Wild Gray Goose

Celtic tradition identifies the Holy Spirit as a Wild Goose. He is the wings of a Wild God best followed by the wildest of men. I'm gray. I'm wild. Like He, I am not always predictable, rational, or safe. I believe my full life and my still maturing years of Walking With God offer both heart and substance for younger lads to consider. Now with 4th stage prostate cancer, following the Wild Goose has a different pace and perspective worth reflecting on...and sharing.

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Location: Full Time RV, mostly near Temecula, California, United States

I'm a young fella not far from 73 who's made it to the far and frayed edges of the adventures I‘ve been hankering for since boyhood. The age thing and my pursuits are relevant since I now have advanced 4th stage cancer, moved from unsuccessful chemo treatment to oral med...and they seem to be working. Now, after selling the ranch, my beautiful life-mate of 48 years and I live and travel in an fifth wheel RV we call our "covered wagon". The new and rich development of 2012 is our purchase of ranch in the marvelous plateau above GRAND JUNCTION at the head of the Colorado National Monument where my young family with six children run a whole-family therapy ranch, DEEP RIVERS FAMILY RANCH.

Friday, August 09, 2013

HOOOONK! We All Have to Go Sometime

This 'un's short just to refresh your read of my last post back in July. The phrase is almost universal; seems to give micro-comfort on hearing of a death three or more friendship circles out, never about someone we hold dear or even know. 

Let's call it a filler that prevents most of us from thinking too deeply about eternity and how we get "there" ("There" being a place of peace, usually called "Heaven").  It reminds me of the stupidest of all fillers, "He/she's is a 'better place."  Really?  Place? And where is that?  What is that?  And, how do we get to this amorphous-but-wonderful "better place"?   

Well, if you follow this blog or my personal emails, my "Sometime" is fast approaching. I make this post as a way to prod you to consider life ahead and how much you want to do to fill the "Sometime" gap.  We who follow the wild goose, the Holy Spirit, and all His wonderful promptings, proddings, and His gifts of joy know that in having to go sometime, the final leg of the journey is just a foretaste of eternity ahead.  One choice, two places.  One better, on way not. 

HOOOOONK!  'Scuse.  Gotta go. The Wild Gray Goose has to follow the Wild Goose.  With joy current and anticipated.

Friday, July 05, 2013

HONK, HOOOOONK! The Wild Goose Speaks

Hard to convey the haunting tone, much less the meaning that the Gaelic's heard in the winged image of the Holy Spirit.

Same today.  When God speak in His "Still Small Voice," those of us used to following the whirlwind and the fire,  might as well be hearing those mysterious tones that we don't understand clearly.  It's not Him, it's us.  After all, as Jesus departed to return to Heaven, he left the Holy Spirit to live in each life who made Christ the savior their new master.

This is not sermon.  It's a reminder.  To me.  I chatted with my lifelong friend and mentor on the ranch last week.  We both recognized how in this "finish well" leg of life we walk and work at so much a slower pace.  It's quieter.  We now hear things we were suppose to hear earlier, but the whirlwind of service and changing the world was too alluring.

Carolyn and I travelled with our young Pettit family to join their cousins in Woodland Park nearby our old Windmill Meadow Ranch.  Count 'em: nine children, one house  The cacophony and the mothers and fathers streaking about is a painful reminder of my early life of ministry, and it's a fitting reminder of the beauty and grace of the older, slower, reflective, wiser (?) life he's allowed us. 

Cancer continues to advance, but slowly.  It gives this wonderful period of knowing the Glorious End is within reach, and that I will surely cheat
 the growing current chaos.  I'll see The End from On High.

There are smiles and tears at this stage, both of them in the joy of knowing more and more intimately this beautiful-beyond-description Father whom we will all who've made The Choice meet and fellowship with face to face.

