Post 370
To Our Lady, who plays chess perfectly

November 23 & 24

This is the sixth anniversary
Of something sweet
The beginning of a new world
That turned some lives
Upside down and right side up
All at the same time

Jesus, we trust in you.

This is the sixth anniversary
Of first secrets revealed
Of promises made
And companionship in the darkest hour

Two years filled to the brim
With the unexpected the undeserved and the extraordinary
Oh the thoughts of the dog!
The thoughts of the dog

Two years filled to the brim
With spiritual stuff you couldn’t imagine
Of words you didn’t make up
Like the thoughts of the dog

And then a third year
Steadier stronger
Budding and blooming
Victories successes and garlands of flowers

A third year
That was nevertheless
Understood best
As another year of waiting

Ah yes

And then a fourth year
A year of growing closer
A year of understanding
That the future depends upon circling back to the beginning
The garden the tree the fruit the temptation the choice
A plan so perfect so simple so complete so generous so sweet
That it could only be God’s

There has never been a drama like this
No writer like this
As for me
I did my part but I never knew my role
Consider me astounded

The ring is on my finger
Seven diamonds are mine
But the struggle is not over
The work continues
As does the wait

Ah yes

A fifth year
Consider us blessed
Though we are unseen by those
Who thought they knew us best
And seen as nobody by the rest
Consider us blessed

The past fades from view
Yet it is a treasure which cannot be taken
The future is astounding
Yet the path to honour is perplexing
The present is working and playing and waiting
Yet we are told it has meaning

Children are we
Younger than before
Yet wiser
Taught and tested
Set apart yet never alone
But still, a child will ask,
Are we there yet?

Ah yes

And then a sixth year
Containing the final laps on the track
And at last, victory
Those who gave everything
Received everything

Yet as stunning as it was and as stunning as it is
This is merely one jewel in the crown
Imagine the crown!

Moreover
This is merely one part of the race
Fathom the distance!

Ah, but you will not and cannot imagine
You have no inkling
Of either the suffering which was so deep
Relentless and perplexing
Or the promised victory which allows us to wait

We can wait
Long after the sun goes down
Long after the beaches are empty
Long after everyone is asleep in their beds

Lighthouse
Alone in the dark night
Beacon and friend yet friendless
The waves crash against the rocks
And the night is long

We will be here
The light shines from the window
Covered by neither bushel nor blinds
Yes, we are still awake
Your questions are questionable
You see for yourself
The oil in our lanterns blazes bright
As we wait

This is the sixth anniversary
Of looking at the sky and looking at the sun
And the stars and the clouds and the moon
And wondering when
It will all come true

Jesus, we trust in you
Jezu, ufam Tobie

 

 

Post 369

Men to Avoid:
Reflections on Addiction

I have always been on guard against any form of addiction. Even as a child, I hated the thought of it. I hated it for myself, and I hated it for the people I loved. I remember the time my father was sitting on the floor near the fireplace with his brother, whom he hadn’t seen for a very long time. My uncle offered my father a cigarette. How old was I? I think I was about 9. I immediately protested, “No, don’t! Don’t smoke!” I might as well have been invisible — the attitude was that it just wasn’t any of my business. It was distressing watching it happen because I knew where it would lead.

And that was the beginning of about twenty years of him smoking. And back then, smoking wasn’t restricted to the outdoors. People smoked everywhere: in their homes, in their offices, and in their cars.
So it was the air I breathed.

I have had a low view of cigarettes and smoking for as long as I can remember.

I remember the time my cousin Corinne came to visit me. She is two years older than me, almost to the day. She’s the only child of parents who smoked marijuana when it was a criminal offence. Maybe they felt that it would be hypocritical to restrict their daughter when she started smoking, or maybe they just didn’t care. In any case, Corinne was visiting my house for perhaps the first time.

While our parents were talking in the living room, Corinne and I were in my room sitting on my bed. She took out a cigarette and started smoking. She was about 14 maybe. I didn’t say anything, but of course I was watching her. I noticed that when she exhaled, it didn’t come out her nose, the way it did when my dad smoked. I wondered whether that meant that she wasn’t as committed or as addicted as my dad was. It seemed to me that she was doing it just to be cool.

Perhaps Corinne thought I was in awe of how adult-like she was, but those weren’t my thoughts.

In any case, my favourite visit with her was when we were both younger. Our family went to a place called Ralston in southern Alberta, which made Medicine Hat look like a bustling metropolis. Medicine Hat is where she’s from. I was about 8. She had more independence than I did, and she knew about buying things. For one thing, she was very knowledgeable about Dairy Queen sundaes. I don’t know if I had even had one before then. Maybe. I chose rum and raisin or something like that. I liked it, but then while I was eating it, she told me that it had liquor in it. So I lost my appetite for it and threw it out without finishing it. Corinne made fun of me, saying that I didn’t want it because of the rum. I was embarrassed and pretended that had nothing to do with it, but of course she was right.

