My Crazy Slow Surrender to Life’s Beauty

1-DSC_0038-001Life is worn and tearing, and this makes me profanely angry.

I hear a baby cry in the distance, just a simple need for succor and in an instant, I’m filled with Memory—Grief for What’s Lost. For when it was my breast, feeding the cry, when mine were young, I did not understand The Wonder.  A baby cries in the distance for its mother’s breast, and then quiets down, a need met.

For me, I gave, and gave to three babies, nursing for what seemed like years. Those moments, now a memory, I could not take them in, not fully, I was not wholly there. It’s Long Gone, that feeding.  I can never do again.

Sitting here, a decade later, there’s a grieving inside me, even here in this public place with a stranger’s baby crying, my heart tears apart, breaks with the memories—it is worn and tearing, rending.

I sit in a library waiting for my teen child, and appreciate the people getting old slowly before my eyes.

I think hard. I want to take in this Moment of Solitude, receive the slowing of time.

Be here, In This Moment.  Breathe it in.  I sense that I am becoming a better person, sitting amongst these Saints, the tomes and verses—Wisdom is everywhere to be found if you are listening.

I wonder at it all.

Why do we appreciate what is Magnificent and Beautiful, only when it’s Too Late? What is happening now that I need to Take In, Understand and Catch before it is too late? Before I am one of the aging, Watching Time Ticking, like them.

Life, is worn. I hear it tearing apart—Or is it my heart breaking.  Can I hear callouses accumulating on my soul?

Life is worn and tearing, I see the Zigzag of Age on my skin. I’m Breathing In my Life,

Its Beauty

Passing Quickly,

Knowing Suddenly

I’m here. I’m—still—here.

Grateful for a second chance, to Know Things Differently, Again.

Be Here, Be Here. Breathe in, I whisper to myself, to the Aging, to the Baby, to the Mother, to them all.

All isn’t all lost yet.

I Read.

I am the lily, beautiful. You are the lily
Life is the lily, consider it.
Full
Of the One
Who Made Us All.

I am worn. I am tearing.

But I am going to stop worrying, if I impossibly can.

Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. — Luke 12:2 7

 

 

The Illusion of Enlightenment & the Boob Tube

tv

 

My father used to call our television the Boob Tube.  I don’t know where that name comes from, but I always thought he meant if we watched too much we’d turn into “boobs” ie.stupid.

Now that I think about it Boob Tube a horrible name in a house full of women.

He never really said outright that the TV was bad, but we were only allowed to watch four hours a week growing up—yes, that was four hours in a week. Of course we started life in Papua New Guinea with no television at all.  Since I grew up not really understanding what a television was, my first encounter which happened on furlough, was with a small box that showed us the show Sesame Street.

In the early 70s, before remotes, Dad made us one.

It connected to the television with a wire, so technically it was not a remote.  It was basically just a switch to turn off the sound during the commercials.  After all of that sincere effort he was really miffed when my little sister Holly could sing the tunes to the commercials even without sound!  We laughed along with my parents, but really didn’t like it when he turned off the commercials.

I never intended to own a television when I grew up.

Don’t you think it is just what you do?  In the years that Tom and I have been together our lives have been a progression of buying bigger and bigger televisions which then forces us to move rooms around, over and over again, in a desire to create a TV room and the other “peaceful room where we will read, or talk, or listen to music, or make music.”

We’ve called it the Reading Room and the Music Room, but eventually that room, the one without the television, has become a dusty shrine to our lofty ideals and to the illusion of our enlightenment.

We actually spend all of our waking hours in the TV room, other than those spent cooking and sleeping.

Because of this, many times I get pulled into television shows without any willful consideration of their merit.  My youngest likes to watch the show Wipeout (quite possibly the most inane television show I think I have ever seen and yet oddly compelling to my son.)  What comes right after it is a show called Expedition Impossible that immediately drew me in.  I’ve watched it now for three weeks, too lazy to pick up the remote and turn it off.  But this week on Thursday night I have to admit I found myself actually watching the clock for it to start and rushing through washing the dinner dishes, because I’m hooked!

I’m drawn to people being pushed beyond what they believe is their physical, mental and emotional ability.

In this show, a dozen teams of three must work together on mental and physical challenges, with the final team making a bunch of money.    The reason I mention this is that although I am drawn to these sort of things and I am the person who would embrace something like that, in everyday life I’m a wus, a scaredy-cat, afraid of my shadow; these days I feel like a weak and ineffectual person.

