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MNYC, my priscilla & my sam, my charlotte

13 Nov
thinking too much

thinking too much

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meditation 13: Caravaggio, the ‘peace’ of open hands, fruit of the Spirit

2 Sep

ImageImage

Of the number of Caravaggio’s in Rome, three specific works illustrate peace, and all at a moment of a death. First, above, the Calling of St. Paul. Paul’s eyes are closed; his hands open and empty. His old self, his fleshly self, is dying. His face is peaceful; no grimace. He is open to God’s call; the Lord’s being; not his old, flesh:Saul.

Second,is the image of the deposition of Christ. Here, Jesus’ hands are open, a receiver of death, and a death on the cross. He is empty, Yet -and yet- soon all will fill with the hope of a bodily Resurrection.

Finally, there is the three piece work, It is a three piece altar work, not pictured here,’The Calling of St. Matthew’. Imagine. In the first and last panels of the Call, Matthew, in death, his left hand now opens. Initially, in the first panel, it was closed on his coins from his tax collecting. There, he was a young man, head down, not looking at Jesus’ call, Jesus’ hand beckoning him. Openly, now in peace, a receiver of eternal life. He is receiving. What? ‘(A better resurrection.’ Eternal community with the Father, Son and Spirit. ( Hebrews11:35) With open hands, Matthew, in death, has peace. Peace, a fruit of Spirit.

light in August

21 Aug

light in August

ideas, light in August
Light more light, who said that,
What is it about light in August? Isn’t there great light in August already? Why is Faulkner praying in his title for August light?
Well, by blog this week is ‘light in August’

Time for a light, fluffy entry. Summer light. Let’s start with a tease and a promise,
essential writing: Fairy tales coming true, they are happening to you… (essential writing is ‘coming’ to you very soon in this blog…By its end)

August for me is a time to do lightness. I, this ‘doing’ may entail many things, or nothing. But it always includes reflecting, lightly, about myself. So here are my reflective do (they all are really one big thought, thoughts linking together) of August 2013, in no certain order
What are my reflective dos?
Ideas, adventures, people and images that have ‘grabbed ‘me
do
Tweets: Charlie: everyday I ask Priscilla to marry me’ my friend Martin sharing his response in the presence of his wife Deborah: ‘every other day I ask my wife to divorce me’ the responses and questions are the same: both Martin and I are telling our ‘espouses’ how much we love them, in our own ways
Photos: me kissing priscilla
Images: Keats writing ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ in the Heath @ Hampstead
Gabriel Garcia Marquez: INTERVIEWER
How do things start? One of the recurring images in The Autumn of the Patriarch is the cows in the palace. Was this one of the original images?
GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ
I’ve got a photography book that I’m going to show you. I’ve said on various occasions that in the genesis of all my books there’s always an image. The first image I had of The Autumn of the Patriarch was a very old man in a very luxurious palace into which cows come and eat the curtains. But that image didn’t concretize until I saw the photograph. In Rome I went into a bookshop where I started looking at photography books, which I like to collect. I saw this photograph, and it was just perfect. I just saw that was how it was going to be. Since I’m not a big intellectual, I can find my antecedents in everyday things, in life, and not in the great masterpieces.

Food & Service: the idea of Crepes,
Fresh Sushi; Minca’s Ramen; & Gauchos in Hampstead’s staff

Words: David Mitchell on ‘medieval topos’ : ‘As the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano was spewing plumes of ash into European airspace in April, shuttering airports and stranding millions, the British novelist David Mitchell, a tall, gracious, high-spirited man of 41, was marching me across a long, flat tidal beach near his home in Ireland’s West Cork. Along the way, he told me a story about the perils of humility. “I had a short and rather valuable lesson,” Mitchell said after a morning on the beach, “one of these warnings that the universe gives you on a platter sometimes. I’d done an event in New Zealand at a very large auditorium, hundreds of people, and I was kind of pleased with it; it had gone well. A woman came up to me afterwards, a medievalist at the university there, and she said, ‘Have you heard of the humility topos?’ I said no. She explained that, in the medieval era, humility was seen as a great virtue. The humility topos was used for these abbots — you can think of a good one in Eco’s ‘Name of the Rose’ — who were actually monsters of arrogance, but were always banging on about how humble they were — ‘Just like our lord Jesus Christ. We serve him in humility’ — when they were the least humble people you can find in history. Some even became pope. And the woman looked at me and said, ‘Watch out for the humility topos.’ And then sort of disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Children’s book: ‘Fables’ by Arnold Lobel-story ‘the Lobster and the Crab’

Restaurants: the Fatty Crab on the Upper West Side (now closed)
Travels: China (haven’t been yet); Venice; any one place that’s Michael and Sarah tell me to go (but only one!)
Friends: can’t choose anyone, miss them all madly even when they are with me in my heart’s mind
Pets: Our Dalmatian, Pepper & walking with her in a white snow blinding New York blizzard and ‘seeing’ why fire-fighters have Dalmatians as their dogs
Encouragements: Tim and Kathy’s birthday card; Alex’s smile & laugh; writing
Unfinished writing work: my movie screenplay ‘Weight Losers.’ Young hip very overweight guy has a lovely girlfriend who has lost a lot of weight and she wants the same for him. She brings ‘Charles’ (or Rick Bann on????) to an all female Weight Losers meeting and….