Liquor was on the list of things I never wanted to get addicted to.

The rest of the visit had a lot of fun moments. I was sitting in the back seat with her, and when the car went around the corner, sending me sliding over to her, she said, “Aw, I didn’t know you cared,” as if I had just wanted to cuddle with her. It was so funny! I burst out laughing and couldn’t stop for a long time. It still makes me smile. That visit included sleeping in a blue tent in the back yard of my grandparents’ place. The thing that amazed me was that we had several bags of chips for snacking on. It started raining at some point and we scrambled back to the house.

She was the one who showed me how to wrap a towel around my head when my hair was wet. She had to show me two or three times because I couldn’t follow how to do it.

I don’t have many other memories of her. I remember how my grandfather pitted us against each other by making us compete with each other over spelling and geography. He had been a airplane navigator in WWII and used geography as a way to put me on the spot. Corinne and I had an unequal relationship with the grandparents for a couple of reasons, one of them being that, unlike her, I lived far away. The grandparents were somewhat intimidating to me, but she interacted with them freely and had a secure and comfortable relationship with them. My grandfather even called her Zowie sometimes. Her dream name was Zowie Skye.

As I’ve grown older, I have seen how grandparents often foster competitiveness between cousins. They watch their grandchildren from one child and compare them with their grandchildren from another child and note the differences. They provide ‘innocent updates’ which are precisely aimed at causing trouble: “Oh Jennie, your cousin Mickey is captain of the baseball team, did you know that?” “Oh Gracie, maybe you will be able to win a scholarship, just like your cousin Macie.” Such remarks have a dark underbelly.

Corinne ridiculed me for being afraid of liquor, and as she sat there smoking her cigarette in my room, I am sure she thought that I was a goody-two shoes and very unaware of the ways of the world. The thing is, I knew enough about the ways of the world to distrust those ways. Our lives followed different paths, and she was soon a mother and soon a grandmother.

As I grew older, I continued to shun anything that might entice me into an addiction. I even avoided coffee because it seemed that everybody was good at starting but nobody was good at stopping. Of course, caffeine is not considered mind-altering (though it sort of is), so it’s fine on balance, but I felt that I had the advantage over it if I just didn’t start in the first place.

Success is so often about what you don’t do, you see.

My abhorrence of addiction also affected my view of relationships. Addiction has the potential to destroy your life, so why would you marry someone who has an addiction? Is that not inviting disaster?

So this was a rule for me. I would not date someone who seemed to have a problem with liquor or drugs, no matter what other good qualities they had. Nothing — good looks, intelligence, humour, compatibility with me — could make up for that. It was simply a non-starter, the thing that removed them as a possibility definitively. If I man told me that he did drugs, he might as well tell me that he was already married.

And come to think of it, a man with an addiction is already married, isn’t he?

Whether it’s an addiction to drugs, drinking, or gambling, such a man is ready to ruin his life. A man ready to ruin his own life is probably going to have little regard for yours.

Now it did happen that one of the people I dated was a drinker. You can’t always tell. But then I did know it, and I saw that violence and drinking often go together. One time, he threw a telephone (not a cell phone) across the room. He was showing how angry he was. He wasn’t angry with me, but it made me feel scared. My first reaction was to psychologically hide and wait for the storm to pass, the way a child waits for her parents to stop fighting, but then I stopped myself and said, “Wait a minute, I feel scared. What on earth am I doing with someone who makes me feel scared?” I broke up with him very soon afterwards. I have no doubt that if I had continued with him, he would have become more violent.

The advice I would give to all women is to not become involved with any man who uses drugs or who has a problem with drinking or gambling. Make no exceptions. It is far easier to not get involved at the beginning than to break up once you have already fallen in love. Walk away while you still can. As I said, a man who is ready to ruin his own life will not have much regard for yours.

If I could go back and change the past, I would say to Corinne, “What is the point of smoking? You’re better than this. We are students, so let’s focus on studying right now. And look, your boyfriend is not good enough for you. It’s far better to be lonely than be with someone like that.”

And in my version of the past, she would say, “Aw, I didn’t know you cared,” and I would laugh, and then I would say, “Well, now you know.”

And in my version of the past, she would take my advice from then on, and she would still be alive today.

Rest in peace, Corinne.

(April 18, 1968 – October 25, 2021)

 

 

Post 368

What Troubles Me: Reflections on the 'Accidental' Death of Halyna Hutchins

I can’t sleep.
He knew the gun was loaded.
He had been obsessed with guns for a long time.
Sometimes those who appear the most opposed are the most desirous of the thing they oppose.
They cannot have it themselves, so they don’t want anyone else to have it.
They protest guns because they want one.
They even know which ones, exactly, they want.
He wanted a Colt, vintage style.
He had wondered, for a long time, how it would feel to lethally shoot someone.
It is not a typical thing to wonder.
A person might have a passing thought, but you do not add the dot dot dot.
He wrote, publicly, “I wonder how it must feel to wrongfully kill someone…”
I needed to check — did he write more? Why the ellipsis?
No, those three eery dots are his.
They represent his unspoken thoughts.
His words in 2017 do not sympathize with Dillan Tabares, the victim.
They focus on the emotions — the sensations — one would experience.
These words are beyond ironic; they are creepy.

