Young boy to his father: “Why does soda pop spoil my dinner but your martini gives you an appetite?”
Dad, I can explain the poor grades I got in math. The batteries in my calculator died.
Half wits talk much but say little. - Benjamin Franklin
If you would reap Praise, you must sow the Seeds, gentle Words and useful Deeds. - Ibid
Early to Bed and early to rise, makes a Man healthy, wealthy, and wise. - Ibid
When time runs out and you and I depart,
May each loved one we leave behind,
Remember with a loving, grateful heart,
That we were cheerful, warm and kind.
- William Arthur Ward
“Happiness is an inside job,”
Is wisdom written by a sage.
Some learn this truth when they are young,
But as a rule it comes with age!
LEAVES is the title of a letter to the editor of NEW CHURCH LIFE that I wrote. It was published in the October 1993 issue.
In the meeting place of this magazine, we hear different and even contrary views expressed on a subject. Then the readers can consider the value and aspects of what is being discussed and be the wiser for that. Those writers who stand surefooted on the field of spiritual truth, revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg, often emit a nice balance of light and heat. This comes through their understanding of a subject. I notice that they stand undefeated even under a bombardment of heated criticism, some of which appears in letters to the editor.
Now, as befitting the cooler days of autumn, let us listen to the poem, - BEREFT by Robert Frost:
Where had I heard this wind before
Change like this to a deeper roar?
What would it take my standing there for,
Holding open a restive door,
Looking down hill to a frothy shore?
Summer was past and day was past.
Sombre clouds in the west were massed.
Out in the porch’s sagging floor,
Leaves got up in a coil and hissed,
Blindly struck at my knee and missed.
Something sinister in the tone
Told me my secret must be known:
Word that I was in the house alone
Somehow must have gotten abroad,
Word I was in my life alone,
Word I had no one left but God.
Summer is past and autumn’s leaves can be seen and heard as they scurry along the ground. Dressed in casual clothing in the traditional colors of tan, brown, yellow and red, they play secret games in the breeze. Some wink at us from a corner of the lawn. Others giggle and duck behind a bush.
But the extremely dry ones, the cynical gossipers, whisper their favorite lies. They coil, hiss, strike but miss. Should we tell apparent evil men that they are spiritually blind? I do not know. Perhaps they should just be left in darkness. I do know that they are not worth worrying about. If necessary, a spiritually strong man with spiritual truth in his mind can reach out, as it were, and easily crush them to dust.
Friends, do not be afraid to speak and write what you believe to be true. Allow the same opportunity to your neighbors. I enjoy hearing from those who feel that they have no one left but God, because I think that often they are the best reflectors of His Love and Wisdom.
Show me the way, not to fortune and fame, not how to win laurels or praise for my name, but show me the way to spread the great story that Thine is the kingdom and power and glory. - Helen Steiner Rice
My garden beautifies my yard and adds fragrance to the air, but it is also my cathedral and my quiet place of prayer. So little do we realize that the glory and the power of Him who made the universe lies hidden in a flower! - Ibid
“In his books, Swedenborg did not catalog the correspondence of every known plant or even every plant that he had in his garden, although all would have their individual meanings. His particular endeavor was to unfold the spiritual meaning of the Bible, and so he deals primarily with those trees, herbs, flowers, and weeds that we find in the Old and New Testaments. For he knew that in the garden of the Lord’s Word are the seeds of truth that we need to plant in the soil of our minds so that good affections can blossom in our hearts and bear fruit in our lives. We need to be a garden as well as a gardener.” - HEAVEN IN A Wild Flower by Vera Glenn
A mother of seven was asked how she divided her love among so many children. “You don’t divide,” she responded. “You multiply.” - Anon
“I’m trying something new next summer. I’m sending my dogs to camp and my children to obedience school.” - Lynn Redgrave
“We can’t always please, but we can avoid offending.” - Arnold Glasow
I have noticed that some people begin conversations with the word “so.” Allow me to start this segment of Sunshine with the same word.
So I was in the office of the Michael Tower at the Cathedral early one afternoon last August, when a gentleman, who is involved with activities there, commented about my clothing, “Your shirt and shorts both have designs in them. One of them should be plain.” Certainly I knew that and I agreed with him. Then he went a bit too far in his criticism of my clothing. He pointed at my old gray socks, while calling out to three members of the Cathedral Staff including the Director. “Just look at his socks.” Then he repeated his statement. His voice verged on mockery, I thought, as the three innocent bystanders stared at my socks. Yes, I knew that my socks should have been white and not gray and not be a bit frayed as they were. So I just stood there, deeply embarrassed. I tried to explain that I had just stopped in the Cathedral for a few minutes after my trip to the local bank.
You know I grew up quite poor in Bryn Athyn and I am sensitive to being mocked about my clothing. I really never had decent clothes in my youth. My critic’s comments cut me deeply whether he intended them to or not.
And so about a week later, I was at the Cathedral. I guess that I still was filled with some resentfulness at my critic’s hurtful comments. I lashed out at my critic who again was at the Cathedral. I said something like, “I guess that you are still critical of my clothing but I think that you are just full of hot air. You are full of something.” I was thinking of mental nonsense; something of little value as I glared at him and spoke harshly.
