Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Choose? Life

At the March for Life in Olympia last month, I signed a petition to allow for the creation of a "Choose Life" license plate for automobiles, the extra proceeds from which would go to support crisis pregnancy centers and health care for pregnant women in our state. I support both crisis pregnancy centers and health care for pregnant women (especially when funded voluntarily), so it was only natural for me to add my name to the list. It was only later when I started to rethink this idea.

Choosing between life and death is an imperative decision. In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses said to the children of Israel: I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. This statement only refers to spiritual life, humanity's relationship with God. The life that one is called to choose is one of obedience to God's plan - the laws of the Old Testament and the grace of the New Testament. One of my most constant prayers is that those still walking the razor's edge between spiritual fulfillment and spiritual bankruptcy will choose life, for in Him was life and the life was the light of men; and the light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:4-5).

This, of course, is not the choice that the license plate supporters are thinking of. These kind and well-intentioned people are stating "choose life" to women who might otherwise abort their children. Their hope is that, by seeing this plate on the back of someone's car, a pregnant woman might have a call to conscience, and the funds provided by the sale of the plates will help give the woman options to continue her pregnancy. I really, really like this idea, and I will certainly buy one of these plates if they make it past the pro-abortion legislature in this state. I'm just a little uneasy about the terminology. It seems as though we are conceding an important point to the other side. The point being that allowing a life that has already begun to continue growing is a legitimate "choice" for the woman in whom the life happens to reside. This almost feeds into the big lie of the pro-aborts - that one can be "pro-life" and "pro-choice." When we ask a woman to "choose life," we are subliminally telling her that she does have some kind of choice about whether another human being lives or dies.

What if, in the pre-Civil War era, abolitionists had made little buttons that said, "Choose Liberty!" and had sold them and used the proceeds to fund the Underground Railroad and schools for African-American children? Certainly choosing freedom is better than choosing slavery. But, is this a legitimate statement, or does it simply validate slave-holders' idea that slavery was a debatable choice? That slavery was never a legitimate concept, had no place in a free society, and abolitionists were not circumspect in laying those ideas out without compromise are the foundations upon which slavery was abolished in this country. When we talk about rights that are self-evident (life, liberty and property - thanks Locke!), there should be no wiggle-room for saying that someone has any sort of "choice" to initiate force to remove those rights from another.

Pro-lifers are today's abolitionists, fighting the greatest battle for an oppressed group since the horrific days of slavery. We must also be without compromise, not ceding one inch to the death-mongers, whether semantically, ethically, or philosophically. We needn't worry too much - we're on the right side - but we must be ever-vigilant. The pro-aborts like nothing better than to twist our ideas and statements into their own warped anti-life agenda. I hope things like the "Choose Life" license plate help save babies' lives, because that's really what it's all about, but I would prefer if we took the idea of "choice" out of this good intention. Maybe "Protect Life" would be a better slogan or "Respect Life" or some similar idea. I personally would like my favorite mottos on some license plates:

Abortion: Destroys Humans, Destroys Our Humanity
Your right to abort ends where your baby's DNA code begins.
The Non-Initiation of Force Begins in the Womb (stolen in part from Feminists For Life)
Abortion is not a right, it is a grievous wrong.
Without Life, There Are No Choices.

Peace to you, and may God forgive our country.

Monday, February 21, 2005

O Brother John, Where Art Thou?

But Peter, seeing [John], said to Jesus, "But, Lord, what about this man?"
Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."
Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, "If I will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?"
John 21:21-23 (NKJV)

Church history tells us that the Apostle John was an old man when he wrote those lines in his gospel account. Church records show evidence of his living at least until the turn of the first century. John certainly must have been looking at his aging self, having seen the other apostles die martyrs' deaths, and written those lines with a good dose of irony - surely the fountain of youth had not been given to him. And yet...and yet...

It is a tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church that John did not die in 98 A.D. (the common date of death accepted by the Western Church); rather, he has never died. An account of this tradition is found in the Slavonic edition of the book, The Great Collection of the Lives of the Saints, published in 1914 by the Christian Print Shop of the Transfiguration Alms House in Moscow (translated in English by the Chrysostom Press, House Springs, MO in 1994). According to the legend, John returned to Ephesus and stayed in the house of Domnus. He converted many and performed miracles. One morning, before dawn, he took some of his followers to a place to pray. Then he ordered them to dig a grave as deep as his height in the form of a cross. He had them cover him with earth to the neck. They kissed him for the last time and placed a cloth over his face, wept bitterly and then covered him entirely. Others soon after, on hearing about this, dug up his grave and found nothing. (All this information is from, posted by Mel Miller in 1999.)

