Thursday, October 27, 2005

No self interest

“ The common people understand not many excellent virtues; the lowest virtues draw praise from them, the middle virtues work in them astonishment or admiration, but of the highest virtues they have no sense or perceiving at all.” Bacon

Here in the annotations by Richard Whately, D.D. are some examples of the higher virtues—

“He will do good without calculating upon much gratitude; yet will be grateful, with most generous ardor himself. To take any unfair advantages, or even to take all fair ones—to press his rights to the utmost---- to press close to the limits of what is wrong, and anxiously consider whether he may be allowed to do this, or omit that,-- he disdains, and would feel degraded by it. Of the virtues of such a man as this, the vulgar have indeed no perception.”

Of all the influences of Christianity that reached deep within me when examining the faith it was the countless acts of goodness, done, not out of compulsion, fear, guilt or even duty, but rather by a grace moving people to act, not out of self interest but rather from a joy of doing as Jesus did, loving, touching, giving, helping. Knowing He dwells in goodness, not for gain, but because His kingdom is of such. Such a beautiful thing to give, expecting nothing in return, but because we value others regardless of their faults or shortcomings.

When the hearts cry is, “Does no one care? Will no one come?” And to be moved by God to be the vehicle of his love and say, “Yes, I am here.”
Such as I have, I will give you; I may not have gold, but I can give you counsel, I may not be able to relieve your need, but I can relieve your sadness; I cannot cure you, but I can comfort you; I cannot take away your poverty, but I can ease your spirit Not for glory, or return payment, without strings attached, no agenda, but because Jesus loves you and because he does, I sense your need and want to do such as I can.

It is true, I had no idea or concept of the purity of giving for the good in it without looking for reciprocation. What a breath of fresh air, truly the beauty of holiness.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A luxury in tears?

"You get many soft, susceptible, sentimental spirits to weep over any scene or tale of woe,
but it is not those who will weep the readiest over the sorrow who will do the most to relieve it.
Sympathy has its own selfishness; there is a luxury in the tears that it loves idly to indulge.
Tears will fill the eye--should fill the eye, but the hand of active help will brush them away, that the eye may see more clearly what the hand has to do." .....William Hanna

I can relate to this quote. I think as a Christian, our heart becomes tender and the sentimental spirits, and tears that well, are emotions planned by God. But this emotion is to be examined to see if in it there is an opportunity for change, either in ourselves or to the sufferer. In my experience, if the examination does not begin during the moment, time washes away what perhaps was an opportunity.

Led by a child

When I reached the age when grandchildren began to come, I was inspired in many ways by them. Older, somewhat wiser, I was drawn into the life of the child in a fresh new way. Life is kind of a blur when you begin rearing your own children but by the time grandchildren come along you have had time to season some and your nervous system allows you to enjoy what once only sped by.
I was inspired to write a few poems and the following is one I find some merit in, and it leads to the next piece.

Led By A Child

The purity of children, God’s most precious gift;
When I behold its beauty, I’m aware of the drift
I’ve taken from virtue, in its grandest form,
It’s God’s reminder of what will be the norm
In the Kingdom Eternal, where the saints will be filed
Before the throne, and lead by a child.

It’s been said that infancy is a Messiah that pleads
Fallen man to aspire, more than all of the creeds,
And God with His spirit, each son would adorn
The innocence of children, holiness reborn.

Words fail to express, like the beauty of a rose,
The impression of innocence on someone who knows,
His life has been stained, and darkened inside,
When from the bosom of God, he ceased to abide.
So God has planned each birth to begin,
His display of purity, to draw us back again.

Having written that, when I came across the following poem with a similar theme it struck home….

“This sweet child which hath climbed upon my knee,
This amber-haired, four summered little maid,
With her unconscious beauty, troubleth,
With her low prattle maketh me afraid.

Ah, darling! When you cling and nestle so
You hurt me tho’ you do not see me cry,
Nor hear the bitterness with which I sigh
For the dead babe I killed so long ago.
I tremble at the touch of your caress;
I am not worthy of your innocent faith;
I who, with whetted knives of worldliness,
Did put my own child-heartedness to death;
Beside whose grave I pace forever more.
Like desolation on a shipwrecked shore.

There is no little child within me now,
To sing back to the thrushes, to leap up
When June winds kiss me, when an apple-bough
Laughs into blossoms, or a butter-cup
Plays with the sunshine, or violet
Dances in the glad dew. Alas, alas!
The meaning of the daisies in the grass
I have forgotten; and if my cheeks are wet,
It is not with the blitheness of a child,
But with the bitter sorrow of sad-years.
O, moaning life, with life irreconciled!
O, backward-looking thought, O, pain,
O, tears!

For me there is not any silver sound
Of rhythmic wonders springing from the ground.
Woe worth the knowledge and the bookish lore
Which makes men mummies, weighs out every grain
Of that which was miraculous before,
And sneers the heart down with the scoffing brain.
Woe worth the peering analytic days
That dry the tender juices in the breast
And put the thunders of the Lord to test,
So that no marvel must be, and no praise,
Nor any God except necessity.

What can ye give my poor starved life, in lieu
Of this dead cherub which I slew for you?
Take back your doubtful wisdom and renew
My early foolish freshness of the dunce,
Whose simple instincts guessed the Heavens at once.” Richard Realf

Monday, October 03, 2005

I rented a great movie the other night titled "Born in the Brothels". It is a moving, inspiring movie about a woman who went into the red light district of Calcutta India to film and tell the story of women there. During her time there she met and fell in love with the children born of the prostitutes. She then began sharing with them her talent of photography. As the story unfolds, I became captivated by the undying spirit of the children, not to mention their creativity, even in the worst circumstances on earth. I think it should be a 'must see' by all. I showed it to Carissa and Jordan, who loved it as well. There are only two parts where Indian women are scolding children in the most horrid language, trust me you can't imagine it, that is not fit for anyone, much less children, thankfully that part is in subtitles and can easily be skipped. The movie is in English, but when an Indian person speaks that doesn't know English, they put in sub-tiles.
I watched it twice and enjoyed it more the second time.