“Life was sunshine and storm–youth and age.” –Zane Grey (The Desert of Wheat)
“When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” –Proverbs 10:25 (NIV)
The middle granddaughter, Kylee, asked me why I wanted to be a cowboy. The wife joined in that I should ponder that. First, it reminded me of a song, “Mommas don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys,” but Ed Bruce was only writing about the “drifter-type.” If it was because of horses and cattle then that would not be right. I’ve never been around cattle, and I haven’t ridden a horse in at least 35 years. If it’s being simple and worn-down at the heel, well, those categories might fit.
We all grew up watching the TV shows that were primarily westerns, and the music at my house was country/western. Back then western was still part of the country scene. We heard Gene Autry and Roy Rogers singing and watched them in the movies. Also, Dad’s favorite singers were Eddy Arnold and Ernest Tubb with some Roy Acuff thrown in. None of that rock-stuff at our place. We played cowboys, and we had pistols and rifles and shot at each other. (Which is another point, there weren’t any terrorist shootings, at least not in Colorado and everyone had toy guns.) I read Zane Grey, Luke Short, Ernest Haycox, and Owen Wister’s “The Virginian,” and later grabbed Louis L’Amour.
Perhaps if I wasn’t so involved in baseball I might have wanted to rodeo. There was a time that it appealed to me. Grandpa would take me to the rodeo in town, and Dad would talk about Casey Tibbs and Jim Shoulders, but I was hooked on baseball. Perhaps the Code of the West is based on what was taught around our house and is surely based on the Scripture. Maybe, just maybe, I like the looks of a cowboy hat on the top of this ol’ fence post.
“I was born to be a cowboy and I will be till I die.” –R.W. Hampton
Speaking of the Code of the West, that is to an extent what Peter is telling us in his epistles. Remember we started with faith and to that added courage and to that we added knowledge. If we just had those three traits in our life we could do something, but then Peter says add to that “self-control” or “self-mastery.”
This is the ability to take a grip of oneself.
I like the way that is put. Sometimes, when kids acts up (or adults) I would just like to reach out and grab them, to get their attention and hold them. So think about doing that to myself is part of self-control, getting a grip on my actions and attitudes. Shame that in life most folk just can’t seem to get a grip on themselves and go about life sort of slip-shod. Then they blames booze, others, or the situation on their circumstances.
Aristotle said that there are Four Stages in Life (this is from Barclay) or Four Types of People. a) those whose passion has been entirely subjugated to reason (perfect temperance); b) those whose reason is entirely subjugated to passion (unbridled lust); c) those whose reason fights but passion prevails (incontinence); and d) those whose reason fights against passion and prevails (self-mastery). This the type that Peter is writing about.
Poor indeed is the man who has no passion, but the key is what happens with the passion. The goal must be to make passion the servant, and never the master.
A person wrote back to me that they didn’t think they could read through that list of Christian Classics. That’s no problem. I haven’t been able to do so either, but as I wrote I have made it through about two-thirds. That was just a suggested reading list. I would say, take one, begin there, and read it. There are sure to be some theological differences but since you are mature folk and you surely have yours solid, then you can push those aside and find the deeper truths found in their writing. An good example of this was when I read, “The Dark Night of the Soul,” by John of the Cross. If you’ve ever experienced difficulties in life take hold of this one. It will take some effort. Here is another one that needs pondering by Pascal, “Pensees.” If you want something a little easier and one that teaches the necessity of trust in the providence of God to care for you, take on Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe.”
Some more from the farmer:
“Don’t judge folks by their relatives.”
“Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.”
“Live a good, honorable life… Then when you get older and think back, you’ll enjoy it a second time.”