Life in the Slow Lane

Contemplating life, faith, words, and memories

Reblog: Gun Control vs. Self-Control | Mitch Teemley — May 26, 2022

Reblog: Gun Control vs. Self-Control | Mitch Teemley

Gun Control vs. Self-Control

 
Reblogged
I would be surprised if the events in Uvalde, TX, two days ago were not in your minds and hearts. My admission to you is that I don’t have the wherewithal to write such a post as I’m too angry. I would likely head off in the wrong direction. So, please read Mitch’s post and take to heart his words and opinions. He is one of the most faith-filled bloggers I have the pleasure of knowing.
 

Two days ago, an 18-year-old murdered nineteen children and three adults in Texas – just ten days after another 18-year-old shot thirteen people, ten fatally, in Buffalo, NY. The New York shooter was a known racist, while the Texas shooter had no record of violence and no known ideological agenda. But the two shared one chilling trait:

Madness.

Ecclesiastes 9:3 says, “There is a malevolence that infects the human race, and the same destiny awaits them all. For their hearts are full of evil — madness is in their hearts while they live, and then they die.” When we fail to find what we’re meant to live for, the festering madness Ecclesiastes speaks of can emerge, offering something to kill for.

Every time there’s a mass shooting, the gun-control debate is revived. “Guns kill!” “Guns don’t kill, people kill!” Versions of the latter will, no doubt, echo at the National Rifle Association convention in Texas tomorrow (just four hours’ drive away from the mass murder site). And while it’s true that no gun ever killed anyone without a human pulling the trigger, it’s also true that no human ever killed anyone by pointing their finger. Nevertheless, both statements are half-correct:

Guns kill.

And so do people.

Therefore, any real solution must address both issues.

Guns kill. The U. S. Constitution was written at a time when rural self-protection, hunting, and citizen’s militias were central to society. But the Founders clearly did not envision the culture—or weapons—of today. Will vastly improved gun control stop people from killing? No. But it will diminish it. And diminishing human chaos is the best any law can hope for.

People kill. It has always come down to Self vs. Other. Cain slew Able because Able had something Cain wanted. The highest moral codes have always striven to check this madness, to promote selflessness over selfishness. But when accession to moral codes erodes, anarchy ensues. When the ethics-driven Roman Republic became the power-driven Roman Empire, truth faded: Sports and arts devolved into spectacles in which human beings were raped, tortured and murdered for entertainment. The masses believed in everything, and the cognoscente believed in nothing.

“Madness is in our hearts.” Modern culture is undergoing a sea change like that of ancient Rome, only it’s happening far more quickly. Former civic values—duty to God, family, country and community—have become outmoded, replaced by duty to Self alone. Can the trend be reversed before we dissolve, like Rome did, into chaos?  I honestly don’t know. But I do know this:

For it to happen, families, schools and communities would have to recommit—deeply—to teaching civility, character and selflessness, to modelling not what to kill for…

But what to live for.

“Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who do not know the
meaning of life, but as those who do.”

~Ephesians 5:15

 
Where Did She Go? — January 1, 2022

Where Did She Go?

Where in the world is she? Where did she go?

Almost a year ago I came to grips with a difficult decision. I needed to take a couple of months away from my blog. The difficulty arose from the realization I was giving in to my pain and resulting depression. Giving in is not in my nature.

Two months grew into six. Then into ten, and here we are today, a bit over a year later. Without saying anything more, I let the months slip by. Finally, my courage and determination have gotten the better of me. I’m stepping out from behind those excuses. Continue reading

Rainy Autumn Days — November 25, 2020

Rainy Autumn Days

Rainy autumn days arrived in the Pacific Northwest with bluster. With them, they brought winds that tossed colorful leaves everywhere. Our maple tree left our driveway looking like a leaf mosaic. Bob took the photo above on one of his daily trips to our mailbox last week.

With the change in our weather, the last weekend in November upon us, and new COVID restrictions on Oregon activities, it must be Thanksgiving. Things have tightened up with Continue reading

Miracles Happen — February 19, 2020

Miracles Happen

Watching for signs of spring can reveal miracles happening around us. The helleborus shown above is a miracle. The plant lives through the coldest and darkest nights of winter. Survives the winter rains and often hail and freezing rain. And still near Christmas you’ll find buds forming. Now, as we are in the middle of February, they are blooming. Our plants are full of blossoms! These plants and their blooms represent a miracle in my mind.

They could have succumbed to the harsh winter weather. The cold east wind bringing a tinge of iciness with it. At some elevations, these plants might have received a covering of snow. Yet, they bloom away. Miraculous in their survival.
 
On December 31st, I met with my pain management physician. He advised I had reached the end of free hemp and would need to buy it on my own. My first order of three 30 mL bottles (a mere 30-day supply) cost me approximately $200. 
 
