Andrea’s Dad, Morris Alpine Shirts, wrote a poem titled, “A Soldier,” when he was away from home for World War II. Andrea has spent the last few years putting together all of the information, letters, and photos her Dad had collected during his life into large binders. When she showed me this poem, it made sense to turn this poem into a song. So, I did on the 23rd of July 2016. The last verse says “Because ‘Jim is Home’ He’s been gone for a while, And because of his efforts, We can live, love, and learn, In peace and happiness, For now and evermore.” The implication is the poem is about a friend named Jim. However, the other 4 verses and choruses are all about him: “A soldier though far away in some distant land, Harbors in his mind memories of home, The squeak of the front gate, The touch of mother’s gentle hand, The trickle of the brook, The hills he used to roam; Remember the time he came from school, A black eye he couldn’t explain? Yes, he’d heard of the golden rule, But when his toes were stepped on, It’s meaning he didn’t retain; He never did anything great nor harm a soul, Just a plain ordinary lad, With a heart made of gold, With shoulders and stride just like those of his Dad.” The poem reminds me of some of the things I have written, which are implied to be about others, and which are really about me. As I have learned more about Morris Shirts, I have become more and more impressed with him. A large part of this being impressed is the way his 4 boys and Andrea reverence and respect him. I certainly did not generate this kind of response from my children. Yet. The good news is I have lived long enough to see a lot of intelligent people, with and without spiritual roots, recognize addiction and other sins, enter recovery programs and find how much they are loved, especially by Jesus Christ, repent and receive the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, and remain faithful to their testimony the remainder of their lives. This is a much healthier approach than continuing an addiction or other sin, or believing you are so bad you are going to purgatory, and there is no hope of escaping this fate. As I wrote on the 26th of August 2018 Grandkidlets #32 – Wounded:
“In Scripture, those who oppose God’s rule, not by nature but by sin, are called His enemies. They can do no damage to Him, but only to themselves; their enmity is not a power to harm, but merely a velleity to oppose Him. In any case, God is immutable and completely invulnerable. Hence, the malice by which His so-called enemies oppose God is not a menace to Him, but merely bad for themselves - an evil because what is good in their nature is wounded. It is not their nature, but the wound in their nature, that is opposed to God - as evil is opposed to good.” City of God, St. Augustine, An Image Book, 1958, page 247, completed in 426 A.D. I have been slowly reading St. Augustine’s book for several months, and came across this passage this week. It is hard for me to comprehend the depth of thinking and the genius of this man. I certainly do not think through such metaphysical concepts and state them so succinctly as he did about 1600 years ago. I did not even know what “velleity” means (the weakest act of willfully choosing, a mere wish). I hope each of you will read the classics and teach yourselves to prayerfully think things through. Love, Grandpa Nelson
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