I first heard about this legend a few years ago, and it has intrigued me ever since. I'm not sure if this tradition means that he is still in this world, or whether he was taken up to heaven in the manner of Elijah, but I prefer to think of the former. I mean, what a cool idea - the Beloved Disciple out there wandering around, waiting for Jesus to return. I can imagine him sitting there in Ephesus before his exile to Patmos, writing these last few lines of his gospel account, thinking that old age was going to claim him soon, perhaps regretting that he could not have died a martyr's death like so many of his brethren, but taking comfort in the fact that he would soon join the Lord and his friends. How the Son of Thunder must chafe under the burden of patience if Jesus has really made him live and wait these past two thousand years!

Of course, this brings me to my main frustration with John. First of all, whether he is still alive or not, everyone agrees that he lived to an extremely old age (most Christian sources last report him close to his nineties). Secondly, his ministry ended up being a lot more stable and stationary than those of the other disciples and Paul. Taking these two facts into account, why oh why did John leave us with this tantalizing end to his gospel account?

And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written. Amen.
John 21:25

Granted that John could not have written everything that Jesus did, why didn't he at least write a few more things that Jesus did? I love The Gospel According to John. It is so unique. It took me a little time to get used to the style and substance of the writing, since it is a much more poetic and spiritual account than the synoptics, but now I love it just as much as the others, maybe more. Whenever I read straight through the New Testament, though, I am always left just wanting more of Jesus - more of what He did, what He said, how He looked, how He acted. I get so jealous of the people who lived at that time, especially the disciples. They got to live and talk and eat and sleep and travel and generally hang out with God. And then, most of them didn't even record anything about Jesus, except Matthew, Peter (through his interpreter Mark), and John. Luke seems to have collected his gospel account material from a variety of sources, so he probably got some information from the other disciples and followers of Jesus. Now, I know most of these men and women went forth to do great things for God and His kingdom, and they didn't have a lot of time to sit around and dictate or write historical documents. And, I also realize that many expected Jesus's return to be imminent, so they probably did not think that many historical documents were needed for a posterity that was not to be. That is why I finger John in my frustration. I just think that, out of all the likely candidates for recording the earthly ministry of Jesus, he's the one who could have written more.

I'm very grateful to have the Word. I certainly do not want to seem without gratitude for the richness of Biblical writings than have been passed down to us. It always humbles me to know that God still cares so much about fallen humanity that He makes certain His word is available to seekers, even in this late age. I guess I just wish that I could read more about what it was like actually to be in the presence of Jesus. I know we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, but I want to know what it's like to look in His eyes. My greatest hope is that someday I will know. Then, all the things of this world will melt away, all my questions will be answered, and I'll be left with an eternity to worship Him. Amen to that!

Friday, February 18, 2005

Hey W.E.R.G.-Y Gergy, Hey Kalamazoo!

Okay, I have been listening to The Wiggles waaaay too much, but that title's the one that's sticking...

I got a newsletter/flyer yesterday from a group called Washington Evangelicals for Responsible Government (W.E.R.G.). They want me to take part in a "Mayday for Marriage" rally in Olympia on Tuesday, March 8. I must say that when I first looked over this newsletter, I thought, "Where was W.E.R.G. on January 19?"

Faithful blog readers will recall that that was this year's date for the annual March for Life in Olympia, WA. These readers may even recall my indignation that once again evangelical, Protestant Christians were noticeably absent from the pro-life crowd. Why weren't the W.E.R.G. banners and signs right next to those of the Knights of Columbus, Sacred Heart Academy, and other Catholic organizations and congregations? What the heck is the matter with non-Catholic Christians that we'll ignore infanticide and expend our energies on fighting gay marriage? What is more important to God: fighting for the lives of the smallest and most innocent among us or fighting against a civil institution's being changed?

For someone with heartfelt, strong opinions on almost every controversial topic, I am strangely apathetic to gay marriage. I'll allow a moment for the collective gasp from those who know me to echo and die out... I mean, here's the deal: gay marriage will never be acceptable in God's eyes, but neither will pagan marriage or atheistic marriage or second marriages after divorce or countless other aberrations of God's law. Marriage in God's eyes is a sacred and holy institution, akin to the relationship Jesus has with His church. This fact, of course, doesn't seem to stop non-Catholic Christians from divorcing at a rate that keeps up with and sometimes exceeds secular unions. Marriage in the United States is a civil institution, and, as long as government is involved in marriage, I don't see how we will be able to justify excluding committed homosexual couples from participating. Change marriage law to what you will, you will never change God's law. So, I'm neither in favor of it or against it. If it happens...whatever.

