Old Chinese Proverb

I know.

You know.

But still, we think we might “get by” on this one.

You buy the used Subaru, love it, and walk out with only one key.  The second key is 175.00, and that is steep for you.

A year later, in the run up to Christmas the key vanishes.  It is what we now call “a crummy miracle”.  And they abound.  Dog leashes, baby’s anythings, the fifty you were holding for a rainy day…vanished.  Seriously passed into dark energy, awaiting physicists to find the other 93 % of the universe.  Think of it for a second.  Much, much more of the universe is missing than is found.

The replacement keys (it is time to purchase two, like we might have done in the first place) are 215.00 apiece.  After you have the car towed 50 miles to the dealership.

Old Chinese proverbs: replace the tire and spare now. Pay the insurance, electric, phone bills today, walk now, lose the weight last week. And buy the second key, while it is still cheap.  Saying what is wise takes no effort at all.

Doing what is wise is simple, but hard.   So hard.

We’ve Been Gypped

When I was young I had four grandparents, and a small constellation of older, wiser folks at church.  In a large church, the supply of old people over 40 seemed limitless.

Two things have happened since then.  I returned to walk down the halls of Sallie Curtis Elementary and was shocked at what they accomplished!  The entire world of desks, chairs, scissors, toilets, sinks, the height of tiles in the hallways, cabinets under the monstrous wall of windows to the outside: all of it was scaled for munchkins, me at that age.  The world was scaled for me, sized for my eyes cruising at an altitude of around three feet.  The wings where older students went to school were similarly scaled.

My world was scaled to make adults seem larger than life, from my perspective.  It was the same with wisdom.

Old professors, again way past 40, preached and taught at church.  Teachers who were merely 30 mastered our questions, taught science, math, geography, spelling, and dispensed justice in our universes of @ 30 kids.  A couple of times, the justice thing went against what I thought should have gone down, but I was obviously wrong in the face of advanced wisdom.

Well they are almost all dead.  I am older.  I survived 30, 50 and more.  I have seen the elected officials come and go.  It turns out we trust them as much as lawyers and preachers.  And I have collected degrees, studied, taught (ancient over 40, remember?), and watched my friends age and have their hair turn white or turn loose.

They are not so wise.  I know because I am not.  For all I have learned and experienced, according to  my confessions this morning, I am not wise on my best days, and far less on my worst days.

This is terribly judgmental, but I don’t see any others escaping their limitations and dumb human tricks: Pres., legislators, docs, producers, etc.  We all got older, I am just unconvinced that we got smarter, and certainly not wiser.

I hope they are building the desks and toilets even smaller for my kids and students and grandkids.  Otherwise, they will figure it out even earlier.  Now, I think I finally understand why entertainers told us not to “trust anyone over 30” when we were in college. We would have known sooner.

I now look for what I call congruence.  People tell you all sorts of windy things with which they live their lives.  The ones who walk their talk, live their truths, are more congruent.

I look up to them, sort of like walking out of my first grade room and being overwhelmed by the giant accommodations over in the fifth grade wing!

 

So, It’s true

Or Jill was right.

I was reading in the Old Testament, through a minor prophet, Zechariah.  It is not essential for you to know, but when he is called a “minor” prophet it does not mean he shunned certain keys when playing music.  It does not even mean he could not share the stage with “major” league, prophets.  It simply means he wrote less, and in some cases, I am thankful for that.

Anyway, he is barely getting started in his first chapter when he shares this startling image.

Verse 7: On (Feb 15, 519 b.c.), the word of the Lord came to Zechariah the prophet … as follows:

8:  In the night I saw … a Man (an Angel or an image of God) was riding on a red horse, and it stood among the myrtle trees that were in the ravine; and behind Him were horses: red, sorrel, and white. 9:  I asked, “O my lord, what are these?” And the angel acting as my guide said, “I’ll show you.”  10:  The Man standing among the myrtle trees answered, “The Lord sends these throughout the earth and patrol it.”

11:  And the men on the horses answered the Angel of the Lord, “We have gone throughout the earth and behold, all the earth sits at rest.”

It reveals a startling thing.  One, Tolkien may have simply read the text more closely than the rest of us.  Strider’s job description is clearly outlined here!  Two, the word “men” is implied in the text.  It could be that “they” were the horses answering, which makes Lewis correct in the Horse and His Boy.  Which means Solomon was right, and there are precious few possibilities under the sun that qualify as “new”.

The rest of the chapter talks about God’s heart to restore Jerusalem, but does not mention Elrond or elves, in case you got your hopes up too far.

Half Rack, the Survivor

He stood in the backyard, his black nose flaring, sensing.  His eyes darted. He stood motionless, perfectly blendingly brown against the ravine falling away behind him.

His regal bearing halted me, held me.  He watched me, stand still in my kitchen watching this buck, who possessed . . . . it was odd trying to count his “points”.  He possessed five points, but no.  Not correct.

Maybe his camouflage worked well this early.  I again counted antler points from his side, knowing an odd number of horns isn’t impossible, but incorrect.  That was the word, incorrect.  Not five.

He turned.  Looked at me, assessed me and I stared back open-mouthed.  His left side rack was “correct”: five points, beautiful, elegant.

His right side was gone, unlike any deer, elk, or horned game I’ve ever seen.  All of them had two racks, one per side, or nothing.  Maybe I thought boys grow new antlers each year, and then drop by the Antler store to leave both sides with a valet.

Life does not come at them balanced, aesthetically perfect on both sides.  A buck can loose a side in a fight, fence, or blunt force.  I wondered if it was tricky to hold his head level, and then he ran to vanish.

Tony, doctors say, will be gone before morning, and he lost bits of himself toward the end in a fight, a fence, or an invisible force.  He, too, studied me for years while living next door, and I’ll miss him more than Half Rack.

And it’s not actually losing this capability, that speed, or these kinds of recall.  No, unlike Half Rack, I sense the end of my days here, and knowing separates me from Half Rack.  Enough like God to know my days are numbered, and yet lacking so much that I can’t dismiss all my glory at once in a place I choose, that’s right, or good.

It’s another reason I love that Baby in the manger, who identified with us, and then died to make us unlike Half Rack forever.