I think he began planning a long time ago.
It was called, in his mind, The Great Accident.
When he chose where, he did a Google search:
“map which states have death penalty”
The map showed that the death penalty is illegal in New Mexico and Colorado.
A second search:
“accidental murder laws New Mexico”
He saw it was a fourth-degree felony and 18-months jail term.
A third search, for the sake of comparison:
“accidental murder laws Colorado”
He saw it was a second-degree felony with 6-years imprisonment.
There was no comparison.
He prided himself on the fact that he was researching this.
He felt nobody had worked on a single murder on a scale as grand as this.
He chose a script.
It was pure genius to tell the tale of an accidental murder, he thought.
This is how cocky he was.
And even though any film is difficult to organize and expensive to produce,
He had a secret that made it worth all the trouble and even the money.
There would be guns.
Of course! It’s a western, you know.
But there would also be ammunition
For authenticity, you know.
And in New Mexico, the rules are softer.
California requires a trained armorer and is just all round tougher.
The budget would be small because what did it matter?

At first, he had no plans that it would be her.
It did not matter, back then, who it was.
But he was always thinking about the Great Decision
Which was, perhaps, a good alternate name for the drama he was living, he thought.
It could be an extra, maybe.
Some days he was so angry that an assault rifle would have suited his tastes,
But that was just not classy.
Nevertheless, he greeted the feeling of power in that thought.
The film was the world he created.
People should be glad to be a part of it.
The demands of the crew made him very, very, angry.
The union made him angry.
In the Facetime video that his wife posted, he pauses just before he says

“people”
just so you know that he wasn’t going to use the word people.
I ask then, what were they, to him?
The union posted his video to show you his words:
Go ahead and strike if you want, he said,
the studio bosses “don’t give a f**k about you”
He was the producer of this show
He had say over budget and safety be damned
If he wanted live weapons
Was someone going to argue about it?
Right.
People heard two gunshots pop pop
In one of the cabins
And the week before, there was another
There were safety concerns, it has been said
No kidding
Many crew members left the show for this reason
They left also because the production broke its promise to pay for hotels in nearby Santa Fe
Now the hotels on offer were 50 miles away in Alburquerque
Those who insisted on a hotel in Santa Fe were offered a garbage roadside motel
So some slept in their cars
Cheques had not been issued
Brave Halyna was the spokesman for the rest
Earning his wrath
He was already envious
Her star was so incredibly bright
Brighter than his?
That very day, when so many had walked off the set
Halyna remained
Working, steady as ever
Good Halyna
Wife, mother, daughter, friend

Then, the shot.

And after the gunshot,
How did he react?
Did he scream in horror?
Did he shout out in agony and confusion?
Did he rush forth to see them as they fell?
No?
Well then, what?

They say he had words.
He said,
“How could I have been given a hot gun?
In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun.”

What?
People are on the ground
While others are panicking
Everyone is confused about what could have happened
The sound of the gun is ringing in the ear
He soliloquizes about his lengthy career?
And he shows he knows the lingo
It was a HOT gun
I see, Mr. Slick.

These are not the words of someone in anguish over the harm he has caused
These are the same types of words he habitually uses to blame others
It’s always the fault of someone else
He is never to blame
When he punches one photographer, it’s the photographer’s fault
When he punches another photographer, it’s the photographer’s fault
When he is evicted from an airplane, it’s the flight attendant’s fault
When he calls his 11-year old daughter a rude, thoughtless, little pig, it’s the fault of the media for bringing it up

And words of blame at a time like this?
How odd.

And let me ask you, dear jurors, why he would talk about the gun being hot at all?
How could he comprehend so instantaneously that a live bullet had been fired?
Would he not be utterly confused at how people are falling down, injured?
Would he not wonder if something came from somewhere else or someone else to injure them?
Would he not be 100% convinced that the gun held blanks?

In such situations, that is how we are.
In the shock of the moment,
We stand in disbelief and cannot reconcile the simplest things.
We will believe contradictory things at once when confronted with a sudden problem:
I know I put my phone right here but now it’s gone.
I swung my racket perfectly but it flew out of my hand.
I was driving very carefully but I didn’t see the tree.

He should have been convinced that the gun had blanks for quite a while,
Especially since he had been told by the assistant director that the gun was “cold.”
But he is not confused about the gun at all.
In fact, he knows everything right away and is already beginning his defence.
The world is wondering what could have gone wrong, but he wasn’t confused.

