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Rom-Halan

Today we learned that Leonard Nimoy, best known as Spock in the Star Trek television series and movies, passed away. A coworker brought this tribute to my attention, Leonard Nimoy, Spock of ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 83.

Spock’s not supposed to die. He comes back. This is like hearing that Dr. Seuss has entered the great beyond. It’s not possible– is it?

Many younger people don’t know that Nimoy released a handful of albums containing both pop music and the spoken word. He had a rich, melodious voice, and as a kid I discovered the above track that epitomized Spock’s worldview, Highly Illogical.

For those who don’t know (as the car insurance commercial says, have you been living under a rock?), Spock was a product of a Vulcan (alien) father and human mother. He wrestled with his two worlds, one which was very scientific and– yep– logical, and the other which could be reactionary and emotional.

Perhaps what made the Spock character so popular is that we, part flesh and part spirit, can relate to this conflict. We are not the original design; we are a creation corrupted by our own choices, so we spend our lives warring between what we want to do and what we ought to do. We struggle with two identities, the temporal and the eternal.

C.S. Lewis said, “Humans are amphibians…half spirit and half animal…as spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. This means that while their spirit can be directed to an eternal object, their bodies, passions, and imaginations are in continual change, for to be in time, means to change. Their nearest approach to constancy, therefore, is undulation–the repeated return to a level from which they repeatedly fall back, a series of troughs and peaks.”

That’s logical to me. Spock struggled with this and in him we recognized parts of ourselves.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Try and Try Again

This week I was struck by the power of Death Cab for Cutie’s video for Black Sun. 

We Northwesterners have been enveloped by the sounds of Death Cab for nearly two decades now, and while I don’t agree with some of their politics or lyrics, certain songs reach down deep. They also have a way of translating our local precipitation into wispy, whispering ruminations.

Black Sun has been said to be a commentary on the pain and ugliness of divorce. To me the video reads as one person knocking themselves out to try and please another who hardly notices. And it reminded me of a friend’s recent commentary on the challenges of trying to find the right person. After a few wash, rinse, repeat cycles, to borrow words from another friend, the act of trying again can become more trial and task than a voyage of discovery.

While going about the usual mundane tasks this week a light bulb went on somewhere in the front left compartment of my mind, just beyond the grocery list and reminder to fix some squeaky hinges. I already know this, but this time it stood out like neon lights on stilts against an inky central Washington sky: with the right person, you will be more of yourself, not less. You will not have to compromise who you are.

How many of us have been in relationships in which we had to tone down who we are, what we love, and what we stand for in order to please another? That’s not what a relationship, particularly a marriage, is supposed to be. Marriage should be the one place in which you can be completely naked with another human being without shame, utterly yourself with your whole soul on display. On this sacred ground darkness and light can both be exposed in the safety of the shelter formed by the continual intertwining of two imperfect human beings.

That’s not what the world tells us. It’s not what most relationships in our spheres of influence teach us. Our race, the human race, has come to accept far less than what we were originally designed for. Go back to the garden. Did the first man look at the first woman and say, “you’ll do?” No. He would have been captivated by how different from himself she was and yet how wonderfully she complemented his own character and interests. He would have seen her as a marvelous gift, an enigma begging to be explored, an alien entity whose personality invited him into all its tantalizing twists and turns. I’m sure she was at least as entranced by him.“Who is he?” she thought as her heart stood still in a timeless and ethereal moment.

But here, in this time, the human race has become largely self-absorbed. We go out into the world asking what other people can do for us rather than what we can do for them. Many suffer from the delusion that an initial sexual attraction is spark enough to sustain a potentially lifetime-long relationship. There has to be a multidimensional framework to hold that up. We’ve lost track of what constitutes successful relationships– common values, common goals, mutual interests, a commitment to becoming more like our Creator, Love Himself.

So we go on the prowl and find that it’s so easy to join the other contenders are splashing around in the shallow end of the dating pool. “No expectations!” they say. “Let’s just have fun and see what happens!” But there’s a tug at your heart as you wade around in the moral morass. You find yourself longer for something more. Something richer. Something deeper. It’s passionate. It’s primal. It’s like an unseen, magnetic force is drawing you to the deep end to experience something better than you’ve ever had planned. The garden is calling.

Unfortunately, there are those who will follow you to the deep end without having the actual fortitude to sustain a relationship at that level. Eventually they will panic and scramble back to the shallow end or drown. This can also happen when you’re a deep person hanging out in the shallow end. If both of you aren’t made of the same stuff, one or both ends of your union will start to sink. And sometimes it takes both people down. You find yourself alone, disillusioned, screaming at the universe, asking why you’ve been abandoned when you tried so hard and gave so much. Often the other person walks on like you weren’t even there in the first place.

