Sunday, November 15, 2009

And then there was this dude named Benedict

It’s been quite a while since I felt moved to write down my thoughts. When I try to look back and determine what has unmotivated me, I can find nothing tangible to blame it on. It sort’a seemed that life was at a standstill, nothing happening that I wanted to share. There really have been some serious issues but frankly they had me so down I didn’t want to even think about putting them on paper.

Seems that I remember just before I turned fifty that I went thru a spell like this…thinking that I was clearly entering the twilight years. Now as I find myself mere weeks away from seventy I find its harder than ever to get “up”. Up from the bed, up from the chair, up from any kind of kneeling position….any kind of physical “up” seems to really elude me or cause me pain. And then there is the emotional side of things. You seem to reflect more on the past as you age and if you, like I, stumbled a lot as you walked thru life then those remembrances become the focus of your reflection. You start to imagine all sorts of miseries that are about to beset you simply because of shortcomings from your past. You develop a tendency to caution others not to make the mistakes you made, especially those you love.

It’s times like these that I am so glad that 7-8 years ago I got involved with a church. Unlike some, I don’t feel born again, or saved, or washed in the blood or any of those clich├ęs. I happen to go to a Presbyterian church but it really would not matter if it were Baptist, Methodist, Mormon, Catholic, Free Will or anything except communist (I ain’t real big on them commies). What I somehow found by attending church was a rule to live by. Most of my early life had a strong military influence so I was no stranger to rules. But military rules were to obey not to live by and that is a major difference. My previous detachment with the church and religion, was my difficulty in identifying which of their rules to focus on and obey, and what compounded it even more was that there were so many of them.

Then one day I heard my good friend and pastor, Paul, talking about this dude named Benedict. Seemed that he was a saint or guru or grand dragon type character that folks listened to. Kind’ a like Jerry Clower and all the rednecks. Anyway brother Benedict was into simplicity….so he threw out all the rule books and made one basic rule. My modified version of his simple rule is even briefer than his since I left out all the parts I didn’t understand and dwelled on the truly simple stuff. In the last six months our adult Sunday school class, taught by the pastor, had started at the beginning of the Bible and is slowly working thru the whole thing hoping to give those in attendance a better understanding of what it says. I had cut a deal with the preacher that he would go with me to Barnes & Noble and help me buy a Bible, since I at that time did not have one. The only condition was that it had to be a “simple one”. I got to tell you that this is indeed a bible written in lay terms. For instance David didn’t “slay the giant with a rock”…. he busted a cap in his ass with a .40 caliber Glock”. The beauty of this is that almost every Sunday as we get to the part where God is trying to tell whoever it is to behave and do right, I can raise my hand and say “see….it’s the simple rule all over again. At that point all in attendance sigh and say “there goes Dick rattling on again about his one simple rule”. Hey…-it is what it is///if it ain’t broke don’t fix it///if it burns your hand, turn it loose///if it feels good in your heart, do it some more. K.I.S.S.

For those of you who are wondering if I’m writing this after beer thirty I want you to know I’m stone sober and its not yet 7AM. I just woke up this morning feeling thankful . You see two people I love were having what I’ll call a pissing contest. Somehow over the weekend, hopefully influenced by my urging they sorted things out and all is better. They both got a free pass and once again doing it simple and right won out. Thank you Benedict for giving me the wisdom to say those words.