Steel of Courage and Softness of Compassion

Some dynamics of life are beyond me. Not, however, that I really, really care. I find these things to be a child of curiosity—actually far more than judgment.

To which end…something silly. Why? Why do professional baseball players—and I note this on cloudless days—wear their sunglasses, upside down, on the top of their hat visor? I thought sunglasses were their insurance to not lose a ball in the sun? Guess it means I’m more into practical than aesthetic.

This, too: Why do couples when dancing the Texas Two-Step, move in their circle always in a counter-clockwise direction?

And, finally: Why, short of hubris that shouts superiority, do we get caught up in the political machinations these days? Not that warring disagreements were absent when Nixon and McGovern went at it in 1972. Of course I don’t know about you—and most of you know that to vote , at least my take personally, for someone who finds white, resident Americans the only recognizable group of people—would be heresy. However. I am well aware a vote for a wall-builder who intends to destroy cultural bridges has favor. For many. Sad to me—a chosen verb—that so many today will vote against that which they hate. Ah, is it really hatred which champions our considerations?

Even more, some battles are relentless, and the choice to not be thwarted by them is maintained—be it Carol’s oral cancer, Brian’s brain cancer…you certainly can add your own folk, maybe even yourself.

So. What I’m thinking about this morning…is this: Is there a bottom line in our living, our discovering, our coping, our curiosity, and yes, even our dislike that, excuse the verb, trumps the common and often, incendiary?

I believe so. It doesn’t come easily. And at times, hides in the corner of neglect or disinterest. Yet, at least for myself, it’s a factor…and I put it this way: To never let go of God…and to know that God never lets me go.

Point taken in this manner. To consider that God’s most important. Not my gifts and not yours. Not my mishaps and not yours.

For more than a week I’ve wanted to share this Tom Ehrich quote about God. It is more than impressive. Bluntly it rivets me to the greater truth…well more important than anything in this moral life called the human journey. So, I share. With my own focus…and hopefully in helpful manner for you to sharpen your own focus.

Thank you, Tom Ehrich, you bring more than help to a day. You bring the most important undergirding to living. And more important…perhaps even beyond that—coining a word, importantest. Ah, I need to remember and reflect through breath and step the “steel of courage…and softness of compassion.” He writes after attending a farewell concert in New York City for Garrison Keillor:

“This, I think, is what it is like when God is gracious to us, blesses us, and ‘makes his face to shine upon us.’ Not a brilliant glare of light, but a smile from a longtime friend. Maybe not someone we have touched, and yet someone we have known, heard, seen, cared about, and felt sure cared about us. Unlike the grotesque politicians and their manufactured concern, I always had the sense that Keillor liked people, saw the best in people, believed that “the little town on the edge of the prairie” was a promise for us, not a belabored artifact stolen from us.

God’s smile says, I know who you are, and I love you without hesitation – not in spite of who you are, but because you are. There is no quid pro quo to God’s blessing, though countless religionists want to claim that divine favor must be earned. God just chooses to bless. Such magnanimity is utterly foreign to us, except possibly when we are caring for babies and the dying. It is beyond our understanding, and certainly beyond our control. Yet there it is.

God’s love isn’t a cudgel to use against cultural enemies. It is a gentle story that has the steel of courage at its center and the softness of compassion at its edges.”

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About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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One Response to Steel of Courage and Softness of Compassion

  1. Jon Lunderberg says:

    Mark, I have enjoy reading your blogs. Today’s “catch” for me was “To never let go of God…and to know that God never lets me go.” It reminds me of how we close every service at Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI “Whatever happens to you of good or ill, always remember that ‘Jesus is Lord'”. Both quotes put the focus on the foundation of faith. Jon Lunderberg (The guy in Chicago at the Yolk restaurant before the Bears game (that you would call the Bronco game with your family)
    with the T-shirt that you enjoyed)

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