So you try. And try again. And it seems like you keep finding the same people, or the same problems, or the same conditions. The quest for that one person can become an exercise in pain, an unnecessary drudgery, even torture. Like the man in this video, you might be practically killing yourself just to get one glance from the object of your affections. So you pull back. You start stuffing your hopes and dreams down into some forlorn hole in your metaphorical right pant leg. You start trying to be someone you’re not to get attention and please others. You begin to lose yourself. Internally it’s like you see yourself standing at 50,000 feet and are watching your soul tear lose from your body only to plunge down below the clouds.

The right person won’t make you feel this way. The right person isn’t going to walk past like you’re a ghost despite your best efforts. You shouldn’t have to tone down your personality, shave off parts of your intellect, and pretend to like things you detest to get the kind of relationship you want. The right man or woman will look upon you, warts and all, and love who you are and what you stand for. Being with them will encourage your strengths and build your uniqueness rather than tear that down. Your differences will complement one another and you will not lose the freedom to pursue your hopes and dreams. This is someone who will help you get there. This is someone with whom you will accomplish far more than you ever could have on your own. You will be more of who God intended you to be, not less. 

Do you hear what I’m saying? If you’re an intelligent person, and your potential mate is threatened by that, should they be your potential mate? If you’re a fun-loving person who could care less what other people think of your flamboyant interests and adventures, why join forces with someone who belittles some of your friends or activities? If you feel that you should raise children a certain way and want them to have particular ethics, why risk their futures by connecting with someone who’s not standing on the same moral ground? Yes, you’re going to have some hobbies she doesn’t, and relationships are work. You’re never going to agree on everything. There will be times you have to agree to disagree. But don’t compromise on the foundation.

As the singles among us go out there and try and try again, my advice to them is to know who you are and what you want, and walk away if you have to compromise your core characteristics or values. But be open to surprises. Sometimes the right person defies the picture you had in your head and turns out to be something even better. Sometimes a friend becomes something more. Sometimes the best answers are hiding in plain sight. Most of all, remember who your Creator made you to be and know that those passions and missions buried in the deepest part of your soul are from Him. That’s no accident, and He’s likely put someone else on the same trajectory who burns with a similar fire.

Whatever your approach to the dating game, you probably already know that there are hordes of self-absorbed people out there who will gladly treat you as a commodity no matter how good you are to them. To much of this world, you’re disposable. They’ll use you, beat you up, put your heart through a blender, and drive off in a cloud of dust without a second thought. But the more you come to realize that you were created as a unique individual with a specific purpose, the more you will gravitate towards like souls. The truer you are to yourself, the more courageously you’ll move out into the deep end of the human pool. You will learn to swim and not sink.

When you go out into the masses armed with the truth about who you are, the more likely it is that someday soon you’ll feel an electrifying glimmer of recognition– is it him? Could that be her? And if, in the course of the exploratory exercise of friendship, you discover that the real you is growing and thriving, and being continually invited out into the open, perhaps you have finally found that rare treasure the Creator has been preparing for you for years. During all that time you felt dejected and alone, He was at work causing your paths to meet and preparing that ancient memory to stir.

And the man or woman who drives away in the black car after smashing your heart to pieces will become little more than an afterthought fading into a distant past life.

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And I say also this. I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes. –C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Lincoln’s Long Journey

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States, was born February 12th, 1809. He died April 15th, 1865.

He was last seen on September 26th, 1901 before being lowered into his grave.

No, this isn’t a fictionalized account like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (which I thoroughly enjoyed). Lincoln’s coffin was buried, opened, buried, opened, buried, opened. buried/moved/buried, almost stolen, moved/buried… you get the picture. He was not permanently buried until the 20th century, more than 36 years after his death. Even then, his tomb would be remodeled over 30 years after that, with President Hoover presiding over the associated ceremony.

The History Channel special above and the book of the same title, Stealing Lincoln’s Body, explain the strange journey of Lincoln’s remains in detail. This macabre saga entered into a recent conversation when I was told that Evergreen-Washelli would be displaying a replica of Lincoln’s coffin at their Bothell and Seattle locations.

Replica Abraham Lincoln’s Coffin at Life Celebrations by Washelli – 18224 103rd Ave. NE, Bothell, Washington, February 12th, 2015. Special presentation at 3 P.M.

Replica of Abraham Lincoln’s Coffin at Evergreen Washelli – 11111 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle, Washington, February 14th-16th, 2015. Special presentation at 3 P.M. on February 16th.

