Friday, April 22, 2011

god's earth

It is Earth Day. What does that mean to you? Did you do anything or are you doing something perhaps this weekend?

Not that I am judging or anything. I really try to do my best not to judge. If I catch myself judging I stop and I call myself a stupid jerk. Just kidding. I do try to give myself the same kind consideration as I do other people, we are always harder on ourselves, much harder than anyone else could be. If somebody is hard on you, it is YOU believing them. Which is the same as being mean to yourself. I am doing my best.

Back to Earth Day. What a great holiday to have on the calender. I wish people would go all out like they do for Christmas. Imagine if people put that kind of energy into being good to the earth or going out and getting connected again to nature, to the earth. Instead of a month full of decorating and shopping, what if everybody took that month and picked up garbage and planted trees instead of cutting them down? Wouldn't Earth Day turn into the ultimate goodwill, warm and fuzzy holiday ever? I mean don't get me wrong. There are some great holidays all over the world during the time of the Winter Solstice. There are festivals of light all over the the planet. The birth of the Sun has been a very big deal from the beginning of time. Ancient man has celebrated the sun for ages. The sun and the birth of the sun, marked by the solstice was an powerful, good omen of one's survival. Man knew it was the beginning of the rebirth, soon there would be life again.

People in America do make pilgrimages to our National Parks, for example to the Grand Canyon, the Giant Redwood Forest or to the The Great Smoky Mountains. There is something very healing about being in the presence of such an amazing place. The feeling of how small you are, and how big and beautiful our planet is. Some people feel closer to God when they cast their eyes upon such grandeur. Some people feel more... alive. They are able to suddenly take a big breath, and feel the breath of life surge through them. All they can  whisper is... "wow".

Now, I live in what is called God's Country. From what I understand, that can mean a dominant Christian base area. It might perhaps mean an area so beautiful that it was blessed by God. I am not sure. I am not the person who made it up. However, being originally from NH, then MA on to FL and now living here in WV, I can say with some authority that the number of churches out number schools, or stores, or fire stations, comparatively. There is a church at every corner. I am not kidding. I can see one from my house, perched up on a hill. A Methodist Church, it has been here probably longer than my house. Since the mid 1800's. It is the norm. here. People from here are not surprised at any of this. I don't think people even think about it as odd. It is the culture, a Christian culture. God's Country. When I first moved here three years ago, I would meet people and the conversation would go like this: Chatting away all friendly-like, then I would say, "Yes, my family and I are new here". The other person would then immediately ask, "What church do you go to?" Me, "Oh we haven't really picked one." Other person excitedly goes on to tell me about there church and into details about how great it is and how I should come this Sunday with my family. It doesn't occur to them that I might not be a Christian! I could be Jewish. I could be Buddhist, Islamic, or something other than Christian. I mean there are other religions. I would never assume to know where or how somebody may or may not worship. I stopped telling people I was new, because I suddenly felt like fresh meat at a lion convention! I couldn't believe it. It was so odd to me. But as I settled in and got to know the people around here, I found that they were not lions, they were very kind and loving and just trying to share their own joy and their own truth. Some Christians proselytize because it is how they worship. To spread the good word of Jesus Christ. I get it. How can I be mad at that? It just felt so invasive at first. I did not grow up around here.

I grew up in NH where I did live on Church Street, but that because there were churches on that short street Two churches. But the rest of the streets had regular names and there were not so many churches! My mother worked as an OB RN in a city hospital in MA. She was quite liberal I think. (She is a republican now.) I mean, she gave me a black barbie doll in the 1960's! Not because it was on sale, I think. Anyway, she helped Mothers from every ethnic, economic and religious sector give birth . She went on to be a Midwife in her 50's. Go Mom! She also raised five kids by herself after my father took off and disappeared. No child support or help with birthdays or anything. Anyway, there is a picture of where I came from. I was exposed to an open mind. Now, we went to a Christian church. It was the rebel Church that broke off from the one next door. Go figure. She made me play the piano and had my brothers and sisters sing in front of the church for Christmas! Horrifying. But we did it. I went to "Church Camp" up in the White Mountains, where the counselors played guitar and had longer haircuts and sang great tunes like Cat Steven's Morning Has Broken. Gosh, I love that song. We hiked and made baskets and had fun. It wasn't about being saved. It wasn't about hell, or sin. I don't ever remember being afraid of going to hell. That wasn't taught to me. There was no fear, only love. So, I think at some point in my young life, I equated God with Nature. Nature was God to me. Still is. I will talk later about that. Stay tuned.

Flash-back! Funny, and related? I do remember this; one day in Sunday school I asked the teacher, "How do you know the Bible is telling the truth? I remember her pausing I remember her face, and the look of her having trouble answering. She was one of my Mom's friends. I can see myself sitting in the church basement, looking up at her and questioning the bible. I don't have many clear memories, but that one is crystal clear. I remembered her answer too. When she stopped saying "um uh", she said "because these stories have been passed down for a long time." I am not sure she was believable enough for me at that age.

So, back to Earth day. I look at it as a holy day. A day that people stop and think, "let's do something for the earth!" Let us worship the planet we live on by being generous to it. Not fake peace signs and hippy-chic stuff. I mean a HOLY day. I do not want to just worship today. I want to do this everyday. I organized a trash pick-up day 2 years ago at a city park that had so much garbage in it. It still does. We barely made a dent. Why? I advertised it in the paper, got the word out, I even had sponsors! However, the only one people who showed up were two of my friends and my family. But we made a dent.

I drive along the Bluestone River every day. When we have Spring and rain flushes the garbage, it is scattered along the river beds, and roads. People throw garbage out their windows too. I am talking to you lady at Wendy's who ordered a iced tea and then threw her receipt out the window as you drove off. Yes, I know you ordered a Ice Tea because Rusty got out of the car and picked it up. Somehow my own property seems to get specks of garbage. The dogs, the kids (Brittany and Caleb) Private joke. lol Tomorrow I am going to clean up my land as a holy ritual. I am also going to start a club or a group that's main concern is keeping our part of the Bluestone River litter free. That will be my prayer. Now I will need to find a congregation. Sure. But, I really do think this is important enough for people in God's Country to keep it as such.

I wish you a blessed Earth Day. Anyway  you have decided to celebrate it.

Cafe Cabbage

It's the real thing

This bud is for you.

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

Sweet the rains new fall, sunlit from Heaven
Like the first dewfall on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
Sprung in completeness where His feet pass

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, Eden saw play
Praise with elation, praise every morning
God's recreation of the new day

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

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