A short video of our modest home and yard. It’s hard to believe that twenty-two years have gone by since we first purchased the home. Out initial intent was to buy a modest house (instead of renting) while I was in graduate school. The plan was to flip the house after three years and, hopefully, make a significant profit.
There is a devil lurking in the shadows seeking to devour whosoever comes its way. It is an elongated beast, some 5 metres in length and 1 metre broad across its back. It perches menacingly, its hollowed out back standing at least 60 centimetres above the ground. It’s dark brown flesh is scarred from many a battle. It reeks of peat and earthly moss. Deep within its back lay the flowing orange fire that lures its victims to a sudden and untimely disaster.
That insidious monster is my neighbour’s flower planter situated obnoxiously between my double driveway and theirs. It is an accident waiting to happen, violating at least one city bylaw. This devil disguised as an innocuous marigold flower planter has destroyed more of our vehicles than I care to elaborate. Front bumpers, rear bumpers, lower body panels, tires, wheels, and doors – the dastardly creature has attacked and devoured them all.
I have pleaded with my neighbour for well over a decade to remove the barrier or at least cut it back to be in compliance with city bylaw. It is nearly impossible for a car to turn left from the street on to our driveway without the danger of being accosted by that mud brown devil incarnate of a beast called a flower planter. We have spent literally thousands of dollars repairing various automobiles of ours (not to mention friends) after a confrontation with the beast.
Last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back. We just purchased a brand new car that cost us literally half the price of our home in 1995. The new Honda hot hatch was parked on the far left side of the driveway, far away from the smelly monster. My wife and daughter were taking our “old” car out for a spin. Our youngest was familiarizing herself with her “new” hand-me-down. After picking up some ice-cream at the local supermarket, she tried to maneuver the Honda coupe into the far right side of the driveway, being ever so careful not to hit our shiny new car.
Lo and behold, the monster was awakened, lunged out, and took a big bite out of the front bumper. It’s talons tearing and scratching at the lower front of the car.
My devastated daughter just sat in the car and cried. Her “new” car was no longer immaculate, but wounded and mangled. By the time I was called outside to inspect the damage, I was livid with anger – not at my daughter, but at that damn planter and at myself for allowing this to go on for so long.
Sometimes, being a good neighbour is a one way street with little or no cooperation from the other party. That’s it – the war is on. That planter is going to be removed come hell or high water.
Baz Luhrmann said it best when he wrote the Sunscreen song:
Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.
One of the most peaceful places to walk, run or ride is in the Riverside Memorial Park Cemetery in the SouthEast corner of our Queen city. Although the predominantly paved roads throughout the park may seem like a good place for a road race criterium, please consider slowing down and being quiet and respectful around those who have come to mourn their loved ones who have passed away.
Video shot with a Garmin Virb Elite and edited in Final Cut Pro X. Original music composition created in Logic Pro X.
This morning, as I was reading various American and Canadian news online, I could not help but notice the victim mentality of so many “news” articles. It would seem that a significant number of people in North America view themselves as helpless and weak, subject to being downtrodden by the rich and powerful, the elite of our respective societies.
To the perpetual victim, there is always an enemy, whether it be the wealthy, or corporations, or government. Always someone to blame for their lot in life, never once considering that they themselves are their own worst enemy. Often the victim is being victimized by their own thinking, interpreting life through the rose coloured lenses of their own worldview.
My grandfather once said,
If you can accept that life is unfair, then you have ALREADY won half the battle.
As an innovative and industrious farmer and businessman, he started his life in Canada with nothing and died in his late 90’s a wealthy man. There were no real breaks in his life, no significant government subsidies, no free rides. Make it or break it was a way of life for him. He fathered four sons, who in turn fathered their own children, and they, their children, and so forth. A family legacy was started by one man and one woman who were determined NOT to be victims, and to build a personal wealth that would be a blessing, not only to the generations of family yet to come, but to greater society as well.
The obvious question today is,
How much of our own victimization is the result of our own thoughts and choices in this life?
Even for those that have been truly victimized through violent crime, war, generational poverty, and failing health. There is a way out, and it starts by the way we view ourselves and life in general. It is going to take an enormous amount of courage and perseverance to climb out of the victim mentality so prevalent in today’s society. But it has to start somewhere, with one person willing to change the status quo of victimization and work towards a better future for their children’s children.
The choices we make today become who we are tomorrow
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV
Exactly one year ago, I was confronted by a rather likeable young man (a Pastor) concerning some of my posts on FaceBook about specific individuals and their relatively novel theological positions on traditional Christian teaching or doctrine concerning the Rapture, the Second Coming of Christ, and the positive role of the Jewish people and the nation of Israel in both the past and the future.
We had a long and somewhat stimulating conversation concerning our very different points of view on Eschatology (final events of human history). I think part of this stimulation simply was the result of drinking too much coffee! Nevertheless, we came away from the conversation with an agreement to disagree with each other’s point(s) of view, yet agreed to demonstrate tolerance and acceptance for one another regardless of our somewhat polarized positions, different perspectives, and life experiences.
Now, I wish I could end this story by saying everything was just peachy, however, it was not. Many young people can reason and formulate an opinion very quickly. Sometimes, for no other reason than having less life experience to incorporate before making an opinion. As a middle-aged adult, sometimes one has to ponder and think about things a little longer before we can formulate an opinion and/or come to some sort of conclusion.
The gist of this story is that I had felt, somehow, I had conceded and/or given up my constitutional right to freely adhere to my own beliefs, and practice of my Christian Faith without interference or coercion from another group and/or individual’s idea(s) of what I should believe, who I can or cannot disagree with on matters of theology, and whether or not I will be accepted into this particular group if I do not “submit” to their particular authority(s).
Been there, done that. I have experienced for many years what it is like to be truly free to worship God, as I understand Him, without some organized group or individual attempting to control or dominate my personal life with their particular ideas of God, the Bible, and the inevitable system of rules and regulations so prevalent to religious groups.
And yet, I still felt somewhat insecure in my position. Even now, I marvel at the aforementioned statement. After all, I was a trained Pastor with an undergraduate degree in Biblical Studies, and a graduate education in ministry, with a life experience that literally dwarfed that of this young man. Yet, the need for acceptance was dominating my common sense and experience.
It took my loving companion of 35 years, my wife, to remind me that I was indeed free to choose to follow my own conscience without interference. And I am continually grateful for her kind and insightful advice.