"Haunting" becomes a cherished tone that used to be harsh.  I believe I will hear the strains of the  Wild Goose lullaby in the sidebar of the Heavenly Choir.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Sun set and Sun Rise: Two Lives and the Wild Goose

It's not fair.  That's life.  This time in a good way.

I'm pasting, below, the wonderful summary of my second grandson's Rite of Passage.  Those who followed my GenDads.com blog over the previous years saw Taylor Pettit make this same journey.  it has turned out well.  He, in fact, attended Colton's rite and made some of the most significant comments of the nine men who attended.

Not fair?  About my cancer, I mean.  Not fair that I should be doing so well.  Most are surprised at hearing about my advanced prostate cancer.  "You look so, well...'normal'"  This posting should be about that.  Maybe by getting back on the keyboard you'll hear more of my journey of grace and gratefulness.  Still, it is one day at a time, a cliché that brings smiles of pleasure from my Savior who see's that maybe I am catching on after all.

If you want to know more about the passage issue or about my journey with cancer, send me a comment.  Maybe you'll want to know more about my "Trailside Companion, Helps Along the Trail". It's a legacy document I am leaving for each of our six grandkids.  It's currently 40 pages and about 1/4 finished.

Let's visit Colton's journey:

If you were among those who prayed for Colton's manhood challenge, you will be rewarded in Heaven.  The story is quite long but good.  Sometimes "wonderful" can be described briefly. Tuff challenge in this case for last night's Rite of Passage.

 From 6:30 pm to 11 pm nine men, including his dad, Matt, Taylor and myself, gathered to get a recount to the year of passage. We had some worthy stories to verify it was not an ordinary year in an ordinary life.   Each man read a letter of encouragement to Colton.  Wow.  Impressive how deeply they went into their own journey and growth in faith and how personal their challenges to him were.  Honestly, I was on the edge of tears all night as I felt God showed up in a typically powerful, if quiet way.  Tears didn't always stay where they belong for tough men.  Come to think of it there seems from cracking voices that not  many were dry-eyed as they reported their own life journeys turning them to affirmations for Colton.

The celebratory gifts were amazing.  A small steel statue of a Massi warrior from Senegal by a man who bartered hard for it in Africa  but didn't know why. Most touching was one of those old fold out carpenters rulers--antique now days with tape measures and laser hand-helds.  It was handed down through wife's family.  The admonition of keeping God's rules(The Ten and all the others) and measuring each step of choice along life's path.  One good family friend who trained horses up here in the wild, put together a perfectly crafted rough wood frame with a bit and barbed wire with quotes from James 3 and I Cor 13; the difficulty in controlling the tongue (God's  bit is needed) and turning the tongue to expressions of God's love. My gift was still only half done at 40 pages but nicely framed in a special journal, Trailside Companion, Helps along the Trail.  I'll finish it this summer and a similar legacy volume goes to each of Matt and Cari's six.  Last gift was done quite dramatically, a replacement rifle for the one stolen a year ago.  Just in time for our Fall hunt at a lodge.

Mom Cari showed up with a cake.  She was bedecked in an apron.  That began the ceremony of Colton cutting the apron strings.  The men then lined up and Colton walked the gauntlet shaking each hand then joining us on the end of the line of the men who desire more than anything to walk with God.

To a man when each departed with Colton thanking them for coming, they announced strongly their own thanks at how wonderful and unforgettable it was to be part of such a ceremony.  How they wish their own fathers had shown such passionate care for guiding their children.

Now you can pray for Colton on his adventure to become a man of God.   This ceremony was a distinctive launching pad.  The choices to walk the trail God has designed for him will now will be his.  These men pledged to remain part of his life wherever possible, but he knows the choices are his and designed into a Iife that is short, hard, unfair, and can end at any time.


Friday, November 30, 2012

SONrise on the way to Sunset

Yes, it's a lame play on the word. But it fits.

