As I write this, we are enjoying Thanksgiving. Its historical context remains as a remembrance of salvation through altruism, and its enduring value, even with reduced emphasis of its history, is as a reminder that we are the recipients of blessings. As moral and faithful people, we should by implication dedicate ourselves to an “attitude of gratitude.” To institutionalize gratefulness, as the holiday achieved, only strengthens us individually and societally.
Life is not all blessings, of course. This experience we pass through on the road to eternity is at once a trial and training. On the way, it presents challenges building us in the same way we exercise our bodies with weights. The weights are a constant. But they seem lighter as we grow stronger, and then we lift more as God is willing.
One of my weights this year is the passing of a dear friend, one made in the course of online interaction and who I never managed to meet in person over a span of more than twenty years. I first knew Robyn under her AOL screen name of “Woblynyetski,” and eventually she became simply “Wobs.” She had the distinction of being a survivor of breast cancer that whole time, facing her continually ongoing treatments with optimism and dignity and without a shred of self-pity or despair. As such, she remains one of the brightest souls I’ve met on my own road.
Facebook eventually replaced AOL, of course, and until my exit from that intrusive, overbearing, repulsive, ideologically reprobative platform last year, it allowed us to keep in touch. Afterward, we occasionally corresponded in email … until one day my last send went unanswered.
I found her obituary via an online search and knew her fight to the finish with cancer was over. The disease never did win, for she took every one of those little bastard cells with her and accounted for millions more in previous battles.
I wish I could say with assurance she traveled on under the grace of Christ. Wobs, you see, advocated and promoted Scientology. As I know from the account of an acquainted author friend, whose mother herself was another author of prominence, L. Ron Hubbard expressed an aim to organize his own religion as a means of accumulating wealth. I have no reason to doubt her mother’s account, as the man was, at the time, their family friend and frequent visitor, and the organization he later spawned continues to reap a certain financial levy on those whom it attracts.
Robyn knew of Jesus. I never heard her discount the testimony of the New Testament or show any hostility toward Christianity. Rather, I had the distinct impression that she made available, aside from any motive of its founder, the supposedly scientific methods of self-improvement Scientology advocates, I’m convinced, out of her sincere motivation to benefit others.
Robyn was one of most cheerful and loving friends I’ve known, and it’s easy to draw distinctions between her and those who give me far less hope. One cannot avoid them if interested in what Thomas Jefferson so aptly phased, “the Course of human events.”
Truly evil people make the news almost daily. They hoard billions, they rise to the highest levels of government, they pursue fame until they’re known in every corner of the world, discount God’s work of life, and they debase themselves in what the physical plane can offer until they are exhausted. And when their expended souls stand to be judged, and there is no voice to rise in their defense, they will be utterly without hope. What futility. What terror. What tragic myopia. Hateful, hard-eyed, avaricious bundled tares who could not be dissuaded from betting everything they had on the wager that there is no God to judge them will only wait for their inevitable verdict.
Scientology makes just this bet. Did Robyn? I wish I had asked. My intuition says she did not, extrapolating from the influences evident on her soul. The name of Jesus did not repel her. I saw life in her eyes in every selfie, and I witnessed love in her every action. Her patron spirit was bright rather than coiled in darkness, and it’s knowing her that gives me hope that her soul found its advocacy in Christ as she rose to her assessment of the investiture of caring with which she had been bestowed.
I myself cannot diminish the evident love in the sacrifice of Jesus and reduce it to an excluding point of doctrinal legalism. I reject the notion that salvation is the result of something we do, and rather embrace Paul’s assertion that it is the result of grace through faith not of ourselves.
I sense God’s work succeeding where He wills, and through many divergent avenues. For it to be otherwise would represent Him as less able in what He does than I’m prepared to accept. Suffice to say I have found my essential premises surviving shrill voices accusing me of ecumenism or heresy, as they’ve done for a decade after The Anvil of the Craftsman first appeared.
Jesus touches whatever soul He will, which afterward can never be the same. He is a facet of what we see in the combined workings of the Trinity to bring about His own ends.
Absent His patron spirit, life is lived otherwise than what I observed in Robyn. The lost are predated along their way by the distractions of the enemy, and too many of them are fixated on living well rather than as they should. What should have been an orientation toward gratitude has been replaced by the spiritual poison of deadly, sinful pride.
Pride is not necessarily a bad thing when justified by worthwhile accomplishment. The feeling encourages us to work harder and achieve more, and as such is edifying. Sinful pride arises from rewarded avarice and the gratified lust for influence the dark patron spirit of the lost is happy to indulge. Evil dulls the sense within us that there is something beyond ourselves worthy of our worship and allegiance, and so cuts us off from an essential life lesson we need to grasp in order to come through it truly alive.
Seeing none of that over a long association with Robyn is what gives me hope. Our entire time I made no secret of my own faith, so she was witness to a quarter-century of discussions in the various arenas of ideology that we shared. Robyn found her way along through grasping what she could, and I must hope she’s safe now … where light and life and joy abound, and where those who choose to love at their core are preserved by what Jesus did, being a blessing as his announcing angels declared: “to all the people.”
My last correspondence with her, now some six months past, contained a single concerning note, that Robyn had subjected herself to COVID vaccination. I have no idea what the effect was on her immune system, but there is plenty of evidence of the mRNA infusion being detrimental., as the sudden appearance of cancers afterward in others warn. I truly hope she did not, as so many others have, suffer from the advice of people she assumed in confidence to have her best interests in mind. That my precious friend would have perished from trust would be a travesty.
There are many aspects of life of which I wish I could be sure, and yearn to have more fully appreciated my many blessings … but to have known Robyn as my friend was surely one of them, and I am thankful that I knew her.
In the end, we have the voice of the Spirit to guide and inspire us, people to cross our path, and things to do as we’re led. Of what I’m certain includes the convictions that we need to love, we need to trust, and we need to believe it all means something. Most of all we need to be grateful, because gratitude is a key that unlocks a future warm and bright instead of unimaginably horrid. One fate or the other never ends, as Jesus was here to assure us.
I wish you a deeply meaningful Thanksgiving and a joyous follow-though to Christmas!
Choose to love. -DA
In production news, the Editress is currently working at 19% Production Edit on Boone’s first and last adventure, Two Years with Master Quan, as told (in part, anyway) to a little girl who asked. Look for the seventh novel of Boone’s File next year!