John Corson's Blog

WRITING & RANTING
for January 8, 2021

PRINCESS AND THE GARDEN

I was going to write about my reading through and study of the Book of Jeremiah in the Old Testament. As always, I can't just read through anything. It would normally take about an hour to read through the 52 chapters that make up Jeremiah's book. Reading it slowly for me to do some digesting of his words, then maybe add another hour to hour and a half. So, having started the book back on Wednesday, i should be done reading it and maybe at least three times through.

But not me. I get started reading Jeremiah, and as I do just about everything else from a personal letter or e-mail written to me to any book I order or purchase at a book store, I have to study the background, the words, the grammar and the historical context and that takes time: days, weeks, even months. "Why?" you ask. Because I suffer from the curse of being an academic. I have gone so far in my schooling and have taught in the college classroom, graded term papers, subjective answered tests and the like that I have a hard time being simple. That is why, sometimes, when you read my words, my sentence structure and the awkward phraseologies, are complex and mentally challenging. I write with Compound-Complex sentence structures. When I read others who do the same, I reread each word two, three or maybe four times to get the complete idea behind the sentence. It's a curse.

So, I am still reading Jeremiah, and now I am going from reading it in a simple English translation, to reading and translating the original Hebrew. My mind is, like Sherlock Holmes', a racing engine. You can often see how true that is when you discover misspelled word in these rants. It's not that I don't use a spell-checker. I do! But if I say something like: "I am sitting in my room writing these words" my spell-checker will not correct it if I "Mistype" a correctly spelled word and it comes out like this: "I am setting on my room typing this words." So, I guess I should use a grammar checker. But not all grammar checkers are going to catch the small stuff. Right?

So, I apologize for mistyped words. I do this occasionally because my mind is a racing engine. It moves faster than my fingers do while typing these words. What can I say? Furthermore, I don't want to be perceived as "stuck-up" and always use professional or academic words and phrases, but try to be relaxed and more down to earth in my wording. You may notice from time-to-time that I write like Billy Bob from the West Virginia hills and then at other times - in the same blog - write like the editor of a major newspaper (all prim and proper). Being "myself" is hard to do and sometimes it is discouraging.

Therefore, in the place of talking about Jeremiah (which I will do soon), I want to muse about something else. I promise it is not about anything political. NOT TODAY! Even though the average person and most of the people in my church (who are above average) will say anything and everything is political today, I want to muse about my evening last night.

When Janice got home, I asked if she would eat a pizza. I had purchased a three-pack of DeGiorno's pepperoni pizzas from Sam's Club a couple of weeks back and only had baked one. She was up for some pizza so I baked a pepperoni pie and we ate it last night while watching a couple of episodes of NYPD Blue off of Hulu and then over to Jeopardy as Janice wants to watch the last taped episodes featuring the late Alex Trebeck. Afterwards, she went upstairs and showered then went to bed. She has to be up at 5:15 so it's early to bed for her. By the way, she got a call around 4:15 from a co-worker who reports to work at 5:30 saying she was sick, so Janice got up an hour earlier than expected.

Back to my night last night. It was not too much out of the ordinary. I just know that when I eat anything spicy or greasy for supper and that after 6:00, I will have to stay up late to make sure it is all digested so I will come down with a severe bout of indigestion and will have acid reflux. So, I stayed up until after midnight.

Now what I am going to say here may make you think I am having a mental or emotional breakdown, or am fighting a bout with depression, or maybe you will think I am being morbid, dark or completely pessimistic. May you will question my faith in God, as well. I am not experiencing anything that would or should make you want to call the orderlies in white coats to come and put me in a straight jacket and cart me off to Eastern State Mental Hospital. I assure you that what I did last night is, for me, normal, but not always a daily routine.

You see, many times over the last three to four years, I have gone out to my wife's flower garden at night (and after she goes to bed) and sit by the grave of my precious Shetland Sheepdog who passed away in September of 2016. She is buried in that garden. It is a quiet place and with the exception of the cars and trucks that pass up and down Interstate-664 which is about a half mile from my house, I can hear myself talk and hear the sounds of heat-pumps turning on and off at the neighbor's houses around me. I can drown out the sounds of the Interstate and can focus on the things that my mind dwells upon. Then, I talk - out loud, not silently. Doing so helps my process.