My life, unlike this blog, has few empty spots. Full is good. But, sometimes, "full" is too much. Under the "finish well" mantra, we full-life guys overdo a lot of things when we see the end in sight. Guilty, your honor. Slowing more than just a bit forced by a fatal disease allows reflections that do not mature at high speed. Reflections that turn inward where the heart, redeemed by God, becomes a filter for all else out there.

 These are the days called by some the "sunset years." The mystery of post-Fall disease is really the wonderful mystery of a holy God's character. How He dispenses pain and suffering and to whom He dispenses it is a question whose answer can only find sense in Heaven.

Which brings me to Sonrise and sunsets. My fourth stage aggressive prostate cancer hastens the end of life metaphor. From light to shades of dark to "lights out" when referring to the shortened life of one of God's elect and redeemed is like one of those slow motion replays. "Yikes, where did it all go?" But the Grace of Death is like the sunset, hastened or not. Right before the dark comes the dazzle of mellow golds, oranges, blues, and greens. Most of that is family, three generations all in one place, our blessed Deep Rivers Family Ranch.

So, the Sonrise thing? Today, again, I am seeing at this very moment as I write in haste to catch its full impact, the most, the absolutely most, incredible beauty in a sunrise. I watched it for an hour yesterday, eager for the family to awake so I can share its joy. Honestly, it is a delight to be shared but somehow this slow UNhastened sunrise--fiery red like I've never, ever seen--seems a gift just for me. So, SONrise ain't so lame after all.

I'm up early for my cancer meds (you'll get the picture in a second). It's quiet for another hour. There's ten of us living here. So I see--yes, the sky is still incredibly ablaze--this morning as a gift. I will prize all the day then look eagerly ahead for tomorrow's gift, first the Sonrise, then the love it represents found in this family.  

I cannot answer the question. That, too, awaits Heaven's timeless moment: Why me? Election, salvation, and years of Grace unearned. Why this Sonrise?

'Scuse me now. I have just enough of the Gift left to pace the deck outside to take in its full expanse. I wonder if this is the morning I'll see deer or elk. That would be ribbons and bows on the Gift.

NO WAY!!  Ribbons and bows of gold.  Nope, nothing off the deck across our valley.  Back to the kitchen for one more cup of coffee...THERE THEY WERE!.  Four deer just above the woodpile munching their way slowly across the hillside. What a wonderous and gracious God.  More lessons from On High?  Some of the Creator's best qifts are wrapped with a note on the tag. Mine read:  "Keep it slow and full.  My best gift of all awaits up here.  I'm preparing a ranch mansion for you, but I'm not ready for you quite yet."
The SON rises to greet me.  What Grace! 
And wrapped with Golden Bows

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Wild and Gray Face a New Stage; "Wild Goose" Still Reigns

It's time.  yeah, way overdue.  Worth the wait because I ain't so wild and I am less gray.  Both need explaining, both are edifying and worth the long read. 

Less Gray, Faceoffs with infants
"Less gray" BUT not bald because my chemo treatment targeted my long gray bundle. Came out all over the place. Carolyn's hair cut saved the pillow and the vacuum and left me with a pretty "normal" old guy's short-hair thining crown of former glory. 

Young, Wild, may not live to gray
Less "wild" sorta. "Muted Wild Gray Goose" should be the title.  Too odd.  You know I have advance stage 4 prostate cancer.  You DONT know 'til now a sudden disability in my legs; that is unless you see me falling, tripping, walking proudly upright but slow and think this "normal" for me.  Well, it ain't.  My explaination forms a message for you to take to your heart.

