A bright red swing set catches my eye from the road, idle and wasting away under another summer’s sun. Walking through tall grass, I see no beaten path or well-worn trail. “My husband built that,” … Continue reading — from Ghosts of the Pineywoods
I’ve got five young children and, surprisingly, sometimes they don’t get along too well. Just a few days ago two of my younger children got into a fight over a toy. One claimed he “had it first” while the other insisted “but it’s miiiiine.”
Activating my resonant bellow of a “dad voice” I informed them both that “I” had the toy first, because I bought it. Also, since it was my money that purchased the toy, technically it was “mine.” They didn’t like that too much, but it shut them up right quick, and they were willing to share all of a sudden.
Such is the course of events in the benevolent dictatorship that is my home. There’s no votes or committees. Whatsoever I (and my wife!) sayeth, is law. Any possible “protest” is promptly quashed by the absolute veto of “because I say so.” Sometimes I’ll let them try to reason with me, but it’s almost always a futile gesture.
I mention all this to show the glaring contrast between the system I use to run my household and the one we use to run this country. You see, in our federalistic republic form of democracy, we have a proper process by which policies become the law of the land. Unlike the tyranny imposed by the totalitarian state known as the “Prosser House,” a booming voice doesn’t end the debate in the United States of America — nor in the Great State of Texas.
We are made for beauty. In it we find both our origin and our destiny. A hunger and yearning for beauty surrounds and guides, penetrates and even protects us. Beauty is found in harmony, in order and design. Even when I behold at something as seemingly disordered and chaotic as the Universe itself, I am soon awestruck by the grace of the natural world. This sense has been reinforced by all of my varied comings and goings of the last 30-odd years. In everything I have experienced and encountered, I have come away with a profound appreciation for structure and order, harmony and design. All of which flows from the sublime trinity of beauty, truth, and goodness.
So pervasive and intertwined with our universe is beauty, I believe it can be utilized to discover as well as determine truth.
Some of my favorite memories were made in flip-flops. Long summer afternoons spent sandle-shod with legs swinging the idle days into months and years gone by. The month of June is suffused with the fragrance of Texas wildflowers, the glorious sunshine glazing field and forest with powdered gold over the grassy hillsides hither and yon.
Friday was the summer solstice, the first “official” day of summer. However, for those of us in East Texas this day just confirms what we’ve all been suspecting for more than a month now: it’s summertime in the 9-0-3.
Growing up, there was nothing like a Saturday — unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.
One night when my eldest daughter (now a 13-year-old maiden) was still a wee little toddler, she was scared to go to bed. She was afraid a monster would sneak in her room during the night and throttle her.
“Think they might come in through the closet?” I asked. She smiled shyly and nodded her head.
Into the closet I leapt, clambering about, knocking over coat hangers “Back you devils, I’ll give you what for!”
Closing the door, I nodded with a cocky smile, “There aren’t any monsters coming through there.”
“Really?” she said, hopeful.
“Really really,” I said. “I killed all the monsters, that’s what daddies do best.”
I married Ian Alexander Boyd Gillespie to the former Crystal Gayle Greer tonight… the ceremony was held in a beautiful cabana-like patio area at a private residence in rural Rusk County.
Such a strange thing, marriage, and even more strange the wedding ceremony itself. An assembly of witnesses, fragrant décor, and a well-meaning blowhard (in this case, me) who prattles on and on – all while the two consenting adults exchange nervous fidgeting smiles, and old ladies out in the audience dab their eyes.
I’ve attended a few wedding in my day, played various roles… as a small boy I was ring-bearer for my aunt, a few years later my brother and I were actually part of my stepfather’s groomsmen as he said “I do,” to my mother, formalizing before the civil authorities something that was already consecrated in their hearts.
It happens most of the time I think about him… no sooner do I imagine him, be it his code or his feats that I feel myself misting up. Though I am a man of more than thirty winters, his name still provokes a profound personal response in my emotions: Superman.
But he was never my favorite superhero growing up. No, that honor belonged to Batman. Whenever I tied a makeshift cape around my neck, it was always as the Dark Knight – never the Man of Steel. I knew, yet in my childish flights of fancy, that I was not even worthy to play at being what he represented.
I could always relate easily to Batman, the flawed “chaotic good” anti-hero, who rejects proper law and order in lieu of vigilante justice. Make no mistake, Batman is an honorable hero on the whole – but there is an ultimate ethical compromise in what he represents, and his flaws are all-too-human. Perhaps it is this, more than anything else, that makes him so easy to relate to.
However, Superman is something else. Whether intended to or not by his creators, I believe Superman represents a literary “Christ-figure” in our culture, and might even be helpful in communicating the nature, purpose, and nature of Our Lord.