Seasonal Friendship’s

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Photo taken by the author at
YYC International Airport

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust

I have noticed that certain people seem to come into our lives for a specific purpose at a specific time. These people, who become great friends of our’s, tend to enter through circumstances or during a certain season we are going through in life. In other words, they come into our lives for a certain duration of time, and it can be an intense time too, and then all of a sudden their presence is gone. Not forever gone from our life, and certainly not from our memory, but rather for the expanse of time they had once occupied in our life. It seems one moment they are here and the next they are gone.

As King Solomon once said, “There is a season for everything”, and I think this includes the people we encounter in our day-to-day lives, especially those closest to us during any one particular point of our life. As I have come to realize, life is one big season with lots of season’s in between, which present seasonal changes, if you will. After all, this is what season’s bring: change. Whether you love change or despise it, I think we all know by now that in the end change does help us and it is good for us. It’s often the beginning point of a change that can prove to be the most difficult point when a particular kind of change is upon us. But after going through it, whatever it may be, we come to realize that it didn’t seem all that bad. Then, when it’s over we can’t believe what all that fussing was about, and even still, as we look back on this time, perhaps months or years down the road, we are grateful for this rude interruption that was brought upon our life. I believe this is so because in hindsight we can see with greater clarity and clearer understanding of the positive effects that emerged out of this season of change. To put this from a perspective of nature, we entered the change as a caterpillar and emerged as a butterfly.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Throughout our life we will go through lots of “seasons of friends”. These people, who are often short-term yet very dear friends to us are, what I believe, sent from above to us for that specific period of time. Their purposes are many-fold, including: guidance, encouragement, support, special help and assistance, as well as just someone to be there with us and to offer a listening ear. Then, when the assignment is completed, (our’s as well as their’s, as it is often both ways in a relationship) their company departs and we wait for the next friend(s) to enter. It’s as if our life is a doorway that is always hinging on a proverbial hinge as the door is never fully closed, but just sort of hangs there, swinging open for a new friend to come in or swinging back for that very same friend to go back through again.

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus

A Musical Effect – con’t

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Photo taken by the author on an exhilarating ski day
with family at Lake Louise Ski Resort

“I know that the most joy in my life has come to me from my violin.”

Albert Einstein

What would you pick as an alternate career choice were it not for the one you currently have? I know for me, being a musician wouldn’t be on the radar, or at any point down my proverbial list of careers. I don’t even like playing an instrument (besides, of course, banging on the drums), so that option would be completely ruled out.

By Einstein admitting this (that if he weren’t a scientist, he would have been a musician), we know that, with music there is much more than meets the eye. I think if we are to understand ourselves better, music holds great insight into more of this discovery into who we are and what we love and are passionate about. There is just something there, that holds like a magical key, in being able to figure things out about ourselves, each other, and the world we live in. I don’t really know how to put this or even how to write it, other than to say that music just works. It just does and it’s this mystery of being unexplainable that further points to the idea of how powerful music really is on our conscious being. It’s like its full capacity and capabilities are multi-layered, with each layer separated by another layer of mystery, or invitation to be entered into.

“It occurred to me by intuition, and music was the driving force behind that intuition. My discovery was the result of musical perception.”

Albert Einstein

By way of an analogy, music is like a doorway awaiting to be opened. For the door to be opened it needs to have the correct key to unlock it. Once opened, a whole new world awaits the door opener. That open door, the music – that is, leads to unending places and hidden treasures awaiting to be found. It is the golden key that serves to unlock unlimited human potential, along with vast amounts of creativity and stimulation of the mind, unleashing who-knows-what kind of information, understanding, discovery’s, and pearls of wisdom.

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.”

Albert Einstein

Music also holds true for discovering more about our world and universe. The implications here are enormous for this musical effect once it is tapped in to and explored. But we need time, lots of time, to dig around in here. Elegant sand castles aren’t just made in thirty seconds. Rather, they are the work of the master sculpterer having put in many, long hours into the overall design and concept of his creation, while painstakingly correcting and smoothing out each and every detail until it has culminated into the full expression of work and art it was intended to be.