Wrote this first to a friend asking about my status with prostate cancer.   Several have asked and this comes at a time I have crossed the threshold to "New Stage," a state where life changes radically.  We all face them.  More than once.  Few catch on, fewer still accept and adapts.  Mostly happens in the aging stage when certain life functions fail.  I'm sending this out to my friends who may, as I did, not recognize and therefore fight a New Stage in life.  Hanging on to an "historic you" may mean the change--the new and different you--drags you across the rocky trail.   Change IS life.  Often it's introduced by God for His purposes in us.  How dare He interrupt. ("When God Interrupts," Barnes, top reading)  Nothing is nailed down--as I painfully discovered last weekend.  The Creator does His work without nails.  Except three, the ones that fixed our salvation to the cross.  Those and the One so-impaled never changes. Everything else is in God's flux.  This is feeling a bit like a sermon.  Read on for the story.  Give it thought an prayer.  Too busy for that (really?!)I feel a sermon coming on.  At least a new entry in Wild Gray Goose blog.

 Thanks, guys for asking.  I've been away most of the day, having found a gorgeous lookout spot on the edge of the high plateau just past the ranch we're praying to acquire for the kids' Deep Rivers Family Ranch.  Got to look over a vast vista, miles of the Colorado River and the verdant Fruita valley.  Had my journal, notebook, "When God Interrupts" (Craig Barnes), Bible, of course, and a banana.  It took well into this afternoon to feel settled on the new wrinkle, the "interruption" the Lord introduced to me in the Grand Junction ER last Saturday.   

Seems my legs giving out suddenly was not an attack of cancer on my lower back nerve bundle, but a couple of extruded disks.  So I am now hobbled by a cane, soon to become a "walking stick" fashioned by a gnarly branch from the abundance of Pinyon Pine around here.  Operation with enemy cancer troops using my lower back as a re-staging area, is not possible.  Ortho spine doc this week will announce his contribution to a serious life change.  At any rate, I am now among the enfeebled elderly, walking slowly and avoiding "normal" challenges.  BUT I refuse to get a handicap hanger.  So many violations for convenience by the healthy, I hold on to this bit of pride as long as I can.  I'll show 'em!  I'll lean heavily on my Deep Rivers walking stick as I hobble past the 25 year old bounding from his Cougar.

Therapist soninlaw, Matt, took me aside to tell me that one of the most consistent troubles that bring clients was a failure to recognize new stages. Worse, few who catch on manage to adjust.  Shortened life is not an issue for me, but limited mobility for Mr.  "Do-It-All-and-Speedily-at-That" is now humbled.  The kids rush to help me through the door, down the steps. I'm putting of standard tasks involving distance or lifting. There goes loading hay bales.

 As usual, seen with the clear eye of God's will and working, there is irony, if not humor.  I helped Matt load 150 hay bales for the Deep Rivers horses.  Sure, it was the day of my chemo, but I feel pretty normal until a day or two later.  Same day and three days after, I hauled a 50 pound pack on my back for a mile or more with the Colton, our 12--cum-13-cum-manhood lad getting ready for the five day rim-to-rim "rite of passage" hike down the Grand Canyon. "So, Doc, extruding disks?  How'd that happen?"  I described the week before.  He chuckled and said something medical like "DUUUuuuH."   So, I try to walk as if nothing is wrong or weak. Denial wears off slowly. 

 Back to my cliff edge hangout sorting things out about this New Stage stuff.  I speak often of the "Finishing Well" stage of the journey.  Nice to spiritualize it, but that ain't it.  That stage of my Walk goes on.  The new physical limitations is now a framework around that.  So, you can picture my chuckle at the end of this deep session of re-commiting myself to the Lord in the New Stage when I heard the words, "slower and lower."  It's my new theme, the new me layered on the old me, good and bad.  And a better chance for the good to dominate.  Slower and more humble will keep me in less trouble and eventually look good on me.

As to my advanced prostate cancer, it still moves slowly.  I have had very little side  effects of the chemo treatments I get every 21 days.  When we return to SoCal in early September, I'll get a set of scans and test so we know what my status is.
IMPORTANT PS:  I think you know the other focus for us, in fact, overwhelms most of our health issues, is helping the kids acquire a short sale property nearby for Deep Rivers Family Ranch, their whole-family intervention therapy ranch.  MAN, is this complicated!  We're learning new dimensions of prayer as all the impossible challenges and deadlines fall aside.  We're in our critical week.  If the foreign bank does not grant us an extension to the closing, the Lord's signal is  "Nice try. I enjoyed your trusting me. I've got something better."