He did not scream, “Something is wrong! Why are they hurt? What was wrong with the gun?”
“Tell me! Anybody! What happened?!”
“Halyna! Halyna! Joel!!! Talk to me! Are you okay? What is going on?”

No, there isn’t that kind of confusion about what is happening.
There isn’t even confusion about the gun.
He instantly knows that the problem stems from the fact that the gun he was given had live ammunition.
And, in addition to being knowledgeable about that, he points the finger at others.

There is no confusion.
He has a script all in his head.
These are the lines he has memorized.

But he is an actor, not a writer.
His lines are unrealistic.
He describes the gun’s contents immediately after shooting.
How does he know?

I am convinced that the assistant director was convinced the gun was safe.
But it’s true he didn’t check.
He was lazy and a little arrogant.
As for Hannah Gutierrez Reed,
I think she was a little too cool about the gun that was hot.
She unloaded the spent cartridge as if it was just another day of shooting.
Is that not tampering with the evidence?
I feel she let some things slide
And just didn’t mind.

 

 

Post 367

The Movement We Need

It was only recently that my eyes were opened to the significant amount of regional discrimination in Canada. Those living in certain regions look down upon others living in other regions. I knew there were jokes sometimes, but I didn’t think about it much at all. As I put my mind to the issue, however, I can gather enough scraps to say that it seems to be like this:

Ontario and Quebec, who have an uneasy alliance, feel superior to the prairie provinces (Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) and to the Maritimes.
B.C. feels superior to all the provinces except Ontario.
Alberta feels inferior to and superior to B.C. at the same time.
The Maritimes feel forgotten.
The Territories are forgotten.

It reminds me of the Bible line, “Could anything good come from Nazareth?” People hold prejudice against not only people from other countries but also against people from other regions within the same country. Of course, not all people from a given region feel this way — do I even need to say that? — but there are patterns here, observable patterns.

Like all types of discrimination, this regional ego is almost a subconscious thing — a certain set of notions, such as “The important people of Canada live in Ontario” are allowed to live in someone’s head unchallenged. And we all know that there are many forms of discrimination. In today’s world, we are on a crusade against discrimination, but it’s a selective crusade. These days, on social media and in the larger cities of the United States and Canada, the focus is on rooting out discrimination based on gender identity. Arguably tied for first place is the goal to eliminate discrimination based on race, but primarily it’s about eliminating discrimination against blacks, not hispanics or Asians, for instance. In Canada, in light of discoveries about the residential school system, there has been a concerted effort to understand and pay more respect to the experiences and wishes of indigenous groups. Yesterday’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was about that.

Unfortunately, only a few movements or causes are given much attention and energy at any given time. I think that in the past, movements were sparked by charismatic speakers and persuasive writers who became the leaders of the cause, but nowadays these movements usually do not have an obvious leader. Nowadays, it goes more or less like this:

– A very interesting and dramatic incident or discovery of particular facts is reported by mainstream media or social media.
– It seems to be an egregious (=shockingly bad) instance of a powerful group hurting a weaker group.
– Supporters are going to stick up for the weaker group from now on, with the goal that the powerful group will no longer hurt the weaker group.

So far, so good, though you will notice that I am already pointing out that only certain incidents will make the cut, in the same way that only certain stories of manslaughter or missing people captivate public attention. I am also pointing out that the situation might be more complicated than it seems to be.

In any case, that’s the broad outline. Those who support the movement cannot be classified easily because the motives are completely all over the place, and not at all in keeping with outward behaviour. Let me introduce to you six people:

Mabel is 45 years old and she has her hands full with toddlers and a new baby. She has heard some of the stories that led to cause XY and cause YZ, and although she doesn’t know much about them, she supports both of these as well as other movements, but just doesn’t have time to drop her responsibilities to look into them more.

Denise is 51 years old and she is the first to find such stories and pass them along to her contacts. She is alert and socially savvy. She does sympathize with the victims, but her main goal is to be seen by her friends as up-to-date and passionate about the right things. She will wear the t-shirt if there is one, but only until another cause takes its place.

Troy is 22 and cares deeply about the environment. He puts up posters and attends any talks that he can. He feels that it is his personal mission to do what he can to stop pollution, especially related to Lake Ontario. He has heard about these various movements, but he isn’t involved in them because he doesn’t want to get distracted from his main focus.

Darwin is 29. He has become very active in several of the major movements, but it’s not what you think. He loves the feeling of power that he gets when he is able to catch someone saying the wrong thing. Both on social media and in person, he is keen to shame those who, in his view, deserve it. One time, he was able to get someone who is more than a little famous to issue a public apology — wow, that was a big win! Ironically, Darwin has a reputation for tremendous compassion.