Their blog has a fascinating post called Lincoln’s Coffin. It says:

President Lincoln’s coffin (and by extension, the replica) was elaborately crafted. Custom-made at 6 feet, 6 inches long, the coffin was solid walnut, lined with lead and covered in fine black cloth. It was studded with sterling silver, with sterling silver handles to match. The replica, made in great detail after photographs of the coffin, does not contain the lead lining of the original.

This container for Lincoln’s mortal remains went on an epic journey before it was even put in the ground the first time. Lincoln’s funeral train traveled 1654 miles, through 180 cities and 7 states according to History.com. This same article said the train also carried the body of his son Willie, who died several years before, and among the 300 people who rode the train was Lincoln’s son Robert.

As an aside, only one possible descendant of Abraham Lincoln survives now, although his paternity has been disputed and a court settlement declared that he’s not a descendant. He is a 46 year-old attorney in Florida, Timothy Lincoln Beckwith, and his mother’s second husband, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith, is said to be Lincoln’s last true descendant (who died in 1985). Timothy Beckwith does not give interviews, but I suspect that there is more to this story. I hope it will be told.

Interestingly, the only one of Lincoln’s four sons who lived to adulthood, Robert, was said to have turned down an invitation to go to Ford’s Theater the night of April 14th, 1865. He was an eyewitness to the assassination of President James Garfield in 1881. He was at the same location as the assassination of President William McKinley 20 years later, at McKinley’s invitation, although he did not witness it.

Less than two years before John Wilkes Booth assassinated his father, Robert Lincoln’s life was saved by Edwin Booth, John’s older brother, who was an accomplished actor and Unionist. At the time, Edwin Booth did not know who he saved, but Robert knew who he was. Robert went on to become the 35th Secretary of War and then an ambassador to the United Kingdom.

(While looking up a bit of information about Edwin Booth, I came upon a fascinating website, Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination, that contains even more information about related events. It says that when Edwin Booth’s casket was being carried out of a church in New York in 1893, part of Ford’s Theater collapsed, killing 23 people. Booth did not condone his brother’s actions and was an ardent supporter of Lincoln, so I don’t want to read too much into that. This site does have the only known photo of Lincoln in his coffin, which was discovered almost a century after his death, as well as information on other attempts on Lincoln’s life.)

While February 12th is the day we celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birth and life, we also remember that he gave his life for his country. No matter how trying or tragic his personal circumstances, which had been heavy since childhood, he was determined to keep his nation together and achieve freedom for all. In his Gettysburg Address, he stated, “…we we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Although the story of what happened to Lincoln’s body is fascinating, that body is ultimately just an empty vehicle. Lincoln himself still lives on, in another place, reunited with his family. As he said, “Surely God would not have created such a being as man, with an ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no, man was made for immortality.”

And live forever he shall, regardless of the state of his earthly remains.

Lincoln Family

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Thanks to the Abraham Lincoln’s Assassination site for bringing to my attention the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Train and 2015 Lincoln Funeral Coalition sites. This year is the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death.

Another interesting site: Presidents’ Last Words

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Cowards

Muath al-Kaseasbeh

Forever remember the name of Muath al-Kaseasbeh.

WARNING, EXTREMELY GRAPHIC VIDEO: ISIS burns hostage alive

In this video he is doused in some sort of accelerant and then burned alive in a metal cage. Should you watch it? That depends. Children should not watch it. Those who will be haunted by flesh melting off of a man being burned alive shouldn’t watch it. But perhaps the rest of us should as a testament to what this brave Jordanian pilot endured and the evils that these masked cowards are willing to inflict on others.

Frankly I think this film’s producers have watched a few too many Quentin Tarantino movies. In Hollywood, this is entertainment. For ISIS, this is some sort of battle cry to the world and military victory. In the real world, this is a man who gave his life, in the most agonizing way imaginable, to protect others.

Al-Kaseasbeh was a married first lieutenant in the Royal Jordanian Air Force whose F-16 went down in Syria in late December. The intelligence and ability required for this job speaks volumes about what caliber of man ISIS just executed. He was a brave, proud, educated man who, at just 26 years of age, left a legacy of service to others.

Prior to his death in this video, a bunch of tiny, unreadable Arabic writing interspersed with images of dead children and bombings flashes on the screen. It seems to be some sort of an attempt to show what horrible atrocities al-Kaseasbeh committed. Most Westerners won’t have a clue what’s being said or what the graphics are all about, so I’m not sure who the target audience was intended to be.

Were all the attempts at razzle dazzle supposed to be intimidating? Aside from the lieutenant’s poise, it played like a drunk Decepticon wrote it after a night binging on conspiracy theory movies from the 1990s. It was very busy and the graphics guy has some deep issues with American-made aircraft. For all I know he’s one of the Westerners who’s devoting his life to a demonic, self-indulgent movement intent on wiping anyone who doesn’t agree with them from the face of the earth.

