Life of Awe

Transfigured: Beyond Flatland

February 24, 2024 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

Jesus was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.” From the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke

Just this morning I was told about a fascinating novella written in 1884 titled Flatland. I found a brief description of the book…

Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland is the story of a two-dimensional universe as told by one of its inhabitants, A-Square, who is introduced to the mysteries of three-dimensional space…

As I pondered its thesis it quickly occurred to me that this book is indeed an allegory of life in America today. In many ways we live in a two-dimensional world of black/white and good/bad. Our choices are all too frequently binary when the truth is, there are almost infinitely more choices.
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We’re in the World Series!

October 25, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 13 Comments

You don’t just accidentally show up in the World Series.” Derek Jeter

Okay. I have been tardy (and erratic) posting blogs and podcasts recently. Forgive me. But I have a legitimate excuse: Playoff baseball has led our family to The World Series.

Yes, my son, Austin Hedges, is headed for the World Series playing with the Texas Rangers.

Born to Play

Since Austin was five years old he has held onto two life goals: to be a professional baseball player and to win a World Series ring. I am not exaggerating. Austin’s only life goal since very young has been to play baseball as a career.

At around eight years old his mom asked him what he wanted to do when he grew up. His response was, “I am going to play professional baseball.” Knowing the odds were micro-minimal, Pam asked him what his alternative might be. His response was adamant, “Mom, you don’t understand… I will play professional baseball.”

She wisely decided not to undermine his goals and told him that he would have our support on his journey. And we just decided to watch what came to pass.

And then he was drafted by the San Diego Padres directly out of high school. Yikes. A kid with a dream come true.

Austin’s Next Chapter Dream

And now, after many ups and downs in the sport, here he is: Going to the World Series with the Rangers. I’m sure you can imagine our joy. He isn’t getting a lot of “play time,” but his role with the team is a bit unusual. He has become one of the strongest leaders in the clubhouse.

His goal when he was traded to the Rangers in early August: To be the best teammate possible to help the team win. And that is what he does.

Now… we await the Next Chapter for the Rangers and Austin.

Crazy fun!

Winning: Nothing is Better

Losing: Nothing is Worse

 

Autumn: A Season of Serenity

October 15, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

“When Colette reflected on how her mother entered the autumn of her own life, she wrote… “with such serenity” and with “the gaiety of those who have nothing more to lose and so excel at giving.”Maria Popova on how Colette considered the sensorial and symbolic rewards of Autumn.

I am in the Autumn of my life. As such, I have found both comfort and truth in Colette’s observation of her mother entering the Autumn phase with serenity and grace. Transitions between life’s seasons flow so gently and gradually that we don’t know we don’t know it has occurred until it is already over. For me, Summer slid into Fall somewhere between 65 and 74 years old.
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Cruising in Peace

August 13, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

It’s out there at sea that you are really yourself.” Vito Dumas

Pam and I are traveling on our first cruise. One week along the southern coast of Alaska. I sit now in my frequently visited reading room on the ship (see image above). With a 450-person capacity, I’m told this ship is on the smaller side of cruisers.
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The Wisdom of Ignorance

June 4, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

There is great wisdom in ignorance.” Rick Rubin With Krista Tippett

I first noticed it forty years ago.

Only two years into the Christian faith I entered seminary in Portland, Oregon. Although, at 32 years old, I was most certainly the oldest student in my class, I was also the youngest in the Christian faith.
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God Is Personality

February 18, 2023 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

God is mystery.The Christian Mystics

Truly, we do not know exactly “how” God acts and we do not know God in the fullest because the mystery is just that: mystery. It is good that God cannot be defined, because if we could define God, he would no longer be God but merely a human invention.

And yet, we need some definition in order to trust and believe. So, we have the Person of the Christ as the human model of God and we have contemplation and prayer to guide us in some kind of ontological understanding of the Other, the Divine.
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From The Archive: The Fall of Your Life

November 13, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

It is only the farmer who faithfully plants seeds in the Spring, who reaps a harvest in the Fall. B. C. Forbes

Although it may seem counterintuitive but you need a Fall in your life. Although I do believe times of despair and falling are indeed essential, that is not the topic today. Today I am arguing for the reintroduction of the season of Fall in your life.
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Intersections of Life and Love

June 11, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

God is in control here, and he will not be reduced to an equation.” Carl McColman

A NOTE:

While in Portugal in June of 2022, I write in journals twice daily. One journal is in response to morning inspirational readings and the other, written in a café, is simply composed of whatever thoughts happen to be in my mind at that time. So, today’s blog is pretty much lifted from a café journal of “random thoughts.” The thoughts interested me; I hope you enjoy.

