Echoes From the Campfire

There is always trouble.  One learns to live with it.  A man grows through enduring.”
–Louis L’Amour (The Californios)

“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.”
–Romans 5:4 (NLT)
I trust that this first week of 2018 has been a good and profitable one for you.  That you have made good headway in positive resolutions and are not squandering the time that the Lord has given you.
I want to pass on this piece I found in the “Foreward” of a book by Zane Grey.  This is from, “To The Last Man.”

“In this materialistic age, this hard, practical, swift, greedy age of realism, it seems there is no place for writers of romance, no place for romance itself.  For many years all the events leading up to the great war [World War I] were realistic, and the war itself was horribly realistic, and the aftermath is likewise.  Romance is only another name for idealism; and I contend that life without ideals is not worth living.  Never in the history of the world were ideals needed so terribly as now.  Walter Scott wrote romance; so did Victor Hugo; and likewise Kipling, Hawthorne, Stevenson.  It was Stevenson, particularly, who wielded a bludgeon against the realists.  People live for the dream in their hearts.  And I have yet to know anyone who has not some secret dream, some hope, however dim, some storied wall to look at in the dusk, some painted window leading to the soul.  How strange indeed to find that the realists have ideals and dreams!  To read them one would think their lives held nothing significant.  But they love, they hope, they dream, they sacrifice, they struggle on with that dream in their hearts just the same as others.  We all are dreamers, if not in the heavy-lidded wasting of time, then in the meaning of life that makes us work on.
“It was Wordsworth who wrote, ‘The world is too much with us’; and if I could give the secret of my ambition as a novelist in a few words it would be contained in that quotation.  My inspiration to write has always come from nature.  Character and action are subordinated to setting.  In all that I have done I have tried to make people see how the world is too much with them.  Getting and spending they lay waste their powers, with never a breath of the free and wonderful life of the open!”

Now, friend, there is a lot said in those two paragraphs.  They need to be read with right perspective.  In the recent decades and more so with the postmodern trend now upon us we need to search our souls.  The humanist, whatever his form, says that man has no soul and will simply become a clod when he dies.  But there is more than that.  There is that blessed hope that we should all keep in mind.  It is a “dream” but one that has the promise of reality within it.
We are too connected with this world.  We are directed by the media for a large part.  Entertainers think they should be our conscience.  But as Christians we walk as pilgrims, not settlers.  I am currently trying my hand at writing.  I am not a philosopher with grand thoughts and words, but I want to write something that can just be enjoyed, yet hold simple, timeless truths.  I have been asked if I am a romantic or a realist.  In pondering that I would have to say that I am a romantic realist.  Life is real, that cannot be denied, but we dare not take the romance out of life.  That is not just the “love” aspect for romance is all the dreams, hopes, visions, emotions, and aspirations that man has.
Dreams, a wonderful or frightful word.  We have dreams and we have nightmares, but he wasn’t speaking about either of those.  Neither was he speaking of that wishful thought that comes to your mind while at work, what we call daydreams.  A true dream from God gets down deep in your soul.  It is something that you cannot shake, someone that compels you forward.  It is really more of a calling.  It is not flimsy, here today and gone tomorrow thought.  Also, a true “dream” can lead you into difficult struggles, look at Joseph, and Daniel’s vision made him sick.
And a word of caution since I mentioned romance and love.  Most of the so-called romantic novels of today are not about love.  Love is not erotic, but love is deep.  In fact, to truly love one must be a realist and add the dream to it.

P.S.  By the way, if you haven’t purchased my books, please give them a try.  This poor, ol’ retired man needs a few pennies to put beans on the table.