Writing from Experience

An old man got up from his decrepit chair – watching the Yankee game – to venture upstairs to the computer, his back sore from years of hard physical labor.  He stopped at the back door because it was a fine bright day outside and he knew it would be good just to look upon the scene of his back yard.  There it was, the grass getting tall and slightly swaying, the birdbath in the middle (dry, no birds), the garage with green paint peeling, all bathed in sunlight filtered by a cloud-covered sky and he smiled, twice.  He remembered past times, laying on a lawn chair in that yard feeling the warmth of the sun, sometimes sweating, it was so hot.  Not today though, he felt too old and worn-out.  He shut the door and continued on the way, feeling a twinge of self-pity, but quickly dismissed that, remembering all his brothers and sisters in the human family who had it far worse than he.  This was being alone, like so many others in this world.

 

Suffering, pain, depression from feeling lonely, this is his lot and he accepts it.  So what?  Add a life to the list of all those gone.

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The World in which We Live

The world in which we live is big and yet small/

We know our place or do we?

We walk and rest and then we’re walking [yet] again/

Are we not lost?

Really, where are we from and [to] where are we going?

Who knows?

a smile and a frown, a laugh and a cry/

be calm, understand, stay, don’t die

(to be cont’d)

 

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1 Reason Not to Look Back

Jesus of Nazareth said, “one who puts hand to plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God” (Lk 9.62).  A person working for God looks ahead to the goal of the mission, not behind which is further away from the goal.

Satchel Paige of Mobile (Ala.) said, “don’t look back, something might be gaining on you.”  Do not be concerned with what is behind.  Something may be chasing you, but it shouldn’t distract you.  M.B. Roberts has a nice, concise biographical essay on Paige at ESPN.com.

The lesson we’re being taught here is – look forward.  The future is an important place for us to go.

 

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A General Comment

The world and everything in it are just fine.  There is good and evil, order and chaos and it’s all expected, though the details are entertaining.  God is good, the source of it all and the faintest notion, down here below, of what God is, tells of ignorance and sin.  This too is a good thing.  Know thyself.

Image result for sunrise

Image result for sunset

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“Maybe Someday” or ‘How Long, Lord?’

I want to go on record about the special feeling I get when I hear Stevie Wonder sing his ballad, ‘My Cherie Amour,’ especially the phrase – “maybe someday” (…”you’ll see my face among the crowd” or “I’ll share your little distant cloud”), which appears twice in the third stanza.  It’s like my heart melts or cracks and I’m suffused with lonely joy.  (Of course there are tears.)  Link to YouTube video:  https://youtu.be/b0Gu-CyE-NQ .

Music, an art form, involves aesthetics.  Hearing something beautiful instantiates emotion and the quickness of the experience makes clear the causal relation between music and the affect, but in between is soul and this is the realm of psychology and philosophy, in other words, endless theorizing. I’ve no doubt though, of the apprehension of beauty when I hear Stevie sing “maybe someday.”

All have wishes.  Wish and dream are very powerful processes of the human psyche.  When Little Orphan Annie sings ‘Tomorrow,’ she’s expressing a wish for an end to sorrow.  An end, an ending – “all’s well that ends well” (play by William Shakespeare).  The end or purpose of wish and dream is goodness, that is, some good, which means that things are not so good for the dreamer in the here and now.  We may work and wait for a change for the better, but how long is this to go on?

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
    How long will you hide your face from me? (Ps 13.1  )

His disciples said to him, “When will the kingdom come?”

“It will not come by watching for it. It will not be said, ‘Look, here!’ or ‘Look, there!’ Rather, the Father’s kingdom is spread out upon the earth, and people don’t see it.” (GTh 113)

Too bad and oh so sad.  Some things can’t be forced.  One can hope and wish and pray and dream!

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Funeral Dirge: Form and Function

A dirge is a hymn, lament or poem about the death of someone.  A funeral dirge would be such within an actual funeral.  Etymology of the word starts with Latin verb dirigere (English, ponder-direct, guide) used in Catholic church ‘Office of the Dead,’ liturgy for remembering and praying for someone no longer alive on Earth.

Here is link to Chopin’s ‘Funeral March’ – https://youtu.be/kyFyAqLtHq8.  This musical composition would typically accompany the gathering of mourners at graveside of the deceased.  It would foster a somber mood, with prayer, which would serve to implore the Almighty Creator to guide the soul of the dead to heaven and guide those remaining.

We are all on the path to death.

Eat, drink, be merry, for tomorrow we die.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return” (Gen 3.19). [Ashes to ashes, dust to dust..]

If I should die (54)

Emily Dickinson, 18301886

If I should die,
And you should live,
And time should gurgle on,
And morn should beam,
And noon should burn,
As it has usual done;
If birds should build as early,
And bees as bustling go,—
One might depart at option
From enterprise below!
’T is sweet to know that stocks will stand
When we with daisies lie,
That commerce will continue,
And trades as briskly fly.
It makes the parting tranquil
And keeps the soul serene,
That gentlemen so sprightly
Conduct the pleasing scene!

After Great Pain, A Formal Feeling Comes

After great pain, a formal feeling comes –
The Nerves sit ceremonious, like Tombs –
And stiff Heart questions was it He, that bore,
And Yesterday, or Centuries before?

The Feet, mechanical, go round –
Of Ground, or Air, or Ought –
A Wooden way
Regardless grown,
A Quartz contentment, like a stone –

This is the Hour of Lead –
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing persons, recollect the Snow –
First –  Chill – then Stupor – then the letting go –

Emily Dickinson

Contemplate the dirge, pray for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Emily Dickinson – Rebel

Much Madness is divinest Sense

Much Madness is divinest Sense –
To a discerning Eye –
Much Sense – the starkest Madness –
’Tis the Majority
In this, as all, prevail –
Assent – and you are sane –
Demur – you’re straightway dangerous –
And handled with a Chain –
This poem by Dickinson (1830-1886) shows her rebel self.  She didn’t hold with ‘going along with the crowd’ or social convention, generally, just for the sake of comfortability.  In fact, she was a recluse.  I wish I could be a recluse, but I have to go out into the world every day to work.  Work gives me the independence I need so I’m not a burden on others.
In 1847, in her last year of schooling, Dickinson was the only student who didn’t stand up when the class was asked ‘who wants to be Christians.’  This willful act also shows her rebel self.  Here is the first stanza of one of her poems which well-shows her thought about God.
 Nature and God — I neither knew
Yet Both so well knew me
They startled, like Executors
Of My identity.
She was taken aback by the majesty of creation.
I like the poetry of Emily Dickinson and through it, I like her, though she’s dead.  There is a fine biographical essay on her at the poetry foundation.

 

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