Another song from this concert. (Link above.)
As a tribute to our recently departed friend, Mr. Leonard Cohen, Brian and I would like to share an acoustic version of Bird On The Wire, which we performed in concert not too long ago. (The above picture is from that concert.)
From our JENNY’S SONGS UNPLUGGED album.
Words and Music by Jesse Leigh Brackstone
Performed by Jesse Leigh Brackstone.
OLD EYES is a song I wrote for a (now departed) ‘old’ friend of mine, who taught me rather a lot about life, although I didn’t realize it at the time. He was a beautiful soul, a gift to me, and OLD EYES is my inadequate ‘Thank you.’
His name was Mr. Steve Kuchle.
I can’t say it better than this:
They desperately need your prayers.
I wrote this better than several years ago, but it somehow feels like an appropriate prayer for me today….
FORGIVE ME, LORD JESUS
I’ve watched so many people
Pass every test I’ve failed
And in my hand hangs heavy
The hammer and the nails
As once again I crucify
My Savior to the cross
I despise my weakness
And cannot bear the loss
Oh, how did I come to be in
Between the Grace of GOD, and sin?
In dreams I run t’wards Heaven’s Gate
And voices mock me, “Late, too late!
The Saints have entered long ago…”
A world I fear I’ll never know
Where GOD resides, and angels sing
And sinners like me can’t get in.
Why so often do I stumble
Why is it that I fall?
I look inside and try to find
Some reason for it all
But I’m just a weary hobo
Wretched as can be
Who with tear-stained face
Beholds GOD’S Grace
Through Christ’s blood…which sets us free.
And in my hand hangs heavy
The hammer and the nails
And in my heart contrition
For every time I’ve failed.
Oh, give to me that cross LORD
And let me die with Thee
In death I live, my life I give you
Here at Calvary.
© 2002 – Hobo Mountain Publishing.
I wandered over to Matt Walsh’s blog a little while ago – it’s the second time I’ve been there – and for the second time I felt compelled to post something on the subject under discussion. Matt believes in charity but not in Social Assistance (AKA – welfare), which he believes is ‘Stealing’ on the part of the recipients. He thinks that all giving ought to be voluntary – all giving, period. Well, that’s a fine idea, of course, but as history has taught us, goodness cannot be mandated. If the wealthy of the world had cared enough when it mattered most, not a soul on Earth would be starving.
We would have no need for famine relief, NGOs, and all of the other aid agencies that work tirelessly to mitigate the sufferings of millions, when there is enough of everything for all – if we would only share – which we would if we cared enough, but most people don’t, sadly.
Here’s my post:
While I’m a strong believer in multigenerational families, and always thought that I’d be a senior member of one someday, the reality is that kids nowadays are so far into the ‘me’ generation, the ‘self,’ the ‘I,’ and the ‘You owe me a living’ mentality, that not too many stick around to help their parents, and grandparents, and further extended family. Sad, but true nevertheless. My husband and I raised a passel of kids, and we taught them all about hospitality, morality, solid family values, and to follow the example of Christ as well as they could. Only one of them bothers, and even she can’t fathom how not seeing us for… I think it’s ten years now, is *not* all right! She telephones from time to time and tells us all her woes, but I don’t believe it crosses her mind to wonder how we’re coping with being diabetic, and I’m wheelchair bound, legally blind, have a chronic CNS disorder (present since birth), and multiple injuries from a car crash almost eleven years ago. In the not-too-distant past, we lost our house because there was absolutely no work in our area. We moved, of course, over a thousand miles to work, but we couldn’t keep up the payments on both the house we were obliged to rent (so my husband could stay employed), as well as the mortgage on the one we used to own. We even had a buyer for it, but the bank wouldn’t let us sell it, saying that we were a few days past the deadline for ‘Independent action,’ so… they took our house and auctioned it for a quarter of what it was worth. We still owe them the rest, so they say. Now, I think *that’s* stealing, don’t you?
So, we have insurance companies canceling policies and negating mortgages left and right.
We have banks that will come and take your house the moment you’re late with a payment.
We have ungrateful and self-centered children abounding everywhere.
And easily *half* of most people’s take-home pay is *stolen* by the government, via the various forms of taxation, making it extremely difficult to make a living.
We have sick people and old people who *cannot* work any longer, and who cannot afford even the most basic medical care.