Cliff jumping in S. Korea
Image by bzo via Flickr

One of the teams on the show has a team member who is blind.  Yes, blind.  I watched him jump from cliff this week, forty feet down into a river.  He had to trust that his friend would find him, after he comes up.  It is no wonder they called the episode Leap of Faith.   I was blown away!

And beyond what that says about his bravery and trust, I was impressed just by the jump.  I’ve jumped off cliffs like that on a boat trip to Dale Hollow, in Kentucky, and it’s friggin scary.  Some of the men were jumping off these cliffs.  Now, I know intellectually that I am capable of doing anything I want; I just have to overcome the fear. The only reason I did the jump was that there were no other women jumping and I’d been egging on, for fun, this friend who was referring constantly to the “girls” at the office—challenging his calling grown women older than him, girls. And so “for women” I found myself at the edge of a cliff looking down.  I took a leap and jumped.  And then I did again, just to prove to myself that it wasn’t a fluke.  I did have the courage.  It was horrible and frightening and amazing!

If I am capable of doing that why am I so afraid today?

As I sat and thought about what it must take for Erik Weihenmayer, the man who is blind, to do this trek in Morocco, I am blown away by his courage and inner will and utterly ashamed by my apathy and fear of failure, and unwillingness to take risks.  And so I have been thinking all week about why I am so afraid.  And why is he so brave?  He could have let his disability keep him from many things (including this show!) and yet he hasn’t.  I ask you to consider this question:

If you knew you could not fail what would you do?

And, back to the original idea that the television is a bad influence on us, I would assert that it is the single worst “idol” in our culture that I wish I had the courage to give up.

Albert Einstein and Naming My Blog

I like Albert Einstein.  Of course he was brilliant and quirky, with that crazy hair! But did you know he was a person of faith? I love that he thought for himself (well duh, with relativity and all.)  But he had a real contempt for authority.  Question everything he said. I love that!!

But I especially liked learning that he was slow to develop verbally.  Our youngest was as well. And Einstein thought that his verbal challenges allowed him “… to observe with wonder the everyday phenomena that others took for granted.”

Jacob’s language challenge has been something I have known about and worked to get help for, since he was eighteen months old (I will write about that some day).  I am inspired and filled with hope for my son, learned to speak slowly and who by everyone’s estimation is “delayed” academically.  It all stems from some things doctors have recently identified.  Perhaps Jacob will also learn to see the world differently as he makes his way in it.

“There is no limit to life, when your imagination and mind are vivid and developing.”

This gives me hope.

As a child Einstein “was so fervent about his beliefs that on his own he composed  hymns, which he sang to himself as he walked home from school.”  Lovely!  We like to compose music in our household!  (My kids have a band Squirrel Ticks.  Have you heard them?  I should post a few songs here.)

At age 12, just as he would have readied for his Bar Mitzvah, Einstein suddenly gave up Judaism which he had practiced on his own up to then as his parents rejected the Jewish traditions. As he later put it,

“The religious inclination lies in the dim consciousness that dwells in humans that all nature, including the humans in it, is in no way an accidental game, but a work of lawfulness, that there is a fundamental cause of all existence.”

Einstein did retain from his childhood religious experiences a profound faith in, and reverence for the harmony and beauty of the mind of God expressed in the creation of the universe. In his 50s, Einstein rethought his faith, as he did many times over his lifetime, based on what he called the “spirit manifest in the laws of the universe” and a sincere belief in a “God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists.”

Do you believe in God he was asked?

“I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man.”

Do you accept the historical existence of Jesus?

“Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word.  No myth is filled with such life.”

I’m intrigued with how he thought, how he “worked” at his faith, how he was impressed by the lavishness of the Creator and of the person of Jesus Christ.

And I love this: “… the most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious…” I am in so much agreement!  And it is Einstein’s words that were the inspiration for the name of this blog and that echo my own heart as to the mystery of faith, belief or disbelief, science and much of life.

If you’re interested in subscribing to this blog, thank you!  I can’t say how often I will write.  And my musings are quite random and tend to depend greatly on the family schedule.  Thank you for reading and please, leave a comment or opinion!!!  I’d love to hear from you.

Quotations from a TIME.com article on Albert Einstein.  Read the complete article here.