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.

Hoarding

We bought a five acre place.  Seeing it the first time, I swear Redd Foxx ambled out to us: Sanford and Son.  Hoarders had hidden cameras.

We bought 5.5 acres.  One acre is a pond, so 4.5 acres.  The folks living there 30 years kept everything.

I thought $20K to get rid of junk, but I was wrong!  In America people collect everything.  Everything.  In a hundred countries I might bury it all in a ravine or public dump — my grand children’s future ski hill.

But in the U. S. entrepreneurs and collectors, hold auctions!  On a rainy Saturday cars, trucks and trailers wedged in everywhere.  The food truck’s fusion tacos were delicious.

People bought a long-dead work-over rig, two trucks, a Mercedes complete with seven-foot snake, and Lincoln Continental with four field mice nests.  Think field mouse bigger than a squirrel.  Oh, and a motor home with a dead body.  Not really, but it smelled like it.

Miracle!  Buyers paid money, and then carted everything off on trailers!

They bought six boats: sail boat, pontoon boat and smaller ones.  Buyers brought tires, put tires on old trailers and drove away with boats.

One bought and winched out of trees a 25 foot trailer piled 12 feet high with styrofoam: a boat dock in an alternate universe future.  Women paid for the privilege of first, second and third pass through 2,000 glass jars.  I recycled 9 boxes.  She bought all five pumps with handles.  He didn’t buy four sewing machines, but bought the eight fall tall, all-wood cabinet with 56 drawers full of door knobs, electrical insulators: pure treasure.  Loaded it and drove off.

Someone bought the storage shed, and “dog house”: a metal building you park on a drilling floor of a large rig: and its materials (spark plugs, air and oil filters, carburetor kits).  Winched them onto a flatbed and drove off.

Then a “steel guy” brought chain saws and a massive tractor to pull 14 farm implements, including two manure spreaders — one of which he sold the owner 20 years ago.  He cut trees growing up through tractors and implements, and winched them out from vine snarls.

That left five pickup loads of cardboard, two of glass, three of recyclable plastics, and one huge roll-off of uncyclables.  That left shrubs, poison ivy, briers, trash trees, and monster vines shielding skids of shingles, tons of termite infused hardwood flooring, 1,500 bricks and concrete blocks, four trailers of oilfield pipe, bird houses, chains, saw blades, wood making tools, collars, PVC, black poly, 20 rotted tarps (and counting), Formica, car parts, tools, yard implements, trash, swings, and clothes.  Want a Cowboys jersey with “54” on it?  Randy White.  Chuck Howley.

We hoard.  We cram attics, basements, and storage locker(s).  Does we require it all to live well?  Will we really sell it for thousands?  How will we get to so many projects?  Maybe we think keeping future projects keeps Death overlooking us until we finish them all.  Not even our own kids care for most of our treasure.

I learned.  Again.  Recycle now.  Put it back in the economy.  Live with less.  Buy back space. Give to people in need.  Donate to help others with work.  Move out the 500 dollars of crap in the garage and pull in the $20,000+ car from the hail.

You’ll never sail that boat on your one acre lake from a dock you never built, let it go.

We’ve re-purposed over one point five acres.  Horses will graze there.  You?

i wonder if i can love enough

When I met and married Jill, I was in professional ministry: stuff we can now do for free.  As a seminary trained minister, I allowed me to think I was, what?  More spiritual?  A little better?  I am not sure.

It evidenced often.  Here’s a way.  Jill loved horses and Colorado.  Loves.  And I wondered subconsciously if maybe she loved them more than Jesus, or God.

When we married, I knew for a while that I loved Jill more than anything, but I “corrected” that by relearning to love Jesus first.  Again, I got paid to believe like that.

I spent another thirty years with Jill.  I resigned from church work, and I now play at being honest.  I say “play” because honesty without love or grace is an all-consuming monster.  Brave souls have faced it and been ground to dust.  Many write novels to journal it.

In my honesty I found nothing affects me like a horse or mountains move Jill.  Okay, I weep at some books or movies, but it’s different: not as structural, as fundamental as is Jill’s love for horses like Firefrost or Dartagnan; or the Princeton Valley, Chalk Cliffs, and skiing the Rockies.

I ride bikes.  Clear land.  Work in wood.  Ski.  Write.  Travel some, and nothing grabs me like being on a horse on a snowy day grabs, sustains, heightens, infuses Jill’s day with light and hope.

Which caused me to go back and hear John, whom I translated from Greek: [1 John 4:20] “For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

Jill loves her brothers and sisters, and we see them more than mine.  Jill loves our grand-kids, and goes to lengths to babysit them more than me.  Jill also walks our land and draws strength up out of the ground through her boots — when I see all that needs to be done.  Jill also loves Lewis and MacDonald as if they were fiances she lost in the war.

And John shattered my thinking.  Jill has been passionately crazy about people and things God has crafted for her and handed her — far more than anyone I know.

So God, by way of John, is using Jill, not my measuring stick, to show me: Loving who and what has been evidenced to me by God, is the first step in really learning to love the One who created them as evidence of His love to — me.

This may be a great year to learn to love more.