Archive for June, 2019

“It was the sort of statement–her mention of war–that always riled him. He vigorously rolled down the window as if he could get rid of her words, and stuck out his arm into a violent wind that shoved against his bone, his muscle, his skin. But he did not relent. He kept his arm straight and extended, daring the rushing air to overpower him. He was in charge of himself now. He was sixteen, almost a man.” — Bridge-Man Burning

 

 

As a boy in A Hunger in the Heart, Coleman Puttman Bridgeman III was hurt by the love he hungered for. Now, as a young man in Bridge-Man Burning, he leaves his hometown behind, carrying with him the family blood that runs through his veins and voices of the past that run through his head. In marriage and business, Coleman faces life’s most powerful human battles where he must confront the weakest and deepest, parts of himself. Dishonesty, betrayal, and cowardice come into play, as well as the possibility of losing everything, and everyone, he loves.

 

We all want to stand out, to shine. And we try to. But is it ‘okay’ to use other people in an attempt to push ourselves forward? Most of us would say no, and yet we are bombarded with examples of this very thing in today’s present politics. And on social media, some can’t wait to put a rusty nail into someone else without giving it a second thought.

And it isn’t happening only to people in the public eye. It happens in our close relationships as well–between friends and even family. What would it take to change this? Maybe only a little examination of ourselves to see the truth about what we are doing?

Some days, I wake up not proud of what I did yesterday in my interactions with others. Some days, I put on blinders and push it aside. Other days, I want to change.

Changing any habit is hard. Changing an attitude toward other people is even harder. And seeing ourselves as the flawed person we are takes humility and courage. When I was young and turned up my nose at some people, my grandmother and my mother, both, gave me a pointed warning: “There but for the grace of God, go you.” In other words: None of us is perfect. Have empathy.

What is empathy? Simply imagining yourself in another’s shoes. Imagination is a God-given gift to all human beings, and we use it for good. But we can also use it for evil, especially when we imagine ourselves as better than someone else.

We all need correction, but sometimes we see only that others need it, not ourselves. We are so quick to condemn, so quick to criticize, so quick to stab someone in the back by spreading rumors, or telling lies, about them only to make our self shine brighter. Can we remember that there are the people who may never have been held in loving hands? People who’ve been ignored and perhaps not cared for. They may even be our own children, or parents, or closest friends. Or they may be prostitutes, drunks, drug-addicts, or thieves–even our neighbor next door. They may follow none of God’s commandments, or even believe in Him. They are people that we are quick to call sinners. But aren’t we all sinners? And yet Jesus calls us friends, and gave His life for us.

So, tomorrow, I’ll try to Shine a different way — a more self-less way –in my interactions with people. I will be empathetic and use my imagination to see them as God’s beloved children, and to see myself as His child as well, on my way to back to Him. I will no longer be a rusty nail in dealing with people, no matter how difficult they may be to interact with.

I’m gonna let it be the field
The one that rain forgot
I’m gonna let it be the summer
I’m gonna let it be your face
The one that ran away
I’m gonna let it be forever
I’m gonna let it rain and hail
Let the rusty nail
No longer hold this world together
I’m gonna let it be the sun
In more ways than one
Shine a different way tomorrow

Notice the picture above. At the very top, we see the segment of a brain. Just below are hands moving up, as if searching for the brain. And then the absence of eyes, and the sewed up mouth, all surrounded by pieces of indistinct shapes that seem to be taking over.  What if the picture were symbolic of our beloved America–a composite of all of us–as our freedoms are being taken away?

Let’s start at the top, with the brain. Everything we know and do, all the sense of human thought, all the feelings of human emotion, all the questions of human existence; are the product of the brains in our heads.  Common sense is a by-product of human thought based on experience. For example, if we have once experienced touching a hot stove, the next time we are at the stove, common sense steps in as a warning not to make the same mistake. But what if we could be fooled into believing there was no danger? Would we touch the stove again?

Today, the left wing of the Democrat party is trying to fool our common sense, trying to make us think that there is no danger in their twisted politics which includes, of all things–Socialism! Socialism works for no one except for the elite at the top–a great deal of difference from capitalism which has its problems with greed, yet still provides for all of us, not simply the government elites. In capitalism some may indeed be richer than the majority, but though all human beings are equal in the eyes of God and should be treated as such in society, it is plainly true, and just common sense, that human beings do have varying abilities, some of which are God-given talents. And yes, some have more advantages, which come from a plethora of reasons, one reason being a strong, traditional family. This is plain fact. Attention to strengthening the family is what America needs to secure equality–not Socialism. The freebies of big government Socialism always cost–usually someone else who cannot and should not be required to pay for them. America is a generous country, helping those in need or in danger, as they say, who cannot help themselves. But a murderous hypocrisy has taken over the Democrat party–refusal to come to the aid of the most helpless of human beings, the unborn. Socialism will not work, the same as Communism doesn’t work. Time and again this has historically been shown. Politicians can draw up any sort of theory they want to persuade a constituency, but that theory has to play out- and NO form of Socialism has played out with success.

Back to the picture.

