Where Did That Dream Go?

Where Did That Dream Go?

(So I asked  a Shrink!)

By BR Chitwood

Where did that dream go, you ask?

Beyond your grasp, sadly…

You had it, but you let it go…

You did not pursue it to the end…

Other diversions caught your fancy…

The phrase is: ‘wine, women, song’…

Sound familiar? ‘wine, women, song’?

WWS slowed and finally ended your dream…

But they were part of the dream…

Too many working dreams spoil the broth!

You’re mixing metaphors, Doctor…

But you have no trouble grasping meaning?

Grasped, Doctor. So, you’re saying, ‘no chance for me’?

There’s always a chance, but youth is gone. Maybe your next life chances will come again…

Whoa, Doc, you believe we get to come back?

That’s not so crazy an idea. A colleague of mine, a hypnotist, has written about taking some patients back to former lives, even having some patients talk about their time while in training units between lives. He has done ‘case studies’… Go to a library, book store, and look under hypnosis, case studies, psychiatrists, former lives…you can find them if you’re interested.

Oh, I’m interested. I just find it so hard to believe.

You wouldn’t be human if you took it at face value. Remember, most of us are ‘doubting Thomas’…many did not believe we would put a man in space, go to the moon, have ‘space stations’, diseases cured, knowledge re-doubling every few months, and all of these life-changing events are being challenged, joined by nefarious rioting groups trying to destroy our cherished freedom and liberty. It is a crazy and wild time for the history of the world… I just hope our kids in the future will be able to read and know of this history… Sorry about the digression, but, in your case, from what you’ve shared with me today, you have had a comparatively good life. You have accomplished many of your goals – which a lot of folks would die for. I really cannot find any major anomalies in your life. Keep your dreams alive. That’s a good thing. The large news I would give you is: be happy in your life – you’ve got more living to do.

Thanks, Doc. You’ve got me feeling better about things… I’m going to find the book or books you were talking about. When I absorb them, I’ll call you for another session.

*

BR Chitwood – August 12, 2020

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The Essence of Faith

The Essence of Faith

The Essence of Faith

The freshly painted clapboard church sat near a small creek, its white purity glorified by the neatly trimmed hedges surrounding it and the smell of newly mowed grass. The four big oak trees on the church property added a symmetrical elegance to the pastoral scene. Four Oaks Baptist Church, lined up in a photographer’s lens or portrayed on the painter’s canvas, would present a nostalgic and peaceful essence of faith and Americana.

It was a special Sunday morning with clear skies and a happy sun washed all that it touched with spring freshness and sparkle. There were few cars parked along the country lane as most of the congregation and visitors came on foot to Four Oaks, and today the numbers in attendance would break all records… It was indeed a very special Sunday. One member of the congregation had just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Jimmy Chadwick was fourteen years old when he was baptized in the Four Oaks Baptist Church. He attended elementary and high school in the county school system, played his basketball and football here, married his homecoming queen sweetheart in this prosaic place of worship. Jimmy worked on his family’s farm, plowed fields for barley, wheat, hoed the endless corn rows, and worked on the side for the county’s agricultural cooperative. Jimmy sowed some of his personal oats, played some petty pranks and even tried at times some bitter brews of John Barleycorn. In the total tally of Jimmy Chadwick he was a happy kid, a generous, kind adult, and a near-wholesome human being.

Jimmy Chadwick’s real claim to county fame came not on a football field or basketball court at home but on dreary sand and scrub in the distant country of Afghanistan. Jimmy, a marine, was stationed in Helmand Province at a USMC installation where aircraft hangars housed Harrier Jets. One quiet and sweltering night, a group of Taliban fighters dressed in US military uniforms penetrated the perimeter of the camp, killed two US service men, and destroyed a number of Harrier jets with explosives and rocket-propelled grenades. With only his pistol, Jimmy led an attack against the infiltrators and eventually all of the insurgents were either killed or captured.

