Re-Share: The Evocation Series- ‘This is Your Sword’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

This is a re-share of an old post. We thought it would be a fitting—albeit one week late—tribute to fathers, and any parents who take the time to engage and teach their young, and who understand in action if not etymology, that the root of the word discipline is disciple.


The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘This is Your Sword’

Song Link

I can still feel the warmth—curled up in the nook of her leg on that old flower-upholstered couch. So too can I recall the sound of his voice as he read page after page—taking me out into that road and off toward all the adventure and wonder to follow.

I heard of elves and men, dragons and orcs. Tales of courage and valor in the face of great odds, and of the importance of doing what is right, no matter how insignificant you may feel in the grand scheme of things.

We are all important, and we can all serve our role in making the world a better place.

…this is your Sword.

They would work together in the telling, and I would sit silent in rapture—broken only on occasion to ask some question or demand some clarification.

I learned about fellowships and faith, family and friends—about hope in the face of doubt, and love in spite of loss. I remember sitting wide-eyed as mercy and kindness prevailed over cruelty and despair.

I remember deciding that they truly could.

…this is your Shield.

‘The times they are dark, darkness covers the earth
But this world’s filled with the beauty of God’s work
Hold tight to your promise, stay righteous, stay strong
For the days of miracles will come along…’

…I still remember.

-Brad OH Inc.

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The Evocation Series- ‘Straight Time’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘Straight Time’

Song Link

There is a precarious balance we all must face. It’s a struggle, whether conscious or not, to maintain the equilibrium between our compulsion for virtue and our desire for self-betterment. Certainly, these are not antithetical concepts, but the world can surely make them feel so at times.

In the darkness before dinner comes,
Sometimes I can feel the itch.

We all make sacrifices. With each effort to stay on whatever path seems best, we watch other opportunities slip away. Old friends, cherished memories, lost loves—all fade into the distant past, like fog giving way to morning light, we are left to what we have chosen, and must leave the rest behind.

But you get used to anything,
Sooner or later it becomes your life.

It works, for the most part. We go along our path, and we seldom pause to question it. We stick with what works, and slowly we close the door on all those other potentials—dreams on the wind; childish, silly things.

Seems you can’t get any more than half free,
I step out onto the front porch, and suck the cold air deep inside of me.

Then, there are those other times. Suddenly, all those forgotten potentials seem like just yesterday. The knot of conviction loosens, and those old fantasies feel so close to your grasp, it would take but the smallest slip to reach out and take hold. And at what cost, exactly?

If we’re lucky, we will never know.

Got a cold mind to go tripping cross that thin line,
I’m sick of doin’ straight time.

Push it down baby, bury it deep. A mind in turmoil is quick to question its course, to debate and dissect all the small decisions which have set us upon our present heading. But a placid mind, reassured by peace and comforted by contentment, may move past this unease, and with sufficient will and wisdom, will let those fleeting moments pass.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘The Ghost of Tom Joad’

 Song Link

 I started this blog in 2012, over five years ago now. At the time, I had several reasons for doing so—the undeniable trendiness of blogs in 2012 notwithstanding. First, I wanted to hone and perfect my craft, and weekly writing was good for that. Second, I wanted to establish some online presence to support my nascent writing career. The third goal was a bit less humble than the others. I wanted to change the world.

Well, there can be no doubt about it, the world has changed indeed. Even as I and many other have done our best to warn the masses of old fears and new disasters alike, the course of history has turned about once more, and again we flirt with the tired mistakes of the past.

The highway is alive tonight,
But nobody’s kiddin’ nobody about where it goes.’

‘Fight the good fight’, that’s what they tell you. It falls upon every man and woman to live as the model they want for the world; to call out injustice from the dark corners it hides and to uproot hatred wherever it takes seed.

A better world has been the outstanding promise we have all waited for. From the cradle to the grave, we’ve heard the stories of good prevailing, and the reward of the righteous. No good actions are ever done for hope of reward to be sure, and yet as time draws on and the hold of decency wavers on a razor’s edge, hope itself begins to diminish.

‘Waitin’ for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last,
In a cardboard box ‘neath the underpass.
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land,
You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand.’

It’s easy to begin wondering what it’s all for. One might close their eyes for just a moment, and find the world has grown so dim that to open them again makes little difference. It’s easy to get lost, to doubt, and to fear.

This must never stand. For the final death-knell of decency will surely be when the last decent person loses their will to fight. When common concessions like ‘good-enough’ or ‘the lesser of two evils’ become acceptable mantras for those capable of dreaming bigger and better.

‘Now Tom said, “Mom, wherever there’s a cop beatin’ a guy,
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries.
Where there’s a fight ‘gainst the blood and hatred in the air,
Look for me Mom I’ll be there.
Wherever there’s somebody fightin’ for a place to stand,
Or decent job or a helpin’ hand.
Wherever somebody’s strugglin’ to be free,
Look in their eyes Mom you’ll see me.”’

