As many of you may know, this is the time of year I live for. That wonderful combination of falling leaves,crisp mornings, and apple cider is tailor made for someone who was born in a pensive mood and has, at least partially, remained there for the better part of thirty-seven years.
The highlights of this season have been the arrival of my new niece, Emma, who I was able to visit in Florida, and spending time with my family and friends-- in New York; Florida; Las Vegas and New Orleans. Next week will bring the finale--an autumn drive south, towards Roanoke Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. A place that is simply one of the most beautiful on earth. An autumn quilt of red, orange, yellow, and gold draped over sleepy mountains covered in dew.
In all of this however, are the more important things-- reminders of where you have been and where you are in going. I suppose the greatest reminder of this season has been related to Sin. I am not so far gone from the East Livingston Baptist Church that sin is a foreign concept to me. In truth, it has often been on my mind as I have grown older and learned about its true nature. At least for me, sin is when we are moving away from our true selves and living out of purpose. When we fail to listen or to help; when we fail to care-- about others or ourselves-- or when we leave our talents we are blessed with on a shelf to collect dust- those are all, in my heart-- the greatest sins.
In the places of my recent travels I have found again this lesson. I have been to places that dragged me away from myself in nearly an instant. I was pulled into the rocks and then under as though I had no control. But in others-- a bar stool in new Orleans; standing on the Venice Jetty-- I felt as peaceful and "in place" as I ever have.
Its odd how, in many cases, the distance between Sin and Heaven is really truly only in your own heart and mind. What you make of something and how you deal with it creates its not only your perception-- but your reality.
The same drink you can hold as a part of spending quality time with friends can become the same drink that washes away your dreams and potential into a sea of self destructive behavior. Loving to meet people and questing for a relationship can lead you to meet incredible souls with wonderful stories that enrich your book of life-- or you can find yourself "Throwing yourself after every open door"-- dazed, confused, and wondering where your heart ended up after all these years, all these heart felt attempts that were more like the last desperate arch of a basketball towards a distant net with .01 seconds to go, home team down by 2.
And that is where I now reside. In a land of contrast-- of knowing that the same things that give us support, love, and life... are the very same that can take all that away. Sin and love make strange yet eternal bedfellows, and that contrast is repeated in nearly all things. I love my family dearly, but they blessed me with an environment that created some of my best-- and worst qualities. I love them no less- but rather more as part of the process of understanding just who I am today and why and that I too reflect these contrasts and paradoxical realities.
It would appear that our whole world's conflict, whether political, or social or economic, come from this basic problem and reflect our inability to accept the possibility that something can be good and bad-- sin and love-- at precisely the same time. In others and ourselves-- these dueling banjos-- both the halo and the horns-- constantly present.
And in the face of that truth-- of loving those that sin against us, and sinning against those that love us-- we arrive at the most necessary understanding of all-- that of forgiveness. For others and ourselves.
In the fall, with the leaves falling from the branches, but also secure in the knowledge that they will appear again-- what better time to think on the need for this greatest of human actions. For others, and for ourselves.
And Now a Word From The Sponsor
Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.