By the time the Sunday service began, The Four Oaks Baptist Church was filled beyond its capacity for seating. The walls were lined with the simple and sweet inhabitants of the Four Oaks hamlet plus residents of the other nearby settlements. A virtual silence fell upon all those congregated there. Only occasional sobs and soft moans were heard. The preacher stepped to the pulpit and spoke:

Today we welcome home one of our own, Jimmy Chadwick, a young fellow we knew as a freckle-faced kid pulling the pigtails of giggling girls, a handsome lad always with a smile and the rough hard hands of a farm worker. We knew him as the young fellow who usually got the touchdown to win us a football game or a final-second dunk to win the basketball game. We knew Jimmy as a prankster, a devoted son, an honest and good man… So, welcome home, Jimmy. We love you and we are proud of you.

Let me just say that here in this little corner of the world our simple ways will not match the world’s big cities’ glamour and glare, their hectic ways and their belief systems that vary from our own. We hear and read about those who don’t believe in God and in the man, Jesus, who came among us, gave us some spiritual wisdom to live by, and died a cruel death for our sins. Today we see the book of Revelations coming to pass: we have wars and rumors of wars; we have the atrocities of history repeating themselves; we have nuclear weaponry that can annihilate civilization; we have miracle machines that can do so much good but can also wreak havoc upon us; we have enough people enraged by the Satan that runs loose inside of them who are too eager to smite their brothers and sisters; we seem not to have enough time to help and provide for those who truly need our help… We live in a perilous time, a time when a man, woman, and child can only deal with the darkness of the world with the hallowed light of faith. If not faith, if not a belief that transcends these ugly truths, that these mountains we gaze upon, these prairies, these oceans, seas, and desert are there by another’s hand and not our own… If not faith, what can we conclude from the pendulum swings of our lives? That we live but for the folly of a piece of gold and the dark pleasures that can only in the end seduce and leave us wantonly scarred? If not faith, why is there the warmth of sunshine? Why the evening stars upon which to wish? Why the meticulous nine months ritual of our births? Why the love and unity of family upon which to persevere?

Today, here in our little corner of the world, we welcome home our heroic son and brother who went to a foreign land because his nation called upon him, a man who wore his faith proudly and served his country with courage and valor.

May the sobs and tears of this congregation convey not only the sadness of his passing but a joyful recognition of our faith that Jimmy Chadwick has truly gone Home.  

Let us pray…

Flash fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – From my Archives

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The Final Speciation

©The Final Speciation

-A Denouement-

By BR Chitwood

 

All humans, all animals, all still life in the verdant valleys, deserts, unrippled water below, look skyward in awe and wonder of new climactic wonders. New lovers, old lovers, would-be lovers, lovers to be or not to be, and those many beasts of prey, tangled plants of unknown qualities and quantities, they all hear the whispering sound in the air like a soft mesmerizing musical coda of a thousand hypnotic violins and the near-inaudible notes of a misty, magical piano.

In its fast and vast-spreading movement, visible as an image of some spectacular musical composition that floats by and covers all the great expanse of sky, the notes all a golden shade, each note quakes in its own turn  an ordered  totality of its mauve composition. This you will see and hear:

Those who have yearned will know…

The epochal wonders of all the years…

The scenes and signs that have come to you for all these millions of years…

Those who are weary…

Those who cry in the night…

Those who hunger and thirst…

Those who do not wish to be…

Those who seek love but do not know its meaning…

Those of all persuasions, all will be as it is to be…

Listen to the music of ages…

The final Epoch Comes…

*

The tablet of stone was found on a mantle in the home of an aged Ascetic, a man who, from reports of only two people found by  authorities were able to find who knew him, said no words were ever exchanged with the frail and pallid man with a long white beard white hair, deeply-wrinkled skin, and short, thin stature. When two people on a neighborhood walk tried to talk to him, the Ascetic simply walked down a side-yard of his modest house and disappeared. He was never seen again – by anyone…until his death.