Music is like this also. Scores of time goes into each song, accompanied by each instrumental and lyrical arrangement. This alone should give us a clue for the next time we hear a song we really like. It can serve as a reminder that a lot of time, effort, and people went into making this really terrific three-and-a-half to four minute song. This holds true not only for music, but for any type of work that is done with such skill, precision, passion, character, integrity, and excellence. Take any hobby, profession, or work of art and if it touches your heart you will then see and understand the truism of this.

A Musical Effect

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The author striking a pose on one of
WestJet Encore’s Bombardier Q400 Twin Prop Aircraft

Photo cred’s: A fellow colleague

“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.”

– Albert Einstein

I have noticed the effect that music has on our conscious being. It plays such a powerful and pervasive role on every part of our being. As I write this section, I’m sitting on a lounge chair by the pool at the Rimrock Hotel. Guess what’s playing in the background? Music. It’s background music that is designed to help set, shape, and create the mood of the atmosphere for each guest to enjoy during their stay and time here. The tone that this instrumental music creates is one that is peaceful, relaxing, soothing, inviting, one of calmness and stillness; yet, marked to allow each person to escape and enter in to their own personal space, whatever that may be or looks like for them.

Situated high up in the Canadian Rockies, this getaway experience for me also amplifies the experience of being surrounded by one of Mother Nature’s most prized and exalted creation’s: a series of unending mountains. They seem to stretch from one tip to the next in a continual fashion. By music, we enter a place of tranquility where the garments of the eternal can seem to be touched and embraced upon, even if only for a short period of time. See, I have already entered into a favourable and desirable mood for writing, one that is primarily set by the music playing around me. Music is pervasive and, more so, it is effective. Highly effective. It is so because it reaches deep into a person’s internal realm and takes them to a place that is far too less visited, yet that is most meaningful and wanted; needed.

I find it quite interesting how Einstein once said that if he wasn’t a scientist, he would be a musician. Just think about that statement for a second, coming from someone like him. He is internationally regarded as one of the smartest people to have ever walked the planet, in the last 150 year’s or so, and perhaps even farther back. His brain and his extraordinary high-level of intelligence has allowed him, of all people, to say that for his choice of profession, employment, enjoyment, and ultimately – his source of provision, were it not for being a scientist, he would’ve chosen to have been a musician. This is a remarkable statement and one that is very revealing.

Out of This World

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Ocean water’s; Victoria, B.C.
Photo taken by the author

“The invisible realm is superior and far more real than the visible realm.”
– John Paul Jackson

Author and speaker, John Eldridge, reminds us we have been born into a world at war. Even so, most of us are not aware of this and often do not live our lives within this context. If we did understand this, and what it meant for us, it would do a great deal for us in our daily living. It would clarify a lot in our understanding of what is going on around us, as well as to us. In his book, “Love and War”, he writes: “Things are not what they seem…There are larger events unfolding around us, events of enormous consequence…Moments of immense consequence are taking place all around us.”

A few summer’s ago I had the opportunity to travel to Africa for six weeks to help out with an NGO. The last ten days of my trip I travelled to Northern Ethiopia to do some sightseeing on my own. When I was in Gondor, Ethiopia, I got to take a tour of the ruins of the castle complex. While there, I learned from my tour guide that the word “emperor”, as it relates to Ethiopian kings means, “king of kings.” I was shocked to learn this and my eyes were opened to this new-found revelation I had just learned. Do you see the connection?

Jesus is referred to as our “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (see 1 Timothy 6:15, and Revelation 17:14, 19:16.) King Jesus is really Emperor Jesus. He is the emperor over all other kings, and every other earthly king that has ever reigned, or will ever reign, on the earth. Jesus is reigning right now and will be reigning forever, as well as for all of eternity. Eternity is a big number and it represents a very large number of years. So much so, that the greatest mathematicians, of our day and of the past, can not quantitatively assign an actual number that equals eternity; in other words, infinity. All they can think of is that number eight symbol, turned sideways. His reign and his kingship is superior to any and every king before him. It was Jesus who created those earthly kings, after all. This just goes to reinforce that His kingdom is not of this world and it is literally “out of this world.”

