Crimea

Crimea: (n) a peninsula in SE Ukraine

War.

Old men hear speeches and wave flags.

Young men grab guns and prepare to kill.

Old women have pictures of their sons in dress uniforms.

Young women attend funerals.

There’s nothing noble about war.

Perhaps merely removing the nobility of war—the romantic notion of heroism and bravery—might cause us to settle down and reconsider conflict.

I remember the first time I read Tennyson’s poem, “Charge of the Light Brigade.” It was a brilliant artistic expression of the courage of young soldiers on horseback during the Crimean War, who were asked to attack a battery of cannon with just their swords.

Tennyson meant well.

But he ended up glamorizing what was neither brave nor essential.

It was a foolish decision by a commander who was tired of nothing happening and decided to use human lives to experiment. Because of that it’s very difficult to hear the word “Crimea” without thinking of the Crimean War—which certainly brings to mind the unnecessary sacrifice of soldiers who were bound by duty.

I wonder what would happen if we forced people to commit to love, kindness and tenderness the way we drill murder, mayhem and anger into our infantry. Is it possible that we would no longer need teenage boys charging hills and dying so that old men can prove that they’re powerful?

I don’t know.

Crimea makes me think of war.

And the Crimean War makes me think of the “Charge of the Light Brigade.”

And that ridiculous decision makes me sad over unnecessary loss.

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Cremate

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

Cremate: (v) to reduce a dead body to ashes by fire

I grew up with a “Kellogg’s” approach to death and burial.

This was more or less taking your loved one, sticking him or her in a box, sealing the lid and tucking the flake away.

All the funerals I went to had gorgeous cereal boxes. They all ended up at a gravesite where the container was lowered into the ground, covered over and marked with a stone that insisted in granite that this individual once lived.

So when my thirteen-year-old son passed away from complications due to a hit-and-run accident, I was far from any home we had, traveling on the road. I immediately discovered that those boxes ain’t cheap.

Not only are they expensive, but they demand that you buy a plot of land—which is also extremely costly—and place your loved one in an area where you must to drive to visit.

Well, I realized I was not going to live in the community where my boy died, so I was offered the option of cremation. It was considerably less money. Also, at the end of the process, they handed over a box containing a sealed, plastic bag of dusty and ashy remains.

It was rather shocking. Opening the lid, I took a peek at the contents. It reminded me of when I was a kid and was given the job in late October of cleaning the fireplace out so we would be able to make a nice, cozy flame on cold, winter nights.

… Ashen, clingy powder that wanted to stick to your skin—or if you got it too close to your face and inhaled, could make you cough.

This was not my son. This didn’t represent his brief journey.

I thought to myself, maybe it’s a good thing. Instead of painting up something that’s dead and gone, burn it up, confirming that it will no longer be here.

I picked up the carton, put it in the back of our van, and we traveled with it for years—stuck in the corner near the wheel well.

At times I considered scattering the ashes, but there was no particular place that had more significance than another. Absent finding a resting ground for his soot, I felt more inclined to just keep him nearby.

Matter of fact, he’s still with us.

My younger son has taken him and lifted him up in honor … in a corner of the attic.


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Boisterous

Boisterous: (adj) noisy, energetic, and cheerful; rowdy.

Noisy, energetic, cheerful and rowdy.Dictionary B

Those words are NOT synonyms–at least, not in our society.

Noisy: Please be more quiet.

Energetic: Yea, team!

Cheerful: Thank you for being pleasant.

Rowdy: Keep an eye on them–they look like trouble.

See what I mean?

It’s no wonder that upon hearing the word “boisterous,” anyone over the age of thirty immediately conjures negative images. And anyone under thirty pops up snapshots of a beer-bong party.

Unfortunately, because of this transition that occurs at our third decade, overnight we go from being fun-loving bozos to pernicious buzz-killers.

On top of that, we have certain areas where we do not accept boisterous behavior whatsoever–funerals, weddings (except the reception) and of course, church.

A boisterous funeral would be considered campy, but a bit uncouth.

A boisterous wedding would be viewed as an interruption of a sacred impartation.

And a boisterous church service would be translated as a holy-rolling, snake-handling hullabaloo of hillbillies.

Do we need to be boisterous? Are there times when our energy should become rowdy?

There just might be things in life worthy of raising our blood pressure … without getting us angry.

 

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Anabaptist

dictionary with letter A

Anabaptist: (n) a radical Protestant sect in the 1520s and 1530s which believed that baptism should be administered only to believing adults.

It’s not so much that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. It’s just that by the time a dog reaches a certain age of maturity, it is always looking for a warm piece of sunshine in which to take a nap.

It is so much easier to teach a young dog which is hopping around with energy, to do something unnecessary, like a trick, because the creature is already predisposed to be active.

When I read this definition of Anabaptist, I immediately noted that their particular goal of profession of faith didn’t last very long. The reason for that is that trying to teach adults to be spiritual is similar to the quandary of pursuing chasing a stick with the old dog.

The people who are most intrigued by God, love, mercy, angels and promises of heaven are young.

Very young.

Perhaps that’s why Jesus told his disciples that we all need to “become like little children.” Otherwise, we’ll have no appetite to learn the new tricks that are available for our spirit.

If you remove Sunday School, Bible school, church camp and youth outings from the average religious organization, you basically end up with traditional worship services once a week … and funerals.

Matter of fact, that is the menu of many congregations in this country.

It is the infusion of youthfulness and the passion associated with it that makes spirituality alive and well. Otherwise, the minute we find a warm place to sleep in the sun, we no longer care about God, the earth and fellow-travelers.

Yes, the Anabaptists made a serious mistake. Merely getting old and sickly does not prepare one for eternity.

It is the introduction of youthful, childlike playing that “draws us nigh unto God.”

 

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