The Ascetic’s picture was taken in death, distributed throughout the Metro area of Los Angeles, but given special coverage on local television for the attention of people within a large quadrant of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and Malibu, and would spread eastward and nationally. The home of the Ascetic was in Venice, next door to Santa Monica. Why the ‘spread eastward and nationally?

Shortly after the picture and article about the Ascetic and his death flowed through News wires, his body disappeared. Yes, disappeared…never found…to this day, never found.

Now, more fuel was put to the already very hot story. Suspicions, assertions, all kinds of speculation were to appear in the news. It became a media blitz. The County Coroners were shamefully, mercilessly, and too vigorously investigated, received some nasty innuendos laced with vitriol. The two people who, once, actually saw  the Ascetic  alive were found and doggedly hounded until lawsuits were filed

There was the normal volume of weirdo-replies that jammed up editorial offices in the greater Los Angeles area, both TV and newspapers, but only one cryptic and mysterious reply caught the Media’s and Public’s desire to know more about this Ascetic’s life and death, in fact, a reply with only four words… Bronson Caves – Griffith Park.

That one reply would cause a stampede of sorts. Bronson Caves after all carried an awesome ‘neon-flashing’ alias: Batman’s Cave.

Lest excitement builds in intensity, the Batman’s Cave was not where George Clooney, Val Kilmer, Michael Keating, and Christian Bale ‘Batman’ movies were shot.

The Batman TV Series in the 1960’s starring Adam West and Burt Ward were filmed with footage in Bronson Caves.

With a few deft strokes of a journalist’s pen, magical scenarios begin to appear in many newspaper editions: ‘what if the  Ascetic was somewhere in Batman’s Cave?’

In their ‘What Iffing’, some in the media ranks thought a ‘Jesus-Link’ was needed and created a ‘cave’ to entice readership and cause an alarming ‘nay’ and ‘pro’ rush to conclusions that had no merit.

Sorry, that’s all the time I have today…

*

Okay, interesting story line, but where’s the beef?

Where’s the Ascetic?

Is he, or, HE, in Batman’s Cave?

Was the Ascetic and Jesus just playing around? Wanting our attention?

How does a man, an ‘Ascetic’ live in the crazy community of Venice, California, and nobody knows him, or, HIM?

*

Okay, Okay, I’ve got the message.

Now, I could tell you this little post is part of my next book that will have all the answers you might be craving, but…

The hesitation comes from my having a new Driver’s License and Passport picture taken… Sweet Jesus, tell me that it is not me in those pictures.

The best I can do is explain it this way:

When a ‘Pantser’ writes, the reader must be patient… It will all be explained…

If I’m not around for the explanation, look upward and listen to the music.

BR Chitwood – Feb. 22, 2020

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Now, I Know

Now, I Know

Growing up you get a lot of platitudinal advice on ‘how to live your life and how to settle into Twilight, the euphemism for ‘old age’. You are  smiling while acknowledging all the bromides, like: You’ve reached the ‘Twilight Years’; like, how’s Twilight treating you; like, Ah, Twilight, no more corporate B/S; like, what’s the Tee-Time? Like, honey, can we just stay home and watch movies? (Of course, home/movies are good, inside and outside of Twilight.)

During the school years and on into the early adult years, you thought you were going to live forever.

Would age sixteen ever arrive so you could get your driver’s license? Would the beastly acne be with you for all your life? Why did time move so slowly? You wanted to get out into the adult world and make your marks…on and on, what your parents, your that your beloved aunts, cousins, uncles, grandparents, friends, told you – the ever-Doubting Thomas’ – those lovely platitudes with smiles of love on their faces.

Life’s realities could not touch you. You were invincible. You were going on to accomplish so much in your lives.

Some of you did.

Some of you did not.

So, I’m the living proof. ‘Now, I Know’ those truths.

So, maybe the biggest truth of all is our ‘Deaths’, in believing that this entire chaotic business of living and dying is the unfolding of a higher order, a Deity – God – calling the shots on this thing we humans refer to as, Life.

‘Now, I Know’ those truths?

