Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Above is a wonderful photo of the last of the Apache warchiefs, Geronimo. He holds a Dance cap & ball revolver, made during the Civil War in Anderson, Texas, just ten miles east of the Center of the Universe.
The great thing about a blog is that you can always be one step ahead of your readers, and in some cases have time to plan a vacation around your controversial releases. Unfortunately, I never did that, so I enter this olive branch today:)
God works in mysterious ways. We can all agree on that. Any "high horse" that I might have mounted up on, got cut down and removed, west of the City a week ago, when Navasota's River Haven subdivision dismantled my monumental installation in front of their development... If I point to any failures on anyone's part, it is with mutual loss and disappointment at my own. In the past couple of years, this city has seen me shut down a failed art gallery, then resign from an elected public office, to execute a commission that ended up in the back forty. The loss of credibility is or could be an expected result from all of that tainted fruit. Tainted fruit makes the best jelly... But there is a deeper, spiritual, interesting side to this...
Even as I write this, a fellow servant of Christ is on his way to Arizona with a couple of carloads of "missionaries" from my little church in Whitehall, a man whom it would be adequate to say that I had a very rocky beginning. But a man whom I expect to say the "Amen" over my grave someday, or I him, whichever comes first. It was a fairly unimportant business miscommunication, that ended our progress together in a temporary schism between us. Later we learned why. Evil forces, not of this world knew that it would be curtains for them if we ever got together.
Now I can say the same thing about the third partner, another ruling elder of our fellowship, who had to, tearfully I'm sure, remove my sculpture from his subdivision entrance to maintain peace in his family business. I could throw in another close brother, with whom I have had very strained business dealings on a couple of projects, and in every instance we all had a choice. 1)Just kill me, the troublemaker! 2) We could look at the results of our fiasco, blame the other, and avoid the other at all costs for the rest of our lives. And that is a whole lot like the choices the people of Navasota have had to make over and over.
But in every instance, we chose to forgive, and to go on. The devil would love for me to be so hurt or angry or whatever that he could put a crow bar between my spiritual brothers and me. But we have, so far, refused to let him win. We still have a lifetime of challenges ahead just like the ones we have endured. Each one is not just a test of our friendship, it is a test of Faith. We pray that our friendships, and this supernaturally blessed fellowship, is a Testament to that kind of forgiving Faith. We cherish the idea that our little fellowship is a House of Grace.
So you could say that we belong to a fellowship full of men who have every reason in the world to despise one anbother, but through God's Grace and intervention, we know each other well, and chose to love and pray for one another anyway. And that is a miracle.
In a larger way, I hope that the people of Navasota, especially its leaders, will see the merit in this kind of philosophy, as opposed to the distructive factional politics we have experienced in the past.
It's time to bury the hatchet and work together. I love that line in the movie "Geronimo", when Captain Gatewood is going to climb a cliff to find the Apaches who are hiding above to kill him, and he turns to a petrified young officer following him and says (and I paraphrase) "We are tryin' to make a Country heah... and sometimes it's hahd." Gatewood, a southerner and a real person in history, really did risk his life to bring the Apaches in before they were wiped out completely. For the love of mankind, his country, what was right, he was willing to do the "hahd" thing, and climb that cliff.
We have a Town to make. And all we have to do is forgive each other. I'll forget your screw ups if you can forget mine. My loved ones are on the way to the Navajo people, the Na Dine, quite randomly because one person knew and loved them, to take the light of hope into the darkness of poverty and addiction. They have great things to do. It all started with men who refused to let hate win. What stories they will have to tell.
My friend Peter Canney, one of Navasota's esteemed City Councilman, was a sort of running mate when I was elected the first time. He gave a very eloquent speech that described a fork in the road, and two possible stories in the end. One was called the "Death of a Texas Town," and the other was called "The Navasota Miracle." We have witnessed the possible tremors that foretell the latter. It will be hahd. But with some humilty, forgiveness, and God's help, it will be.