heartache

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Heartache.

What an inadequate expression of pain. Generational heartache is heavy, and physical, a sagging weight on your chest. That is what my heart felt like yesterday. Holidays hurt and I am left trying to figure out why.

Yes, I miss my mom and sister, but more so I miss the traditions that my father relentlessly enforced. It is complicated. Growing up I felt controlled by his insistence that we all share all holiday meals together. Those traditions were important to him. I never asked him why just resisted being controlled. But he had no mercy, not for other plans or other people in our lives. Bring them along he always insisted. And now I long for them like an abused child longs for the love of their abusive parent.

On Easter we gathered and living in Texas we got new outfits for church, we ate lamb with mint sauce.

He made us gather.

And now, the lack of tradition creates a crater inside me. I am so averse to being controlling, that we don’t do it at all. I don’t want to insist and I don’t want the hurt of family choosing to be elsewhere. And to labor over a giant meal like my mother always did, only to have family eat and disperse as quickly as possible seems like too risky. Why do I protect my heart at all costs? Or perhaps I’m simply too lazy and I do not want to do the work.

And it is work. It was easy for my father to insist when he wasn’t the one spending all day or days in the kitchen.

I don’t want to become my father a dictator of tradition. I don’t want to become my mother a slave to tradition.

I am left with a hole so cavernous I can hear the wind blowing, whirling, and lashing. I was physically ill for days thinking about it all, so complicated, so twisted, and so hard to understand.

I am broken by my upbringing and unable for whatever reason to create our own traditions. It is too painful to be rejected and that is why I think my father just made us. As crazy as that sounds, perhaps I get it now.

I know I do not want to be that person. Fifty-four and both parents dead and I am still trying to figure myself out.

The Stations of the Cross

In a couple of week I will be a part of The Stations of the Cross exhibit in Madison Wisconsin.  It is a collaborative effort among 15 artists and musicians to create a week-long art exhibition as an experience of the 14 stations of the Passion of Christ in the final days of his human life.

This is something I wrote considering the Stations.

For the project seven visual artists have each taken two Stations of the Cross and have created something within their medium (paint, photography, glass mosaic, cloth, sculpture, etching).  Each was considering the suffering and resurrection of Jesus as they interpreted it visually.  Then musicians responded.  Each artist had the freedom to choose the “lens” or perspective through which they interpreted the journey of Christ.  Over a period of several months, they internalized and stewed on their stations to discern and recognize its gravity, complexity and significance.  Then they reacted in a concrete form.

It isn’t often as a visual artist, that I choose to  actively express a part of my faith through my photography.  This project was an exception to that. 

The Christian life is often described as a road walked with Jesus, ever cognizant of the suffering that surrounds us every day.  If we were able to walk with him through those days and hours, two thousand years ago, even the moments before his death, how might that change us?

Someone once said that much of the spiritual journey is being stripped of all that we tend to put our trust in. Life is found in losing it for Christ’s sake; life itself and that which God has prepared for each of us, if received fully, deeply, viscerally, into our dna, will teach us what it means to walk with Jesus today.

The object of the Stations historically is to help the faithful to make a spiritual pilgrimage of prayer, through meditating on the chief scenes of Christ’s sufferings and death.

We invite you to walk with us back to those days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday if you are local to Madison:

The Stations of the Cross exhibit will take place at the Common Wealth Gallery in the Madison Enterprise Center, 3rd floor, at 100 S. Baldwin St, Madison, WI (map).

The exhibit will be open during the following times.

  • Fri Mar 30, 2012
    7:00pm – 8:30pm exhibit opens
    8:30pm – 10:30pm reception, live music, meet artists & musicians
  • Sun Apr 1
    2:00pm – 5:00pm
  • Wed Apr 4
    3:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Good Friday Apr 6
    4:00pm – 10:00pm

The Bible says that there is no human pain or joy that Jesus has not taken on to himself when he lived and died two thousand years ago in Palestine.  From the Garden of Gethsemane to the Cross he died on.  Because of his sacrifice, we are able to see the world differently and experience the highs of love and joy, as well as the lows of suffering and sorrow.  This is in and through Jesus.