Sometimes, when I go out there at nights I take with me a glass of wine (Remember, oh Church Folks, I have a doctor's prescription for it - not that I need one, but she wants my Good cholesterol to be above 45 and with the exception of estrogen - which I won't take - 8 oz. of red wine daily is prescribed). Sometimes I go out there with a cup of hot chocolate, or hot tea, or, like in the summer, a big glass of iced tea or water. But last night, I went out there with nothing but a pair of jeans, my Eeyore "The Power of Pessimism) sweatshirt, a heavy woolen laid plaid jacket and my stylish felt hat given to me by a 5 year old who, for whatever reason, liked me and thought the hat would make a great Christmas gift to me. No gloves, no scarf, even though it was about 40-degrees out last night.

I usually sit in a metal-grated rocking chair, sometimes with a blanket or cover over the cold metal. Not last night. I could only stand. I didn't want to sit. I do my best talking while standing. Usually when I sit and talk, especially in the solemn setting of Janice's garden by myself, I break out in tears and sometimes cry my eyes out. When I stand, I may well up a little, but I am more clear headed and can pace a little while talking.

What do you talk about? you ask. I sometimes start out talking to Princess - my deceased Sheltie - as if she were standing by me. And most of the time I tell her about my day. It seems like I always start out telling her the bad stuff first, but eventually I find good things to talk about. I am most regular with my trips to the garden on Sunday nights. I feel the necessity of telling her about my day at church, what the attendances were, what the total offering was, which ones of my regular people were missing and which ones had issues or something to gripe about that is directed to or at me. I tell her everything. I don't direct these items to God in a prayer because I already know that He has gone through what I went through because He was with me during the day. I just feel like I have to get it out, by talking it out. And since Princess was always in my presence while she was alive, never leaving my side, I feel like I have to go be by her side during these times.

I think I should also add that many of the times I go to the garden, Reggie, my little guy who has had some physical issues lately, is also present with me. He usually walks around the yard a bit before coming within about 5 feet of my chair or where I am standing and sits with the back to me as if to be on the look out for anyone of anything that my come at me - like he is guarding my privacy and my person. He wasn't with me last night. Lately, Reggie has been sleeping a lot. He is 14-and-a-half years old and in his old age, sleep is a commodity. So he now mostly stays in the house, sleeping on the couch while I go out to the garden. One day soon, he will be there in the garden, laying near Princess and I will be talking to the both of them. I truly dread that day.

I talked to Princess about my missing her, wishing she were here, if only to keep me company. I tell her how cold it is or, if in the summer, how humid it is. I would remind her that if the temperatures were low, it is her kind of weather. Shelties, if you don't know, have two coats of fur, making them prone to getting hot when the temperatures to us feel like normal. 72-degrees would make her pant. As I said, it was about 40-degrees last night and I said to her, "It's getting cold out here, Girl! Your kind of weather. Then, I proceeded to tell her that I was truly down. I was despondent. I couldn't put my finger on why. But I did tell her, as I am telling you now, that I don't think our country will last too much longer. That soon, our freedoms to live and move about, to say and do things we believe in, the reside where we want, to eat what we want, to see who we want and even the freedom for me to go out and talk to Princess will one day soon be curtailed and stopped. I told her, as I am telling you, I have lost faith in the majority of American people. I had already lost faith in our leaders, the media, Hollywood, the school system (that they are teaching real history, real science, real math) and now I have lost faith in many of the religious institutions around the country. Why, even in my own conservative denominational structures, I am questioning the integrity of those who lead them. I am become more and more cloistered and have stopped meeting with many of my colleagues in the ministry and don't even go the quarterly local pastor's meetings/luncheons and the annual Baptist state conventions anymore. Compound that with the restrictions on travel and the closure of places I used to frequent like restaurants, theaters, concert venues, and the like, I have seen my world getting smaller and smaller. The opportunities for doing the things that once interest me are very infrequent. I bore easily, I spend an enormous amount of time now mulling and thinking and talking to myself about things that I wish I could do, but the times, or age, or restrictions or whatever doesn't afford me those opportunities anymore. I now know, or think I know, what a caged animal in a zoo feels like.

