The Loveliest Day

Young boy, young man,
heart always at play….
Young heart, young love, til end,
but a stone’s throw away.

Skip, little rock,
across the water’s way.
skip to the other side,
on this longest,
loveliest day.
Carry my heart along the way.

Until I be old, and lonely,
and unable to say,
what wonders your love
brought my way -
on this,
the loveliest day.

Promises? To keep?
To be lost or swept away?
I promise only this;
love shall always live in my heart.
You are welcome a day -
or eternity…
Whatever measure,
your own.
Mine will always be -
the loveliest day.

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© 2014 John Allen Richter
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Seven Cane Poles

Seven cane poles,
resting against the wall.
amongst mother’s other bobbles
in the closet in the hall.
I’d see them there,
occasionally,
from time to time,
Now only seen in the memories
of my mind.
Dad had bought us each our own
one nice early fall day,
spent fishing on a lake
not too far away.
Laughing, and playing,
I caught a fish that day.
And after that those seven cane poles
stood stoic and tall
in mother’s closet hall.
Life has passed me by,
lo these many years,
through great love, sentiment,
and many tears.
And after all I should only want to be,
the sixth of seven cane poles
resting comfortably.

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© 2014 John Allen Richter
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Autumn Again

If ever you should find,
through comfort or peace of mind,
a day so crisp as autumn kind,
shout it out, as loud as may -
send forth the winds as if to say
come friends, with me, and play -
on this glorious, beautiful day.

Then hide and wait to see,
from ‘neath shadow of poplar tree,
the glimpse of childrens games -
yon hither from eternity.
As those of us who’ve gone before,
come back through years and misty lore,
to play and spin the dust of yorn -
and thank thee to share this day just born….

For thee and autumn doth pierce all time
in yours, and mine, and other’s minds….

Ashes, ashes, we ALL fall down…….

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© 2014 John Allen Richter
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Words Alone

Sometimes I find myself in a most aggravated state of mind while developing a mental image of other people’s hodge podge beliefs in religion.  And I must admit in full honor before God and man, and with most every bit of human modesty that should enable a conversation to avail to my own betterment and polite wish to be hospitable, whereas I intend to let these wandering minds believe that their enkindling thoughts on the subject have somehow enlightened my soul with the glowing warmth of the almighty, I find myself more often than not simply embroiled within a certain fiery rage over the complete lunacy of what they have proffered.

And then it becomes as no question that these poor, ignorant souls have not only trampled upon the gardens alongside their own righteous paths but now have marred my very own good soul and intentions by forcing me to find their drivel quite shallow and their personal thoughts crudely to be without the capacity for understanding higher things -at least to those beliefs such that would remain classified as unknown for the achievement of higher virtue than their own.  And then, in the end tis I who leaves the engagement a lesser man for having such despise.

If there is any morsel of advice that I may give, or any that be worth writing or reading, then it would probably be that merely uttering a word, or a group of words, regardless of what they are or represent, will never bring righteousness nor can it secure a person’s intensely coveted spot in the heavenly afterlife that he or she may be known to boast of so dearly and with such vigor that the common man might come to think that he or she has already secured heavenly mortgage.

And I would relate to them, dear friends, that in an unhealthy rush to become acclimatized by the very tendrils of salvation they so believe is their right by human speech, As though uttering the word “God” or “Jesus” should avail them the protective cloak from Satan and sin, irrefutably leaving them manifestly inoccuous to the bowels of hell and tortures within simply because they repeated a phrase, and here I shall purport otherwise that boasting of righteousness is in deed the very thing that will certainly send any of us all to the confines of Satan’s playground.

For Jesus Christ is alive and our Lord and Saviour, but a rose is a rose is a rose.  He is also many names to many others.  To not understand that is to not understand omnipotency.  Nor love.

 


I’m Pretty Sure They Were Angels

It was a dismal car.  Back in those days we called them lemons – the oddball car coming off the factory line plagued with one problem after another.  And this one was painted yellow.  It wasn’t a stretch to make that connection to lemon.  Some days it actually smelled a little lemony.

My father bought it in the fall of 1972, bragging about how he got a deal on it because it had been a “dealer’s model.”  When I asked about it he said that meant the dealer used it to let potential buyers drive it.  If they liked it then they could order one to be built.  I don’t know how things worked back then and don’t know how they work today.  But it sounds to me like the dealer used it to drive back and forth to work.  It had around 9,000 miles on it.

Shortly after buying the 72 Olds boatmobile 88 my parents divorced.  Mom “won” the car in the divorce.  I’ve been a little leery of “winning” things ever since, like Ed McMahon’s constant claims over the decades.  My father always told me that nothing but air is free in life and that I should ignore anyone who said otherwise.  I think Dad was very happy escaping with just his sporty Cutlass.

Over the next few years I had been in that car with my mother several times when it completely broke down on the road.  Mom was horrible at judging when a car was acting up.  As a kid I was terrible at it too, but having lived through many lemons in my ensuing years I’ve become quite attuned to the tell-tale signs of an “Oh shit!” that is eminently etched in the future.  Back then not so much.

