Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Best laid plans

Well, the theory was that I would use my paintings to express what I was learning from Teilhard de Chardin: I would start with an underlying unity, build in some chaos, and then somehow find a way to establish a new kind of unity out of that chaos.

But perhaps only God can do that?  Because once the chaos got created (and I have to say, that was a lot of fun) it started to get a little out of hand.  And now I'm kind of stuck: I got to the point where I appreciated all the different individual elements that were contributing to the chaos -- which I think is a good thing -- but I can't for the life of me figure out what needs to be done to tie it all back together.

The theory was that I would apply thin films of color over the existing elements -- you can see I've already done a little of that -- but there are competing impulses in me.  Some part of me wants to add some quiet blues to tone it down, but... it's a bit like those wildfire paintings I did earlier: another part of me revels in the fiery tones of yellow, red and orange, and is reluctant to let them go. Which, I'm sure, says something about how we humans like to hold onto our grudges and our anger...

The news clipping, BTW, is an article from the newspaper I used to publish, back in the early 90's; it's about a joint committee of Muslims and Christians in New York condemning the violence between these two religions.  It seemed somehow appropriate, that that aspect of our chaos hasn't changed much.

At any rate, I'm thinking I'll need to set this one aside for a bit (though I can see, now that I have it on the computer, that I want to tone down the left edge a bit so it matches the right edge; a little thin layer of grayish blue should take care of that...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Like a flower

Let me be a flower:
Open, every petal straining toward/reflecting
The Light...

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Struggles with duality

What I see when I look at you
may not be so much you, but more
a reflection of myself.
Today the single mirror that you are
is faithfully reflecting back my struggles with duality...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

What will you leave behind?

You'll find a way, I promise -- but know this: 
when you break through to the other side
you'll need a different mode of transportation
if you want to keep moving forward.
What will you take up?
And what will you need to leave behind?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Prayer is all we have

Most of us -- if we're lucky -- have friends or family members whose political and/or religious perspectives differ widely from our own.  The family members we deal with because they're family, but the friends, well -- they must have redeeming qualities or they wouldn't still be our friends.  Because it's sometimes very difficult to stay in relationship with them when they espouse ideas that are difficult for us to comprehend.

My Brother-From-Another-Planet is an old friend (and most BFAPs are, because paths so often diverge over the years, and as time goes on we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded folks) whom I first met when he was 19 and I was 31.  He was a little different, even then, but we shared a love for the Episcopal Church and a deep faith, and he was one of the first people I was ever able to safely get angry with. (As an only child, I learned early on that expressing anger ALWAYS meant getting punished, so I learned to keep quiet. Not a particularly useful skill in life).

So I was very fond of him, charmed by his love of all things church, and a little bemused when he decided the Episcopal Church wasn't sacred enough and became a Catholic.  It made sense, actually -- he was Italian after all, and loved the rituals, the vestments, the rules, the hierarchy; it all felt right to him.

Fast forward 30 years, over which we had pretty much lost contact, and then we rediscovered one another on facebook.  He had finally married, though too late to have kids, a lovely woman whom he adored, and seemed happy and fulfilled; I was delighted to meet up with him.  And then I realized he'd become a staunch conservative, and for some reason, tangled up with Obamacare, abortion, and the Catholic Church, he found President Obama to be an abhorrent individual.

In the beginning I made the mistake of getting into an argument with him.  Pages and pages of facebook monolog later we agreed to disagree.  I mostly kept my mouth shut after that, but there was one time he posted an inflammatory link condemning Obama for arriving 10 minutes late to a memorial service somewhere in Europe.  I tried a gentle chiding, just posted a comment that had his name with a period after it, sort of a honey-listen-to-yourself-you're-being-irrational kind of parental thing (I am still 12 years older than he is, after all).

But he reacted with a huge defensiveness so I engaged for a wee bit and then just left the argument. So now I'm in this space where I love the guy like a son -- still -- but I am deeply saddened by how gullible he is to those who get him riled up over stupid stuff.  And then, last night, he posted another one of those violently anti-Obama diatribes, only this one came with a horrible photograph of a burned baby; something about all these babies being burned and Obama doing nothing.

I confess I couldn't read the article: I am too confident of Obama's love for humanity to believe it's not a gross over-simplification of some decision he made that's been taken out of context. (How gullible am I, you might ask.) But it took me most of the night to get that image out of my head.  And I feel so helpless.

Part of me wants to research the problem, find out the truth of the matter, and convince him he's wrong.

Part of me wants to lambaste him for fouling the internet by forwarding on this crap.

Part of me wants to unfriend him, not because I don't love him anymore, but because this stuff is just too hard to see.

Part of me wonders what is the best course of action here -- kind of a what-would-Jesus-do thing. Because face it -- unless I do the research I can't really KNOW that what he posted is a horrible lie, which means anything I say is just me trying to get him to see that I'm right and he's wrong.

And part of me, faced with this awful photograph, which I'm still trying to erase from my brain, is trying to be grateful.  Because whether the story of Obama's failure is true or not, the fact is there are, somewhere, children being horribly burned, and I need both to know that and pray for the horrible state of the world, and I need to know that someone somewhere is deliberately poisoning the minds of some subset of the American people using classical advertising techniques; I need to pray for that, too.

It's important to have friends who see the world differently; we need all of us to give ourselves a complete picture of the world and what it's capable of.  But it sure isn't easy to be reminded of how helpless we really are.  I am so grateful for my faith: at times like this, prayer is all I have.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Moving on

What once was home may no longer work for you:
we outgrow places; why not outgrow ideas?
The world's a bigger place than we once knew:
has the breadth of your love expanded to match?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Find time to play

What happens, when you stop trying to control?
What happens, when you just -- let go?
Find some time today to play:
You might surprise yourself!