The hands in the picture seem to be searching for something lost– perhaps our Common Sense?

Move down to the blind eyes. Have they been blinded in order to block-out the freedoms that have long been important to us? Take for example the so-called Equality Act passed by the House.  This act is the opposite of equality–its name is an example of Orwellian Newspeak , where the government mandates how language is used to control the minds of its citizens, where the so-called ‘victim classes’ are used for their own ends.  This act is all about coercion, nothing more.  But there are  courageous people from all backgrounds, even liberal ones, who will not be forced into far-left policies; they walk away.

Move to the sewed-up mouth. Is speech that expresses long-held American belief being shut down? Has our American history been revised and replaced by biased scientists with a false history that suits a leftist agenda? Has the verbal teaching of good science  been replaced with fairytale teaching, even to young children, that a woman can be a man, or a man can be a woman? Has it become moral to lie and call it justice in an attempt to take down our rightful President by calumny?  Or a Supreme Court Judge, or even a social media commenter we do not agree with? Are we really being honest about our border, putting American citizens in danger because of our personal political agendas? Are we becoming so superficial a people that morals don’t matter to us anymore? Well, we should all wake up, because morals DO matter to God. And before HIM will come our final justice.

Finally, those indistinct shapes that seem to be taking over the above picture could be seen as a bad end coming for our beautiful country of America, a nation that allows for our human freedoms–and the human responsibility for our own singular lives. But that end is not here yet, and does not have to come at all. There is still time to recover our COMMON SENSE and see Freedom for what it truly is, a divine gift to each and every human being, a gift we must recognize in ourselves and fight for. Let’s get to it.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life,

Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. —Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, 1776

 

 

My father was a banker by trade, but a fisherman at heart. There is not one reachable body of salt or fresh water –river, lake, or Gulf — that he did not fish. And often, he took me with him. On those trips, I learned a lot about baiting a hook, and casting, and which lure to use, and the hardest lesson of all: how to have patience.  They were times for talking (quietly, of course) while watching your cork, eating canned Vienna sausage and crackers, and drinking loads of iced tea from a thermos. I felt loved and valued, so important for a child, especially a daughter. I thank my father for that and for all fathers–especially my own sons and sons-in law–who make their daughters and sons feel loved and valued, too.

Happy Father’s Day to All!

Several book clubs have inquired about my books. SOOO, From Friday June 7 until Tuesday June 11, my two INDEPENDENT PRESS AWARD WINNERS, from 2018 and 2019, will be FREE on Kindle. The Wind That Shakes the Corn, and The Ghosts of Faithful.

Hope you enjoy! 🙂
https://www.amazon.com/Kaye-Park-Hinckley/e/B00BBC2C8O…

 

 

 

All men and women are entrusted by God with the task of crafting their own life. Ideally, we are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece. Underlying our task, is a recognition of a sense of mystery, a sense of beauty, and a sense of the eternal. These senses must be developed because our world often promotes superficiality, false glory, and self- profit, rather than the Truth of our destiny–our beautifully human interaction with our Creator. Of course, we make the choice to interact with God, or not.

For an artist, it is the same;  to finely craft his God-given talent by developing those same senses of mystery, beauty, and the eternal, both for himself and those who view, hear, or read it.

When an artist writes words, writes music, acts in film or on stage, or sculpts, he is making a statement about the world as he understands it. It may be a good world that he wants to praise, or a rotten world that he wants to condemn, or a godless world of only superficial importance. But artists, too, have a choice. Do we lift up humanity, including ourselves; or do we denigrate it, and thereby denigrate ourselves as well?

In shaping a masterpiece, the artist not only summons his work into being, but also in some way reveals his own personality by means of it. For him art offers both a new dimension and an exceptional mode of expression for his spiritual growth. Through his works, the artist speaks to others and communicates with them. The history of art, therefore, is not only a story of works produced but also a story of men and women. Works of art speak of their authors; they enable us to know their inner life, and they reveal the original contribution which artists offer to the history of culture. —St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists

A common experience to humanity is one of depravity; a Christian artist realizes this, so uses a lens accepting that the grace of God is offered to humanity in spite of its depravity.This does not mean that a realistic view of our often-corrupt world should not be shown. Art is about Truth, and evil is real. But so is goodness. An artist, especially a writer, might set a character in a world of evil in order to shine forth an opportunity of a redemption, whether the character takes it or not.

Even when they explore the darkest depths of the soul or the most unsettling aspects of evil, artists give voice in a way to the universal desire for redemption.St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists

If the mind and heart of the artist stems from his own desire for redemption, then it will come through in his words, films, music, paintings, or sculpture. The opposite is also true. If moral deterioration is portrayed with no regard for redemption, then there is no masterpiece, and the artist has surely failed humanity, and himself.

Humanity in every age, and even today, looks to works of art to shed light upon its path and its destiny.–St. John Paul II, Letter to Artists

We make our own way in this world, and out of it, with our singular decisions and actions. We are meant to use our talents, whatever they may be, for good. Each of us will leave a legacy for those who come after us. What sort of legacy will it be?