As Henri Nouwen said: “Jesus died and rose for all people with all their differences, so that all could be lifted up with him into the splendor of God.  There is immense pain in the wide world around us and there is immense pain in the small world within us.  But all pain belongs to Jesus.”

Walking these stations is an opportunity to pause, set aside the distractions of your life, in order to listen and remember Jesus of Nazareth.  What you suffer he suffered.  Experience the redemption and good news.

God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains;
it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

–C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Walk with us.  Walk with him.

 

Perfect Practice (A poem about Lent)

Practicing lent

sounds slick. My gift,

heart-full-of-pride. My rituals,

my restriction, my sacrifice.

Then I throw out my arms, open-handed.

Looking up,
giving up.
Let go, let up.

Incarnate,

the One who comes
have me. I let go,

practicing lent.

I Dare you.

Osama bin Laden is dead; New York celebrates a...
Image by Dan Nguyen @ New York City via Flickr

Why not love if you have the option between that and hate?  Why does hate come so easily?  Why judge? Or condemn?  Why is it that Christians so often are known for how they judge others?

Jesus said blessed are the peacemakers.

But we don’t bring peace.  We rejoice in someone’s suffering.  Bin Laden is dead!

We wish for more for us which means less for them, who ever they are.

We can only think of our own needs.  We groan about the price of gas and our grocery bill, when others have to take public transport and go to bed hungry.  Often living with fear and financial insecurity.  Have no home.  Have nothing.

Why can’t we love more tenderly?  I dare you.  I dare you to love today.  Be a peacemaker. Hold your tongue.

The world is waiting for us to love, in Jesus’ name.

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate.  In fact, violence merely increases hate….Returning violence for violence multiples violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?

Just love.

Why not?

I dare you.

Under Construction

I’m slightly impulsive sometimes.  Although I have been thinking about a new look around here @ logic and imagination and for months I have fiddled with it in my mind it was not until today had the balls to push the button and SWITCH!  I just did it and then I couldn’t switch it back even if I wanted to, so I hope you’ll forgive me while I figure out the ins and outs of this new look and format.   I can’t go back.  The old look is gone f o r e v e r.

I don’t have time to say more but look forward to change.  Already I love the white, more optimistic background.  Pictures pop.  But I will have to change the picture in the header to something of my own (of course!).

Gotta run.  But in the meantime you have to read this.

Sloth

During Lent, we will meditate together on the Seven Deadly Sins and use this list as an aid in confession as we prepare ourselves for Holy Week, Good Friday and the Easter announcement of resurrection.

Sloth is not restfulness. Sloth is escapism of the deadly sort. Sloth saps our time and emotions through a favorite sports team, a new set of shoes, or obsession over our appearance—while leaving scant energy for our marriage or kids or duties. Nothing is so clearly modern, so clearly western as is sloth. Despite our fast-moving, success-worshiping, ulcer-ridden society, we invest our energies and talents most often in what is trivial. Despite our frantic pace, our eyes are seldom focused on what is actually “good.”

At its core, sloth moves us away from everything that ultimately matters and directs us toward simple distractions, for sloth is not laziness. Sloth is indifference—indifference toward my soul, my neighbors, my world, or my God. Drug users, Netflix addicts, and excessive video gamers may be poisoned by sloth, but so are most workaholics. In fact, sloth is best expressed not by a sluggish attitude but in zeal over petty matters. Sloth, in fact, is a sorrow about goodness. It finds those things that we were made to enjoy and pursue to be useless and boring.

To those of us who struggle with sloth Jesus said, “Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for all things put right.”

(Excerpt from Seven: the Deadly Sins and the Beatitudes by Jeff Cook)