And it could be my memory acting up, I don’t know.  But all the times we broke down together my memory seems to be lacking a little.  And that’s odd for my memory.  I usually have a great memory of my entire childhood.  It’s last week that I can’t recall.  Somehow all those memories of being stranded on the road with Mom are vacant or at least shmooshed together.

It must have been the winter of 74/75.  And I don’t think we could have picked a colder, more blistery day.  Mom suffered from depression, as I do.  It’s not an exaggeration to say that from the day Dad left until the day she died there didn’t seem to be a single moment of calm collection in her life.  Her stalwart, her rock was our older sister Sandy who lived 75 miles away in Indianapolis.  Every time Mom’s depression kicked up she headed for Indy to mind-meld with Sandy.  And I always tagged along.

This day it was late at night on a  cold, wintery day.  It was pitch black.  We were about 20 or 30 miles away from Indy when the car decided to shutter and die.  Very oddly we were in about a mile stretch of US 70 that had street lights.  It was coincidence I guess because there was no off ramps there.  The previous 45 minutes on the road had been pitch black and traffic free because it was snowing cats and dogs.  These snowflakes must have been an inch wide.  It was odd that we just happened to die in a lit area.

There was nothing else to do but walk to find a gas station or something.  I told mom to stay in the car and I made sure the blanket was in the front seat with her.  Since we were stopped in a lit area I assumed there must have been an exit or rest area ahead.  So I started my trek through the foot and a half snow in the emergency lane.  I soon got back into the pitch black and just walked and walked.  I think only one or two trucks passed by as I walked for the next 45 minutes.  And still after all that time there was no off ramp or little burg in site.

Just then a four wheeled pick up pulled up along side me, complete with the big roll bar and lights attached to it.  Now those are pretty common to see now, but back in the 70’s they were a bit rarer.  Being all of 13 or 14 years of age I was mightily impressed.  There were two men inside it.  I could see them when the passenger opened his door.  He said “You must be John.”

Now it took a minute for that to soak in.  Here i was 60 miles from anywhere that anybody knows me, and this guy in the middle of a pitch black snow driven night 20 miles from nowhere calls me by name.  What are the odds?  For a second, well maybe just a split second, I thought this might be God.  I was a little dumbfounded.  “How do you know my name?”

“We came across your mom a few miles back and she told us you were out trying to get help.”  Well now I already knew all of that so I was wondering why they would stop on this cold snowy storm to tell me that.  So I just stood where wondering.  After what must have been a long silence the driver called out “Would you like a ride John?”

“Oh.  Well, yeah.  That would be mighty nice of you.”  Then I realized that climbing into those big trucks was a little hard when your thighs and calves were numb from the cold.  Finally I got into the back seat, and then hovered over the top of their bench seat.  “I sure do want to thank you guys for helping me and my mom.”  Back in those days I had a paper route and always had $20 or $30 bucks on me, so I started digging in my wallet.

“You don’t need to pay us, John.  This is what we do.”

“I don’t know what you mean.  What do you do?”

“Well, whenever comes a big storm we come out here with this big old truck to help people out.  That’s how we came across your mom.  And then you.”

I noticed they had a CB in the truck and were talking to one of their wives (I guessed.)  She said that she had called the garage and they were sending a tow truck.  Shortly after we ended up right behind my mother’s dead car, and I stayed in the truck with them until the tow truck got there.  When I started to get out I told them that I wanted to give them something.  Again they refused, and the passenger said “Just pass it on.”

As a dumb unsuspecting kid I thought all adults talked in code that we weren’t privy too, so I said “I don’t understand.  What does that mean?”

“Well, it just means that whenever you see anyone in need, just remember this night.  Maybe help them out.”

Unfortunately my mother died of cancer just a few short years later.  She never got to grow old and never got to meet my children.  And over the years I thought about that often over the years, how those two gentlemen helped my mother and I.  But never so much so when I was first married.

We had moved into a mobile home trailer park as newly weds, pretty flat broke and both of us still in college.  I met the sweetest little old gal in the home right behind us.  For anyone who doesn’t know mobile home parks used to be where people retired.  She was no different.  She and her husband had retired and lived there for many years.  He passed away just the year before my wife and I moved in and she had no way to take care of things all alone.  She was in her early eighties and couldn’t possibly cut the grass, shovel snow, fix furnaces or plumbing.  She had children and grand children but they weren’t close by.  So I happily did all of those things for her.  Every time I talked to her I felt as though it was my own mother, as though she might have lived long enough to share this time together too.

Every time I cut her grass, or did some odd chore for her,  I thought of my own mom.  And my wife too.  I thought if either of them had gotten old and alone, I’d want some one to help them out too.  So I passed it on, and passed it on, and passed it on.  Still passing it on.  And still thinking of those two wonderful men who took their time to stop on a cold stormy night to help me and my mom.

