Dream of a Little House

It is a wonderful thing to see realize that you and one of your heroes share a dream:

Carl Jung, in his memoir writes of that one of his dreams was “to have the family in one house, while I would life some distance away, in a hut with a  pile of books and a writing table, and an open fire where I would roast chestnuts and cook my soup on a tripod. As a holy hermit I wouldn’t go to church any more, but would have my own private chapel instead.”

My dream for sure. The problem is, I would still be in charge of cleaning the big house and doing the laundry.

I hate reality.

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Standing in the Solstice

Being raised in the Catholic Church, I know what it is to have ritual as part of my religious experience, but I cannot recall any ritual associated with the changing of seasons. If one studies the history of the rituals, there is for sure a link but in the practicing the thread is lost. I wish it had been otherwise. Every time there is a change of season, I think, “I wish I were more plugged into this important event.” I don’t belong to a community that celebrates the change of seasons. I think the pagans do something and I happen to know a pagan but I don’t think she belongs to a celebrating community…I could be wrong.

I suppose I could do some celebrating of my own. I happen to know that the shift from spring to summer happens at an exact moment in time. I looked it up…at 11:25 this evening, about two hours after I usually hit the sack. I will need a good nap if I am to stay up. But if I do, what can I expect to happen? We have already been living in the hot days of summer.

I think my problem is that I am not subtle enough. I am so numb-headed that changes have to blast their horn at me for me to notice. Let me think about this. I have been following the pattern of sunrises and sunsets for several years now, ever since I decided it was a good practice to greet the sun in the morning. I have noticed a strange phenomenon. The time of the rising and setting changes each day by about two minutes…one in the rising time and another in the setting time. So from the winter solstice, the daylight extends approximately two  minutes. Summer solstice marks a reversal. Each day from now on will get shorter until winter solstice. Halfway between these events are the fall and spring equinoxes…when day light and night are about equal.

Here is the phenomenon. The time of sunrise (5:27 am) remains the same for 5 days over the time of the solstice. The time of sunset (9:11 pm) stays a whopping 14 days! It feels like time is standing still – or that some really big object is trying to make a sharp turn. Thinking about it makes me want to hold my breath, like I am going over the first hill of a roller coaster.

God is awesome, as in awe-inspiring. What in the heck are we doing worrying about these grains of sand on the earth and the scuttling around of little mites? I wish I had a community to celebrate this thing with me. Meanwhile, I think I may stay up tonight and stand in the moment of the change.

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The Problem of Knowing

Carl Jung, in his biography Memories, Dreams, Reflections recollects his inner life during his teens. After a profound spiritual experience, he found that he was actually like two persons in one. “One of them,” he wrote, “was the schoolboy who could not grasp algebra and was far from sure of himself; the other was important, a high authority, a man not to be trifled with, as powerful and influential as this manufacturer.” When I read these words, I couldn’t help think of Jesus who, at the age of twelve, spoke of having a father other than the one who had raised him. What was the inner experience of Jesus that prompted  his words to his parents when they found him in the Temple? Had he, during this particular Passover journey, discovered something in himself that he hadn’t known before? In the story, Jesus parents are said not to understand. They just brought him home and life continued as it had been before the journey to Jerusalem, so they thought.

For Mary and Joseph, life was the same, but something had changed for Jesus. Jung tells of conversations he had with his minister father:

“…when I was eighteen years old, I had many discussions with my father, always with the secret hope of being able to let him know about the miracle of grace, and thereby help to mitigate his pangs of conscience. I was convinced that if he fulfilled the will of God everything would turn out for the best. But our discussions invariably came to an unsatisfactory end. They irritated him, and saddened him. ‘Oh nonsense,’ he was in the habit of saying, ‘you always want to think, One ought not to think, but believe.’ I would think, ‘No, one must experience and know,’ but I would say, ‘Give me this belief,’ whereupon he would shrug and turn resignedly away.”

My mind is flooded with the many words of Jesus about the kingdom of God being within and about knowing the truth. I recall that most of those around him failed to comprehend what he was talking about, just like Jung’s father could not comprehend his son’s words. Knowing something that can change a person’s life but that no set of facts or logical argument will transmit it to another is a helpless and lonely place to be. It was for Carl Jung and it was for Jesus.


