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Saturday, June 29, 2013

No Superman

What weather conditions (hot and humid, cold and windy, storm brewing) might depict the week you just had? What weather forecast might fit the week ahead? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1259).

When I was a young man in federal prison during the late 1960s, I subscribed to the Christian Science Monitor. The paper came in the mail every weekday and was at the time printed on a somewhat smaller size paper than the usual daily paper. Without a plethora of ads, it was also greatly reduced in thickness. I distinctly remember sitting on my bunk one day, looking at the paper spread out before me, and seeing amidst the newsprint a striking drawing in black ink of a small boat completely surrounded by terrible storm tossed seas. A young man stood in the bow of the boat leaning forward and facing directly into the dark swirling clouds that confronted him. I deeply wanted to be this young man who remained focused, steady, and unfazed amidst surrounding chaos.

That was years ago and I now have ample evidence that I am not nor ever have been a person impervious to tumultuous surroundings. I am deeply influence by what goes on around me and the emotional and intellectual climate that fluctuates from day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, year-to-year. I have done stupid things, things that I regret. I have gotten swept up in the moment and joined in gang bangs of one type or another when rightly I should have been absent. I have signed on to actions that in retrospect were based on arrogance and a lust not to be abandoned by trundling bandwagons of cool. The inescapable conclusion—I am not above the fray; far from it, blood covers my hands.

This is why human experience is unavoidably an admixture of pain, suffering, and regret. In addition to elements of goodness and light, we are not perfect and our sophomoric desire and demeanor calculated to be otherwise does not make it so.

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