Saints are all around us…

                Have you ever met a saint?  Someone who was so perfect that you knew they were a shoo-in for the pearly gates?  I have met several people that would fit the bill, but today, All Saints Day, I would like to tell you about the first one.

                I was about 16 when I went on a weekend retreat with some friends to Falls Creek.  Now, Falls Creek is a youth camp in the Arbuckle mountains south of Oklahoma City sponsored by the Southern Baptist Convention of Oklahoma.  For those of you not from Oklahoma, you may not see the problem here.  For a good Catholic boy to go to a Baptist camp was a tad scandalous for both the boy (me) and the friends that invited him.  It seemed like everyone either ignored me or spent their time trying to convert me.  It was exhausting.

                Then I met her.  She was an elderly woman who had a grandchild in the group and was acting as a chaperone.  I am ashamed to say that I do not remember her name, but I do remember the wonderful way she affected my life.  Welcoming and without criticism she and I sat and talked about a lot of things including our faiths, their differences and their similarities.  Through our talks, I discovered things lacking in my faith, and she showed me how to use those things within myself.  For example, I had always known that Jesus died for everyone, but somehow did not extend that to “he died for me”.   I also learned that Jesus would walk with me through the trials of my life if I invited him.  These two realizations of a personal relationship with Him have stayed with me ever since.

                As I left our conversation, I felt more at peace than I had ever felt in my young life.  There is no doubt in my mind that she was a woman of God, a saint.  I have often reflected on that weekend and the person that made it special.  My regret is that I never told her what a difference she made in my life. 

Saints are all around us, walking with us, showing us the way.  If only we watch and listen.

Boo!

Tonight, this night, All Hallows Eve

After children take a rest

from candies and such

(They can’t get enough!)

And from things that are best left unsaid

The ghosts and ghouls come out to play

The witches too I’m told

What they do I cannot say

For fear my heart does hold

 

Tonight, this night, All Hallows Eve

All mortal men take care

For spectres call

(And walk through walls!)

And goblins seek their share

They growl and cackle, moan and shriek

Till midnight comes a blast

And then the saints come marching in

To vouchsafe the world at last.

Bruce Baker

Play the game

It seems that much of our lives are spent playing games. Children interact in physical games, party games, even math games, but as adults we graduate to a much different form of play. 

For us, it would seem, everything is a game.   When applying for a job, we game the system to get our resume or CV to the top of the pile and assure an interview.  In our jobs, we compete with other workers for the choice assignments and play our accomplishments to our advantage at evaluation time. 

Games go far beyond this however.  We often play “make believe” when we are trying to get a date with a certain person, reinventing ourselves into something other than what we are.  Unfortunately, this type of gaming requires us to continue the charade for the duration of the relationship which is often not very long indeed. 

Many of the relationships laying on the scrap pile could have been avoided had the two parties really gotten to know one another – dug deep to uncover the true person beneath the façade. 

Sometimes the only way to win is not to play the game.  Be real.

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Play the Game by Bruce Baker

  • Win at all cost
  • No pain, no gain
  • Push to the limits
  •                 Play the game
  •  
  • Tell her she’s beautiful
  • Tell her she’s perfect
  • Tell her you love her
  •                 Play the game
  •  
  • Pray to God
  • Fill the basket
  • Cheat your neighbor
  •                 Play the game
  •  
  • Have the biggest house
  • Have the best car
  • Have the best job on the 50th floor
  • Work until your body drops

  •                 Play the game

 

 

 

 

 

The game’s afoot…

Ever since Shakespeare coined the above phrase and Conan Doyle captured it for his hero, it has inspired writers to look deeply below what appears to be happening in the world and see the Sherlockian details beneath.  This blog is dedicated to that same spirit. My hope is to stay above the politics of the day and to provide my own insight, as tepid as it may be, on events in all areas.

That said, I ran across the following quote today from another noted author, Edgar Allan Poe.  Even though his writing tends toward the maniacal, this quote, captured as it was over a hundred years ago, shows us that our current time is not all that unique.

Poe