CURIOUS ABOUT DEEP RIVERS FAMILY RANCH?  Go there on Facebook for little stories and photos We'd LOVE it if you "LIKE" us!.  Or hit the site, www.deepriversfamilyranch.com and wonder if some family you know or a pastoral or therapy pro would like this as a "rescue" resource when dysfunction begs for intervention and life-long relational health is a family goal.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Goose Rests Quietly in His New Nest

To clarify for my saddle pals and others, Wild Gray Goose is more my personal journal.  Gendads reflects the journey with my family and elements of the book, Generational Fathering, I am compelled (assigned?) to write as my life under advanced cancer narrows in length and scope

In the thin margins of reality prompted by chemotherapy—they call it “chemo-brain”—the Wild Gray Goose, the cowboy fighter pilot, stirred awake with a tear.  “Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shoulds’t die for me…me who cause His pain.”  The words greeted me from the CD player as I ended my first wee little nap, now to be a routine. 

There is something about the sendor of quiet, even if it’s forced upon me, that takes me to places my busy, productive, visionary life doesn’t provide for.  Oh, and the hearing of things normally out of the hearts “hearing range.”  While I’m not maudlin on an EOL(end of life) scenarios, I am addressing the reality that not all medical interventions fulfill their hope.  There is a certain quiet pleasure, something like I reflected in posting the bonding image of my grandson—a belonging, a warm connection snuggled to God’s back—that suddenly is accessible.  The small, less busy moments, like the overwhelming image of the God who died for me, can now come alive.  I'm posting, below, the same grandson, different father (quite "grand"), different role.  It's as if God were holding, comforting, giving a haven for quiet.

What does the Wild Gray Goose  have to offer his comrades who are healthy, strong, busy and not so quiet?  Don’t wait for “chemo brain,” should that day come for you.  Take a walk with Jesus and David down the very rocky path that suddenly turns to quiet restoration:  Psalm 23 (Msg)1-3 God, my shepherd!… You have bedded me down in lush meadows, you find me quiet pools to drink from.  True to your word, you let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. 4 Even when the way goes through Death Valley,   I'm not afraid when you walk at my side." (or lay with me in the meadow or the office chair).

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Divine Detour Along an Irregular Trail

The Detour Leads Where?!

A short post from the Wild Gray Goose? 

Well, not zackly.  Meditating over this beach sunrise IN the Wild Gray Goose (the name we lettered on to our travel trailer), I read my January then my March posts.  They were too good to let slip on to the past post right margin.  A read, smile, teared.  You see, my trail has been irregular and irregularly wonderful.  It's all a gift from a God gracious beyond comprehension. Then the detour.  Such requires re-thinking, re-planning, but mostly re-committing to the Wild Goose I follow no matter the trail, speed bumps, or detour He guides me past.  Yes, "past." 

I think I was taking for granted the laziness of my formerly passive prostate cancer. When I sent the Provenge special forces to the battle, the pc enemy screamed, "GAME ON!!"  Seems there are now outposts in multiple locations in my skeletal and lymph structures.  I start chemo in five days.  Yuk!

SO, it may just be that my contribution to man/woman kind, especially my faith-framed brothers and sisters, is that I aquit well my Finish Well leg of The Race.  Thus, I offer you five minutes, perhaps more, of reflection by directing you to the January and March posts.  Poetic but centered, these captured my state of being along the trail.  Turns out that race is neither a dash nor a marathon, but a cross-country run over obstacles and even detours.

I Starbucked a post at Gendads while awaiting my visit to the oncologist.  Thoughts for you when you are caught between learning What Is and knowing I AM is in utter control.

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