There is a label much of the world uses for believing that ‘God Calls the Shots’.

Faith is that grand label, and there is a plethora of History, including the Bible, that backs up that label. Some of those historical documents many of us have been privy to in life.

Of course, there are naysayers: those who believe in a ‘Big Bang theory’ of how we all got here on this Planet Earth: ‘Big Bang’, apparently meaning there was a huge explosion in the Universe and/or Galaxy and that created you, me, and all the other living creatures… really, that big bang creating all the wonders that we see: day, night, week, month, year, births of humans and all forms of life?

Well, each of us can make our own decision regarding Faith. For me, there seems to me some statistical mention of probability is in order, unless those arguing against Faith in God believe the Big Bang can claim the very same mystical magic as God.

Well, the only truth that matters, or, un-truth, depending on your own belief-system, must come from the individual.

Because I’m the individual writing this post, I’ll take the gauntlet. Here’s the truth as I came up with it:

I was born in Appalachia in a sawmill camp in bad economic times…you can read all about that if there’s an interest in my two memoirs: THE CRACKED MIRROR – REFLECTIONS OF AN APPALACHIAN SON and/or WHAT HAPPENS NEXT – A LIFE’S TRUE TALE (both books are on Amazon and other ‘buy sites’).

Now, Appalachia gets its share of bromidic tease, and that’s fine with me, but, my religious indoctrination dealt with ‘fire and brimstone’ – ‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’, meaning one could not reach ‘The Pearly Gates’ if he/she cursed or uttered nasty words and phrases, had thoughts of sexual encounters, danced, smoked, and other daily routines one might have which could be considered unrighteous.

 It was tough emotionally being a kid in that environment, let me tell you, being conscious every minute, every day of everything you said and did. Well, it was just a scary way to live.

The biggest ‘hitch’ I found to the Big Bang Theory was that long nine-month period it takes for a life to begin. My feeling was always: ‘Whoa, there! That nine-month period of birth had some intricacies that was difficult to explain – just think, that Big Bang debris all settling and making everything what it is today. I just find it hard to accept that the Big Bang could create a baby’s birth, with all its complicated and intricate stages over that nine-month period.

So, I found it easier to accept the idea that a Higher Intelligence brought this ‘thing’ called Life. It also became clear to me that, since no one could tell me in any factual and sensible terms I could understand, ‘how a Big Bang carried all that preciseness’, I was just going to believe, have Faith that God was calling the shots…at least, I had a chance at being correct: if I was right, maybe I go to heaven; if not right, well, I was just going to become dust to dust. So, I guess one could say: “What have you got to lose? One way or another, you’re dead and don’t have a lot to say about ‘where you go’ upon death. It did not cost anything to hang onto Faith.

My guess is that this little romp about life and death won’t have much of an audience, but I feel better about things having written it.

Enjoy your living and try a little ‘Faith’ or a lot of Faith.

Don’t see how it can hurt you.

We all must go sometime.

However, everyone should know this: I plan on being around here for a while yet. I’ve got more writing to tap out on this old laptop, say, until around 2038. I surely hope that does not displease anyone. If it does displease anyone, would you mind terribly keeping it to yourselves?

*

BR Chitwood – Feb. 9, 2020

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Meet Gwen Plano

Greetings!  Welcome to the 3rd RRBC “TREAT” Reads Blog Hop!  These members of RRBC have penned and published some really great reads and we’d like to honor and showcase their talent.  Oddly, all of the listed Winners are RWISA members!  Way to go RWISA!

We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed, and after reading it, leave a review.  There will be other books on tour for the next few days, so please visit the “HOP’S” main page to follow along.

Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the “HOP’S” main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for a gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!

Author, Gwen Plano

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Book: LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE 

Book Blurb: Inspiring and unforgettable, Letting Go into Perfect Love is a riveting account of a journey through the terror of domestic violence to a faith that transforms all. As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space–but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced unpredictable threat. The statistics are staggering–every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten–but to Gwen, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer remain silent. 

