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Heavenly Peace

Positively Speaking

The sight of the armadillo stamped on the envelope always brought a smile. Inside the envelope, I had come to know, would be a tidbit of spiritual thought that pushed the edge a little or inspired. Gordie Fisk had sent me another article he thought would interest me.

Some people have the word good written etched on the DNA. Gordie was such a one. A heart of gold, a mind that never stopped hungering to learn, and a spirit that sought God’s engagement in the world were the markers of his life.

As his pastor, I looked forward to his phone calls and invitations to discuss any point of culture or theology. A seeker who was open to the mystic, and well defined in his own person, my life was better for the topics and ideas he sought to understand. His caring heart frequently alerted me to issues and events of which I needed to be aware. His humility exemplified the mantra ‘others first’.

The world is a troubled place right now. At any point we all might get shot, or blown up. No one is safe anywhere. Not in the cities, not in the rural parts of the country.

And yet, I have been reminded many times in the last two weeks, there is much that can happen when good people gather together.

Gordie’s goodness was being deep. That’s a term that means, not skin deep. At his core he had integrity. Inside him was peace.

That makes a difference in the world. The collective peace inside of people makes a difference.

Recently I was released from a very difficult situation that had persisted for many many years. The peace of being free has been a bit overwhelming. At first my emotions bounced around a little as I registered just how truly awful it had been.
Then my heart experienced the epiphany of appreciation for the wonderful new life that had been unexpectedly dumped in my lap.

Was I going to focus on revenge, on returning evil for evil? Or was I going to step into my new life, gather the memories and reality of all the people who love me and leave the past for creative release and let it float away? In short, would I choose peace?

In that same time of transition, I had a random opportunity to see people who had hurt me many years ago. Once upon a time, they held a lot of power over my life. In that recent engagement they appeared physically bereft of any strength or health. Now, myself, I use a four toed cane right now; a wheelchair if distances are involved. With any luck, next year I will be reconstructed and freed from any assisted devices. Not so for them. Their afflictions will only cause further decline.
Life is complicated. We have many choices. Our choices influence and effect others. It’s never too late to change your responses.

If I had been focused on revenge or enjoyed their negative circumstances, I would have missed out on the new and the wonderful. Gordie was the living example of moving onto the next chapter of life looking forward to what adventures lay ahead and releasing the past into a narrative. His ability to move on past hurts and sorrows and embrace the new was stellar.

One of the special treasures of my memory of Gordie is the sharing of his experiences involving the Benedictine tradition. Those sacred moments of exploration added to his heart in ways that brought depth and meaning.

I’ve saved everything he ever sent me. Over the years to come, I’ll reread the articles. As I too moved to a fascination with and embracing of the liturgical tradition, during the prayers for the dead, I will joyfully remember dearest Gordie.

In the midst of mass shootings, a contentious presidential campaign, greed and corruption during a religious holiday turned capitalistic burnt offering, despots, genocide, injustice, rampant disease, and all the rest of the worst humanity can create I lift up the remembrance that good can overcome evil.

Let us all, as we jet about with our to do lists during these next few weeks, be conscious of the enormous influence and effect we can put out in the world from the peace within us.

Wishing you a core of peace, a heart of love, a mind that seeks, humour, faith, and a love of people.
Gordie Fisk proved it is a worthy way to live.