If it is solid, extend it and repeat the structural test. If it is faulted, change it out of your mind and your heart and adhere to a more wholesome concept. To do otherwise fulfills the parable Jesus presented of the house built upon sand. It fell, and great was the fall of it.

To even begin, one first has to believe. To progress, one has to dedicate oneself to self-edification. To endure, one has to hold to faith. This is true in Christ, in America, and in every aspect of a life lived well. May it be so everywhere.

Choose to love, -DA

Tolkien for the thirty-third time

I was introduced to the writing of J.R.R. Tolkien by my 5th grade reading teacher, Mrs. Rougemont. We read The Hobbit aloud, painfully enduring others who pronounced the w in sword and committed other acts of disinterested, semi-literate mediocrity.

That was the 1970s. A love of words had already been discovered. The craft, you see, provided a place to go. When one is a child, and his father is gone, and one lives ten miles from the middle of nowhere surrounded by people incapable of projecting value or love, having a place to go was vital. It was, at the time, part of what I did to survive long winters.

I still have those original mass-market paperbacks. They are tattered, broken, since-retired remnants of the fresh copies a young man bought with allowance money. The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, and of course the three volumes of The Lord of the Rings were read many times. Enough times, in fact, as it takes for such a copy to totter on the verge of disintegration.

The Perimeter would be incomplete without its library, even pared down as it is through many moves. Tolkien’s classics remain, now in hardcover, as the Editress is also a fan. She actually had not encountered the stories until the release of Peter Jackson’s movies, and furthermore exercised enough discipline to not outrun the films as they released, though she read up to the point as soon as possible afterward.

Tolkien, as he discussed in the forward of the Houghton Mifflin edition I have recently finished again, never intended to present allegory. His fantasy, the man insisted, had no bearing on the real world. Were that true, I suspect the work would not have endured to the extent it did. The Professor in actuality had quite a lot to say about our state of affairs. All writers do, in their own idiom.

Middle Earth, populated by elves, trolls, orcs, dwarves, Men, Hobbits and others, was born to a purpose in the mind of a genius. I believe, after a short lifetime of reflection, it to be a message and a simple one, unseen if unsought as so many are. Perhaps it was even unconscious as the man wrote. Character and faith are inseparable and vital attributes of a righteous mind.

It’s another law in a universe of actualities. Things are as they are. That which is true has always been true, and will ever remain. The Fourth Age of Middle Earth arrived, and Tolkien’s world sometime after merged with our own. Much that was in his world never was, yet is still. We yet have the challenges posed by evil and our options in acting where we find ourselves, right now, today. The choices remain to serve ourselves entirely, or trust, as Tolkien wrote, that Powers work in the world besides the will of the enemy.

We’ve no elves, but there are others just as fair and perilous if not possessed of the wisdom of the Eldar. No goblins, though in cases it can be argued certain communities are close enough to an orc-hold for comparisons to be drawn. Mordor no longer exists, but we have resurgent Marxism and its child plague of liberal elitism; each of those possesses an enduring diabolic ambition to subject all mankind to its own Darkness.

The race of Men maintains its weakness in the face of mortality. We’re told to have faith and given a limited lifespan to choose our loyalties, set our goals, and discern our purpose in the context of a much larger story. We can, after our own fashion, look west as did Faramir to Numenor that was, Elvenhome that is, and Undying Lands and remember.

We instead look up, and apply Tolkien’s unspoken premise to a faith wonderfully real. The long ages God has wrought in His relationship with children on Earth go on. We have, as my character Jon Anthony presented it, a choice between love and hate, with only indifference as a temporary hiding place before our circumstance forces one or the other. We’ve the long history and testimony of those many who’ve encountered Him, whose accounts are preserved by Providence every bit as well as were records in the archives of Minas Tirith. All allow a reasoned faith to conclude there are, beyond the gray curtain of this world, white shores and a far green country under a swift sunrise.

To discover character and faith, vital and inseparable, is the primary purpose of a living soul. To Realize one’s need sparks the tinder which inflames Exploration for truth. To Accept God’s gift of forgiveness and afterward Live what one believes makes one R.E.A.L. That is a good place to be before things “Get Real.”