Cheryl is 66. Cheryl is quite thrilled to have amassed a sizeable online following. She wonders why she didn’t think of this sooner. By identifying herself with the cause YY, she finally gets the attention she so desperately craves. Like Meghan Markle and Harry, popular movements are juicy opportunities for more attention.

Gordon is 19. He has started a new job, and he has noticed that his female boss’s Instagram page is all about Cause XYX. He wonders if it would be best to also show his support. He hasn’t forgotten what happened to his friend who lost his job after making a racist comment. It’s always best to play it safe.

My point is that there are so many variations here. Some people seem to ignore a movement, but the truth is that they do care, while others seem to support a movement, but they are seeking only their own ends. Support for any given movement may appear to be like a solid wave of like-minded thoughts and sentiments flooding the internet, but it’s not like that at all. It’s really a jumbled mess of hidden motives, where many of those present are absent, and many of those who seem absent are present.

Sadly, there are many situations of discrimination, injustice, or oppression which are not currently in the spotlight. Sexism against women continues to be a big problem and here I am not speaking merely about wage equality. It’s such a subtle thing. I’m talking about how women’s observations and words get discounted, for one thing. And the current hurry to recognize and make room for non-binary gender preferences often comes at the cost of sidelining femininity. When mediocre formerly male athletes are allowed to compete against women and take their medals and prize money, at least 99.5% of people in the world would agree that there’s an injustice here — yet only a few will say so.

Ageism is a huge problem, and I think a lot of it has to do with the school system, which is more about segregating people by age (herding and managing all the people who aged 4-18 so that the parents can work) than about education. The desperate pleas from society to reopen the schools during these pandemic times has been more about child care than about education. And then all students are subdivided into rigid groups by age within the schools. Nowhere else in society is your age the be-all-and-end-all. The single room schoolhouse was more natural because children progressed through different books according to their ability. One of the unfortunate effects of this segregation is that people just don’t realize what amazing things can be done by people at any age, and so the world underestimates the goldmine of talent being suppressed in schools day in and day out. A few young people do break free and show up on TicTok or YouTube or at the Olympics, but that’s not enough to show you that I’m right. The world just thinks that most ‘kids’ are ordinary because they’re ‘just kids.’ It’s not like that. Given proper love and freedom, they could accomplish so much more. So the entire school set up contributes to ageism against the young.

Long ago I spoke with Andrew Pudewa, whose daughter began university at age 16. I asked him if he was worried about her being so young. He said that university students who are a couple of years younger or older than their peers don’t need to worry about peer pressure because their peers will avoid them. College students are still thinking along school lines: the only relatable people are those exactly your own age. So that’s one of the main things taught by our school system.

Ageism continues even after university. I remember when I was in the workaday world, I wished that I looked 45 during the day and 23 in the evenings. I knew that the older looks would give me more credibility.

Mind you, back then, I wasn’t thinking about everything else I was up against. I wasn’t fully aware of the impact of the other prejudices. That’s because as you get older, the people around you also get older, and they stop calling you names based on your appearance. They learn to hide it better.

I suppose soon I will be greeting ageism on the other side. It will be a new experience to be old. I’m 51, so that already makes me old in a lot of fields, such as chess and sprinting and dance. Being old means being dismissed, and everything about you gets flattened into a pancake — a woman is now a Nice Little Old Lady and the man is now Nice Little Old Man. Humans like to simplify things, don’t we? But oh, it’s so not like that! In the first place, very few of them are actually nice. Their voices may be weaker, and they may be smaller and frailer than they used to be, but don’t be fooled. They are still the opportunistic and sneaky children they always were. If you magically set a control panel in front of them with which they could control the world, you would see that the nice grandma with the sweater on her knees has some vendettas she’s going to pursue, now that she can. “Oh look at that: I think she just flooded her sister-in-law’s town!” “Hey, she just redirected all the bank funds to her own account!” Greed doesn’t disappear when you turn 65, and neither does envy, lust, or pride. Pride is a big one, and many people go to their grave playing games of one-upmanship and comforting themselves with their own superiority.

And in the end, that is, I guess, the very root of all of these types of discrimination: pride. People convince themselves that they are better using as many forms of discrimination as they need. Well, at least I’m not old, like him. Come on, don’t be childish. Grow up! Hey, at least I know how to speak English, not like those people. Go back to wherever you came from! I’m educated. I work for a living; I don’t take handouts like those people do. I eat right; those people are fat and unhealthy. I’m a good person, not like those anti-vaxxers. I’m a Republican. I’m vegetarian. I’m a Democrat. Well I’m a vegan. I have more followers than you do.

How can we break through all this nonsense? How can we break through these artificial barriers and notions of superiority? Is a person from Toronto better than a person from Grande Prairie? Is a person from Vancouver better than a person from Saskatoon?