Posted in spirituality | 4 Comments

Open Your Eyes

I read on Facebook about the Minnesota nurses who raised 2.6 million dollars to pay off medical debt of needy patients. I get pretty upset as I watch the drama unfold around the Republicans’ health care bill, so this posting was a breath of fresh air. It lets me know that, until my country gets it right, at least some of our citizens are being cared for. I wanted to write: “Jesus is alive and well and doing his thing in the world.”

When I read on Facebook about a kindness being done by my fellow humans, I have actually done this. “Jesus is here,” I might write and, interestingly, friends who I think are quite nonreligious are the ones who give my comment a “like”. I make my Jesus comments even for the smallest of things: a musician playing his music on the street so the passersby will put money into a hat for a homeless person sitting next to him; an engineer inventing a contraption that can get people with disabilities into places they could never go before; a child having a lemonade stand to raise money for the poor; a group of hikers freeing a bear from a trap.

This thing I do is not trivial to me. It comes from my own deeply held conviction that the Christ is truly among us and in each of us. This is the meaning of the beautiful story of the coming of the Holy Spirit in the form of fire upon the heads of Jesus’ followers. I believe that the story is about their waking up to a truth: Christ, in the form of the  Holy Spirit, is truly here. Jesus had told them repeatedly: “Open your eyes and see.” They finally did it and their hearts were aflame.

To those who are anticipating the second coming, I want to say, “Stop waiting”. The event already happened. They will know if they will only open their eyes and see demonstrations of courage in the face of adversity, the kindnesses that people do for one another, acts of justice, and nurses who raise money for patients who can’t afford to pay their medical bills.

Posted in Life | 5 Comments

Getting Holy-Holy on Facebook

I wanted to comment on a post on Facebook today but my comment sounded so holy-holy I had to pass. I don’t feel comfortable slathering my religious thoughts all over the place. The golden rule: don’t do things on Facebook that I get irritated when other people do it.

But my blog is another thing. I feel a special privilege here where I get to have the first and last word. I get to slather my religious thoughts all over the place because this is, in essence, my journal. It contains my personal thoughts. Those who read my blog understand from the get-go that it is my territory. They can visit or not and they can comment or not. I welcome comments because my guests often find holes in my thinking or they offer a perspective I haven’t considered. But they understand that it is my territory much like a column in a newspaper to the columnist.

Occasionally I will do the religious thing on Facebook. Sometimes the impulse is too great, especially when someone posts an image of God or of the servant Jesus that is so screwed up as to lead others down a dangerous path. (My own interpretation of danger).

Anyway, I needed to say this.

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Missing the True Conservatives

“Perhaps the concept of personal honor – once a crucial point of common ground between genuine liberals and genuine conservatives in Congress and society as a whole – is on its deathbed, collateral or intentional damage from the ‘populist’ movement that empowered the current Congress.”
(Brady Kiesling, archaelogist/ancient historian, “Being Honorable” in Spirituality &               Health magazine, May/June 2017)

Sometimes this liberal will share with a conservative that I yearn for the old conservatives that used to share in the leadership of our country. I don’t know that any have ever believed me. I am truly aware of the balance between a conservative and liberal point of view and, as I see it, either one, without the constraints imposed by the other, could run our country off the rails. I myself am a fiscal conservative who believes in wise management of money. But I am also one who believes that the care of the poor and struggling in our society is in a large part government responsibility. Kiesling’s assessment speaks to what I feel. I so want to believe that balance will one day be restored, but right now it doesn’t feel that way.



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In a Cottage Near Becida

I am writing from a cottage in the township around Becida, MN. The little house belongs to my daughter and her husband. I love it because it is separate from the main house, a dream spot for a visitor and no doubt nice for Kate and Jerry who can have part of their morning to themselves. I know that in my own home surrendering the quiet mornings is the hardest part of having guests. The guests are usually family members that I need to catch up with so I tolerate the temporary break in my routine.

So far today, I read while consuming a pot of coffee, did my yoga routine (outdoors facing the rising sun) and meditated, also outside. I don’t know where the mosquitoes were. And frankly, Scarlet, I don’t give a damn.

I have some goals while here. I like helping my adult children when I am with them. There is always something around the house they don’t have time to do. Kate and I will talk over breakfast about what she may have in mind for me. We will do some exercising together. I want to support her in keeping up with the exercises she has to do to fight the Parkinson’s disease that has now come to occupy her body. We are going to work on eating, too. This last goal is always a goal when I come here but every time our resolve dissipates before we get to the end of the first day. This time I am determined. “I think I can. I think I can…I will. I will!”


Posted in Family | 2 Comments