These days, as they were through the ages of Middle Earth, are here to bless us or build us, but not to break us. We are made of God Stuff and will not be undone, to our eternal joy or peril. It’s time to choose whom we serve, and ever has been.

Choose to Love, -DA

*****

OLSJ_225x337DSIn production news, Boone Hildebrandt’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, stands 43% complete in primary editing. Her contest with elements of our own government remains on schedule to appear this winter, God willing, likewise to be followed by the next volume in Sean’s File, King of a Lesser Hill.

The September Maples

To embrace the experience of living is to reap bounties of all sorts. Thinking deliberately can be such, if one is up to the task. Sometimes, though, lessons present themselves in sudden realization of what was always there. How one accounts for such events is a matter of faith, but certainly lessons unseen if unsought can be presented anywhere.

So it was in the morning taken by ordering the yard surrounding the Perimeter. A glazed pot has sat outside in the bay for the dumpsters since we arrived. In Texas it held a lilac, cultivated by the Editress from a cutting at her mother’s. Potted plants do less well in the frozen north than in the Lone Star State. Being we arrived here in at the start of winter, the tall, slender plant which bloomed for her only a single time—in the summer prior to our leaving—is gone. It sat the first year in the hopes it could recover, but it will not, and its branches turned to sticks in the way of life passed away.

The trees around are largely maples. Each spring showers the property with the seed pods of the silver maples to our south, some of which spiral down to land on seemingly every inch of our yard. They land in the pot where the lilac flourished, too, and spout as they do to be tended only by the sun and the rain. In the pot, though, they stand unmolested.

So I noticed them this morning, with their leaves as broad as any on the mature trees from which they originated, though the largest shoots are perhaps eighteen inches high. They, like the lilac, will be gone after the first killing frost. But for now they are here, and alive, and as it struck me this morning, beautiful standing in such time as they have.

It is a truism that each living thing holds the beauty of life if nothing else. Elizabeth Goudge, an English author of novels, short stories, and children’s books, observed rightly in her novel Green Dolphin Street “Nothing living should ever be treated with contempt. Whatever it is that lives, a man, a tree, or a bird, should be touched gently, because the time is short. Civilization is another word for respect for life ….”

We live in a world where life must at times be cut short. We take in sustenance to live and fund the slow combustion of living with the fuel of our diet. Plants are harvested and animals as well. It’s proper that the grace preceding each meal acknowledges the fact that, as in the spiritual realm, death is necessary for one to receive the gift of life.

With animals, we observe necessity as involving one of the Four Ds. The creature must be dangerous, diseased, destructive … or delicious. With our fellow man, the doctrine here is that he who sets aside his humanity loses the consideration of civilized folk. In no case, however, is the taking of life held lightly. It is God’s portfolio, and each instance is set to His purpose.

In writing political fiction, adventures of all sorts are presented, of course. Homicides  predatory, tragic, and righteous populate the pages of my work. There too, nothing can be taken lightly. In the case of the antagonist, karma waits patiently. But even for my protagonists there is a price paid for doing their duty, and it does not pass without the toll. I write my characters as they are given me, and it has become clear as their stories go on that the burdens of even justifiable homicides build. I write about people as they are, in what my life and my teachers have taught me, and I’ve come to realize that Ms. Goudge was correct.

So, this morning as I began my work, I carefully trimmed away the remnants of the Lilac that had blessed the Editress for years. She has another now, deeply rooted and mature, in the backyard of this iteration of the Perimeter. I left only enough stalk enough to support the young maples whose days are short, so that they can have their time in the sun. It’s as much as any of us can ask. I hope to see their successors in the spring of next year, if we are so graced, because they will also be alive, and beautiful, and welcome here.

Choose to Love, -DA

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OLSJ_225x337DSIn production news, Boone’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, is 24% complete in primary editing, and remains likely for this winter, God willing. Her debut, Absinthe and Chocolate, is currently on sale everywhere pending a feature for the ebook on Pixel of Ink as slated for Monday, September 14. If you’ve not availed yourself of a great read, there is no better time to start.