At the end of the day, the solution will not come from any short-lived movement. Even though many such movements do achieve some good things, and I encourage people to support them for the right reasons, they are not enough. People being people, new forms of discrimination will pop up all the time. The only remedy is to understand that we are all children, and the difference in who we are is so slight as to be not worth counting. I hesitate to bring God into this, but really, when he looks at us squabbling about who is better, it must seem so pathetic. It’s one blade of grass telling the other blades of grass that he’s a better blade than they are. If the nonsense wasn’t based in pride, the squabbling would be almost funny.

Ultimately, the biggest difference between us lies in our hearts, by which I mean in our intentions. It’s not really about what we do, but about why we do it. We must intend to do what is right for each other and we must intend to do what is right in general. The key thing is that we must want the best for each other. Only in cheering for each other will we be able to overlook (and ultimately celebrate) our differences in appearance, stage of life, interests, tastes, and backgrounds. Paradoxically, in looking out for and helping each other, we find our ourselves. We find our best selves. That’s the movement we need.

 

 

Post 366

I Got a Phone and It Got Me in Trouble

Oh, and speaking of summer, I forgot to mention that I did get a cell phone. I haven’t had one for more than 20 years. The last time I owned one was maybe in about 1997, so although it is true that I’m among the last, it’s also true that I’m among the first.

I almost never used it back then. I would forget it at home or leave it in my car trunk. When I called to cancel my phone plan at the time, the salesperson was — as they always are — so eager to find a new plan for me, but when he looked up my usage records (zero, zero, zero, zero), there was really nothing to sell me, so he let me go.

But you know, I’m always ___(insert very very latest word meaning ‘trendy’)_____, so I thought it was time to pick myself up an iPhone 13Pro Max. an iPhone 13 Pro. an iPhone 13. an iPhone 12 Pro Max. an iPhone 12 Pro. an iPhone 12. an iPhone 11Pro Maxan iPhone 11 Pro . an iPhone 11. the most basic iPhone they were selling at the time. I got it on August 16th from Best Buy.

It takes a very long time to buy a phone, as in, eat before you get there and bring something to read while you’re waiting for all of the steps to be done. (“Bring something to read” — ha ha, I catch myself. That’s what we used to say in the Olden Days.) It is kind of fun to be able to have some choice about what phone number you get.

I like it. I say to myself, “Ah, I see why they are so popular,” and I keep mine nearby all the time. I never leave it in the trunk. The one time I left it in my vehicle, I used “Find My” to figure out where it was. I was relieved that it was not too far away.

Nevertheless, I don’t regret all the years without it. They’re expensive, for one thing. And they tend to promote slouching.

My favourite feature is that I can stay in touch with the people I like. Did you know that the first ever text message sent by cell phone was sent in 1992? The message was, “Merry Christmas!” ‘Twas sent by developer to company director (of Vodafone) at a Christmas party.

I think a case could be made that texting is its own language.

I think emojis are fun. Sometimes they are so exactly right that it’s hilarious. Hats off to the developers who think about the range of human emotions and try to capture them. Wouldn’t that be a fun discussion? — people sitting around trying to describe how humans experience life: “Well you know that feeling when someone compliments you or thanks you and you’re happy but also embarrassed too and you just don’t know what to say? Oh! I know! Let’s put that as a smiling face but with little pink marks right here, you know, on either side. That will be blushing.” And then of course there would be the human emotions that are more difficult to draw — but then again, maybe not. Some say you can draw schadenfreude with the laughing-crying emoji 😂 . It’s interesting that such a negative thing as schadenfreude (happy emotions at someone’s suffering) has overtaken the original idea of the laughing-crying emoji, which was tears of joy. In fact, the tears of joy emoji got awarded as Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries in 2015. So it starts with the developer, but it almost instantly becomes about the people.

Emojis connect with the child within us in the sense that we children like looking at cute little pictures and saying things using codes. Chesterton talked about how much fun the Egyptians would have had designing the hieroglyphics.

I also like the camera feature. I don’t have a fancy phone, so nobody will be dazzled by the resolution of my pictures, but phones allow us to capture the moment right then and there when you wouldn’t even think of bringing a proper camera. That makes up for a lot, including the way a slight tilt of the camera will make everyone look like they have disproportionately large heads.

I like having the little clock that can be used as a stopwatch or timer or alarm.

As for apps, I don’t have many. I have a map app which until now I didn’t know was GoogleMaps. I didn’t know because when I use it, I don’t need to type “Google Maps;” I just click on this little upside down drip-droppity symbol.

It’s very good, and I do like it. My only complaint is about what happened yesterday. Yesterday it told me to turn right, and I turned right. Right, however, was wrong. Right was into the welcoming arms of a police officer. I was completely confused, thinking they must be doing random checks if they wanted to talk to me. You know that feeling: “Me?” “Why on earth do you want to talk to me? — I’ve been good this year, Santa Claus.” But you know it’s not good. Nothing good can come out of a chat with a police officer. The best you can hope for is something neutral. So I was hoping for neutral, but he pulls out his ticket pad. He can tell I’m confused. “You can’t turn right here. It’s because of the bike lane.” I’m thinking, “What?” There are bike lanes all over this town and cars always have to turn right in spite of them.” I told him, “The GPS told me to turn right.” By GPS, I meant Google Maps. He rested his elbow on my door because I had the window down all the way.

