Thank you for all of your sweet emails, calls, Facebook messages, personal words, and comments here. The situation in my family may never change until we reach heaven, but it WILL change there. My love and respect for my father will never fade away. It was he who taught me to question everything, refuse to teach traditions as if they were the commandments of God, and to use my mind. I taught myself to read by the age of 4 by reading encyclopedias and haven’t stopped questioning, learning, and thinking since. I have gotten a tremendous amount of things wrong in my life and doctrine but I have found it is easier to sift through facts and fiction and find truth when you know you are covered by the grace of God.
I will post another question and answer soon — maybe even today — but I wanted to post this first. George Herbert was a Welsh poet and Anglican priest back in the early 1600s. I know little of his life but this — he often struggled with his ministry. He, like Moses, got fed up with difficult congregations, dysfunctional leadership, and the other daily struggles of the local minister. At one time, he decided he was done with it all. Who needs that kind of aggravation and pain? I have often thought of him over the years when I got within a few minutes of writing a resignation letter, stopping my writing and speaking, and withdrawing into teaching science or writing fiction. You have no idea how often I have considered that! (a sign of my weakness and lack of character, I am sure) But then I remember Herbert’s poem, The Collar, where he writes of being in that exact same position. And his thoughts parallel my own so closely that it is almost scary. When I wrestle with God — and unlike Jacob I have to wrestle Him not once but frequently — He rarely gives me an epiphany or a hunk of information that settles my soul. He merely calls me. And I have to respond.
Read and ponder. I’ll be back very soon.
| I Struck the board, and cry’d, No more.
I will abroad.
What? shall I ever sigh and pine?
My lines and life are free; free as the rode,
Loose as the winde, as large as store.
Shall I be still in suit?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me bloud, and not restore
What I have lost with cordiall fruit?
Sure there was wine
Before my sighs did drie it: there was corn
Before my tears did drown it.
Is the yeare onely lost to me?
Have I no bayes to crown it?
No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?
Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures: leave thy cold dispute
Of what is fit, and not. Forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sands,1
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
Good cable, to enforce and draw,
And be thy law,
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away; take heed:
I will abroad.
Call in thy deaths head there: tie up thy fears.
He that forbears
To suit and serve his need,
Deserves his load.
But as I rav’d and grew more fierce and wilde
At every word,
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe:
And I reply’d, My Lord.