Archive for June, 2014

Necessary Nakedness

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2014 by michaelcogdill

“Generosity can buy happiness” Founder of a micro-lending movement

Don’t believe it?

Try it, and it’ll prove itself all over you, like a garment of your favorite color, exquisitely tailored to your favorite body part. (Yes, yes, that one, too) Only this runs far out above the body. Money, sure, is the stuff of the generous. But the spirit kind doesn’t wear Ben Franklin’s picture. It bears yours, and it buys many more miracles. A flirtation with the simplest kindness, a sense of peace in the eyes – these buy for us the ageless style of being fully alive. Mattering. But even more than these, a truly radical fashioning of love changes the world. Radical love sets people to smiling, my despairing, when they turn from our graves.

And the following quote bears this out. It comes from a man who received a transformational brand of love from the micro lending movement.
“I am practicing on being better than I was.” Anonymous prisoner in a class to unlearn the practice of violence.

It is not for us to ask the why or the timing of things, but to participate in the what. Real faith is daring to do what we’re wired in the brain not to dig doing – change ourselves, our circumstances, into greater beings. Like changing torn clothes, shedding garments that are tattered, our old fears and complacency and that sense of “I don’t wanna” have to go. These garments harbor our warmth, our scent, and even when they turn foul, we don’t want to strip ourselves of them. These garments give a certain twisted comforts, like bunching underwear, and we wear them even as they begin to feel like pants full of nails and Steve Martin’s cruel shoes. We too often don’t want to dare go naked a moment, letting Divinity robe us in what we’re truly called to as our spirit style. I’m a boy of the 70’s. But, I don’t wear my Wedgewood-blue leisure suit with the psycho shirt and the red socks anymore. (Ladies, I know what you’re thinking, and I smile all over it). I grew out of those, and the Partridge Family hair. The times grew me into a different time. A time of daring to be generous with the full harvest. A time to practice on being better than I was. If I am truly, madly, daring to give of myself, radically, to Divine generosity, instead of my tattered status quo, I matter more.

I am better than I was. Thank God Almighty, I am better than that leisure suit and the boy in it. By the graceful garment of Divine love, I’ll be better still tomorrow. My soul will be a tad more in fashion with the true needs I find.

“If you have forgiven yourself for being imperfect and falling, you can do it for just about everyone else.”
Father Richard Rohr said this in his fine book, Falling Upward. The book is all about the necessity of the bruising falls we take to bounce us up into the finery we’re called, after all, to wear. He says this, too: “As the body cannot live without food, the soul cannot live without meaning.”

So, let us dare change into our deepest meaning. In doing this, we finally grow into the garments of our inner child — that romping, playful, extravagantly generous little boy or girl we keep stifled under the old clothes.

So, here, now, a champagne toast — raise that spiritual Kool-Aid — to standing naked a moment. Naked, in waiting. See what God wants us to wear for the rest of our lives. Put on that garment, then check the pockets. I’ll promise, in there you’ll find abundance of everything needful, enough for you, and the needful along your way.

A pocket full of generous daring buys our passage to life. It’ll take us a mighty long way! And for the trip, may I add, I’m diggin’ that outfit.

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Salute to a Senator, and His Wing Man, 70 Years Since D-Day

Posted in Uncategorized on June 5, 2014 by michaelcogdill

In honor of South Carolina Senator John Drummond, I share this. He told me this one day before we stepped into an event together. I tell it here, filling in the gaps left by his humility.

Flying missions that helped save the French countryside from Nazis ravaging, John Drummond became a young hero, and eventually a prisoner of war. One of his wing men was a 19 year old kid with a name as long as he was tall. No one wanted to pronounce it, so the unit just called him K-Kid. in the parlance of flight, it fit.

Airman Drummond, leading a formation in his P-47D Thunderbolt (with Raid Hot Mama painted on her nose), looked to his right and saw K-Kid’s plane humming sturdy and right where it belonged. He glanced away and glanced back in a matter of seconds. Where the plane had been there was only a spore of smoke, trailing downward. K-Kid was gone. Shot down. Drummond never saw him again.

A few years ago, Airman Drummond, then a lauded senator, a statesman known for building coalitions and other great things, returned to France, where he is celebrated as a conqueror to this day. Parties are thrown for such men. Before the grayed and lively sage came home, he wanted to take a walk. Wanted to step into the hallowed cemetery at Normandy. See if he could find the cross bearing the long name of the lost boy he knew as K-Kid.

It took a while, but the walk paid off, and well. Soon, Senator Drummond stood on his knees on K-Kid’s grave. Knelt in the quiet and grieved. He grieved his friend in ways years will never intrude upon. In a union of souls. A man above, a man below, not fully separated by the ground. They had a time of it, saving the world. In that grief, I believe time was set aside. Surfing an aged man’s tears, they were boys again.

Time is run amok on those World War II boys. Stealing them from us by many hundreds each day now. The time for final salutes is now.

Friday, June 6, 2014, the world turns eyes and ears to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. That cemetery will feel the feet of honored guests, who will look across the white markings of lost boys who served as men. Who sacrificed the remainder of their manhood so that we may be where we are, as we are, this minute.

But the guests of true honor walk that sanctuary ground in spirit. They haunt us beautifully. To us, in the sea whispers rising off the beach far below, I believe the ghosts of those boys thank us for living up to what they did. Their lives ended so that we may have one.

What we do with that life now, how we use it with honor, is freely up to us. Ours is a legacy, free for the making. Our freedom, of every kind, should ring in our daring fully to LIVE.

Thank you veterans. Thank you all, for what you did, what you were willing to do, and thank you for what you live with. Normandy went home with many of you. Normandy and many other then-awful places and times, you carry the bloody ground of these with you. May you know peace. Gratitude. May the love of many grateful nations hunt you down, find you, and salute you. Embrace you. Listening for what echoes in the hollows of your hearts.