Tag Archives: knife

Another Sword

I’m too far from town to walk to shopping now, but panhandlers occupying busy corners all over town remind me of a few summers back and

Sword from July 24, 2016

underpass 1

On part of my walk to the local strip mall I go beneath an on-ramp underpass rather than cross the busy highway above it. Somebody lives there – possibly a few people. I always look carefully, but never saw anyone. Still, each time I approach I pray; for safety, strength, wisdom but mostly for insight.

I step cautiously along that rocky, eerie path littered with bedding, clothes and rubbish; mostly empty alcoholic beverage bottles, cans and fast food refuse. I once crossed to the other side but it is dangerously narrow along the blind curve. So – no.

For most of my life I’ve carried a small Swiss Army knife, complete with handy tools – way before anyone heard of L.J. Gibbs or NCIS. I taught my sons to practice the same. Days after describing one of my mostly lovely walks to son Quinn, I found a package at my door – a note insisted I carry the content on my walks.

flipknife

My son didn’t send a tool – it’s a conspicuous, lightweight, gruesome-looking weapon, with a lever to quickly release the serrated blade. I grew up with overprotective brothers and I’ve been through police training. Even with my training I felt uncomfortable about the ominous looking thing – not about carrying it, but having to use it in self-defense.

A few days later as I approached the underpass I realized I typically palm my little knife inside my pocket as I approach. Feeling the new bulge on my belt I distinctly heard from somewhere deep inside,

“…Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.*.”

I kept walking, but thought about the scenario Jesus addressed in that passage. He reminded his apostles His Father was in control and the coming events would actually fulfill prophesies in the coming hours.

underpass 3My walks are hardly prophetic, but I understood the meaning. Shoulders squared, back straight, my empty hands casually at my sides, I began whistling, announcing my presence to whoever might have been hiding in the shadows. The smells were oppressive, the noise from traffic overhead deafening, so I was glad to return to the sunlight uneventfully.

Delighted to find some of my favorite produce and nuts on sale, I filled my canvas bag. But I kept thinking about the people sleeping on the rocks of the underpass.

By the time I finished shopping and set across the asphalt lot toward home heat already rose in waves.

Gazing up the path before me I ran the rules I’d learned over the years through my mind; maintain a safe distance, know where the shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries are in my area and never give strangers, panhandlers, money – “it ultimately prolongs their problems.”

But I also remember being homeless. Stuck by circumstances, I didn’t trade or abuse substances. Still, I doubt I’ll ever forget being sick with worry about my kids, the judgmental looks of people as I sought employment, the desperation, the longing for someone to give a care. More so, there was the reality that I too could be a paycheck away from homelessness again.

Feeling the weight of the bag on my back, perspiration beginning to form, I stopped beneath a shade tree in the middle of the parking lot. I put apples, carrots and some nuts into a separate produce bag and knotted it so it was airtight. Gazing ahead, once more I asked God to go before me and then started walking.

Approaching the underpass, I called out (in the most rugged voice I could muster), “I’m just passing through. I don’t want anything and mean no harm.” As I stepped around the dirty bedding I set the bag of fresh food on it without stopping.

Cars whizzed by yards away, oblivious to my presence as I stepped back into the sunlight.

Sleeping Butte

When I arrived home I was glad Ellie was there visiting with Erin. As I put the groceries away I described the scenario leading up to the first crossing beneath the underpass. Then I asked for feedback. Ellie thought for a while and then said, “This may sound cliche, but I would ask what Jesus would do.”

She confirmed what I felt. Peace returned and I went on about my work.

The state of our society continues to disturb me, but my primary purpose is to pray, pay attention and obey the Master.

I’m not entirely ludicrous. I asked God about a stun gun. No answer yet. So, I carry the knife. But once in a while I tie up a separate bag of fresh food, take the short-cut beneath the underpass. As I walk along the highway side I place the bag on the wall and announce, “I’m just walking here. I mean no harm…”

 

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 (NLT)

 

*Matthew 26:52 (NKJV)

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

Sword

underpass 1

On part of my walk to the local strip mall I go beneath an on-ramp underpass rather than cross the busy highway above it. Somebody lives there – possibly a few people. I always look carefully, but never saw anyone. Still, each time I approach I pray; for safety, strength, wisdom but mostly for insight.

I step cautiously along that rocky, eerie path littered with bedding, clothes and rubbish; mostly empty alcoholic beverage bottles, cans and fast food refuse. I once crossed to the other side but it is dangerously narrow along the blind curve. So – no.

For most of my life I’ve carried a small Swiss Army knife, complete with handy tools – way before anyone heard of L.J. Gibbs or NCIS. I taught my sons to practice the same – and to keep a handkerchief (especially at weddings and funerals) in case a lady needs one. Days after describing my mostly lovely walks to son Quinn, I was giddy to find a package at my door with a note insisting I carry the content on my walks.

flipknife

My son didn’t send a tool – it’s a conspicuous, lightweight, gruesome-looking weapon, with a lever to quickly release the serrated blade. I grew up with overprotective brothers and I’ve been through police training. Even knowing first-hand the desperation of some street people, I felt uncomfortable about the ominous looking thing – not about carrying it, but having to pull it in self-defense.

A few days later as I approached the underpass I again asked God for help. I typically palm my little knife as I approach. As I reached for the new bulge on my belt I clearly heard from somewhere deep inside,

“…Those who use the sword will die by the sword.*.”

Slightly confused, I kept walking, but thought about the scenario Jesus addressed in that passage. He reminded his apostles His Father was in control and the coming events would actually fulfill prophesies in the coming hours.

underpass 3My walks are hardly prophetic, but I understood the meaning. Shoulders squared, back straight, my empty hands casually at my sides, I began whistling, announcing my presence to whoever might have been hiding in the shadows. The smells were oppressive, the noise from traffic overhead deafening, so I was glad to return to the sunlight uneventfully.