Homosexuality doesn't really get my goat too much, as it is does not involve the initiation of force or any victims other than the participants. Abortion is a far greater crime, innocent children being dismembered, suctioned, burned to death by saline, all with the consent and collusion of their mothers. Even divorce is a greater crime, as it is an emotional abortion of children, robbing them of their innocence, searing their souls with a loss of stability and security that children need and deserve. Abortion and divorce are flip sides of the same coin - self-absorption and malignant selfishness, refusing to do the right thing if it's at all inconvenient or the tiniest bit difficult for you. You'd never know that by looking at the Christian (non-Catholic) church. We're too busy fighting the speck of gay marriage to see the plank of our own shortcomings.

Unless something can be condemned or condoned on other than religious arguments, I have a difficult time mixing civil law with God's law. See, abortion can be condemned on wholly secular grounds, i.e. scientific and philosophical grounds. You needn't have any religious convictions at all to want to ban this heinous crime, but if you have religious convictions, especially those of the Judeo-Christian variety, I fail to see how you can support this vile deed. In other words, you don't have to believe in God to be pro-life, but you cannot be a Christian (in anything other than name only) and be pro-choice. I suppose there are non-religious people out there who are against gay marriage, but I have yet to hear any good arguments against it that don't boil down to "God created them man and woman." So, as long as gay couples do not interfere with freedom of religion by demanding that their unions be sanctified in a church service or that churches allow them use of church facilities, I just can't see how they will be stopped. Yep, I find it a bit creepy and unsettling to think of children being taught in schools that marriage can be any old hodgepodge of gender choices, but I find a lot of what goes on in schools creepy and unsettling - that's why I'm planning to homeschool.

So, anyway, W.E.R.G.-Y Gergy, I think I'll sit this one out. Hope to see you next January in Olympia, though. I'll be the one there with the good-looking husband, the pretty daughter and the absent rosary.

A Matter of Perspective

Today, Sadie and I got the baby backpack out, as has become our habit on sunny days, and went for a walk. Usually we go to the shopping center about a mile away or the library about 1.5 miles away, or, if there have been three sunny days in a row, we go to the neighborhood park. Since the sun has been shining all week, it was bound to be a park day. We set off merrily, sweet Sadie perched koala-like upon my back, singing songs, saying "hi" to people, dogs, birds and flowers. I decided to take a bit of a long route to the park, so I went about 1/2 mile out of the way and approached the park from an opposite entrance of our usual one. Sadie, who almost always starts yelling, "Park! Park!" when we turn down the usual street, remained completely unaware of our destination. Even when we could see the slides and swings, she still seemed rather confused as to where we were. Eventually, when we settled the backpack on the ground near our favorite park bench, Sadie got excited and ran off toward the swings.

This experience made me remember how different perspective is when you are a little one. The only time I ever recall being sent to bed without dinner was the time I got myself lost by crossing the street. I think I was punished for crossing the street alone, because I was never lost to my parents, as I was always within sight of the house. I'll never forget that day, though. I can't remember my exact age - probably between four and five. I wasn't trying to run away, or even go anywhere if I recall correctly. Somehow, I ended up crossing the quiet residential street where we lived and promptly became hopelessly lost. I remember looking around, not knowing where I was. I probably saw our house right across the street where I had left it, but failed to recognize it. I had never seen it from that angle before, so it was a foreign entity to me. I stared down the seemingly endless sidewalk, bordered by strange and now slightly threatening houses and lawns and trees and more and more houses. I made up my mind that I would walk to the grocery store where we shopped (probably 4 miles away) and tell them my parents' names and have them call my parents to come pick me up. How I ever thought I'd find my way to the store, I'll never know. That was my drastic, yet apparently rational, plan of action. Now, keep in mind that this was in the late 1970s, when a few Californians, my parents included, actually knew and interacted with their neighbors. You would think that I could have just gone to a neighbor's house and asked for help. Except, in losing my house, I lost my perspective of where any familiar house was. Crying and bewildered, I started stumbling down the street. Then, my dad bounded across the street and grabbed me and carried me back to our house (25 steps away). My mighty and perilous adventure had probably lasted less than 5 minutes. Oh boy - my parents yelled and hollered and spanked and sent me to bed without supper. The only reason I can imagine for this exaggerated response was their wishing to instill upon me that crossing streets alone was a big no-no. The funny thing is, and I can remember thinking this at the time, I had never even wanted to cross the street. I hadn't even known that I was across the street. I just became somehow so wrapped up in my child's imagination that I was simply oblivious.

