That Quickening Moment: Part I

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To Quicken Means to Bring to Life

To Quicken Means to Animate, to Bring to Life

The Quickening

I’m sitting here early on a Sunday morning, sipping coffee at the kitchen table, listening to two of my favorite sounds, the clicking clock and the humming fridge. Outside it’s been drizzling rain. I take pleasure in slow rain. It brings me a sense of calm, like the ticking clock and humming fridge.

I think about my life and smile. Lately, I’ve experienced a life-altering moment of profound clarity. Every action that I’ve taken in the days since then have been because of that life-altering moment, a moment that changed my entire outlook on myself and on my life. I call this moment, the Quickening.

I take the word quickening from Romans 8:11 where the apostle, Paul, uses the Greek word, zoopoieo (quickening) to refer to the way the spirit of God makes a person “alive.” So, to quicken something is to make it fully alive. 

The last time that happened, I was thirteen. Can a person have more than one life-altering moment, more than one moment of coming to life, more than one awakening? more than one quickening?

I believe they can. 

A quickening moment is best described as an awakening. We all wake up every day in the natural, so too, we can re-awaken in the spiritual sense. We may need to re-awaken because we allowed ourselves to be lulled to sleep.

Some people wake up in an instant and spring into their day. Others wake up slowly and go through a morning ritual of sorts before they’re truly alert. Well, spiritually, it’s the same way. However, it happens for you, a quickening moment is a spiritual awakening that shifts the entire meaning of your life and outlook on everything and everyone. It’s a moment when you wake up and are “born again.”

TWO REALITIES

There are Two Realities

There are two realms of existence.

We will call one realm the physical realm and the other realm the spiritual realm, (Kingdom (realm) of God (Supreme Magistrate, Divinity). We could even say that there is God’s reality and physical reality.

The spiritual realm has no starting point and no stopping point. The laws of physics do not apply to this realm. They apply to physical reality. The physical reality is inferior to the spiritual reality in that it is temporary and subject to the laws of thermodynamics.

The laws of the spirit realm operate on principles of a particular kind of energy and that energy is the creative force behind all that exists in the physical realm.

That energy is God, love, the source of all.

The physical realm is like parentheses in eternity. The beginning and ending parentheses are time. Or we could think of the physical realm as a bubble floating in the vast expanse of the spirit realm. The spirit realm is so much more expansive that everything inside the bubble is minute in comparison.

Now beings from the spiritual realm can take on a carnal, physical form and enter the physical realm for a time. While they’re there they experience what it means to be finite, to have a beginning and an ending.

So often these beings come into the physical realm and experience trauma, hardship, and pain, because they forget who they are and, just like Adam and Eve in the garden, they believe a temporal lie that enslaves them while they’re here.

ONE SPECIAL BEING

However, there was one particularly unique being from the spirit realm who came with all of his memories and awareness of his true origins still intact. This being defied the laws of physics at every turn, starting with his birth. He was born to a virgin. He walked on water. He raised the dead, healed the sick and confounded the most brilliant and highly educated minds of his day.

He never sought earthly credentials and was unmoved by both praise and criticism. These things meant little if anything to him because he knew who he was, where he was from, why he was here and where he was going.

Nonetheless, his final demonstration of the origin of humanity was when he allowed himself to be crucified and laid in a grave. Then he left his physical body for three days before returning to it, healing it, and reanimating it. (see Romans 8:11) 

He came to open our eyes and show us who we are and the kind of life we are meant to live while we’re in this physical realm. He said, “…he (those) that believes on me (trust me, adhere to what I say) the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.”

In another place he said that he had come to give us life and life more abundantly. He said he came to seek and to rescue those who were lost, off their path, wandering around with spiritual amnesia.

So, now that we’ve established that there are two realms of existence and that we are really spiritual beings having a physical experience, let’s look at how to get our memories back! What happens when that occurs?

I will discuss this in the next blog post.

 

Creatures who are Created for Creation

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Created to Create

Created for Creation

“All men will come to him who keeps to the one. They flock to him and receive no harm, for in Him they find peace, security and happiness.

Music and dining are passing pleasures, yet they cause people to stop. How bland and insipid are the things of this world when one compares them to the eternal Way!

When you look for it (the Way), there is nothing to see. When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear. When you use it, it cannot be exhausted.”

—Lao Tzu

I’m an artist and a writer.

When I create a piece of art, it is always first an idea or an image that appears in my mind’s eye and ears; from there, it flows out of me to become a creation of some sort.

I take pleasure in my creations as they are natural manifestations of my imagination.

So many creations in this world bring pleasure to the five senses, but they only offer pleasure for a little while, unless there is a deep and abiding connection to the ultimate Source of All creation and indeed, it is creation.

I used to wonder what it truly meant to be made in the image of God. In a sense, I think now, that I could say it better by saying we are created in the image of the Ultimate Creator. We were created to create, and this world, this universe, is our art studio, our playground.