So it ended, I thought. He was wrong in being contemptuous of me and I went too far in venting my anger at him. Of course, we were just dueling with spoken words. And surely he would not tell another person that I was strutting around the Cathedral, as it were, displaying some angry haughtiness. Surely anyone who heard of my apparent angry tone of voice would ask why I was angry. But then again, not everyone is rational or even wants to be, I truly believe.
I have forgiven my critic but I am wary of him. Often it is difficult navigating one’s way even through a religion-themed society.
Let me choose my words carefully for the following explanation of an experience I had. So, there is a place where local folks often gather. And if a person was in this building looking westward, in the basement at the southwest corner, there have been strange occurrences, I am given to understand. Indeed some people are afraid to go to that area of the basement. For there have been rumors of tables, tools and other items being mysteriously moved. I heard a personal testimony of a door handle being rattled. But I do not understand how these things could happen.
Anyway one odd experience was related by a man who was not feeling well and rested on a cot, in the basement. And he envisioned, that is, saw a man walking near him. This man wore khaki slacks, a tee shirt, was a bit bald and was very muscular. Now when I was told of this appearance, I immediately responded, “Oh, that is Al,” who had died about twelve years previously. (Apparently he was still in the world of spirits and in consociation from there with people on earth. Remember that although our bodies are in the natural world, our minds are in the spiritual world and there in the company of spirits, angels and/or devils.)
I informed the person who told me of this man’s experience meeting Al, that I would go to that area of the basement alone. I did so and looked around to see what might be attractive to Al. I saw only heat pipes and some shelves so I turned around to leave. Then behind my left ear, I heard the clearly spoken word, “Richard.” Yes, without a doubt, it was Al’s voice which seemed to be very sad.
So in the next couple of days I thought about Al and his situation and I sensed his whole-hearted agreement sometimes with what I was thinking. Here were my thoughts: Al was an ardent admirer of Adolf Hitler, even when Al was an adult. Indeed Al was drafted into the army when he was seventeen years old and all of his Germanic youthful idealism deeply admired, almost worshipped Hitler.
When I served as Cathedral Curator, on several occasions Al told me how miserable life was in Germany after the First World War. And Hitler was deeply admired throughout Germany for bringing prosperity to the people, with food and good jobs.
In Al’s eyes Hitler could do no wrong. Indeed Al told me that the reason Germany lost the war was because Hitler had listened to his generals and acted according to their advice. Many other Germans have had the same thought which enables them to continue to believe that Hitler could do nothing wrong. Al also saw him as being faultless.
Now, believe me I am choosing my words carefully, as I continue. So Al worked at a place where, in my view, there was a devilish boss. With his apparent angelic smiles and totally loving exterior, sometimes he could gain control over people. (That is all I wish to say about him, but I can assure you that I have two true stories about this man that if I were to write them, local and more wide-spread newspapers would have a field day publishing them. But I intend to keep them in my memory only, mainly because needless harm could come to this man’s family if my accounts were published.)
Okay, now let me proceed with my experience with Al. For a day or so after hearing Al call out my name I was aware of Al’s presence with my thoughts. (Now if you think that that is nuts, try reading, Dr. Odhner’s book, Spirits and Men. Or read Vera Glenn’s book, A Dove at the Window or read the Writings of Emanuel Swedenborg.)
So in my meditation I presented this thought to Al: “I think that you should not as it were worship or be under the influence of Hitler or your former boss. You know, I think that both of them lied to you. And I suspect that, your former boss may have told you to stay close to the Cathedral. Your work was not finished there.” And so maybe Al’s spirit from his loyal conscience was anchored to the Cathedral. He could not move on, I believe, toward heaven. So I suggested to Al by my thinking that he no longer should obey his former idols. Maybe they are in hell now, who knows? I transferred the thought, “So Al, let us now worship the Lord Jesus Christ only.” I sensed that he agreed wholeheartedly so he and I, I believe, are now Christian brothers, in our service to our Lord. And I believe that Al no longer haunts a certain area of the building were local folks often meet.
You know, I do not think very much about ghosts and haunted houses, etc. but what I have explained above is completely true. By the way, I would be very happy if I never again have another experience as I have just described.
Now here is another personal experience, which occurred last June: So I had just turned off of Huntingdon Pike and was driving along County Line Road. In front of me, in my lane, was a car driving my speed which was about 45 miles per hour. Then suddenly this car drove into the on-coming lane and just stayed there. I saw car in the distance coming toward him. Certainly there was going to be a head-on collision.
I could have sought to avoid being part of the certain accident by turning into an intersecting road or driveway. But I pursed the car and honked my horn six times until the driver in the car in front of me drove back into my lane. The car coming toward us never sought to turn off the road. Maybe he/she was texting someone. But he/she was about 3 seconds before having a head-on collision and probable death.
I believe that I saved a couple of lives that day. You know, we never know how or when we will be of use to society. Even a few wise words from a mature person can help change another person’s life for the better. What an amazing journey we are on during our brief time in the natural world! You know what I mean from your own experiences, I am sure.
The telephone rang at 3 a.m. “Are you awake?” inquired the caller. “Yeah, I had to get up to answer the phone.”