We have an unemployment rate that is just shy of what was reported during The Great Depression, and we’re barreling headlong into a meltdown that will make the 1930′s look like a holiday. The United States is bankrupt and has an $18 trillion debt, which it can *never* repay, of course, as the only equity it has is the geographical land itself – and ‘We the people,’ and our taxes. When (yes, I did say *when*) the dollar tanks, tens of millions of people in other countries will suffer too, and many are in a desperate state already.
So, given the above-mentioned problems, why is it surprising that so many people need financial assistance of late?
The welfare office used to be filled with homeless people, and drug addicts, and alcoholics, and high-school dropouts – as well as single mothers. Now, if you visit a welfare office (we don’t even have them in Canada anymore – everything’s done on-line), you’ll see men in suits and ties, many of them with degrees in one field or another, who simply can’t find work anywhere. The latter are people who, for the most part, have paid in to social programs for years, and now that they need a hand up, they shouldn’t get one? Why not? Do these people have a choice? No, they don’t, and neither do those with disabilities, and they need to be assisted.
We don’t need to spend tax dollars on the garbage that we do – we ought to be taking care of the needy – who for whatever reason, and through no fault of their own, simply can’t make ends meet.
The Nanny or Welfare State isn’t something we ‘Buy into,’ Matt; poverty is forced upon most by excessive taxation. Those who abuse the system *are* stealing, if indirectly, but certainly no more so than the government – and it doesn’t matter which government we’re talking about – British, American, or Canadian. In the Western world it all works on the same premise, but it doesn’t work well at all, does it? Banks, Insurance companies (that never pay out), greedy corporations, obscenely high unemployment levels, excessive taxation, ungrateful kids, deadbeat dads, and the general disintegration of the family unit, hyperinflation, lack of medical coverage…, I could go on. No, it isn’t ideal for us to have a Nanny or Welfare state, but unless we solve the other problems we’ve allowed to remain in place (and we won’t), we will always need some version of it.
You’re passionate, Matt, and I know that you want to set the world aright (that job’s already taken, by the way), and God bless you for it, but you’re still young and relatively inexperienced. Wait a couple of decades until you, your wife, or your kids become chronically sick, disabled, or you’re unemployed, or you meet with a horrible accident. Perhaps then you’ll see the situation through the other side of the looking-glass.
We *all* need help from time to time, and when we have more than we need we (hopefully) give, but when we have less than we need, there is no shame in *accepting* help; it teaches us humility, and those who would give, compassion.
May God bless you and yours, Matt, and may He help us all.
Well, what do you think? Should we do away with Welfare? Are most of us taxed too much to make it?
Ideally, families and communities *would* take care of each other, and work together for the betterment of all, but we don’t live in a Utopian society, we live in a disintegrating one.
Do you think we’re too far gone to recover, or could we, collectively, regain our ground and *really* learn to ‘Love Thy Neighbor’?
I’d love to hear your comments on this one.
The following is an excerpt from Echoes of Silence, book #3 in the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series:
‘Jenny felt a surge of nostalgia as she unbuckled the kids’ seat belts in Colombo. The usual roar of the airport was uncharacteristically subdued, even for a Sunday. As Tom, Linda, and Mahrie transported the sleeping children one by one into the waiting helicopters, the pilots dimmed the Falcon’s lights and departed, and Jenny stood alone in a plane clad in mist, moonbeams, and shadows. Tom ascended the stairs one last time, and standing still in silhouette in the doorway, he waited.
“Tom,” she whispered, and covered her mouth with her hand.
Without a word, he put his arms around her, and let her cry the last salt tears with which she would season this plane, and there had been many.
He’d had an ocean to quietly reflect upon his own memories of the past seven years. Together they had weathered more storms in those years than many do in a lifetime. The Falcon carried more than just people, it held the ghosts of their memories, and he wondered if the laughter and tears would linger after they were gone….
He escorted Jenny down the stairs with his arm still clasped firmly around her shoulders.
Linda watched the scene from the window of the helicopter, and closing her eyes she suspired and sighed; this night would be a long one. She felt a lump slowly forming in her throat, and her eyes stung as she fought the tears that threatened to fall. Saying goodbye is never easy….
The girls slept beside her, cognizant of nothing, and Mahrie and Joe sat opposite, not understanding fully, but both sensing that this was no ordinary journey.
Tom helped Jenny to climb in beside the boys, who hadn’t stirred, and the helicopters took off in tandem, leaving the ghost ship behind in the trailing mist, as they whirred their way deep in to the mountains.’
The Sri Lankan highlands, home of The Mission, are central to this story, as central as Tom and Jenny’s K’i-pahulu (Maui) home, and Tom’s native Netanya, a half-hour’s drive from Tel Aviv, and forty-five minutes from Jerusalem.