*****

Relationship with God is not a thing to be earned. It is already offered freely to anyone desiring a completion of their inner spirit—something like that which is found in the Eastern-like teachings of today; something that is quite pleasant and fulfilling; something with depth and insight; and yet something with supreme mystery—you do not know what you do not know and yet you know that there is something you do not know but desire passionately to know. And that something is the wordless and incomprehensible God who moment by moment makes His presence ever more evident—often in mysterious ways.

And yet, in much of the religious world, it feels like earning the approval of God is like pursuing a relationship with an obtuse and grumpy old man whom we call Father; someone who is not easy to please; certainly not someone in whose lap you may sit and rest your head on his shoulder. That is not love; it is more like coercion.

Perhaps that is one reason the Holy Spirit visited me in the form of the Divine Feminine. A loving mother-sister-friend who cares for me without any sense of rules or obligations, just acceptance and receptivity. The woman is my Aunt Billie, someone in the form of God, who took me in when no one else wanted me. And adopted me with fullness and unwavering love. Yes, Aunt Billie was/is my human imago dei.

*****

This trip to Portugal alone has indeed become a totally unexpected journey into the heart of the Divine. A fresh God, filled with heartfelt teachings of the mystics who led me here, who proclaim only love and service in love… and to discover pleasure in both.

An oh… three personal values have occurred to me and have become my objectives for the rest of my life (haha, until newer ones arrive): (1) Freedom, (2) Kindness, and (3) Peace. I feel that if I “live” those in surrender to the Holy, my life will be well spent.

So much more could be written on my three values. Let’s go with: Freedom: driven by the heart, with the guidance of holy wisdom; Kindness: just be nice!; and finally Peace: it begins internally—those with peace on the inside are peaceful creatures in society.

These thoughts, for me, touch on what it means to be impacted by the incomparable love of the Divine.

The Grand Intersection

On the Streets of Life and Love

Photo courtesy of Pobytov at istockphoto

Curiosity and the Wonder of Not Knowing

May 14, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 0 Comments

I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” Rosalia de Castro

A couple ideas come to mind when I think about curiosity and not knowing.

Newton’s Beach

The first idea has come with age. I have discovered that “the more I know leads me to realize the less I actually know.” I am reminded of the famous story of Isaac Newton on the beach. Shortly before he died, Newton is said to have sat on a beach pondering the wonders of life when he realized that as much as he knew about science and the universe, he still regarded himself as only a pebble the on shore of great truth.

It was the “not knowing” that drove Newton’s curiosity to better understand the issues of gravity which led to science as we know it today through the eyes of Einstein and the like.

The Excitement of Having No Direction to Go

My second thought concerning not knowing is much more personal. As most of you know, I am an insatiable traveler. Add to that, I am a terrible tourist! I have very little interest in typical “tourist type sites.” I guess I have already seen much of what I desire to see, (especially in Europe.)

I find myself captured by culture and the surprises of ordinary sights that I would never have otherwise even experienced. For instance, an ideal day-trip is to walk out of my Airbnb, backpack on, point a direction rather unconsciously, and say, “That’s where I’m headed today” and just start walking. I find markets and cafes, vendors and ice cream shops. On oh, always just a bit of expresso on the way.

Driven by know knowing where I am headed I become immensely curious. Just as Rosalia de Castro writes, “Not knowing where I am going inspires me to travel it.”

Know-It-Alls, Yuk

Don’t you find know-it-all personalities to be immensely frustrating and boring. Incapable of discussion, the only type of conversation they can have is one in which they lecture and you listen. Instead, I love conversationalists that surprise me with “I don’t know much about that” or “tell me more.”

Perhaps the purpose of this post is to lift up the “Not-Knowers” and encourage others regarding the power of the ravenous curiosity that comes with admitting (first to yourself) just how much you don’t know. That leaves space to discover your potentially rich and informationally hungry mind.

And Then There is the Ego

As Ryan Holiday writes, The ego is indeed the enemy. As long as our defensive and protective egos rule we will have little desire to admit our limitations. I recently read that the ego is highly resistant to change and is highly defensive. The ego lacks the capacity to admit not knowing.

And yet, the wise person is first to admit they have much to learn and to experience—the wonder of not knowing.

Admit Not Knowing

And Learn the Wonder of Curiosity

Photo courtesy of Deagreez at istockphoto

On “Being” the Good News

January 8, 2022 by Charlie Hedges − 2 Comments

Your life is your theology and your sermon. Don’t preach the good news but be the good news… Preach as you go! Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” St Francis of Assisi

In October 2020 Pam and I vacationed in Spain and Italy, praying with St Teresa of Avila and St Francis of Assisi. One thing is common to both mystics, each of them lived the message of Jesus. Although both were indeed theologically brilliant, it was their Jesus-like actions that persuaded others to join them. Humility, poverty, and love were their hallmarks.
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