Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Time for Perspective

Hello friends,

Gosh, it's been awhile since I wrote. Much has happened. Illness in the family. College graduations. New jobs. Retirement. I'm older, and not always liking it. I don't like that I'm slowing down, and sometimes it seems like a crawl. My body is doing all sorts of things that disturb me, amaze me, and often makes me laugh.

I want to climb a tree again...without falling out. I want to skip up the street (hey, I was a great skipper) without falling down. I want to walk for hours and never become tired. I want my feet not to hurt. Nor my back. Nor my hands. What must it be like to be pain free? And, oh yes, it would be nice to be 130 pounds again. When was that? Heck, I just might skip up the street, if I could be 150 pounds!!!

These are all small things. Unimportant to anyone but me. But here is my perspective. I'm breathing, very well. My heart is pretty good. I've adjusted pretty well to the medications that make this possible. I want skin that's petal-smooth, eyes that can see the stars, and a body that moves exactly the way it used to.

Again, my perspective...I have lived, laughed, and cried through an amazing history. Where once an automobile drove less than 60 miles per hour, we now have space ships landing on Mars. I have lived through too many wars. I have seen too much pride in our government leaders...folly, parading as wisdom.

I was raised alongside the ocean, and I remember when it was clean and a brilliant blue. I have seen the blue of the ocean meet the Gulf waters in a swirling mist of green and blue. I have seen, with clear vision, a star-filled night explode with tiny points of light. I have lived in a world that did not threaten to choke me with every breath. And I have seen honor, which is a rare value these days.

There are many things to confuse in these times of double-speak. There are many things that assault our eyes, our mind, and our soul. There are things that should be left unsaid, but of course, that is not the fashion of our times.

During the last seven plus years I have seen much to alarm me, shock me, and just plain horrify me. I am not satisfied with a government that I voted to place in office. For a woman who doesn't drink, how did this corruption slip past me?

Yet still, there is much perspective. As I sit at my computer, on the desk before me is a curious kind of rock. At least it is certainly fashioned of rock. It's not very big, but it is beautiful. Understanding that someone loved and used this remarkable instrument, gives me goose-bumps. I am touching an ancient tool, which someone else held in his or her hands, eons ago.

The owner of this tool has been gone long before there was any knowledge of civilization, that we know today. For this stone knife is a part of history long past. It is fashioned in such detail, with impressions for fingers. The tip is dull, after millennia in the earth, yet the place where a bone handle might have been tied is as clear as the palm of my hand. This knife or scraper fits a small hand. It may have been a present for a youth or a spouse or a young girl. It was once held, as I hold it, by someone who treasured it.

Virginia, where I live has a wealth of history hiding within its soil. People lived and loved and dreamed, right here, under my feet, thousands of years ago. I don't know a single gardener or farmer, in my region, who doesn't have dozens of curious tools from long ago. I found this little knife right in my own back yard.

When this life that we live in, with all of its hypocrisy, lies, and disappointments, is long past, I hope that we have left something of worth behind. I hope we leave clean air and startlingly beautiful animals of every fur, feather, and hue. I hope to leave this world a better place for my children.

And when this world becomes weary, with all of this life's cares, I often look at my little knife (it's my knife, now) and I hold it in my hands. I can almost see and feel the one who owned this lovely piece of the past. So I pray...for him or her, for us as a nation, and for each family who holds a loved-one dear.

This little knife was laying in my yard, long before there was a yard. And long before I found it, someone else held it, millennia ago. If this knife survived, perhaps we, as a people, will survive, too.

Father in heaven, let us never forget that You hold us in the palm of Your hand. Let us remember that we are literally carved in the palm of your hand. We are safe, in an unsafe world, simply by placing our trust in you.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Time for Humility

Hello friends,

In a little over 2 weeks, I will get my first retirement social security. I'm 62, and I'm not going to see 35 again. I've been told I don't look my age, and though my husband hates when I say this, I think that I do. It's true that my hair is still a red-gold, with a hand full of silver running through it, but I have to admit, I miss 35.

At 35 I married the love of my life. He is still the love of my life, as I am his. He still has that twinkle in his eyes, that I first fell in love with twenty-eight years ago. We've been through some hard times, especially as a military family, but we've made it through still in love.

Our children are grown, and wonderful. We've been blessed, and I believe that God has had His hand of safety and favor upon us. No, not because of anything that we have done, but because of His unfathomable grace. How is it that He would bless us? I'll never know on this earth.

I read recently that a certain person, who is constantly being interviewed, and is considered to be quite a political pundit, says that there is no evidence of God in the universe. Religion, he says, is like a drug for the unthinking masses. Well, I say to him, you are not very original, and Karl Marx said it better.

He was wrong, and so are you. Religion is not that wooden bench that you warm on Sunday. It is not that building that crouches beneath a cement cross. Religion is the heart and soul of living and loving. It is a hand that reaches out to the needy. It is the soul that reaches out on the Internet, who shouts to the earth, GOD IS REAL!!!!

God is as real as your breath that you can only feel, but not see. He is as real as the blue of the sky. God is as real as a child's whisper, "Mommy, I love you." God is real. It's this world that is false.

I feel sorry for that pseudo-intellectual snob, who hangs out at the Playboy mansion. Now that's real...all those misled girls with silicone implants. That's real...a group of drugged, lost souls, who have forgotten what real truly means.

Real is the look I see in my husband's eyes that tells me just how young and beautiful I am. Real is the laughter in our home, and real is its warmth. Real is the Light and Grace and Forgiveness of Christ on the Cross. Real is the feeling of love that He fills me with, late at night.