Delighted to find some of my favorite produce and nuts on sale, I filled my canvas bag. But I kept thinking about the people sleeping on the rocks of the underpass.

By the time I finished shopping and set across the asphalt lot toward home heat already rose in waves.

Gazing up the path before me I ran the rules I’d learned over the years through my mind; maintain a safe distance, know where the shelters, soup kitchens and food pantries are in my area and never give strangers, panhandlers, money – “it ultimately prolongs their problems.”

But I also remember being homeless. Stuck by circumstances, I didn’t trade or abuse substances. Still, I doubt I’ll ever forget being sick with worry about my kids, the judgmental looks of people as I sought employment, the desperation, the longing for someone to give a care, or that I still could be one paycheck away from homelessness again.

Feeling the weight of the bag on my back, perspiration beginning to form, I stopped beneath a shade tree in the middle of the parking lot. I put apples, carrots and some nuts into a separate produce bag and knotted it so it was airtight. Gazing ahead, once more I asked God to go before me and then started walking.

Approaching the underpass, I called out (in the most rugged voice I could muster), “I’m just passing through. I don’t want anything and mean no harm.” As I stepped around the dirty bedding I set the bag of fresh food on it without stopping.

Cars whizzed by yards away, oblivious to my presence as I stepped back into the sunlight.

Sleeping Butte

When I arrived home I was glad Ellie was there visiting with Erin. As I put the groceries away I described the scenario leading up to the first crossing beneath the underpass. Then I asked for feedback. Ellie thought for a while and then said, “This may sound cliche, but I would ask what Jesus would do.”

She confirmed what I felt. Peace returned and I went on about my work.

The state of our society continues to disturb me, but my primary purpose is to pray, pay attention and obey the Master.

I’m not entirely ludicrous. I asked God about a stun gun. No answer yet. So, I carry the knife. But once in a while I tie up a separate bag of fresh food, take the short-cut beneath the underpass. As I walk along the highway side I place the bag on the wall and announce, “I’m just walking here. I mean no harm…”

 

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 (NLT)

 

*Matthew 26:52 (NLT)

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Filed under Notes from the Apex

The Flicker and the Fish

It’s been another roller-coaster week. Beginning on an even plane today, having stepped into my routine, coffee gone I made a pot of tea. At my desk, I pulled a file from my trusty drafts folder and dove in.

As I worked something began flickering somewhere on by mind’s periphery. Static images don’t easily distract me, but I can’t ignore a flicker. After a few minutes, still unable to keep my mind in my work I laced up, stretched out and hit the trail.

Returning refreshed, invigorated and focused I wrapped up the task, set it aside to cure and headed for the shower.

Back at work, after starting a new file I noticed the flicker again. Something intangible seemed to be vying for my attention. I checked my calendar and confirmed I hadn’t missed an important date. I turned to the white board to keep focused.

Satisfied with my outline I returned to my text. After some time that nagging feeling I couldn’t identify was back. The file was ready to rest, so I closed it for the time being and sat quietly to meditate and clear my mind.

rocks-on-stream-2592x1936_99622Before very long thinking of nothing turned into pleasant memories; a stream, Poppy and my Uncle, wet rocks and the exhilarating air among the pines that filled the landscape surrounding my grandparents’ cabin. We were fishing. I would cast my line and happily watch the lure disappear into the water.

swimming-trout-on-water-3648x2736_93672I felt the pole in my hands jerk. I pulled the rod back in the opposite direction as I had watched Poppy and Unc do often. Wheeel! Whizz! bzzzz… Splash! A trout. My very first catch. I didn’t care that the sun was burning my face. I was so mesmerized by the life pulling and tugging back and forth at the end of my line.

Unc stood there with the net still at his side. “It’s a keeper. What ya wanna do, Girl?” My arms frozen, one hand gripped tightly around the cork pole grip, my other hand reaching for the line. Sunlight set the colors of the fish dazzling as it swished and bent back and forth across the water. As I reeled it in closer and lifted it, I felt its desperation to return to the water.

I glanced at Unc’s face. That wink – assuring me he’d be proud of whatever I wanted to do. I heard Poppy some yards farther up, urging Unc to net the fish. I wanted Poppy to be proud of my catch too. I wanted everyone to be impressed as we walked up to the porch like they were when my brother brought in his first catch the summer before. I wanted to feel that way badly. Then I saw the fish’s eyes. And Unc saw into mine.

Six foot tall, Unc’s long-legs easily stepped around blocking Poppy’s view of me, he never took his eyes from mine as I gazed at “my” catch. Pocket knife already in his hand he snapped it open. It felt like hours flew by while the fish struggled against my line. I couldn’t put my all into reeling and pulling it closer. Still watching me carefully, Unc cut the line and just that quickly the fish was gone from sight. I felt instantly relieved.

the-clean-stream-4320x3240_63085His smile bright as the sun, he bent and splashed the water with the free hand, bringing the net close between us and then called over his shoulder to Poppy, “Aw, the line broke.” Poppy fussed under his breath as Poppy sometimes did. Still smiling, Unc straightened and responded, “We should’ve used that other reel.” Catching the end of my line, he quietly said to me, “We needn’t mention the knife. Hamburgers sound better to me anyway.” Again, that understanding wink.

And in another instant I could feel my breath again exactly as I felt it way back then. Relieved. I remember gathering pine cones on the way back, our arms free of any fish. Unc would point to bare spots teasingly to send me where there were no pine cones and we’d laugh.

I took a deep breath, gazed out the window to the giant pines across the street and imagined I could smell them through the closed windows. Unc had always been my hero but there is so much more to tell about him.

I returned to my desk…

To be continued.

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