We are what we are. Further, we are when we are, and where we are. The why of it is irrelevant—we must only serve as we are able.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘This is Your Sword’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green DesklampThe following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and how to get involved yourself!

Bruce Springsteen- ‘This is Your Sword’

Song Link

I can still feel the warmth—curled up in the nook of her leg on that old flower-upholstered couch. So too can I recall the sound of his voice as he read page after page—taking me out into that road and off toward all the adventure and wonder to follow.

I heard of elves and men, dragons and orcs. Tales of courage and valor in the face of great odds, and of the importance of doing what is right, no matter how insignificant you may feel in the grand scheme of things.

We are all important, and we can all serve our role in making the world a better place.

…this is your Sword.

They would work together in the telling, and I would sit silent in rapture—broken only on occasion to ask some question or demand some clarification.

I learned about fellowships and faith, family and friends—about hope in the face of doubt, and love in spite of loss. I remember sitting wide-eyed as mercy and kindness prevailed over cruelty and despair.

I remember deciding that they truly could.

…this is your Shield.

‘The times they are dark, darkness covers the earth
But this world’s filled with the beauty of God’s work
Hold tight to your promise, stay righteous, stay strong
For the days of miracles will come along…’

…I still remember.

-Brad OH Inc.

The Insidious Threat of Legacy

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Green Desklamp

Every once in a while, something great happens. No, we’re not referring to the recently passed two year anniversary of the opening of Brad OH Inc., although we do appreciate the thought. Rather, we’re talking about the game changers—people and ideas which come along on rare occasions and totally revolutionize the way we look at the world.

This can occur in any of myriad realms of accomplishment or character. Political leaders, such as Mahatma Ghandi, religious figures such as Christ or Allah, even examples of high celebrity character—such as that of ‘The Ironman’ Lou Gehrig or ‘The Boss’ Bruce Springsteen.

These bastions of reason and decency act as shining examples for the rest of us, and their exceptional accomplishments often enter the public consciousness in a caricaturized and—arguably—dangerous form. I’m talking of course about the concept of legacy.

When certain ideas or people reach a status significant for their effects to become lionized amongst the general public, a legacy is created. A legacy refers to an ongoing tradition; something handed down from the past, one generation to the next.

For the purposes of this article, religion is an effective tool to discuss the dangers of legacy. Avoiding arguments of merit or believability for the time being, it’s held that the teachings of Christ were passed down, and formed a legacy known as Christianity. This happened, according to religious accounts, because the divine nature of Christ allowed for him to give us teachings of truth deep enough to forever change the way people interacted and treated each other. Most of these teachings, taken in the proper context, certainly do provide valuable insights into human understanding and the ideals of human behaviour.

Unfortunately, when a person, or more importantly an idea, enters the realm of legacy, the source of the related actions or beliefs takes on a dramatic and irreparable change. This involves the motivation behind the belief.

Whether we look to religion, historical role-models, or political idealists, the initial movement is always based on current circumstances, and motivated by—arguably—noble and relevant values. However once a thing becomes legacy, the motivation for following it is divorced of the initial values, and is tied rather to a sense of hero-worship. This turns general ideas into absolute truths—often with long lists of rules and potentially terrible consequences. This is seen in the formation of religions, governments, rabid fanbases, etc., and is a dangerous precedent.

When we attribute any reason for acting to another person or set of ideals, the action becomes dogmatic, and the virtue behind it bleeds out and is lost. We become little more than automatons acting on limited and inflexible scripts.

Continuing with our example, the teachings of Christ centred primarily on peace, love, and the forgiveness of transgressions. These were noble values in their day, and could certainly stand for a resurgence in modern times. However, many followers of these teachings have lionized the source while failing entirely to grasp the values. This inevitably has led to infighting, grandiose claims, and the spread of a religion of peace at the edge of a blade. The ‘idea of the idea’ is worshipped, while the true ideals behind it are lost entirely.

Legacy is baggage—a crutch for people too concerned with their own aggrandizement to ever endeavour to discover truths of their own. It’s an insincere approach from the start, centred on the notion that having a great leader’s face on a t-shirt is sufficient to convey upon the wearer the same moral high-ground of their inspiration.

But it hasn’t really gotten us anywhere useful, has it. Everywhere we turn, we can hear one buffoon or another calling out for a return to this set of values, or this person’s teachings. Aside from very rare exceptions however, these revolutionaries are inescapably mired in their own hypocrisy, and the extent of their conviction begins and ends with reference to its source.

It’s a faulty mindset, and one that needs to change. Clinging to the successes of the past without understanding their genesis is a hopeless approach to fostering lasting change.

The great tragedy of humanity is that we continually give too much credit to the past, and too little to ourselves. If we want the world to be a better place, we need to stop seeking perfect solutions, and start living up to our ideals rather than just hoping for the right set of rules to follow. Too often we look to the example of others while turning a blind eye to the actions of ourselves. This is the fundamental danger of legacy, and this is why, with the dawning of this New Year, we here at Brad OH Inc. encourage everyone to worry a little less about who they want to be associated with, and much more about who they want to be.

-Brad OH Inc.