The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







Ce n'est qu'un au revoir

by JC Bowman

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, And never brought to mind? It is somewhat amusing that people can sing a song like "Auld Lang Syne" so frequently yet only a handful actually know the words, and even those really have no idea what it means. The words auld lang syne may literally be translated as "old long since," "long ago," or "days gone by." If you are reading this article welcome to the year 2007, I am pleased you have joined us.

In many ways 2006 was a bittersweet year. I was able to move back home to Cleveland, and I enjoy seeing so many friends and family. But this is a place where some of the memories, the good and the bad, are not always welcome. But there is an opportunity to make new memories and even that prospect is frightening. When people we have loved are no longer here to offer advice it also further hurts. Sociologists identify the four most traumatic events of the human experience as: 1) divorce; 2) losing a job; 3) moving; and 4) ultimately, confronting the death of a loved one. I could probably add a few more traumatic events from personal experience, as could others. What is the common thread that connects these situations? Each of them includes being pushed from the known into the unknown, a sudden and often unexpected move from a position of security into chaos. So I would pray that in 2007 we would all be encouraged, and that there would be people out there who are encouragers. We may just be someone's spiritual life vest.

I know that even when I become disillusioned, and make no mistake every single person struggles with worry, doubt, confusion, depression, anger or condemnation we seek special insight into the reason for our private, lifelong struggles and, more importantly, God's plan for changing them. I have discovered that when life is the most difficult and hopes and dreams are shattered, when promises are unfulfilled and our loss is overwhelming, LIFE is not over. As long as there is life there is hope. All of us have suffered the excruciating pain of loneliness. Time and again (without being fully cognizant of how, when or why), somehow we make it through the most difficult times. We are amazed when we overcome negative thoughts and experience freedom and peace. In the most difficult of times we realize we are not really alone, and God really is with us, making it possible for life to take hold again, even in that valley of the shadow of death.

We all face the pain created by the ultimate eviction of the soul: death. In his

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator. Is a freelance public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN. Prior to this, he was Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University.  He served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.



book "Beauty" Irish philosopher and poet John O'Donohue, reminds us death is a "forced eviction from the world and from the body, the only home we know." He added: "Birth is appearance; death is disappearance or the reverse for all we know." However, he reminds us of the power of beauty to lift our hearts, to heal us and give us hope, to energize and empower us, especially when we are faced with hardship or suffering. O'Donohue declares unequivocally "God is present in beauty." Often we human beings are in places we do not yearn to be, forced to do things we do not want to do. When this is the case, we are in danger of our hearts becoming hardened, and our souls numbed.

Reading scripture I came across a verse in Isaiah (65:17) which reads: "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind."

The beginning of a new year allows us to focus or refocus our attention to the fulfillment of God's purpose for all creation. It is as if we are taken back to the beginning of things again, as if there is in the end a return to the start. Maybe there is a return to the start, which is a concept that is somewhat difficult to grasp, but it is clear the future is now and it is a new beginning. God is not confined by time, our own mortality limits us, but eternity is forever. I also revisited Genesis, and I am reminded that chapter one is not necessarily about the order of creation, but more about the creation of order, the very opposite of chaos. We need less chaos in our lives, therefore we need more order.

We also need to visit beauty, and to attract beauty into our lives. We must love and be loved in ways that confront and overcome the forces of death. There are many people who are afraid to let people love them. Imagine that. We need to join with God into transforming this world into a new heaven and new earth. There is embedded deep within our soul, our being, a longing for what is pure and beautiful. If and when we pause to listen we recognize that beauty is necessary

and essential, not insignificant or optional. We must recognize the beauty in our lives and learn to appreciate it.

We were all probably freshly reminded of the Christmas message in recent days. One of the most far-reaching and radical claims of the Gospel is that God took human form and Jesus Christ became one of us. No other religion experiences the divine in and through incarnation, human embodiment, the way Christianity does. Jesus came into the world the way each one of us arrived, through birth. He lived a very human life, then suffered and died. Because of the resurrection we know that there is life after death in this world. Outside the resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no other hope for mankind. Christians are born survivors because Jesus Christ endured and triumphed over the cross, so even death is not to be feared. Jesus died to set the captives free. Yet we naturally miss our loved ones who have gone on before us. And they should be remembered.

In the last few days, my Uncle John Henry Green passed away. My nickname is JC, but my given name is John Charles Bowman, my mother and those closest to me simply call me Jay. The name John was in honor of my uncle, my middle name Charles in honor of his brother and my grandfather Rev. Charles Green. I am privileged to carry those two names.

My grandfather was the most moral man I ever knew. In my life, there was no greater patriot than my Uncle John. He served his country in three wars and was stationed at the Pentagon and numerous embassies throughout the world. The lives of my uncle and grandfather capture the great dichotomy of my own life: faith and country, or more precisely the battle between the things that concern God and the things that concern man. Those two items are not naturally exclusive. Uncle John was buried at the Chattanooga National Cemetery, not far from his other brother Max Green, a war hero from World War II. At the end of It's a Wonderful Life, the 1946 Frank Capra classic film that nearly everyone on earth has watched, Harry Bailey proposes a toast "to my big brother, George--the richest man in town." My Grandfather and uncle understood that they were truly rich, well beyond the wealth of this world.

I have never done this before but I am going to make a prayer request to those who read this column to remember my family in prayer, we have some unspoken requests. I am not embarrassed to tell you I need and covet your prayers. I know they make a difference. And there's a hand my trusty friend! And give us a hand o' thine! And we'll take a right good-will draught, for auld lang syne. Happy New Year Cleveland, welcome 2007.

--J. C. Bowman is a public policy analyst who resides in Cleveland, TN..
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