Is God real? You bet He is. Is He real to you? That is a question that you must answer for yourself.

God bless and keep you.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A Time of Confusion

Hello friends,

This is a difficult day for me. No doubt about it. For my friends from other lands, the American people have been taking part in the longest and most confusing primary (before the actual election) in our nation's history. For folks who don't know, an election primary season is a period of time where the American people vote for the candidate whom they would like to lead their party in the presidential election. That way, there will (hopefully) be only two candidates running for office, for president.

So, today, when it looks like the only candidate who understands the American people, and the suffering of the poor, has probably lost the nomination for the highest office in the land; obviously I am a bit depressed, since my candidate seems to have come to the end of her road. This makes me very sad. It also scares me.

You see, I'm a conservative who is also a realist. I know that few governments really care about the poor. I am a Christian, also, and I try to live by the Word of God, in the Bible. The Apostle Paul said, "True Religion is caring for the widows and orphans." I believe that we are commanded to do so. Only one candidate really understands what that means, Hillary Clinton.

John McCain, who keeps calling himself a conservative, believes that if you give enough money to corporations, and you give them all the tax breaks, then the corporate hierarchy will have a sudden flash of compassion, and declare, "Hey, we must take care of the people! Let's feed the poor! Let's care about the widows and the orphans."

Yeah. We all believe that, don't we? People with all the money caring for the poor. Ha! Any idiot can see the hypocrisy in that belief. It hurts my heart. As a conservative, I believe in moderation, loyalty, a clear definition of right and wrong, and a government that lives by fixed principals. But I guess I must be a bad conservative, because I believe that we are commanded by God to care about, and care for, the poor.

Let's not forget that we are at war; that we have thousands of young people in a foreign land, which hates our very existence. They are being slaughtered, maimed, and hidden, and they were young children when this war started. McCain seems to think we all believe that a 100 year war would be a great idea; while Obama swears that we'll be out of the carnage, and safer, in months.

Well, I have news for both of them. First of all, I am strongly against a 100 year war. It didn't work for the French and English, in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, and it won't work for us. And that immediate, happy withdrawal? Yeah! That will work. Our troops will be safe, because the extremists will simply stand back and let us leave. In fact, they'll carry our stuff to the airplane, so we don't forget anything. What a childish plan!

Obama is a liberal, who believes things happen, because he wishes them to. Oh, he is charismatic, lyrical, and sweeps people away with dramatic speeches, but he has never convinced me that he cares for those less fortunate. And he still hasn't shown me a plan. I have two questions for Obama: how, and then what?

All through these primaries there have been the vultures of the American press -- often referred to as talking heads -- who have made it clear that country people are "under educated" and terribly ignorant. We're bitter, Obama says, and as a result, we rely on guns, religion, and bigotry. Gee, thanks. How understanding and without bitterness you are. Oh, and what tolerance you show.

Moving right along, let's take a walk on the campuses at major universities, and see the great intelligence displayed by the so-called educated. Such a bunch of busy bees. Yes, a collective -- something like a bee-hive -- with a hive-like personality. Yes, let's be governed by a consensus. How about government by a committee, for a committee, and of the committee? It's a little kingdom of people who are anesthetized to make uninformed choices that never hurt themselves, but they do hurt those who need help the most; yet do not receive it.

With all of my being, I hate artifice. Jesus referred to "hypocrites," a Greek expression that referred to "pretenders" in a play, who are not themselves. Dishonesty makes me really rankle. Integrity and moral courage are rare. But why is it so? I don't know. I only know that it is a lonely life for those who live by honest principles.

So, now we have an opportunist running against an orator, neither of whom care much about the people who voted for them. You see, it's people, not governments that they have been called to serve. But it is not the people whom they serve. It is themselves.

I simply want a president who is a human being, who loves this country more than the power they may wield. I remember Katrina, and the masses of Americans who were left to, women, and children, who were abandoned; and that vision changed my life forever. I couldn't save them; but I could promise them that I would not forget. Every day, I ask God to vindicate them, and to hold those who are responsible for disregarding them, to His judgement.

My heart, at this time, goes out to Hillary Clinton, Bill, and Chelsea, who have devoted their lives in service to those who have no voice. A vote may count. It is certainly an opinion that is cast; but it doesn't buy food or milk. It doesn't create jobs; nor does it provide a better life for your children.

Hillary Clinton is a woman of flesh and blood, with all the failings that each of us share. We make mistakes. We forget time lines. We stumble. But if we are human, and we place our lives under God's will, we care and we act. I don't believe that either surviving candidate cares, but I do. So, I have been praying that God will grant me the grace to accept the things that I cannot change.

I think that I have never seen such fortitude, as I have in Hillary Clinton. Nor have I seen such courage under fire, and that is what I want my girls to be. I believe that one day, when she faces our Lord, that he will say, Hillary, you have fought the good fight; you have won the race; welcome into the joy of your Lord. You have won My heart!

My girls will be fine. They have their college degrees. A bright future awaits them, but not for most in our community. One day, if we do not change as Americans, God will turn us over to our enemies, those false friends with whom we already sleep, and they will defeat us, without firing a shot. I'm no prophet, but that is what I fear.

Father in heaven, please guide me, and help me to listen to your voice. Grant me the grace to desire truth, and then embrace it. May I seek Your will, and then follow. And, Lord, protect all of us from the enemy that we have become to ourselves.

With love,
Jaye Lewis

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