Posts Tagged ‘beauty’

Life is Beautiful. Life is Hard.

Sunday, February 25th, 2018

We just know this, that life is beautiful and that life is hard.

The fruit of life, as it were, at times looks looks deeply appealing.  Other times, that fruit is a bitter pill.  Two fruits. One life.

I want to understand it.  I want to control it.  I want to pick. A want a life with all of one.  None of the other. Or at least if the other has to happen, let it happen quickly and then yield new, more blessed horizons.  A Super Bowl victory at the end of an injury plagued season. That is what I want, or at least what I am willing to agree to.

But that is not life.  Life somehow actually rests eternally on a “both”, on an “and.”

From the Holocaust diary of Etty Hilensaum, written in a Jewish ghetto awaiting deportation to Auschwitz…

I can sit for hours and know everything and bear everything and grow stronger in the bearing of it, and at the same time feel sure that life is beautiful and worth living and meaningful.  Despite everything.  

Beauty and the Poster Said “Coy”

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

I get it ….

Simplicity.

Awareness.

Beauty.

These take fearlessness. (Seth Godin)

It is hard to be plain.  Being direct … a challenge.  I heard a handicapped comedian, who between twitches and laughs, share profoundly that if social media was around when she was a teen she never would have found the strength to be a comedian.  Heartbreaking and true.  Say what we know to be true … simplicity, awareness, beauty … and a slicing will occur.    Despite the good, despite the health of the body entire, cutting hurts.

It takes then great courage to share our truth as God gives us to see it.  But that truth we know.  It may be the only thing we truly know.  Because it is God’s movement in us.

So the beautiful mother, Kim, spoke to resilience, 85 appointments a year, and “you just do it.”  The brave husband, Rick – quiet courage – spoke of his beloved wife, “She can never fail us and we will never leave her side.”  And the delight of Tryn, that even in the darkness of Alzheimer’s, deep inside, “They are still there.”

All them sharing simplicity, awareness, beauty and in so doing, sharing fearlessness of a sort I can watch but not who I am yet.  A silent and profound witness that God is there.

Kim’s daughter put it so well.  On her poster, held up at the end of church, her 12 year old brother’s name, Coy.  The caregiver she wanted to honor.   Coy cried.  A large truth was spoken with a poster using one word … in all its simplicity, beauty, and awareness. Amen.

Capturing a Bird In Flight

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Karl Barth wrote of the challenge of “capturing” the Christian experience.  Imagine drawing a bird in flight.  One has two choices.  Choice one is to “freeze” the bird’s motion and capture it as a still image. The other is to blurr the image to create the sense of movement.  The former is the danger of the conservative – believing that the only way to understand something is to freeze it as a set piece.  The latter is the danger of the liberal – believing the only way to understand something is in motion, nothing set, nothing clearly delineated.

Much of the Christian experience is in the letting go of this dualistic approach and simply observing the bird in flight as it is as.  There are times where the frozen motion is instructive.  There are times when the blurred image likewise is useful.  But the reality of the bird in flight is the bird in flight.

In a discussion yesterday with a dear friend, we talked of that search for clear understanding, for the ability to somehow hold it all.  That does not seem to be in the cards, regardless of our best efforts.  Restated, we fall easily into believing that we can definitively and finally capture a bird in flight on canvas – be that the ‘canvas’ of worship, music, sacrament etc….  Maybe the call is for us to simply experience the bird in flight, time and time again in the non-manufactured ways it will show itself.   Christian New Church theology is filled with many canvases as well as many areas where the author, Emanuel Swedenborg, simply reaches the limit of human understanding, using language about beauty that defies description – a bird in flight.

Maybe this is what Thomas Merton was addressing when he wrote …

Truth rises from the silence of being to the quiet, tremendous presence of the Word.  Then, sinking again into silence, the truth of words bears us down into the silence of God.  Or rather God rises out of the sea like a treasure in the waves, and when language recedes his brightness remains on the shore of our own being.