Pretty Sure

I wasted my youth with indecision.  I think.

-Marlin Marx



My third grade teacher gave me the role of a bank robber in a play set in the old west.  I practiced my short line every day, even though, in my great eight year old wisdom, I didn’t agree with it.  In the play, after I took the money sack at cap pistol point, I was supposed to ask politely, “Do you have any pie?”  I decided a rough and tumble outlaw would ask gruffly, “Ya got any pie?” instead.  So without asking if I could, when the moment came, I did; much to the shock and dismay of practically everyone.  I looked back on that moment as a shining example of my keen perception and fierce independence for fifty-six years.

Finally, the other night when I was relating it to my son for the umteenth time, I stopped mid-sentence and froze.  A frown beat up and threw the smile off of my face as I actually had a grown-up thought.  What if that line was essential to convey the message of the entire play, just exactly as it was written?  I wasn’t a screenwriter at the time.  I wasn’t even an adult.  And yet I preferred my judgment over either, and was proud of it for over half a century; not having a clue as to how much damage I might have done.  O foolish youth.

-Marlin Marx





The straight lines on a map are theory, guesswork, assumptions and conjecture.  The hills, curves, potholes, and slippery conditions are reality.  The drive itself, and the purpose for it, is God.  The signs are his Word.

-Marlin Marx

Bucket List

I believe that earthly dreams can be too big sometimes.  They can cause us to chase after them instead of enjoying the blessings right in front of us.  They can make us unhappy when we realize they will never come true.   They can cost too much in terms of lost resources, time, peace and love.  Sometimes, dreams can be nightmares.

Conversely, the largest dream of all should never be given up on.  Never forgotten.  Never ignored.  It’s the dream of Heaven, and it will not disappoint us.  It is worth whatever it costs us.  It is worth what it cost Jesus.

-Marlin Marx

A Patch of Dirt

Should I deal out death, or receive the same: against my will, and to my shame?

Against God’s will, yet in his name?

With marching bands and upraised hands, we foster hatred for some land.

The mob demands a reprimand!


All to exalt a common patch of dirt?


It seems so very wrong, I say!  This is not a peaceful way!

What makes us any better than they?

But today a very old history book, offered me a brand new look, at our uniqueness…

and I shook.


There is nothing common about our patch of dirt.


We took the best that had ever been, love for God and freedom for men.

Wrote it down, and signed it, and then…had to defend it again and again.

In every hollow, dale and glen,

o’er land and sea, and where ever we’ve been…


Vile tyrants lie buried in their common patch of dirt.


I’ll deal out death or receive the same.  It is my will, there is no shame.

With God’s help, and in his name.

As dutiful soldiers with ready hands, we have to stand against evil plans.

Justice requires a reprimand!


It isn’t about the dirt.


Marlin Marx










Long gone are the Sunday mornings when my young voice encouraged other back pew dwellers to lift their souls a little higher.  When teenage girls smiled at me during my first grade class choir practice.  When I wooed my bride-to-be with my vocal prowess, mightily inspired by equal parts admiration and adoration for her.  Between birth defects given much time to develop, and a crippling disease, the songs in my heart have been stifled.  Literally smothered and choked off.

I do the best I can nowadays.  I still give the Lord all I have on Sundays, but all I have is so nothing compared to what I used to have.  Occasionally, I still write songs, like I have since 4th grade; but I myself cannot successfully sing them anymore.  Instead of sleeping, I binge-watch talent shows on YouTube all night.  I vicariously share the contestants great and shining moment when they become one with the audience.  My heart pounds.  I forget to breath.  I can hardly see after a while because of my tears of joy for the performers, and shamefully, tears of sorrow and self-pity for me.

Earlier tonight, I took a break, shut the PC down, swiveled my chair so I could reach my dust-covered acoustic Alvarez, and started to “entertain” myself.  My bride/wife was at work, the children are grown and gone, the window was shut to protect the neighbors, and the dogs and cats were sleeping on the other side of a closed door.  What could happen?

Actually, something marvelous happened!  My old friend, my only thing-I-could-do-half right, my voice…came back for one glorious, unforgettable hour!  Now I wonder/dare to hope if it will come back again.  But somehow, mercifully, I am okay if it doesn’t.

-Marlin Marx