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Thou Fair, Thine Eyes

Thine eyes should liken to the rose,
with scents and sights of utter prose.
With little more than your depose,
that I should let you go.

But no.

The winds are yours my dear,
Beg the call of yester year.
tis I who knows so clear -
the loss of one lone Rose…..

My hand, and heart, are always here…

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© 2014 John Allen Richter
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War is hell…. uncapatilized abortion

War is hell. Most who have been within its throes will attest to that. If of course they are willing to talk about it. The mere fact that most who have fought in war choose to hide from their own memories of it should be testament enough that war is atrocious in the least. My heart goes out to any soldier who has fought in a just war.

But what is a just war? Aren’t any wars sinful and considered heinous criminal acts of one man or nation upon another?

St. Thomas Acquinas defined just war thusly: “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

That certainly would account for our intervention in both world wars, and Korea. I’m still up in the air about VietNam because those who were seizing and those being seized upon were often of the same philosophy.

An individual can not declare war. For an individual can seek redress for wrongs within his system of government. This is a clear theme in the Bible’s goal of pacifism and was edified by Acquinas at a time when most governments were led mostly by birthright loyalty.  But what of those Jews in Nazi German control.  How could they have sought redress?  Of course in hindsight we know that other just nations corralled around their cause and fought for them.

I think God provides for all in the hope that other “just” nations will always endeavor to wage war against evils as those found in 1930s and 1940s Europe.  But is that a stead fast hope?  Can we always be secure in the thought that at least one powerful nation will always be willing to stand up against unjust evil?  Will the Cavalry always come charging whenever evils exist in the world?   I don’t think so.  I think that political correctness can be used as a tool to chip away at attitudes toward evil, lessening those necessary responses where evil exists.

Don’t agree?  What is your stance on abortion?  Are you free to stand up and say how you feel?  Of course.  But the powers of political correctness will wash away any effective use you may be in the fight against abortion by causing fence-sitters to see you as a radical zealot…….  Who lends credence to a radical zealot?  And let’s face it, we’re really trying to save the souls of fence-sitters, aren’t we?

If we made abortion a mandate where every third child must be aborted, would other nations come running to help us from such evil?  China has had similar population control in place for decades.  No cavalry jumped in to save their citizens.

Abortion is not a government issue.  Period.  We do not use it as a reason to justify war because it can not justify war.  I think that is just a matter of universal law, as though it is impossible for a banana to be orange.  Using it as some sort of volleyball in a political debate only intensifies the use of PC to deal with it, only strengthening it as a viable option in the minds of fence sitters.  Abortion will never be legislated in our free democracy because it is seen as a religious issue.  “Why is murder illegal then?”  Because murder ends the life of a citizen.  Abortion doesn’t.  At least the unborn child is not yet seen as a citizen.  And as long as Satan rules this world I don’t think the unborn child will ever be viewed as a citizen.

Beyond all of that I intrinsically believe that abortion should not be a matter of legislation, nor battle, but rather a matter of spirituality.  Here are some quotes from some early heavy-hitting Christians on abortion.1

“You shall not kill the child by obtaining an abortion. Nor, again, shall you destroy him after he is born.” 
St. Barnabas (“Epistle of St. Barnabas,” c. 70-100 A.D.)

“You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one who has been born.”
“The Didache [The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles]” (c. 80-140 A.D.)

“Women who were reputed believers began to resort to drugs for producing sterility. They also girded themselves around, so as to expel what was being conceived. For they did not wish to have a child by either slave or by any common fellow – out of concern for their family and their excessive wealth. See what a great impiety the lawless one has advanced! He teaches adultery and murder at the same time!” St. Hipploytus (“Refutation Of All Heresies,” c. 225 A.D.)

“He [the schismatic Novatian] struck the womb of his wife with his heel and hurried an abortion, thereby causing parricide.”
St. Cyprian of Carthage (“Epistle 52 To Cornelius,” c. 251 A.D.)

“A woman who deliberately destroys a fetus is answerable for murder. And any fine distinction as to its being completely formed or unformed is not admissible amongst us.”
St. Basil the Great (“Epistle 138,” c. 375 A.D.)

“Others drink for sterility and commit murder on the human not yet sown. Some when they sense that they have conceived by sin, consider the poisons for abortion, and frequently die themselves along with it, and go to Hell guilty of three crimes: murdering themselves, committing adultery against Christ, and murder against their unborn child.”
St. Jerome (“Epistle 22,” c. 380 A.D.)

“The rich women, to avoid dividing the inheritance among many, kill their own fetus in the womb and with murderous juices extinguish in the genital chamber their children.”
St. Ambrose (“On the Hexaemeron,” c. 386 A.D.)

“To destroy the fetus ‘is something worse than murder.’ The one who does this ‘does not take away life that has already been born, but prevents it from being born.’”
St. John Chrysostom (“Homilies on Romans,” c. 391 A.D.)

 

1. http://www.stpeterslist.com/1504/the-early-church-on-abortion-8-quotes-before-ad-400/

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