DISCONNECTED

When we fixate on obtaining the pleasures of this world because we desire the power and honor they bring, we will still eventually feel empty inside, as if there is something missing. Because we have learned to love the creation more than the Creator. We have become disconnected from the Source of our very own beings.

When this disconnection continues to grow, the lusts (desires to obtain more of whatever it is that brings momentary satisfaction), greed (the unrelenting desire to have control, power and domination) and the fears that accompany greed tend to grow and grow until the world is filled with confusion and violence.

CONNECTED

However, when we focus on a deep inner relationship (not adherence to a set of religious rules and theological dogma that condescendingly condemns anyone with a differing viewpoint) with the ultimate Source of All that is, our infinite Creator, when we seek to be aligned with the Way, we develop a sense of wonder (see Psalms 8) amazement, gratefulness, appreciation, value, joy, fun, harmony, patience and peace.

Our praise, verbal, mental and emotional appreciation and adoration bring abundance into our lives. This connection to the life-giving Source of All of creation, the realization of WHO and WHAT we really are, is the only thing that can set us free from the illusions and lies that keep us running around trying to obtain what we already have.

ACCEPTANCE OF TRUTH

Jesus said that those who believed his words and adhered to him were his disciples (followers, students, friends). He said that believing his words and following his words would open his students’ understanding to the truth and that the knowledge of this truth would set them free. To be set free is to be rescued, to be rescued means to be saved, but saved from what?

Lies.

Illusions.

Lies and illusions bring bondage.

What lies?  How about this one? “You’re not ________enough.” You can fill in the blank. Or this one, “God won’t accept you because______________.” Or “You are a mistake.” or “You’re not deserving.” or “You are unworthy.”  or this one, “You’re not acceptable to God, unless you meet these conditions.”

And what illusions?

We needed to be rescued from the illusion that this reality is all that there is. Or, “You’ll be better if….” or “You’ll be happy if….” or “You need that person in your life because….”

But Jesus said, “If anyone loves me, he/she will keep my word (follow my teachings). My Father (eternal Source, Abba/All-Providing, ever-loving Papa or Daddy) will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” Wow! That’s a pretty great promise.

And the words of Jesus were instructions on how to walk in the Way, the inexhaustible divine goodness of the Creator.

There is no lack in the Kingdom of God but the Kingdom of God, the Way, is not the Way of this world. The Eternal Way supersedes finite manifestations of bondage. Therefore, just as artists manifest creations out of the abundance of their ideas, so too, should the pleasures of this life be manifestations out of the abundance of our connection to our creator.

Again, I say, The Lord (Jehovah, the Self-Existent Eternal One) is my shepherd; I shall not want (lack). He maketh (causes me, permits me, leads me to) lie down (rest) in green pastures (tender grass, the choiciest homes, places): he leadeth (guides) me beside the still (peaceful) waters.” * Psalms 23:1-2

 

*all words in parenthesis are taken from Strong’s Concordance to clarify ancient morphology in modern terminology. 

 

 

 

 

My Dad’s Formula for Being a Father

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My dad enjoyed sharing his music with us. We knew all of his songs and sang them with him.

Born in a share-cropper’s shack, the son of a third generation Mexican American, and a descendant of Scots, Irish, British, French Moravian and Cherokee settlers, Daddy never had a formal education, was never famous and certainly wasn’t materially wealthy, but he was a huge success in one area, an area where so many of today’s men fail—he was a fantastic father. My Dad’s formula for being a father was simple:

1. Be there.

2. Feed your kids.

3. Protect your kids.

4. Guide your kids.

5. Love your kids.

BE THERE.

Daddy lived with us. He ate dinner with us every night and talked to us. I know that’s not possible for every dad but having a physical, present, adult male who is vested in you enough to come home and spend time with you makes a child feel–wanted and accepted.

When a father walks away from his kids or is never present, the child may feel devalued.  As a teacher, I’ve listened to a lot of children’s stories and I know this to be true. It is a painful thing when a child says, “My daddy doesn’t want me  anymore.” I’ve seen a lot of anger in a lot of kids, especially little boys, when they feel their dads don’t value them. Oftentimes, they have no way to release that anger and no one to show them what it means to be a man in today’s world.

That doesn’t mean that kids who grow up without fathers can’t grow up and fair well, but it’s a whole lot harder. I personally think that if your child’s father is absent, then enlist the help of a grandfather or a trusted uncle or some other stable man who can influence your child in a good way.

FEED YOUR KIDS:

Daddy worked—hard.

He brought home a paycheck, which he promptly handed over to Momma, and then he baby sat us while she got groceries. His checks weren’t always enough to meet our needs, so he also hunted, fished and foraged for edibles in the woods.

Now, I know that these days most people aren’t hunting and gathering, but the point is–a good father makes sure his kids can eat. That may be holding down a job, that may mean watching the kids so his spouse can work. It never means being a man-child, irresponsible and becoming another mouth to feed without contributing to the survival of the family.