Why do they do that? Is it comfy? Is his arm sort of tired, so he likes to rest it on anything handy? I wasn’t sure how I felt about it; I felt like it was a message: I’m In Your Space But You Can’t Complain Because I Am The Boss in This Here Situation. But does he really want to get that close to me? What about social distancing? What if I have germs? So anyway, he gets my driver’s license and goes away to write the ticket. I’m thinking, “Man, why can’t they just let me off with a warning?” You always hear about this ‘let you off with a warning’ thing, but it never happens to me. Probably it’s something that happens to flirty beauties who know how to bat their voluminous eyelashes. My eyelashes are not voluminous. That’s the real problem here. It’s either the lack of lashes or GoogleMaps — GoogleMaps where they don’t know you can’t turn right here. (Mind you, so many people turn right that probably the computer mind of Google Maps thinks turning right is perfectly fine.) Probably there was a sign back there, but I didn’t see it. I was just trying to make sure I was even on the right street. Meanwhile, the locals are getting pulled over at the rate of about one every 2 minutes or so. While I was waiting for my ticket, I had to move my vehicle up, because so many others were getting pulled over for the same thing. So it’s really just a place where the cops get sent when revenues need to be generated. That’s really the deal. Every city has a few spots like this. I think it’s kind of underhanded on their part.

But anyway, the officer came back to my vehicle. I said, “How much is it?” It’s been a long, long, time since I got a ticket from a police officer. I think it’s been probably more than 20 years. In fact, come to think of it, it was probably back in the day when I DID own a cell phone. Hmm. Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Interesting coincidence, don’t ya think? 🧐

So then he says, “Just plead not guilty.” This time he’s not leaning on my door because I didn’t roll the window ALL the way down. That’s something to keep in mind, folks. When you get pulled over, leave a little bit of glass there so that they don’t go in your space so willy-nilly. Not that I minded him, mind you. We actually got along just fine. I think we would have clicked, if we met, you know, gliding through the local aquarium on those conveyor belts — “Hey Marko! Look at that brown-banded bamboo sharko!” So of course I was surprised that Constable Marko encourages me to fight it, not to mention a little confused because I know that I can’t use GoogleMaps as an excuse. But he’s really trying to persuade me. He says, “You don’t even have to go in (to court, he means). It’s all online.” He’s friendly in the I’m Giving You a Ticket But I Don’t Hate You kind of way. So I said, “But I can’t use the GPS as an excuse.”

He agrees, but he says, “Yes, but I might be too busy to show up.” And I look at him and I say, “Ohhhh” and I connect the dots. He might not show up. Right. Right. I get it now. I get it, and he sees that I get it. Okay then.

See you in court . . .

😉

 

 

Post 365

Fooling Yourself:
Reflections on Cost Per Wear

There is this one way of assessing the amount you spend on clothing called cost per wear. You already know how it works by the name: my sweater cost $27 and I have worn it 3 times, therefore I am paying $9 per wear. Ah, now I have worn it 9 times and now it costs $3 per wear. In order to figure this kind of thing out, you need to keep track of how much you paid for the item and how many times you have worn it so far.

Everyone thinks about the cost of clothing from time to time, usually when they’re considering making a purchase. Those who think in terms of cost per wear, however, think about it every day. Every time they wear an item, after all, its cost per wear goes down.

I don’t judge those who enjoy this kind of (new word alert:) sartorial calculation; I think it would be interesting for a while to generate and watch those kind of statistics. I can see how it would be popular. The advantage is that it does make you consider how much use you are making of the various items you have bought.

With this method though, I don’t know if there’s enough attention paid to the items which don’t work but raise the total expenditure. While you are calculating the cost per wear on the blue sweater and being happy that your price per wear is going down, do you remember that the red sweater isn’t getting worn at all? The focus, it seems, is all on the items that are being used.