Alternately heart-wrenching and joyful, this is a story of triumph over adversity–one woman’s uplifting account of learning how to forgive the unforgiveable, recover her sense of self, bring healing into her family, and honor the journey home. Accompanied by glimpses of celestial beings, Gwen charts a path through sorrow to joy–and ultimately, writes of the one perfect love we all seek.

Twitter: @gmplano

Soul’s Surrender

Soul’s Surrender

The damp air assumed the color of periwinkle on my sweaty arms as the moon came from the cumulus like an angry despot, a wisp of cloud appearing like a mustache on its solemn surface. The gently rising hill upon which my steps carried me was covered with freshly mown grass that gave off a delicious smell of watermelon. I stopped at the top of the hill and breathed deeply the olfactory delight, the big house now in view, some three hundred yards down this hill and up another, big centuries-old maple trees dotting its perimeter.

For a moment, the lights in the big house seemed to twinkle for me, perchance a welcome home endearment, but, then, my errand of mercy had only taken me three hours although it seemed much longer. The car would not start. The cell phone would not work. I didn’t want to walk along the highway at night, so, to the rolling hills. We were alarmed and nervous about our cat, Joey. We were afraid we might be losing him as he seemed unable to move about without falling and regurgitating.

The vet was one mile away, and I decided to carry Joey to the vet’s office. Someone was at their small hospital facility at all times. Joey was of petite build and not heavy in his carrier. Laura, the nice lady vet, gave Joey a quick check and decided it was best to leave him there for a day or two to allow for thorough testing and treatment. She indicated his ‘vitals’ were showing satisfactory readings, but she wanted to be certain it was nothing more than a bad morsel Joey decided to ingest.

If the light from the moon was not deceiving me and my old failing eyes could be trusted, Heather was there on the porch waving me on. Waving back, I smiled, and tears slowly passed through the whiskery wrinkles on my cheeks and dropped to mix with the ground dew. It was rather common these days to shed tears in my desperate moments when harsh realities hit and confounded the order and sequences of living. I slowed my pace to give the tears their time to flow before I reached Heather, conjuring up thoughts that were mundane and easy to indulge and toss away.

There was something unrevealed to Heather which, as fate would have it, coincided with Joey’s sudden ailment. Perhaps the lovable cat sensed the secret. My days of doubting ‘cat lore’ and labeling mysteries of the world’s tomfoolery were long gone. Our family doctor gave me his diagnosis of my frequent headaches after EEG test-runs and consultation with a neurologist specialist. It was an inoperable tumor, now the size of a large marble but growing in size steadily. Was there a chance the tumor might just dissolve, just miraculously melt into nothing and its residue get lost in the nerve messages sent via neuronal activities? Doctor Spaulding’s only response to my queries was: “Miracles happen in the Medical field all the time, Jimmy, but take the medication I’ve prescribed to slow the tumor’s growth and we’ll keep a watchful eye. Other scans and tests were subsequently performed and diagnosed. The rendering was the same. The doctor said Heather should know, but I swore him to secrecy. This was my fight alone, and she was not to be part.

The nearer to the porch I walked, Heather’s beautiful smile and the love that shone in her eyes made me quake inside and the tears came again. I managed a smile to go with the tears but she saw the distress behind my quivering lips and ran down the steps to meet me.

“Oh, we lost Joey, Jimmy?” She wrapped her arms around me and was sure Joey was gone.

“No, no, sweetheart, Doc Laura is just keeping him over for some tests. Joey’s tough! He’ll be up and around in no time.”

As I talked she pulled back and eyed me carefully.

“Why are you crying, Jimmy? Tell me, please!”

“Ah, come on, I just saw you there and the moment got to me.  That’s all, honey, really. I’ve been gone for three hours and I missed you. Can’t I miss my wife?”

“Of course, you can – and, better, for that matter!” She smiled again, grabbed my arm and led me up the porch steps and into the house.