This memory is one of the scariest things about being a parent. The wonderful world of children just captivates them so completely that it leaves them terribly vulnerable. The price of the immeasurable joys of parenthood is eternal vigilance.

Jason will read this and knowingly nod his head, experienced as he is with my formidable sense of direction and my comprehensive geographical expertise. He will know now that the woman who gets lost coming home from the post office was once a little girl who got lost crossing the street. Heck, I've gotten lost (sort of) a few times in our own neighborhood. I've always managed to find my way back, and at least the grocery store is a lot closer now if I need to call for a pick-up. Maybe I am still too wrapped up in my imagination, the richness of my interior world. I would have made a lousy pioneer wife (although I make darn good cornbread).

I got my mom and dad to show me later where they found me when I was lost. Even at that young age, I remember being a little embarassed when we crossed the street (holding hands, looking both ways) and stood just a few feet south of directly, smack-dab across from our house. I felt so foolish to look at our yellow house, with its distinctive front hedges and think that I missed it. I totally missed it. I don't know if they ever believed me when I said I was lost - it must have seemed incredible to them. I'm glad I remember it, though. Now, when Sadie doesn't know where we are, I know how it appears to her, and I can help her with perspective.

Sometimes, I just get down and spend some time at her height. It's a different world down there - chairs are huge! Trying to see the world from her point of view is eye-opening, to say the least. They see so much that we miss from 5 1/2+ feet off the ground, and they miss so much that we see. Their perspective is unique, their scope is narrow. Our perspective is universal, our scope is broad. There is beauty in both, and my hope is that, as Sadie grows, she will be able to integrate these visions to appreciate still the details of this world while, at the same time, not missing the big picture (or the house right across the street!).

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

With Carolyn Arends, Oct. 2003
(my hair is not marcelled, just a clumsy photo-editing attempt to correct for a lighting problem) Posted by Hello

Friday, February 11, 2005

The Non-Initiation of Force

"Behold," the Risen Christ said in His revelation to John, "I stand at the door and knock."
(Revelation 3:20)

Jesus is the ultimate example of one of the primary libertarian philosophies, the non-initiation of force. He doesn't say: Behold, I'm coming in, ready or not! or Behold, I'm dragging you out of there! He knocks, He waits, He knocks again. Sometimes He says, "Knock, and the door will be opened! (Matthew 7:7)" In any event, no matter who is knocking, no one is kicking the door in; He is not about coercion. (A sidenote: When was the last time the BATF knocked?) He changes our hearts by His steadfast love, and we bend our wills to His out of gratitude and devotion. He persuades, He never pressures.

Those of both liberal and conservative bents tend to like force. Oh, they never want to say it's force, it's just democracy or security or some other euphemistic expression. They never trust people at large, but they certainly trust themselves to direct the lives of people at large. God knows that the human heart is sinful and deceitful, but He gives us free will and choices and grace. God's plan involves changing individual hearts, not collective societies.

Compulsion is anti-life, anti-Jesus. God built us to be free, He designed us to seek liberty, He loves us and holds us responsible as individuals. Amy Grant's mother once told her, "God doesn't have grandchildren." Each and every one of us will have to give a personal account of our lives on this earth, and God won't find finger-pointing and whining and excuses acceptable on that Judgement Day. Even Ayn Rand found Christianity less loathsome than other religions (although still loathsome, stalwart atheist that she was) because of its emphasis on the individual's soul, the individual's redemption.

This strong belief I have in the non-initiation of force is why I value so highly capitalism and free markets. People's transactions should be voluntary, whether spiritual, economic, physical or emotional. There is no more moral economic system in the world than that of laissez-faire, free-market capitalism, because it is the only system not based upon compulsion. It is a beautiful thing to see the Invisible Hand of the marketplace in action.

Economic liberty combined with Christian love and charity added to a good dose of self-responsibility is the recipe for peace and fulfillment on all levels, whether of nations or individuals.

My (Not So) Secret Sympathies...

