I think this essay is worth another look, as we rapidly approach the year of our Lord, 2022 .
In 1947 a Bedouin came upon an almost inaccessible cave. He found the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. He had pitched a rock in a cave to bring his goat out of the cave. The sound when the rock hit was different. So different he went off to explore the cave.
The Romans had wiped out the Essenes about 2 millennia ago but didn’t know about their caves. The caves like all caves maintained the yearly average temperature each day. In addition the lack of humidity in the desert preserved the scrolls. It was a find that has kept a lot of archaeologists very busy. Caves with scrolls are still being discovered in this portion of this middle eastern desert.
History and theology have interfaced more precisely since the “chance” or providential finding. I am in the providential camp.
H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon memoirist, novelist and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me and The Bloom is on the Rose, all available on Amazon
“A sibling is the lens through which you see your childhood.” Ann Hood, American novelist. I agree.
My sister facilitated the process of accurately recording memories for my several published memoirs. She and I have similar temperaments. We communicate readily. She is five years older than me, giving her a better perspective on certain events in my childhood. That was particularly true of my interaction with my father in my first few years of life.
I did not get along with my late father, Harold. He was far more opaque than transparent and, was a thorn in my side until his death 27 years ago.
I have gathered of late with some newly-discovered family genealogy, that, my father, who refused to eat poultry, may have had a viable explanation for the revulsion that he never revealed. His maternal grandfather ran a poultry farm. I was unaware of that until I saw the genealogy.
In my mind’s eye, I have this picture of Harold, as a child, traumatized by the wrenching of live chicken necks, the plucking of the dead carcasses, etc. It gives me the sense that this was the problem.
My sister said Harold had problems with me from the day I left the hospital nursery. Perhaps he confused me with a plucked 🐔 as opposed to the meatloaf he ate each Thanksgiving.
“I’m sorry, but were you dropped on your head as an infant?” Kathryn Stocker, an American author. I think so.
I do know that at about seven I was going down our stairs to the basement encumbered by a large toy I tried to carry. I lost my balance and landed with my cumbersome head on the basement floor.
I underscored my spouse’s opinion that I am hard-headed as x-rays showed no fractures. None.
A strong will can add to one’s financial success but it can easily find one sleeping with one’s dog. That would be either in the large dog’s small house or on the sidewalk.
“If you enjoyed high school, you were probably a psychopath or a cheerleader. Or possibly both.” Jenny Lawson, an American author, and blogger.
I enjoyed most of high school. I sort of peaked there.
I valued high school debate. It was challenging and fascinating.
One had to learn the year’s topic thoroughly to challenge others. The creative nature of penetrating cross-examination, given and received, was intriguing. Finally, the chance to expand my horizons citywide, statewide, and nationwide was enriching for a teenager trying to escape a tough father.
The infancy of my date-life was embarrassing, pathetic, and forgettable. I guess I should have dated a psychopathic cheerleader.
At 76, I have lost my youth. It won’t come back in this life.
In my youth, I could play in a tennis, doubles match for hours and singles in shorter bursts. Today, my low back spasms after hitting one serve. That accelerating first step towards the ball is non-existent. The painless, tennis serve won’t be happening without surgery that may not work.
Then, I could eat whatever struck my fancy without concern for my blood glucose. That practice went south about a dozen years ago.
Then, I could go upstairs to a room and consistently remember why I made the trip. Most names came to me easily. Those skills have withered slowly, thank God.
I could use my hands without arthritic pain. That doesn’t happen much anymore.
But, what I do have are the gifts of life, a spouse, a home, two children, a son and daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. They are gifts from an all-powerful God who loves me more than I can even imagine. He touches my soul and enriches my life. Thank God, I don’t have to achieve a performance standard.
I need to love more deeply, pray more fervently and grow up.
“The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” Mortimer Adler, the late American philosopher.
At 76, I can’t sprint very well, my back spasms when I serve a tennis ball and I am just not as physically healthy as at 25. Nonetheless I love to read and learn.
I feel like my mind is always growing. I try to keep it flexible with word games just as I stretch my body.
My spiritual life, the deepening of my soul, (defining the soul as my conscious and subconscious minds) is central to the joys of my life.
Yes, I try and fail in my soul care. Yes, I can and do come up short.
But, in the long run, seeking to follow the Lord’s lead, I endeavor to grow spiritually, somewhat, each day. I strive to hear His voice through others, through Scriptures and through the circumstances in my life. Something in me dies a little each day if I fail to do that.
Eligible at 75 years of age, I made an appointment on Monday, 1/18/21, at the San Diego Superstation/Petco Park for the Moderna vaccination. The appointment was for 1/20/21, a Wednesday at 2:15 pm.
Then, I heard about a Moderna batch at that site where they were concerned with several allergic reactions. That batch, distributed throughout California, was to be held while the situation was being studied. That suggested to me the supply might be inadequate on 1/20/21 at Petco. Then heavy afternoon rains and wind were projected for 1/20/21 and this was an outdoor site about 30 miles south of our home.
I was hoping for the best on Tuesday the 19th prior to the scheduled Wednesday. My cellphone rang. A nearby, medical office where I was a patient was the visual on the phone. The nurse who answered said, “Do you want the COVID-19 vaccination at 9 a.m., Wednesday.” I jumped at the offer. I canceled the thirty mile trip.
The office had an indoor option. This was not the questioned Moderna batch. I knew and fully trusted the physician at that office that was only five, not 45 minutes from my house. This physician’s office was the closest of all the practitioners I see.
To me, God intervened not because I deserved the break, but, because he loves me. He had handled every single detail of my concerns. I was and am flooded with the joy of His presence.
“To love someone means to see them as God intended them.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the extraordinary 19th-century Russian novelist.
We need to see the best in ourselves and in those we love, sensing God’s perspective. One might see that perspective through others, through Scriptures, through our current circumstances, or even in one of our mysterious dreams. When people are tempted and pulled into their worst selves, they do harm. This time of year focuses on our best selves.
In some wars, armed forces have even stopped shooting at each other on Christmas. If that’s doable, how about some progress refining our souls, by the grace of God, in ’22? Nobody said it was easy, but nothing meaningful is.
H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon writer and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me (memoirs) and The Bloom is on the Rose (novelette), all available on Amazon.
I think forgetting yourself is the precious thing about a lifetime commitment to a spouse and children. It drives you out of your isolation and guides you through a life’s course in loving.
There are trying times for the committed. Sickness. Financial stress. Arguments. Heartbreak.
But, when one moves through the pain and turmoil to the other side there are durable bonds. To me the commitment is a God-given journey that deepens and widens our souls, our capacity to love. Is there anything more important?
“That’s part of why people see shrinks, isn’t it? They help you rewrite your story? People should go see novelists instead.” Sheila Heti, a Canadian writer.
Pat Conroy’s widow is also a writer. She has written that Pat was the hero in his novels.
Likewise in the fiction (semi-biographical) I recently published on Amazon, The Bloom is on the Rose, my 5-foot-3 has suddenly improved to 6-foot-2, etc., etc. Why not? As I shrink in my old age, it makes it easier to get up in the morning.