Music and Art and Family

Various ramblings heard during the Easter weekend:

While sitting around the dinner table during Easter the conversation turned to mEaster 2015usic.  Kris was asked, “What kind of music do you like to listen to?”  “Oh, I like the rap music” he answered.  Then he turns to Kathy Golden, Eileen’s mom and says, “Sorry Gran. I will not dance the disco with you. You will have to find someone else.”  Cut to Kathy who is laughing so hard that she must wipe away the tears.

On Good Friday there was a multisensory art exhibit that coincided with the stations of the cross.  The art, music, poetry and readings combined to make an already emotional event extraordinary and stellar.

Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day by Shannon Almanzar

Entombed

Laid in a Tomb by Annie Cullen

Last Supper

The Last Supper by Pamela Stopfer

Mary

Mother and John by Anne Fantini

Finally, during Good Friday service this song was performed by two young women in our church.  Angelic.

Gratitude

It is a cold Sunday afternoon.  As I sit here the wind howls outside and drives the already single digit temperatures to below zero.  A perfect time to reflect on gratitude.

All too easily the sordid, the ridiculous, the ugly and the dark can carry us away and swallow us up; sometimes it swallows us whole and we can feel like our soul is leaking.  We lose sight of the beauty around us for the darker side of things sweeps us away like a flash flood, a veritable torrent, it seems.  Before you know it you wind up miles down stream and completely off the map.  I know, I’ve been there and it is not a fun place to be (more about that some other time).  It took me a few years to get back to a healthy, whole relationship with God and with others and it was a painful journey at times.  I’d like to think that I’m a better man for the journey but to be honest, I coast at times and slide down stream a bit.  But only for a bit.

It was suggested to me many years ago by people who possess more wisdom than I do, that I periodically make a gratitude list as a way to keep from slipping down stream and going over the falls.  The key is to give it some thought, some deep reflection.   I find that making the list serves me well on several key points: it keeps me positive; it reminds me that I have much to appreciate in life; it causes me to be mindful of the beauty in everyday things and the beauty in these “common” things are almost imperceptible unless I look for it.

Ugliness, hatred, evil, darkness and fear seem to scream loud and flash in neon lights but beauty … beauty is more subtle. It whispers. It is often shrouded in mist. You have to be open to, present in the moment, it in order to see it’s magnificence in all it’s glory.

So, here are my five things for which I am grateful on this day:

  • Francis Albert Sinatra – there is no one whose voice can turn a song, an arrangement, like The Voice.  No one!

    sinatra

    The Voice from an open source

  • Baseball – the greatest game ever invented; it is poetry and ballet on grass, teamwork and also individualism when batter faces pitcher. Today marks the opening of Spring training camp and soon enough there will be cries of “Play ball!”
baseball

From an open source

  • Language – as limiting as it is at times the ability to express ourselves, to try to be understood and to understand is priceless.
  • Music – it’s a variation on language but oh how it touches parts of our inner selves – parts that we thought were impenetrable – and suddenly we are connected with others who are touched in the same way.
music

From open sources

  • The cosmos – the magnificence and beauty of the universe … leaves me humble and in awe.

For a good read on the considered practice of mindfulness and appreciation of beauty (and the joy it brings) check out this little ditty: http://www.onbeing.org/blog/to-instruct-myself-over-and-over-in-joy/7296#comment-1628071

Take 5

Yesterday I did not write.  I consciously chose not to pen anything on the blog.

Instead I chose to use my fingers for other forms of exercise.  I played a little guitar.  Nothing really extravagant … just noodling around on the fret board trying to learn “Bookends” and “Move It On Over”.  No mash-up there; just some fun.  It was relaxing and enjoyable.  I later joined some people from church to practice the set for the gathering on Sunday morning.  Good times indeed.

487312_10200345305291936_325118768_n

Copyright Pamela Stopfer. Used with permission.

I turned pages in a book and exercised my imagination and fed my hunger for spiritual/scientific things.  I finished reading a marvelous book by one of my favorite public radio personalities – Krista Tippett.  She has a show called “On Being” where she interviews a variety of notables and not-so-notables on subjects involving spirit.  The book, Einstein’s God, is an abbreviated collection of some of those interviews with notable persons in various scientific fields.  Together they explore mathematics, biology, physics, medicine, etc. and how those fields touch on spirituality and God.  I found it quite interesting and would recommend it to anyone, particularly those who feel that science and spirituality are akin to oil and water.

Einstein's God

I make no claims to this image. All rights reserved in the author, publisher, etc.

For more stimulating discussions, articles and posts check out www.onbeing.org.

I wrapped up the day by meeting up with some of my church family in Lifegroup.  Had some really nice discussions about writing, some suggestions for my writing career and offers of help in that regard.  We talked about how we can get annoyed so easily in life for a host of reasons but most likely it is due to our being caught up in ourselves thinking the world revolves around us and our plans. We lose sight of the world around us including others who also occupy this planet and we tend to lose perspective on our “issues” and their insignificance in the grand scheme of the things.

We also chatted about Christianity, crabgrass and how the two are similar.  You should check out “Crabgrass & Oak Trees” by Jonathan Almanzar yourself to fully understand the connection.   Suffice it to say that the church needs to be more like crabgrass, spreading out everywhere and surviving in all types of environments including sidewalks!

Check out a video by David Foster Wallace that we watched here: http://youtu.be/0lu2e-q8nt

School’s Out

So … school was cancelled due to sleet and freezing rain.  What is a poor boy to do? What else but head to the library and check out some books.  Just a little light reading:

  • Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Einstein’s God by Krista Tippett
  • How We Die by Sherwin Nuland
  • If Ignorance Is Bliss Why Aren’t There More Happy People? by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson

Not only do I love to write but I LOVE to read.

I also heard this song on Saturday afternoon while listening to WNTI.  Seriously brought back a flood of memories from high school and college.  So, I found it on YouTube and a few others that reminded me of seeing The Clash on Broadway, NYC with my friend Suzanne.  Grand Master Flash opened for The Clash, hence the connection.

http://youtu.be/O4o8TeqKhgY

http://youtu.be/cELt9nCWY_0

http://youtu.be/tZQQGX24Teg

I make no claims to of ownership to these videos or songs. All rights reserved to the original artists.