Ever since the 2004 Presidential election, there have been news stories and speculation about disenchanted Democrats and other leftward-leaners packing up and moving out of the U.S. and into Canada or Australia or New Zealand or France. They do not want to contribute any more time or energy or taxes to a government that does not reflect their beliefs. Living up here near Seattle (which is pretty much almost Canada anyway), I have seen several recent news stories about people who have gone beyond consideration and actually have plans in action to make the big move. One local radio host even devoted an hour to a lady-leftie who had put her Volvo on the market and had applied for a conjugal visa to immigrate north and live with her Canadian boyfriend. I was amused but not surprised at the responses of the callers who alternately bid her a "don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out" farewell or reprimanded her for not sticking it out in the U.S. and working to promote her own values within the system. These latter folks seem appalled that someone could so cavalierly leave their country behind. I cannot understand their almost hurt reaction to a person's not choosing their national affiliation over their personal, individual convictions. I am fully in sympathy with those who hate the Bush administration so much that they cannot stand to live any longer in this country.

You see, I have a little secret of my own. These Canada-bounds and I are flip sides of the same coin. While they are planning a move up north, I am plotting my own move east. No, not "Boston east," "Midwest east." Destination: Jesus Land. I'm tired of living in Blue America, and I want to live where land is cheap and plentiful, the gov'ment stays out of your way, and Jason can easily follow his entreprenurial dreams in a business-friendly place. More than anything, I want to live in a state where there is only one clinic that performs abortions, where no tax money goes to fund abortion, and where, when Roe vs. Wade finally gets overturned, abortion will be outlawed (except, most likely, for "life of the mother" cases). Whoo-hoo! South Dakota here I come!

Gosh, I love so much of what Washington State has to offer. I love the climate, the trees, the mountains, the museums, the Woodland Park Zoo, the Seattle Aquarium, the coffee culture, the abundance of really good Thai food, the laid-back attitude. I love the Seattle Mariners! I will miss this state when we leave. But, but, but...for a family that wants to own about 25 acres with a big, ol' farmhouse and horses, cows, goats and dogs and not have to wait 20 years to save up the moola needed for such an estate when the kids will be grown and gone and unable to grow up in that environment, this area just doesn't cut it. Plus, it has become more and more difficult for me to stomach this place since I discovered that some of my tax money goes to killing tiny babies.

We're only given one life on this earth, and I can totally understand why people feel the need to live where their values are reflected. Two years ago, I told Jason (who has been yearning for Big Sky Country practically since he moved out of SD ten years ago) that if Tom Daschle were ever voted out of office, I would move back to Sioux Falls with him. This seemed like a pie-in-the-sky condition, as T.D. had been a popular senator for some years and was good at bringing home the pork. Then, lo and behold, Thuney-Baby (aka John Thune) knocks the fox out of the henhouse. At the same time, decent, pro-life, pro-business Dino Rossi gets the governorship of WA stolen from him by evil troll-lady Christine Gregoire. What's a free-market-loving pro-lifer to do?

We can buy a house, comparable to the one we now own, in Sioux Falls for about $100 Grand less. The homeschooling laws are even more libertarian than those of Washington (and WA has very free homeschooling laws). Sales tax is 2% lower. No income tax, and no one seems to be bandying that idea around like so many do here in WA. No congestion. Business friendly. Near grandparents (yay - a much needed and appreciated aspect). Clean air. Open spaces. Can-do frontier attitude (except all the farmers on the dole - stupid welfare farmers!). Horrible weather (but, you can't have everything in this world - at least it keeps the riff-raff out!).

It's so wonderful that we live in a world of such diversity, that you can find a place in it to live out what you value most highly with like-minded folks. That's the marketplace of ideas for you.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

The Bug! Posted by Hello

Sadie joins the "horsey set." Posted by Hello

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Ayn Rand at 100

Today is the 100th anniversary of Ayn Rand's birth. Happy birthday, Ayn!

Her writings, fiction and non-fiction, were, other than my father, the single greatest influence on my life and thoughts and points-of-view from the ages of 15 to 21. I remember cutting class as a sophomore in high school to escape to the local park and read The Fountainhead under a tree. I remember weeping so loudly in my bed while reading We the Living that I brought my dad into my room in alarm. I remember reading Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution, arming myself with the moral justifications for laissez-faire capitalism. I think I've read everything Ayn ever wrote.

I really love her earlier fictional works. We the Living and The Fountainhead are still two of my favorite and constant re-reads. I have an especial fondness for her unpublished early works that were collected in The Early Ayn Rand. I never really took to Atlas Shrugged, although the story about the Twentieth Century Motor Company is one of my all-time favorite vignettes. The fact that she wrote that ponderous tome in the midst of an adoring circle of acolytes probably led to its being mired down with unwieldy diatribes and philosophical expoundings that interrupt an otherwise fascinating narrative. I think that it would have been a much more effective novel if the philosophy had been illustrated by letting the events of the story play out without so many soapbox speeches. In other words, show us, don't tell us. That is the beauty of We the Living and The Fountainhead - she gets her points across without whacking you with a 2x4 of philosophical dissertation.