Make Tom and Jenny’s journey through life part of your own. I promise you won’t be sorry!
You can read the first five chapters of the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series here –
Sometimes the most memorable journeys we take En Route are in our hearts and minds, and today was one of those times for me.
Quite by accident, I chanced upon a blog about stay-at-home mothers, and how little value society now places upon a vocation that was once considered a sacred trust, and stay-at-home mothers were not second-class citizens, or thought of as uneducated and boring.
The nurturing and molding of decent human beings is a gargantuan task. It takes every ounce of strength, courage, and compassion that you have, and it goes on round the clock, week after week, and year after year, and when a mother dies, everything stops – everything. There’s a hole in your heart that never heals, and that’s true no matter how old you are – we all have (or have had) mothers. Suddenly, there’s no one there to clean the house, cook your meals, or hold your hand when you’re sick, or comfort you when you’re scared. There are no arms to rock you when your world falls apart, no kind and gentle words of wisdom that only mothers, it seems, can impart. Our mothers are critical to our well being, and the loss of one’s mother is devastating. Can you think of a job or occupation that could possibly be more important?
I can scarce believe some of the derogatory comments I’ve heard in this vein, so I felt compelled to comment on the value of stay-at-home moms, and with a quote from Albert Camus (author of The Stranger) fresh in my mind, I did so. I don’t often give my opinion, as I’m well aware of what it’s worth, but sometimes I feel that to be silent would be criminal.
My comment on the blog:
In a nutshell: Since children are highly portable, it’s possible to be with your children 24/7 and still be ‘out’ in the workforce. My husband and I had nine children (only four are still living in the flesh, I’m sorry to say, but that’s another story, or blog. You can read about our adventures at http://www.enroutewithjesse.com ).
Home is where the family is, and while I’m a missionary/author/singer-songwriter/musician, and naturopath, I took my children with me wherever I went in the world – and I’ve traveled most of it .. My husband and I home schooled them and kept them in our proverbial hip pockets until they were ready to branch out on their own, which they’ve all done, and now we’re blessed with several grandchildren. Our kids who have kids are all stay-at-home moms, by the way, which I find both gratifying and interesting.
I’m not knocking working mom’s here, as I’ve always been one, and I don’t doubt for a moment that most moms are doing their best for their children, but is the choice to leave their kids for ten or more hours a day an informed one? Somehow, I think not. I applaud all moms and dads who are working hard to provide for their children (which is their obligation, of course), but I’m *deeply *concerned about the absence of mothers in the home. I’m concerned that I can type ‘Latchkey kids’ in to this comment and not have a spellchecker correct me. As old-fashioned as it has now become, I strongly believe that children should be within arm’s reach of their parents until they are old enough to go it alone. What other species can you name that abandons its children for material anything?
To be sure, leaving one’s child to work all day is sometimes unavoidable, but let’s be honest – most working mothers don’t work because they have to, they work because they want to, period. The needs of children nowadays too often come after the wants of their parents, and I’ve lived long enough to watch the present trend take hold. This is not progress or liberty, it’s the shift from family to ‘self,’ and that shift will be the undoing of those who subscribe to the ‘self’ philosophy, but the greatest casualties in this moral war, will always and forever be our children.
The fall of *every* world power in history was preceded by the disintegration of the family unit. When families fall apart, so do individuals, villages, towns, cities, and finally nations, and people become displaced, confused, and lose their sense of identity… and their roots, and they begin to question their intrinsic worth, and their reason for being. Just look at North America today, it’s spiritually, morally, and financially bankrupt – and the U.S. won’t be a world power for much longer, sadly. It was a great country once.
As unpopular a comment as I’m sure this will be, I firmly believe that if one *intends* to avoid raising one’s children oneself, or at least have them brought up within the family unit (as in Grandma looks after them for you), I don’t believe one ought to have them – it’s selfish, irresponsible, and… unkind. If you disagree, I invite you to visit any daycare five minutes after working mothers drop their children off – it’s nothing less than heartbreaking!
While I don’t wish to downplay the importance of fathers in any family, there’s a reason why people all around the world agree that one of the most poignant and ‘best first lines’ in any novel is:
‘MOTHER DIED TODAY.’
Gets you where it counts, doesn’t it?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.
Love and All Good Things – Jesse.’
The featured image for this post is the cover from the second book in the Time & Unforeseen Occurrence seven-novel series The Least of These. You can read the first five chapters here –