My husband pointed out the hemp didn’t appear to diminish my pain level. A grocery shopping trip would find me lasting between 15 and 20 minutes on my feet. Then I had to give up and sit it out until Bob finished on his own. I couldn’t stand long enough to make a meal. I’d pull up my mother-in-law’s kitchen stool to the counter after 15 minutes or so. So many things I haven’t been able to do, and most of it because of pain from a bone harvest in 2001 during my first fusion.
 
After some discussion and prayer, Bob and I decided I should stop taking the hemp. After all, at that price, why should we buy it if it wasn’t working? So I did. Early in February, I took my last dose of hemp. It was an emotional decision because the hemp seemed to help at first. But, increasing doses didn’t seem to increase the hemp’s effectiveness against pain.
 
I confess if I leave home I do take a small dose of a prescription pain reliever as a precaution. After spending a couple of hours visiting friends in their home last week, we stopped at the grocery. I actually made it through the store without stopping to sit at all!!!
 
Yes, I can say I am pain-free now. Since the late 1990s, I have struggled with some kind of back pain. Most have increased in intensity over time. Between spinal fusions, I would have relief and often for long periods of time. Yet, the pain was never totally gone. 
 
Please don’t ask me what caused this tremendous turnaround. Neither Bob nor I can answer that question. We accept it as a miracle. The Bible tells us that miracles are born of prayer and faith:
 
Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.”

(Mark 5:34, The Message)

 
Your comments and thoughts are welcome. If you have stories of miracles, I would love to hear them. If you have stories of those who haven’t received a miracle and you wonder why, feel free to share those as well. Sharing stories is important in building community as well as spreading God’s love.

 

Featured image by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Hospitality — August 15, 2019

Five Minute Friday Link-Up :: Hospitality

Today I’m joining a talented group of writers at Five Minute Friday. This community connects each Friday in an online, unedited free-write based on a one-word prompt. My timer is set for 5 minutes. Let’s see where this week’s prompt–HOSPITALITY–leads me.

Growing up in the south, I developed an understanding, at least my own childlike version, of hospitality. Every time a new family moved into the neighborhood my mom would bake cookies or cake and, depending on the weather, carry along a pitcher of iced water or tea. To my mind, this was hospitality.

As time went by, my belief changed and hospitality became a party, hosted by me with a tidy house, lots of food, and me scrambling at the last minute to make sure everything was as it should be. Everyone else had a great time. I ended up collapsing in a chair or across my bed when everything was said and done.

Now I’m in my retirement years and all that hustle and bustle has gone by the wayside. What is hospitality in my life now? Reaching out in my community to foster a good understanding of what hospitality should be is what we should place as a priority. True hospitality is what we find in the story of Mary and Martha. 

When Jesus happens upon the village where Mary and Martha live, Martha is eager to invite him into their home. Mary takes a place at the feet of Jesus and listens to him. Martha, on the other hand, is distracted by many tasks and chores, so much so she asks Jesus to tell Mary to come and help her. To this request, Jesus responds with “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:41-42, The Message)

To clarify, Jesus isn’t saying one of the women is wrong while the other is right, or vice versa. They are each serving up their hospitality in different ways. Martha extended the hand of welcome to Jesus and invited him into her home, while Mary sat down to listen and give her attention to Jesus’s words. Mary and Martha have chosen different paths of ministry.

(Time used to confirm Scripture citation and to select images was not included in the 5 minutes.)

Whisper — June 14, 2019

Whisper

Whisper is an intriguing word. It’s a word that can mean more than the soft, hushed undertones of the voice. For example, the dahlia above is faintly colored, somewhat hushed and faded, with a whisper of pink.
 
On Sunday, a guest pastor shared the morning’s message of Pentecost with our children. She asked a couple of questions, both answered by the same little girl. Margo is about four, one of three children in a family where both parents are teachers. Needless to say, a lot of learning goes on in her home.
 
As I listened, it was difficult to hear Margo’s soft, quiet tones as she answered the questions. I listened with the power of intention to grasp what she was saying. My determination was rooted in the expression on the face of the young woman pastor. A look which denoted something profound had been said.
 
When the pastor turned to the morning’s adult message, the theme was the same. In so doing, she also asked the adults questions. 
 
One of the questions was to think of one thing that stood out in the morning’s Scriptures, the sermon, the hymns. Like an epiphany, I was suddenly struck with the image of Margo and her quiet, tiny voice. And by my need to listen intently to what she said.
 
I was reminded of how important it is to listen the same way to what God has to say to me in my daily life. By listening to the still, small voice of God enriches my relationship with Him. It will also broaden my understanding of what He expects of me.
 
The words “and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6 NKJV) come to mind. A reminder that even the littlest among us may be wise in ways we don’t understand.
 
Image attribution: Janine Joles on Unsplash