I was suddenly and unaccountably happy and unafraid of dying. Heather was with me! That was all that truly mattered to me. After all, dying is part of our living, a moment in time each of us must face. So, I pushed aside those moments of anxiety and weakness. I regaled in thoughts of all those moments yet left to me with Heather.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood – July 30, 2018

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Oft We Look

Oft We Lookhope-end-tunnel-person-long-walking-towards-light-rays-39872266

Oft We Look

Oft we look beyond our longing selves

Seeking potions to fill the empty years

We stumble and fall so many times

And magically another dream appears.

 *

Our lives are filled with repetitions,

Dull daily ritual and chore,

Until chasing that newly found hope is

Dashed, we’re desperate, in need of more

 *

As we reach out for nebulous goals.

We despair ‘til comes some magic link

When Love suddenly comes on moonbeams

And Life is much more than we think.

 *

Love is then the totality of Life

Meaning, substance come from Love,

All that is Eternal, Noble and Pure

To find it, we must look Above.

 *

©BR Chitwood – March 9, 2018

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Mission of Hope

hope-end-tunnel-person-long-walking-towards-light-rays-39872266

The Mission of Hope

  • Where have all the ‘Mother Teresas’ gone?
  • Are there no more Francis of Assisis’?
  • No more Billy Grahams?
  • Can we not see our Nation and our World in crisis? Wars all over the globe? Power brokers in every corner of the earth? Souls void, empty of caring and feeling, cutting off heads, bombing innocents to present their robotic and Satanic message of doom, laughing at their livid liquidation?
  • Where did Love go?
  • Where did Faith go?
  • This is a Sunday of reflection for me on the life of one of ‘God’s Ambassadors’, Billy Graham, a man who found God early and never wavered from his Biblical message of Faith and Hope:
  • “I have one message: that Jesus Christ came, he died on a cross, he rose again, and he asked us to repent of our sins and receive him by faith as Lord and Savior, and if we do, we have forgiveness of all of our sins.”
  • Billy also believed at our earthly ending our journey was only beginning.
  • I prefer to believe that, despite much of my own life spent in playgrounds of ‘lotus eaters’, chasing ‘white buffaloes’, a cute euphemism for searching in the wrong places for love and family. While at times a dashing life of lovely ladies and booze, actually enjoying that playground, falling in and out of love, I had those days of sad Appalachian regrets, feeling those soul-stabs of remorse and loss, betraying my Bible-Belt inheritance.
  • In no way am I made of the ‘Saintly Stuff’ of Billy and his good son, Franklin, but I still cling to my fragile Faith and believe that this mortal residence leads to something far greater for those of Faith, for those who allow some Biblical relevance to why we are here. This might seem too adolescent to some of little or no faith, but I figure it this way:
  • It seems to me the order in our Universe is too precise to have come from a ‘big blast’. The orbital and angular journey of our planet that bring us days, nights, Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, beautiful sunrises, sunsets, rain and snow, all say to me a divine intelligence is at work.
  • If more is needed, consider the magical miracle of birth, that intricate and precise time-table of growth inside a mother’s womb.
  • Consider the creation of a painting by an artist who has just witnessed stars shooting across the sky, a sunset with a big bright orange globe falling off our horizons, a woman so dazzling in her beauty we call her Madonna.
  • Consider the Bible, words and phrases we don’t always understand, yet a history given to us by the Prophets and Scholars through Time.
  • Most of all, consider your Love for your wife, children, your sweetheart, grandfather, grandmother, all representing our passage and moments in Time.
  • That’s what makes my opening so compelling and resonant. My thoughts might seem anachronistic to the new generation, and, throughout history we have faced similar holocaust-like events (Terrorism, Wars, Self-Doubts, Faith and Soul), and we somehow make it to the next generations.
  • Okay, I’ve had my say, all words fueled by the news of the days… And, really, I’m an upbeat kind of guy, calm, nice…
  • I just won’t watch the stupid news!
  • Billy Ray Chitwood – February 25, 2018
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