PROTECT YOUR KIDS:

My dad stood up for each of us on multiple occasions whether it was confronting the schoolboard over equity or hunting down the pack of wild dogs that threatened our safety.

But he protected us in more subtle ways, too. It was my dad who came to pick me up when I got sick at school and who was there when the pony fell on me in the creek.  My dad burnt the motor up in a car while trying to get my brother to the hospital when he nearly cut his arm off and my sister to ER when she burned herself. And it was Daddy who chewed tobacco and put it on our bee stings, tackled a nest of hornets that had taken up residence on the porch, ensured our flu was in working order, sealed our roof from leaking, kept our vehicles running and safe. The list just goes on.

A good father lets his kids know, “I’ve got your back.”

GUIDE YOUR KIDS:

My dad  believed a person’s character was what defined them, not the shade of their skin or the amount of money in their bank account. He believed that a person should be nicer at home than in public, that family was more important than business, friends, or acquaintances. He guided me in these values by allowing me to watch him in action, by simply living what he believed.

……….RESPECT

He taught me about respect by the way he interacted with my mother. He couldn’t provide her with loads of material things, but he honored her and was kind to her and she to him. They had authentic conversations. As a child I listened as they disagreed and even argued on some things until finally, they reached a consensus.

No matter how heated the discussion got, they never belittled one another, demeaned one another, called each other names or talked trash about each other to us kids. They never triangulated us or used as manipulation tools against each other. And, no matter what, one truth remained, their love for each other and for us was more important than who was right.

When you decide to do what’s best for everyone involved, motivated by love and appreciation for each other, more than you care about who’s right, arguments tend to work themselves out without ugly drama and violence.

………IMAGINATION

Through his ability to dream and his excitement over new ideas he taught me that it’s better to attempt and fail than to never attempt at all, that it’s okay to think outside the box (or be oblivious to the box in the first place.) Daddy had big dreams and childlike excitement that was contagious.

…….ENGAGEMENT

He guided me in tangible ways, too. He taught me to bait a hook, to hunt, to scale a fish, to fertilize the soil, to ride a bike, to build a fence, to preserve meat in a smoke house or a saltbox, to store corn for the winter, to make a bridle, to ride a horse, to recognize a tree by its leaves, to forage the woods for food, to split wood and to rick it. In doing these things, he spent time with me and that communicated something else to me—he valued me.

…..DISCIPLINE & INTEGRITY

While my dad was not a strong disciplinarian, he was a consistent one. He had his moral code and he stuck to it. He didn’t impose a lot of house rules on us but he did expect us to work. We had chores. He insisted on honesty. Making a bad choice usually didn’t get us into trouble. Lying about it did. When we went somewhere he wanted us to have manners. Stealing meant we were returning it, admitting what we did and apologizing. He never punished us but he did discipline us. Even when we were “in trouble” with him, we knew he still accepted us and valued us.

LOVE YOUR KIDS:

Daddy would often say, “If you ain’t got love, you ain’t got nothing at all.”

He never read that book on Love Languages, yet he spoke all of them fluently.

He spent quality time with us. Daddy didn’t do elaborate things with us. We couldn’t afford elaborate things. So, he ate supper with us every night. He told us stories at bedtime. He watched television with us, and we talked about the programs we watched. He went on walks in the woods with us. He planted flowers with us. He got down in the floor and wrestled with us. He told us jokes and sang to us. Daddy went exploring with us.

My father had little money, yet he managed to give gifts to us and rendered acts of appreciation/service to us. He whittled toys for my brothers and jewelry from cedar for my sisters and me. He went spelunking and brought cave rocks home. He constructed a beautiful flower garden from them for all of us to enjoy. He built a homemade swing set in the front yard out of 100 year old Maple trees, a long pole, and hemp rope.

When I was very young, he brought a chihuahua-pug home in his coat pocket. He set it in the playpen with me. I kept that dog until he died when we were both fourteen. Every year when I had my birthday, my dog had a birthday, too.

Daddy never withheld words of affirmation and touch either. He wasn’t critical, even when he was correcting me. He somehow knew that you could correct a child without demeaning the child or verbally humiliating the child.

I always knew that it was okay to hug my father. He never turned us away when we needed a hug and there was never a day that he didn’t say, “I love you,” to all of us at least once and there were seven of us kids. He would usually say it at bedtime. He’d sit at the kitchen table drinking his nightly coffee and having one last cigarette. We’d all come around and give him good-night hugs and exchange ‘I love yous’ then off to bed we’d go.

We often had cousins in the house. Years later an adult cousin said to me, “I was so jealous of you when we were kids. Because every night your daddy said he loved you. My daddy never said that to us when we were little.”

APPRECIATION FOR FATHERS:

I realize that we live in a different world now, a different time, a more ‘selfie’ kind of time. But the components of being a successful father haven’t changed. A successful father will still be present, feeding his children, guiding his children, protecting his children and loving his children.

I’m thankful to all of you who are fathers that provide, protect, guide, and love your children. Thank you. My dad would be proud of you.