You are not alone in your sorrows, fears, and troubles

December 24, 2013

You are loved.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

ATB, You’re not alone
I have stood on side of the street, refusing to let tears spill from my eyes. A glossy gray BMW X7 coming down Stirbei Voda at (maybe) 100 mph seemed to beckon me to step forward. And I heard this song (yet again) and I was reminded that I belonged here regardless of my sorrows and troubles.
No matter what had happened. No matter how I have failed and caused trouble. No matter what had been done to me.I know that there is someone out there that needs to hear this:You are not alone. You are loved. You are amazing – even if you haven’t yet unloosed that awesome unto the world. Or you think you have nothing more to add.I add this to my reflection of the hardship that pressed the holy family on the eve of the birth of Jesus – the Messiah, prince of peace, and son of God. And my humble reflections move across history and rest in the contemplation of the horror and agony of the crucifixion.


Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:1-7

To say that Joseph and Mary did not have it easy would be an understatement.

Weary from travel, homeless (in a manner of speaking), and on the eve of delivery, they shared an inadequate and uncomfortable shelter with animals. Not long after Jesus’ birth, their government murdered children in a desperate search for their newborn – to murder Him. And they would flee in the night to a far away and strange foreign nation.

If this Christmas is difficult for you, you are not alone. Even if all your celebrations have been difficult, you are still loved.

Jesus came into a world of trouble, sorrows and danger. Triumph would not come until He had been falsely accused, tortured, humiliated and murdered on the cross and resurrected from death.

Contrary to the “PG” image of Jesus on the cross, He hung naked on the cross as He died. Betrayed by a friend, denounced by another friend, His mother, a redeemed prostitute and a few friends wept for Him there at the foot of the cross to which He was nailed. And there on the cross, Jesus took all of humanity’s sins and curses upon Himself.

His humiliations, His torture and His hanging on the cross was the least of His trouble. Nothing could compare to His receiving the complete horror and guilt of humanity’s sins and curses, past, present and to come. Imagine all of the atrocities of the holocaust as they were being done to each victim of that evil. That horror is but a small drop to what Jesus received as He paid our debt.

Your sins and mine were laid upon Him. All of them. We have afflicted Jesus on the cross. Forgive me, Jesus! Please forgive me.

You and I are not innocent bystanders. We are with him on the cross but we are not there as friends. You and I persecute Him on the cross through our failures and faults. You and I are there at the cross – we deepen His agony, add to His pain and humiliation AND we torment Him through our sins.

In that moment, Christ was truly alone in the world and He cried out in an agony that you and I will never know. Could never bear. Cannot imagine.

Jesus accepted all of this because He loved us – all of us.
Thank you God. Thank you God. Thank you God!Merry Christmas and God bless us, everyone!
Stan Faryna
24 December 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

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Phil Robertson: Hero or Monster?

December 21, 2013

Letter to Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty, et al.

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

Dawn of the Dead Credits with Johnny Cash

Dear Phil Robertson and everyone else interested in this public scandal,

There will be disagreements, contentions and frequent temptation to act and speak in an unbecoming manner – especially in a multicultural society and that includes online communities. In this context, idle talk and memes can be a divisive device which begs caution, scrutiny and wisdom.

How shall we live, work and relate with each other in our diversity? How shall we enthusiastically collaborate toward the common good and our own separate, individual, nobel ambitions?

However our opinions may differ, each of us will find it challenging (more or less) to live in a world that includes those whose actions, opinion and political will contradict our identity and, perhaps, even challenge the living out of our intimate hopes and aspirations.

That is a challenge we must accept with several virtues. I speak of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

If each of us do not accept to meet this challenge with these several virtues, then we are not worthy of democracy, freedom, peace and/or happiness.

If we cannot agree these virtues are necessary or exercise these virtues with an enduring devotion, then communities and nations are doomed. For we will walk in darkness.

That is a bleak future that reminds me of the Prince’s warning and lament in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

ALL ARE PUNISHED!

May God bless us, everyone.

Best Regards,

Stan Faryna
21 December 2013
Fairfax, Virginia

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Flash Fiction by Stan Faryna

I’m a creepy, lonely man!?
The Greatest Show on Earth is on Andaman road
Get Lucky

We must love one another or die, wrote W. H. Auden

December 11, 2013

Reflections on Auden’s poem September 1, 1939

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

J.S. Bach, Saint Matthew’s Passion

In the face of impending war and for his contemporaries who did not know, a world war, Wystan Hugh Auden reminds his reader of several things which we, today, will also benefit by.

Oh – Auden is considered among the important writers of the 20th Century.

1. We must love one another or die

2. Though we are busy in each our own everyday trials, comforts and leisure, things are going on in the wider world and, quite possibly, terrible things

3. Despite all our pretenses, happy talk, busy-ness, and self-deceit, most of us were never happy. And, more importantly, that we were never good and, thereby, we shall not be spared impending terrible evils and torment that defy our present imagination.

September 1, 1939
by W.H. Auden 

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night.

Accurate scholarship can
Unearth the whole offence
From Luther until now
That has driven a culture mad,
Find what occurred at Linz,
What huge imago made
A psychopathic god:
I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.

Into this neutral air
Where blind skyscrapers use
Their full height to proclaim
The strength of Collective Man,
Each language pours its vain
Competitive excuse:
But who can live for long
In an euphoric dream;
Out of the mirror they stare,
Imperialism’s face
And the international wrong.

Faces along the bar
Cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out,
The music must always play,
All the conventions conspire
To make this fort assume
The furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are,
Lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night
Who have never been happy or good.

The windiest militant trash
Important Persons shout
Is not so crude as our wish:
What mad Nijinsky wrote
About Diaghilev
Is true of the normal heart;
For the error bred in the bone
Of each woman and each man
Craves what it cannot have,
Not universal love
But to be loved alone.

From the conservative dark
Into the ethical life
The dense commuters come,
Repeating their morning vow;
‘I will be true to the wife,
I’ll concentrate more on my work,’
And helpless governors wake
To resume their compulsory game:
Who can release them now,
Who can reach the dead,
Who can speak for the dumb?

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

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