That’s My King!

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Harvard Yard, Harvard University; Cambridge, Massachusetts
Photo taken by the author

The great Baptist preacher of the 20th century, Dr. Shadrach Meshach Lockridge, once perceptibly preached a message entitled, “That’s My King!” Here are the words to the famous sermon he preached in Detroit, Michigan. The year was 1976.

 

“The Bible says my King is the King of the Jews.
He’s the King of Israel.
He’s the King of righteousness.
He’s the King of the ages.
He’s the King of Heaven.
He’s the King of glory.
He’s the King of kings, and
He’s the Lord of lords.
That’s my King. I wonder…
Do you know Him today??

My King is a sovereign King.
No means of measure can define his limitless love.
He’s enduringly strong.
He’s entirely sincere.
He’s eternally steadfast.
He’s immortally graceful.
He’s imperially powerful.
He’s impartially merciful.
Do you know Him?

He’s the greatest phenomenon that has ever crossed the horizon of this world.
He’s God’s Son.
He’s the sinner’s Savior.
He’s the peak of civilization.
He’s unparalleled.
He’s unprecedented.
He is the loftiest idea in literature.
He’s the highest personality in philosophy.
He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.
He’s the only one qualified to be an all-sufficient Savior.
I wonder if you know Him today.

He supplies strength for the weak.
He’s available for the tempted and the tried.
He sympathizes and He saves.
He strengthens and sustains.
He guards and He guides.
He heals the sick.
He cleanses the lepers.
He forgives sinners.
He discharges debtors.
He delivers the captives.
He defends the feeble.
He blesses the young.
He serves the unfortunate.
He regards the aged.
He rewards the diligent, and He beautifies the meager.
I wonder if you know Him.

He’s the key to knowledge.
He’s the wellspring of wisdom.
He’s the doorway of deliverance.
He’s the pathway of peace.
He’s the roadway of righteousness.
He’s the highway of holiness.
He’s the gateway of glory.
Do you know Him?

Well, His light is matchless.
His goodness is limitless.
His mercy is everlasting.
His love never changes.
His word is enough.
His grace is sufficient.
His reign is righteous,
and His yoke is easy
and His burden is light.
I wish I could describe Him to you.
Yes, He’s indescribable.
He’s incomprehensible.
He’s invincible.
He’s irresistible.
You can’t get Him out of your mind.
You can’t get Him off of your head.
You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him.

Well, the Pharisees couldn’t stand Him
but they found out they couldn’t stop Him.
Pilate couldn’t find any fault in Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him.
Death couldn’t handle Him,
and the grave couldn’t hold Him.
Yeah! That’s my King!”

He always has been and He always will be.
I’m talking about the fact that He had no predecessor and He’ll have no successor.
There’s nobody before Him and there’ll be nobody after Him.
You can’t impeach Him and He’s not going to resign.
That’s my King! That’s my King!

Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory.
Well, all the power belongs to my King.
We’re around here talking about black power and white power
and green power, but in the end all that matters is God’s power.
Thine is the power.
Yeah.
And the glory.
We try to get prestige and honor and glory for ourselves, but the glory is all His.
Yes.
Thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory, forever and ever and ever and ever.
How long is that?
Forever and ever and ever and ever. . .
And when you get through with all of the ever’s, then . . .Amen!”

 

My favorite part is: “He is the loftiest idea in literature / He’s the highest personality in philosophy / He’s the fundamental doctrine of true theology.” I like this because it really speaks to my intellectual mind and my desire to know the true truth.

