I am, of course, still psyched about the upcoming trip to New York City, especially since I really love autumn in New York. However, it is quite autumnal right here. I took this photo of my backyard a few minutes ago:
Here is a shot from farther back, so you can see my 60-year-old maple tree that the developers will be cutting down (along with everything else you see in these photos!):
This has been a pretty good day. I didn’t have to do a darn thing for anyone else today, so I cleaned house a little, did laundry, took a walk. Last night, I completed my Pastoral Care/Hospital Visitation Training. Next, I will be volunteering with Chaplains either in hospitals or hospices, until I get enough experience and can work on my own as a minister in nursing homes. (I can’t be a Chaplain myself until I’ve had 17 trillion tons of schooling, including Graduate school, and then a bunch more credit hours in visitation training, of which I’ve just accumulated 16. It will be indescribably hard to accumulate those additional hours and get all that higher & expensive education while writing a TV series and musicals for Off-Broadway theaters in Manhattan, so we shall probably not be attaining that label of Chaplain anytime soon…) But it felt good to be finished with the course and to get yet another certificate, suitable for framing!
On a more somber note, the first death row prisoner that I had been able to give pastoral encouragement to, was executed a few weeks ago, in Texas. Giving any type of pastoral care to death row prisoners is very difficult. I am against the death penalty and always have been. For much of my life as an American, the death penalty was not legal. But now, it is completely different in this country. Executions here are now a fact of “life”. Oddly, I can deal with that. What’s been hardest, is knowing that as a minister, as a representative of Christ on Earth, forgiveness is mandated for everyone. It’s my actual job to assure people that they are forgiven –no matter what, even if they don’t accept Christ, or believe in him (although a whole lot of death row inmates do.) I won’t go into a whole lot of detail with this topic, but I’m guessing you’re well aware of some of the atrocities people commit to get themselves a cell on Death Row. All of that stuff has to be forgiven. It’s one thing to know it intellectually. It is another thing to speak with men who have murdered women, men, defenseless babies, etc., etc., and assure each of them that he is forgiven — and not just be mouthing the words, either. (But that’s what prayer is for — guidance through that mire between forgiving and condoning. I pray an awful lot.) This is a photo of Willie Trottie. He wrote a letter and filled out a questionnaire for the Gawker website this past spring. He was executed a few weeks ago.
There is another inmate on Death Row in Texas that I speak with in my capacity as a minister. This past summer, I was looking up information about him online, for some reason that I no longer recall, and I discovered that a woman in Amsterdam is auctioning off some of his personal letters on a web site devoted to auctioning the personal effects of murderers on Death Row. She’s doing it to make money off people who like to collect that stuff — I guess because something in their souls is turning to garbage. (You know, buying & selling the personal effects of murderers doesn’t just trivialize the murderer, but also the people they killed. But guess what? We gotta forgive them to! All the wackies on the Internet, gang — forgiven!!)
Okay, on that delightful note, I think I’m going to make some popcorn, kick back and watch a movie. Maybe an old-fashioned Halloween movie, the kind that were creepy but not necessarily scary! At all. I just want to have a little fun before this glorious Tuesday is over.
Thanks for visiting, gang. I hope you’re having a great day, wherever you are!
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me….Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.“ (Matthew 25:35-40)