So now, your Fairy Tale…and you have a choice. Choose one Fairy tale to live in. Reflect on ‘why’ you choose this tale for yourself now, in this time and place. Write your tale of choice and the ‘why’ or reason for your choice in my comment box. I will respond to all ‘Tales’ by 2 September. (If you just want to reflect and not receive a comment, simply state no comment.)
Prompt: You are a character in a traditional Fairy tale. (For example: Snow White) The story narrative cannot change in its ending (Snow White marries the Prince and leaves the 7 Dwarfs) and you will live in that tale 999 years. State what tale you choose and why you choose that tale and that character. How to begin…How about….. Once upon a time, for 999 years…

meditation 7, kind & gentle fruit of the Spirit: “… is love, joy, peace, patience, kndness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

2 Jul

meditation: 7 His fruit, gentle kindness
I am not a kind or gentle person. I break things. The crafts I build are always ugly. Once I made a hand puppet for an education class and I was the only person whose work very one laughed at. (My best friend in the class called my puppet “Road kill.”) Years of rejection; a failed marriage; work among people in an underserved area of a global city has made me hard internally. I mask it by appearing friendly. I seem to be a happy extrovert, but I am a cynical introvert. Why? Being with people drains me. And that is the test for introverts and extroverts: if being with people gives you energy, then you are an extrovert; if you are drained, intro.
So my Lord gave me fruit, he gave me a spirit filled wife. She is kind, gentle. She listens to people; she smiles at children; Priscilla stops, stoops down and smells, sees flowers. She sees and feels. I decided to ask her to marry me when see gave me a piece of music, Frederick Delius “Florida Suite.” The “Daybreak” section of this work is me. Priscilla, in kindness, saw Charles the unfeeling, the insensitive. I still have the music. It’s nice to be seen.
There is one fruit of the Spirit with multiple vines from it. Kindness is one of these vines. Gentleness is another. For me they entwined together. I want to be kind. I want to be gentle. That’s why I choose Psalm 18: 35 “You stoop down to make me great.” as a banner for my blog. I want to be like Him; to stoop into life. I desire His Great Spirit in, with, for my life. Daybreak.
It’s ironic that this translation from the NIV is no longer used. The Hebrew word for the phrase “stoop down” is a hard translate. It can literally mean “lowliness” in Young’s Literal translation; or “gentleness” in the NAS or “your care” in the New Living. The NIV presently has it as “your help.” I prefer the image of stooping. I need stooping; Help is not enough; I can’t assist with anything. Care is inadequate; I need gentle kindness. I need a greater stooping into-into-my insides, seeing and not being disgusted, and gently reforming me into fruit. A Kind, gentle fruit.
His first miracle was to make water into wine; water into fruit. He didn’t want to at the Wedding feast of Cana, but asked by his mother, Jesus stooped into this couple’s celebration and created fruit
Stoop gently, kindly, lovingly Lord. Stoop.

Aside

Meditation 5: fruits of the spirit, patience In 1996

25 Jun

Meditation 5: fruits of the spirit, patience

In 1996 my wife, Priscilla had great plans to return to her birthplace, Galway. Her grandfather had survived the sinking of the Titanic and married a Galway girl in America. Neither of them ever wanted to return but their children did. Plans were made for this momentous visit to Ireland along with three of her ten siblings and her Mum.

It was not to be for Priscilla. Her Lupus kicked in with a vengeance and getting out of bed was journey enough in the ’90s.

So this year we planned to go. Excited, Priscilla spoke of walking to her home on St. John’s Terrace; knocking on neighbours’ doors; being invited in; having tea, viewing old photographs.

With over 50 years having passed since she was there, every word she spoke sunk my heart further. How could a neighbour be still alive? And recognise her? I didn’t see it. All I saw was disappointment for my lovely wife of thirty years. I said nothing and prepared to rescue her sorrows.

At the second door Priscilla knocked on, a lady called Sally answered. Sally said nothing. She cried. Priscilla cried. Not a word was spoken.

I stood with my mouth open, unable to move. Thank God our daughter Sarah was with us and had the presence of mind to take the picture you see here.

Sally invited us in for tea. She’d recognised Priscilla immediately because she’s the image of her best friend, Marian. Priscilla’s mum. Sally took out some old photos to show us and gave us some to take away. Some were of Eugene Daly: Priscilla’s grandfather who survived the Titanic.

I can have faith in big things: Jesus died for me; He loves me; Priscilla and my children love me. But the desires of others? Their visions and beliefs?

Priscilla knew by the Spirit someone would be there. In the Spirit Sally waited for 17 years for someone to return from the Joyce family. They saw and believed.

In Luke 2 Anna and Simeon wait with the Spirit for a glimpse of the Messiah before they passed from this world. The Spirit was with, on and within them.

Patiently, they waited and waited. They held true to the vision they had been given; then moved by the Spirit, they saw. As prophets they spoke and speak to us now of what He gave them to see. Priscilla held true to a vision; Sally held to an image; I-I had nothing in my hand.

Praise him that now I have a touch from him: a patient touch of a God who sees and gives vision glimpses even to those to impatient to stop & see. Even to me.

Waiting, it is enough to see as the Spirit sees.

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