 

On Becoming

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Breathtaking beauty in the heart of the Rocky Mountains – in Canmore, AB
Photo taken by the author

“The greatest thing about tomorrow is, I will be better than I am today. And that’s how I look at my life. I will be a better golfer, I will be a better person, I will be a better father, I will be a better husband, I will be a better friend. That’s the beauty of tomorrow.”
– Tiger Woods

Becoming is what we are all after. To become a better person, son or daughter, friend, husband or wife, father or mother – a family member. It could also mean to become a better worker, more skilled at our craft, more excellent in our hobbies, and more graceful with our free time. The search of life is just that: a search. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s really one big search over the course of a number of decades, which defines our lifetime, with lots and lots of other searches in between. In other words, it is a lifelong search in discovering and really understanding who we actually are – our individual selves. Once we’ve discovered that, it becomes about having the courage to live that out in the public forum of who we truly are.

Of course this doesn’t come naturally or easily for anyone who has ever walked the earth. It’s a process, after all. Like all great searches, and any search for that matter, it takes time and it gets unveiled over a sequence of time, in many different ways. This is easier to write, much less live out, let me tell you. Becoming who you are doesn’t take place in the blink of an eye or the click of a finger, even though we would all wish to have our own personal genie, with a lot more than three wishes to be granted. Instead, it takes place in layers. As one layer is removed, or unearthed, we gain a greater, deeper, and more insightful understanding of who we are; thus, becoming more of, well, you. The goal of this process is to be as complete of you as you can possibly be during your lifetime.

“Every day I become a better person. Not for anyone, but for myself.”
– Author unknown

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio has come and gone. The 100-yard dash is without a doubt one of the most premier events to watch as the winner who crosses the finish line first is declared “the fastest man on earth.” The champion holds this distinct title for four years until the next Olympic Games comes around. For those who recall this highly anticipated event, Usain Bolt, who runs as fast as a lightning bolt, became the bearer of this prestigious gold medal title three times in a row, which is a first in Olympic history in this event.  Over the past 12 years Bolt became all he could be as a sprinter and rose to the upper echelon in his area of expertise. This is one such example of a person becoming and reaching all of who they were (in this case, athletics.) Perhaps you could be the next example in becoming all of who you can be.

Learning From a Quilt

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The beginning of the autumn season in Calgary’s exquisite Bowness Park
Photo taken by the author during a recent rollerblade

“Our lives are like quilts – bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love.”
– Author unknown

Life in general, and our lives in particular, is a process of being put back together again. Things have been lost in our life I’m sure you’re acutely aware of. Yet, despite this loss there is a fierce determination within each of us that wants all of it – all of you – back. Think of your life as a quilt of patterns, and through the various ways your life has come to be, some of those squares have been lost or have fallen off the once interwoven patchwork. The arrangement and assortment of each multi-layered textile was originally hand-sewn by someone who knew what they were doing when they made you. Sure, parts of the fabric have been misarranged or mishandled, but is not restoration a process any master craftsman would be committed to for each of their own?

Now, understand the patterns of your life are coming back to form one elegant quilt again. Each one of those exquisite and colourful patterns represent the uniqueness of who you are and what you have to offer (that no one else can, by the way.) Just as no one person is the same, so also no one quilt is identical to another. Essentially, a quilt can be likened to one’s own fingerprints. They are commonly used as a security practice in identifying an individual’s identify; thus, representing one of the key ways of determining a person is who they say they are.  A person’s fingerprint is a unique identifier of their personhood. Likewise, the unique tapestry of patterns on a quilt shows that no two quilts are the same; rather, each array of design is entirely different.

“Remember, people will see your quilts long after you are gone.”
– Author unknown

Here’s the point: everyone encounters setbacks and difficulties from time to time. There is no escaping this; yet, it does not have the final say. As Winston Churchill wisely once said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” So I urge you to have courage through each tough situation you face. Doing so is one of the ways in putting the pieces back together again – becoming whole. Wholeness to me is freedom. It’s one and the same. The key here is finding and discovering areas of your life that are freeing for you, what you do well, and what you are gifted at. A clue to one’s wholeness, or freedom, are the strengths one has been given. We all have them. They are those things we do very well, perhaps even better, than other’s around us. Our strengths are those tangible qualities that come to us and out of us naturally and effortlessly. Our strengths are what form our own extraordinary quilt.