Department of the Interior

Interiority. Huh. That is actually a word.

There is a base camp. Tucked in the foothills. Nestled, as it were, in sight of the mountain peaks, frosted and ominous above the tree line. Cleft in view of the valleys where shadows are as much of the landscape as those protrusions which birth them. This is the base camp of the soul. A place carved out of the bustle of life with its highs and lows, the EKG existence of trying to establish a baseline.

I don’t live in the Sierra Nevada’s. I’m in Michigan. In each house we’ve lived in, I’ve staked out my claim. One time it was under the basement stairs. Another, a corner of the living room. Once I had an office—a luxury for sure. The desire was for place. A setting in which the heart was heard. My own. The department of the interior.

Reading, writing, and arrhythmia. A bible and a journal are always nearby. Sometimes I read out loud when my wandering mind is flooded with the tasks of the day. Poets, dead or alive, are given their due honor. Essayists flesh out ideas like a Rueben…little bites of thought to chew on. But when the basecamp is warm, lit just enough to see what open heart procedure is needed, that is when God attends.

I’m finding over the past few years all that is needed is a space, a place to give opportunity for the interior life to be checked and nurtured. Maybe you’ve figured this out already. In the end, the heart of the matter is the heart of the matter.

“Guard your heart, above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

Do a biblical search on the word heart, and you’ll see the place of prominence of which it is given. God thinks our interior is important.

Take in this little ditty I read yesterday.

“God signifies an alternative impulse – to sacrifice rather than grab, to love rather than lust, to give rather than take, to pursue truth rather than promote lies, to humble oneself rather than inflate the ego. In all creation the hand of God is seen; in every human heart, in a blade of grass as in great trees and mountains and rivers; in the first stirring of life in a foetus and in the last musings and mutterings of a tired mind.” Malcolm Muggeridge

After I read that I was reminded of a Wendell Berry poem.

Thirty More Years

When I was a young man,

grown up at last, how large

I seemed to myself! I was a tree,

tall already, and what I had not

yet reached, I would yet grow

to reach. Now, thirty more years

added on, I have reached much

I did not expect, in a direction

unexpected. I am growing downward,

smaller, one among the grasses.

Wendell Berry from Entries

These dudes knew. They had a base camp, I know it. Now, think of someone you know, famous, or in your circle of friends. You can pick out the basecamp people, can you not? There’s something. A lowness, a humility, a longer attention span maybe. All characteristics I long for.

Jesus often left the crowds for the “lonely places” yet he was never alone. The department of the interior was high on the priority list. If Jesus, why not me?

2 Bedroom Pet Friendly Cabin between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with Hot Tub

Above All, or Else. I need some help.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

Proverbs 4:23 New International Version

Anybody ever pin you with an “or else”?  What a strange little word, else.  It can either mean a vague way to refer to an additional person, place, or thing, or be used as a threat.  The above verse can imply both meanings if one meditates on it a while.

This blog’s purpose is not to pick apart Bible verses and lay out a sermon, so do not look for a lacquered pew and start doodling on a visitor’s card.  A preacher I am not.  Rather, I am looking for some help.

Recently I used my “smart” phone to access the comment portion of a post on my blog.  It was a thought provoking (I thought anyway) piece and I wanted to acknowledge someone’s visit and comment on their thought therein.  In the lower part of the screen an advertisement popped up about a subject not even remotely related to the post.  It was a fart app ad.  Yes, I wrote fart.  Yes, I see you grin.  (I am pushing 51 and I still find noises coming out of our cabooses odd.  I often laugh right along like I was still in Mrs. Lambert’s boring English class in seventh grade when Karen simultaneously sneezed and passed gas.  “Passed gas.”  Who came up with that phrase anyhow?  Here is a phrase you never hear at the dinner table…”Please pass the gas.”) What was I writing about?  Oh, when I saw the advertisement my heart sank.

Then last night my wife told me that when she accessed my blog with her phone, explicit advertisements popped up.  This is not why I write or share my thoughts.  It seems to be happening only when accessed from a phone.  Please accept my apologies for this uninvited visual attack if this has happened to you.  For years and years I have heard my wife tell the kids when they spent the night at a friend’s, or were invited to a party, “guard your heart.”

I am looking into this situation.  I will be checking my phone security levels and such and the security level of this blog.  Will you do me a favor and please let me know if this has happened to you.  Bloggers, any clue?  Any suggestions as to why this might be happening?  I certainly don’t want to contribute to the myriad of “else’s” that we contend with everyday in this overstuffed information culture.  Our hearts are worth guarding so we can offer pure wellspring life to those around us.

I am sorry.