Each time I am out at the garden, and before I leave to go back inside, I always tell Princess that I love her; and this is how I usually say it: "I love you, Girl. More today than yesterday and I will love you more tomorrow."

You may wonder why talk to a dead dog whose body has probably already turned to dust? The answer is that I believe it is good therapy. I talk to God at other times and in various places. I don't think He will send me to Hell for talking to a dead dog. Just like I don't think He will send anyone to Hell for visiting the resting places of our loved ones who have passed on. I talk to my Mom and Dad when I visit the cemetery. Janice talks to her Mom and Dad too. I talk to Princess out of convenience - I don't have to get in the car and drive a few miles to the cemetery which is closed at night anyway. And besides, I know God is listening and I believe He understands since He created dogs and cats and other animals to be companions for us and we can't help but incorporating our pets into the family structure as if they are truly a part of the family. We converse, sometimes, with our pets when they are around us and alive as if we think they know exactly what we are saying. See say. "Hey Reggie" when we come home and he greets us at the door. We say "I'll be back in a few minutes" when we leave him home while we go off to the store. I tell him "I have to go to work and will be back in about six hours so hand in there. I love you, Man." We all  do some form or variation of these things.

So I refuse to think that Princess is forever gone, not listening in and doesn't deserve to continue to have conversation like Reggie and my cats (all 3 alive and well) do. It's just a special time and a special place for me. Two, three, four, sometimes more a week, to meet and talk things out without the concern of what Janice and anybody thinks as to what I say, think or feel. I look forward to my ten, fifteen or sometimes sixty minutes of peace in the garden. It a great escape. It's a time I can throw off the cares and concerns of the world. One day, when the Great Reset has been fully implemented and the government takes our houses and properties, takes our money and every piece of personal property we own and redistributes it among the masses, I won't have this quiet place. In fact, there will be no more quiet places. So I cherish it now, while it is still available.

Yes, I do believe it will happen. I do believe we will be swallowed up into a One-World Government - a so-called "New World Order" and everything we have now will be gone. I am sorry for this pessimism. But that is what I am learning from Jeremiah. He preached for over twenty-five years prior to the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC, ranging from the time of Josiah's reforms which brought about the last great revival in Judah, then all through the demise of the culture from the Jewish worship of God to the secularization of everything around. He watched as his people who once loved God and followed His will, turned and mixed the religions of all other cultures with the worship of God and got a watered down Judaism. He watched as people started sacrificing to the god Molech. Molech required the sacrifice of living children on the fiery alters in the Valley of Hinnom; the cries and stench of burning flesh brought northward into and over the walls of Jerusalem for all the hear and smell. This image is the one Jesus used to describe Hell, from the Greek word Gehenna, meaning the Valley of Hinnom. Anytime Jesus said the word, his listeners would cringe at the thought it invoked.

I am a modern-day Jeremiah. Just as he preached and during the last twenty years of his ministry it seemed no one was listening, so I preach to and other than the 50 or so who listen to me once a week, no one else is listening - to me or the others who are saying and preaching the same message. We are all content, or in the case of most of my people "We are old and don't have many years left. We don't have any power or influence and certainly can't physically carry the water anymore, so what can I do?

We all feel that this job is too big and we are too small to do anything about the pending doom coming our way. But we can all be spiritually prepared. And even if they come to take our lives (which I truly don't think that is the goal. I mean you don't get slave workers if they are all dead, right?), we know the end of the story. We know that, like Obi wan-Kenobi once said: "Strike me down and I will be more powerful that before" so shall we. We will be more than conquerors through Christ. That is, if we don't compromise like the people of Jerusalem in Jeremiah's time. That compromise led to destruction, captivity and death.

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Blogging

Blogs are about the blogger. It's as if he or she merely toots their own horns about the things they do, say and love.

My life is boring. I read, I watch Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I listen to Andrew Wilkow. I engage in some conversation with those who are willing to listen (they being masochistic and enjoy killing themselves with my banter).

I plan on just laying out the things that bother me and the things I love. Nothing in-between. I hope you find whatever I put here amusing.