I always ended up liking her "secondary stature" heroes better than her primary heroes. For instance, Gail Wynand is a far more developed and attractive character (IMHO) than Howard Roark. Francisco d'Anconia beats ol' John Galt hollow. Hank Rearden also beats out that pontificating-proned, blowhard-genius as far as being a realistic, charismatic man. And is there really anyone out there who doesn't think Kira a bit of a fool to choose the annoying, dispirited Leo over the sexy, leather-coated, Communist bad-boy Andrei? I can't even imagine having a conversation with her primary heroes, let alone making love with them. They are often too abstract and vague to be appealing. Boy, did my young heart swoon over the Wynands and d'Anconias and Taganovs, though!

In honor of her 100th birthday, I'm going to re-read The Fountainhead. It's been a few years since the last time I read it. I'm looking forward to that warm sense of entering a benevolent universe when I turn to the first page and read, "Howard Roark laughed."

I wonder what the atheistic Ayn thought when she met God face-to-face...

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Delicious Hours

Some folks call them the "witching hours," but, to me, they are the delicious hours. That elastic period of time in the dead still of night, roughly between the hours of midnight and 3 AM, where little night owls like me get our hoots in ("funny hoots" as Sadie would say).

I love this time of night. I'm not always up at this time, but when I am, it still retains for me that sort-of wicked unlawfulness that so filled me with exuberance and glee as a child and teen. There is something a little fey about padding around in the stillness, trying not to awaken baby or husband, reading books or typing on the computer or just staring out the window. I used to work with a wonderful man of faith named John Gabriel who, when my work schedule was changed to early morning shifts and I was voicing my dismay at having to abandon my nighttime prowls, reminded me of the great Biblical patriarchs who experienced especial closeness to God in the breaking hour of dawn, yadda, yadda, yadda... God did not make me to be a patriarch, that is for sure, and I am certain He created me to be the late-night delinquent that I am. Believe me, I have never felt particularly close to Him in those vile, alarm-clanging, eye-crusty-rubbing, yawning, often softly-swearing moments of early morning awakenings. My greatest moments of prayer and devotion and meditation have all come when the sun has set and the stars are out. But, John also gave me one of those great, zinging, change-your-perspective, never-leave-you moments when he responded to another one of my complaining bouts, (I really don't complain as much as you may think I do by reading this post. Really.) wherein I emphatically stated that I "hated" something, with the reminder that, "We [humans] do not hate anything even half as much as God hates sin." So, John and his guilt-inducing patriarch statement will elude my censure, because his sin statement will always fill me with such gratitude.

I blame my dad a little too for these late-night revels. He was (and, to some extent, still is) the consummate night-owl, always up late, lurking. He taught me by example to lurk with aplomb, and I embraced the lurking lifestyle with a fervor that could only do him proud. We would watch TV together or read in silent, harmonious companionship or talk about anything and everything. We would snack devilishly on all sorts of inedibles that would have caused my mother incredible heartache had she been privy to the deed. It is probably the memories of these wonderful bonding sessions that makes me think of this time of night as "delicious." Those were just sweet, sweet times, my dad and I, two peas in a pod, cut of the same cloth, the little apple and her tree. These times are always what I hope to recreate somehow when we visit nowadays, but...well, travel fatigue and age are a hindrance on his side and family responsibilities are a hindrance on mine. Though Dad and I try valiantly to recapture our routine and lurking ways, I guess those golden nights are mostly gone. I hope he knows how much I miss them, and how grateful I am that they will live forever in my memory, growing sweeter still with each passing year.

Carolyn Arends once wrote in a song that part of God's code that we can't (or won't) decode is the "way our hearts beat, faced with the sunrise, like maybe they know something we don't." I don't know if my heart's ever done somersaults at the sight of a sunrise; if it does, I'm usually too grouchy and in need of coffee to notice (sorry, heart). But, I have felt that furious beating when contemplating the great expanse of black night sky and countless starry holes - that feeling that something wonderful is going to happen or is happening or maybe just happened. God is in the night as much as the day, and, don't forget, He made the night first (I know He worked His way up during Creation, but He picked a good place to start). May He bless the night owls everywhere.