Dramatic scenes of al-Kaseasbeh being led to his execution follow. He walks past a bunch of masked cowards further cloaked by their lookalike uniforms. While I will never be impressed by infidels who torture and murder those who fight for freedom, them trying to look tough by looking alike while looking upon a true hero made them even less impressive.

What First Lieutenant  al-Kaseasbeh endured is what more will endure if this global gang of thugs isn’t stopped. ISIS and their associates, known by many names, some of which claim to be moderate, are trying to take over the world. They are beheading, raping, torturing, crucifying, and otherwise violating and murdering their fellow human beings, including children.

I have always admired King Abdullah of Jordan and the continual risks he has taken on behalf of Muslims, Christians, and Jews alike. He and his family face grave personal danger for the stands they have taken over the years. Here in the United States, we need leadership that will support what countries like Jordan and Israel are doing to protect freedom and human rights.

Our current leadership won’t even call ISIS and their ilk by name or call them out for what they are. How, then, can the United States effectively stop atrocities like this? How can we stop Americans fighting for ISIS from coming back into this country and doing the same?

Please hold Anwar al-Tarawneh, the wife of Muath al-Kaseasbeh, up in prayer as she processes the horrible death of her husband. Sources says he was murdered a month ago even though the video was just released this week. That surely deepens the trauma. While I am skeptical of some of the videos terrorists produce, Jordan says this one is authentic and plans to execute some ISIS fighters post haste.

As Chesterton said, the true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him. That is what distinguishes us from them. We are motivated by life, liberty, truth, the pursuit of happiness, the preservation and advancement of human rights, and the desire to promote free and democratic societies. ISIS and their cousins are motivated by hate, by revenge, by malice, by intolerance, by all things black and blasphemous.

While I pray that even these terrorists find Jesus in their short time on earth, those that persist in this ideology must be eliminated to protect others. And what a sad state of affairs that is, because in all of eternity, they will never find a way out of that cage or that fire. If they choose an eternity apart from their Maker, what they have visited on others, like Lieutenant al-Kaseasbeh, will have no end.

And their screams will never stop.

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Go Hawks! Repete!

Seahawks 3

 

Oh, and from the Kirkland Views blog, the cow and coyote statue in downtown Kirkland, Washington…

Kirkland Views Seahawks Statue

Kirkland Views/Terri Fletcher

Kirkland Views Seahawks Statue 2

Kirkland Views/Terri Fletcher

 

Sons of Liberty

From the History Channel

From the History Channel

Tonight the three-part Sons of Liberty miniseries begins on the History Channel. According to their website:

SONS OF LIBERTY is a dramatic interpretation of events that sparked a revolution. It is historical fiction, not a documentary. The goal of our miniseries is to capture the spirit of the time, convey the personalities of the main characters, and focus on real events that have shaped our past. For historical information about the Sons of Liberty and the dawning of the American Revolution, please read the Historian’s View section on history.com/sons.

From time to time we can all use a refresher course in how the United States of America came to be. I am concerned that many children and young adults don’t know or entirely understand why the American Revolution happened and why the extreme risks our forefathers took to achieve independence are still relevant today. This is an opportunity to remind them of how the freedoms they might often take for granted came to be.

The further along I get on the journey of life, the more I realize just how bold our ancestors were to stand up against the king and create their own nation. Could you imagine if we decided to rebel against the heavy taxes, policies we disagree with, and leadership we don’t necessarily believe in today? When you grasp how brash, determined, and courageous men and women were in 1776, and the backbone it took to risk their very lives and property for their freedom, it’s truly breathtaking.

As a descendant of numerous patriots who either served in the Continental Army or provided support to the cause, I take great pride in what my ancestors risked and achieved. But as Americans, we are don’t have to have blood ties to these amazing pioneers to celebrate them. We have all benefited from their efforts and because of them we are one nation, under God. As Americans, we are equals regardless of our ancestry, origin, race, gender, or beliefs.

Please feel free to check out Sons of Liberty and get to know the brave souls who blessed us with such an astounding legacy. While reviews have said not much attention is given to the intellect and intent of the Sons of Liberty, portraying the idea of founding a nation as an aha moment rather than the point all along, I’m interested to see how their personalities are presented.

From the History Channel

From the History Channel. Click to enlarge.

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Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. -Colonial Prayer

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©2015 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

NFL 2015 Bad Lip Reading

Okay, so you’ve probably already seen it on Facebook. This is just too funny not to post.

Yeah, I once got a rake, and I killed a snowman.

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