On a whim…

Chaotic, esoteric, marginally coherent, stuff about life.

Death’s Anniversary

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Twenty years ago, and earlier this evening, Beth Batson Wilkerson departed from this life. That which remained was buried and that which persists has moved on. Even now we who remember wonder to where and to when did she go? In the geography of time and space there is no chart on which we can mark her destination but there are places in the heart where shadows tease us with what reason cannot deduce; A place where departed loved ones linger.

cemeteryI have not been idle these twenty years. Much has changed and, for now, much remains the same. I have a son, now. Like all of us he is curious about his origins and we often talk of how our family was shaped. Beth’s death and our grief is a prominent moment in that story as well as my present happiness. For years I struggled with how to speak of my two great loves: my wife and my late wife. My son seems to grasp this easily. He asks, “Would she like me?” To which I reply, “She would love you!” He states, “I wish she could be here but then we wouldn’t have Mom, would we?” I ponder this as he continues, “But maybe we could just be a bigger family than we are now.” I think, maybe that’s what heaven is, the biggest of all families.

Thus, life as we know it has gone on. I have discharged some responsibilities and, as I have just related, I have taken on new ones. I am not alone and that is how Beth wished it. I live, somehow, both in grief and in joy; Living a paradox founded on an irony.

It is a difficult for me today. I am compelled to accept these truths: I could not have been who I was without one and I would not be who I am without the other. My dreams are never the same and always the same. I can not have what I want and I want to keep what I have. It is as if life is conducted in the vestibule of a great house. All of the loves, the dramas, the moments of grief and ecstasy are lived out in discrete moments of “then” while I am sustained by a sense of waiting for “eventually”.

I imagine heaven as a state of being where our grammar is changed. Every “was” and all our “somedays” are transfigured into “now”. Past and present tense have no context and, deprived of time, they fade as all things mortal must. It is there that we, all of us, gather in the presence of the Almighty. We gather before One whose otherness renders us silent; Our once bountiful sense of time distilled into an everlasting “now”.
Those who have gone before us do not wait for us, we are they who wait restlessly for them. Our Lord said of himself that he is the Alpha and the Omega. In him, we find our First and Last, our Beginning and End.

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Written by David Wilkerson

27 November 2013 at 11:54 pm

Making A Difference? I Hope So…

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I recently attended an Eagle Court of Honor where I, as Troop Chaplain, had the honor of leading the scouts in an opening and closing prayer. While there, I listened while many who earned their Eagle rank years ago spoke up.

One, Phillp Currier, remarked that the lesson he carried away from his scouting experience was this saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” I am impressed as I watch our young scouts demonstrate the kind of character that makes our country great. I saw it on Satruday as they turned out in the cold to raise funds and gather food for the Pelham Food Pantry. I watched them call out with pride and passion for other citizens of our town to step up.

Scouting is unique. As much as I enjoy sports I don’t see service as a defining attribute of character taught by sports. Of course, a scout can play sports. Consider Shane Victorino, an Eagle Scout, whose triple in the final game of the World Series put our Red Sox on the road to victory. He was also a star in Football, Soccer, Basketball, and Track. He admits that he never learned to surf, though. I bet his parents wore out more than a few sets of tires hauling him around to meetings. And, in case you are wondering, he wasn’t an only child nor was he an “easy child”. In his first 8 years he had over 30 stitches. He might have been, as some say, the kind of boy that “needs” scouting. I mention this because our boys learn about service to the degree that each adult who cares enough to make scouting happen demonstrates it.

On this Veterans Day, as we honor men and women in our Armed Services for their willingness to step up and go in harms way for our good, I want to take this moment (as a veteran) to thank these scouts for their willingness to serve. However, I especially want to say to each parent that YOUR willing sacrifice rendered through acts that encourage your scout and by doing your part including stepping up to be counted as someone willing to make a difference… to you I say thank you. Your willingness to serve causes me, as a veteran, to realize that my service and the service of other veterans, is not in vain.

Neither you nor I am paid, as this world measures payment, for the meetings, miles, and moments of rest that we give up to show these scouts that there is a better way, a right way to live. Undoubtably we often grow weary but we do not fade in our dedication to guiding these young people. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My ambition in life is, trough service to my maker and my community, to be proven Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and (above all) Reverent.

Written by David Wilkerson

11 November 2013 at 2:11 pm

Let All the Earth Keep Silence…

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Speak only if it improves the silence. From Chantelle Says

“Speak only if it improves the silence.” Courtesy of Chantelle Says

A friend perished tonight; I want to say ‘faded’. She faded from view. Or maybe I want to say, “she passed”, as they say in the part of Georgia where I came to know a bit more of God than I bargained for. No, just faded. Faded like the sun sinking below the horizon only to rise like the sun from another. Fading out, fading in. Setting and rising; borrowed images that, tonight, belong to others. They make me want to pray.

In her short book, “Help, Thanks, Wow”, Anne Lamott declares that prayer should be simple. I agree, but I want to add, it can still be beautiful. The question is, in whose eyes should such beauty be held? Is it possible to perceive beauty most properly when our hearts are tuned to a pitch heard only in darkest nights, or greatest joys, or deepest yearnings; a beauty encountered in the midst of mystery?  Is it probable that what often passes for beauty is noisy and as likely to carry prayers ‘aloft’ as a blossom might drift into the sky borne on the backs of gilded bricks? I need more than bricks tonight.

I want to pray. I want to let a stream of yearning flow from my heart to Another’s. Sometimes words of any kind get in the way of prayer. Of all the prayers I have uttered or heard the most profound was the extended silence that followed when Dr. Raymond H. Bailey halted, mid sermon. He had just declared that we should remain silent that God might speak;  the following silence provoked hope in some, joy in others, and (perhaps) surprise.  In silence we held our breath and our words. We listened and our hearts found the pitch; we simply and silently prayed. What could be more beautiful?

A friend perished tonight. Her family must surely struggle to find something lost in the shambles; in the midst of their grief I pray.

“But the LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before him.”
– Habakkuk 4:20 KJV

Written by David Wilkerson

1 May 2013 at 8:17 pm

Boredom Is Not a Birth Defect… It Could Be Congenital, Though…

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Not too long ago I listened to an interview with James Taylor  and he attributed his creativity to boredom. I guess I haven’t been bored enough for a while now? Today to add a new post to my blog I am leaning on the extraordinary creativity of a friend whose effort to invite a date to the school prom suggests that he is must suffer from congenital boredom (if Mr. Taylor is correct).  PLEASE watch this: 

Written by David Wilkerson

13 February 2013 at 9:18 pm

Posted in grace, hope, humor, life

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For shame….

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Autumn morning fog over Colebrook, New Hampshire

Thanks to The Christian Gift for a great shot.

The maple I see from my window is clearly embarrassed by the pending nudity of limbs and branches. She is blushing. It must seem odd to her, having nurtured the tree since spring, to now abandon her perch and leave the tree free from her calming presence. If only she could know nor’ easters to come are the sum of the great northern forests’ wiggly flaunting their bare selves. Oh to sing the coming stirring air and let our pale yellow blush burn with brightest passionate red!

 

Written by David Wilkerson

10 September 2012 at 11:34 am

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