Another problem is that this approach is used to justify exorbitant spending. There is a myth which seems to be gaining more steam these days that expensive pieces will be forever pieces. Did you know that an Hermès handbag can cost about $30,000? The idea is that if you buy an Hermès bag, especially certain versions, then you are buying ‘A Classic,’ and 1) it will always look good, and 2) you will always love it. The cost per wear rationale fits in here, and you are supposed to think, “Yes, it’s expensive, but I will get so much use out of it that the cost per wear will be just a few dollars a day!” There are many problems with this. First of all, the purse will not always look good. Don’t be fooled by the fact that certain versions of older Hermes bags are currently, in September of 2021, being celebrated. This will not always be the case. Soon a different version of the Hermès bag or the Chanel bag will be praised as the ‘classic’ bag. However, out of all the Hermes bags (consider all the colours, embellishments, sizes, materials) only a select few are being celebrated at any given time; you cannot predict which bag of the past will be the new darling of the future. At one time, people said that you cannot go wrong with black. Now people are more likely to say you can’t go wrong with white or tan. My point is that just because one older style is popular/respected today does not mean that it will be popular/respected in the future. The essence of fashion is change, and anyone who believes that there are some timeless sorts of fashion just hasn’t considered a wide enough time frame. How many women were told that such and such a fur coat is a classic and will never go out of style and could be worn forever? You know it’s true. $5,000 mink coats were the thing to have at one point, and now it’s difficult to sell them on eBay for $500. Nobody anticipated that fur would go out of style so suddenly. Fur is an easy example, but the same thing is happening with watches. Nowadays it’s so easy for people to check the time on their phones, and so many don’t bother with one at all. If they are going to wear something on their wrist, maybe an Apple Watch Nike is better, or an Apple Watch Hermès (people want to look like they are obsessed with fitness). The market for the watches that were called “classic” or “luxury” is shrinking. And really, it happens with everything. All the items which are called ‘classic’ become unfashionable eventually. Even the classic of the classics need to compete with new ideas of what looks good. Fewer people are wearing ‘classic’ khaki pants or chino pants nowadays, and even denim jeans are being ditched by women in favour of leggings. If you look at a store webpage from a few years ago, you would find that it just looks “off” — the model looks just as sullen as the models nowadays, but there’s something about the proportions and cuts that says, “Hi. I don’t quite know what I’m doing.” With each passing year, the clothing, hairstyles, eyewear, and makeup looks sillier and sillier. (Yes, even the giant eyebrows trend will die, and you will be mortified that in all your photos, you have massive, bushy, drawn, brushed, soaped, laminated eyebrows.)

I am not dismissing the idea of a classic altogether; some items do look good for longer than others. My point is just that we must be cautious about spending an excessive amount of money because it’s ‘a classic’ and will last such a long time. Even those items which take longer to look silly are still not worth ‘investing’ in (watch out for the word ‘investing,’ — if anyone tells you that retail spending is an investment it means you are about to be ripped off) because things wear out and things get damaged. More importantly, people are very changeable and we do get bored. We get bored of even the very best of things — just ask Seinfeld.

What I would propose instead of the cost per wear model is just checking the global figure you’re spending on clothing and accessories. It’s far easier than checking your cost per wear, because you can easily see what you’ve spent in the last three weeks and already get a good grasp of the situation as a whole — you don’t need to research how much you spent on the belt you bought in 2018. And if you want, you can calculate the clothing cost per day by dividing the monthly figure. It’s a more honest approach. After all, if you spent $4,500 on an YSL brand bag, then you’ve spent $7,500. Let that number, and no other, sink in. It’s false comfort to say, “I used it 10 times so now it’s only $750 per wear, and I am going to wear it every day for two years and so by then it will be only $10.75 per wear.” The calculation of the past is accurate, but it tricks the mind a little bit, don’t you see? It washes away the fact that you went a little wacko with your wallet. It sidesteps the fact that you overspent (no matter what your net worth is). As for the calculation of the future, well, that’s even more problematic. How can you predict how you will feel in the future? Not only do the world’s tastes change, but our own tastes change too. Are you absolutely sure that you won’t be tempted by that other bag, the one expected in the spring of 2022? There’s buzz about it already — it’ll be dropping on April 1st. Oh darling, by then your bag will be so — how can I put this? — 2021 . . .

 

 

 

Post 364

Long Time No See:
Reflections on the Summer of 2021

Tell me, how was your summer?
Were you sad because so many things were closed or cancelled?
Did you get vaccinated?
Are you working from home again?
How about church?

You’re so quiet.

I need to carry this conversation, it seems.

The other day I watched the Seinfeld stand-up routine where he says everything sucks. (And it was before the pandemic.) It was posted on YouTube in 2020. He says, “Your life sucks — my life sucks, too,” and then there’s a slight pause, and he says, “perhaps not. quite. as. much.” which of course is funny because everyone knows that he’s wealthy and famous. The idea is that his life is probably better because of those things, but I know that’s not how things work. Happiness doesn’t come from fame or wealth.

That feeling of happiness comes and goes throughout the day. It’s the same with sadness or anger, with laughing and tears. Human emotions are very variable, kind of like the weather.

I can’t remember exactly what I was going to say about Seinfeld, but I guess I thought of it because when I think about my summer, I think to myself that my summer was very good, and when I tell you about it, you’ll be thinking that I am saying my summer was perhaps. better. than. yours. But that’s not really what I want to say. I just want to say hello and tell you what I’ve been up to — because obviously I wasn’t blogging.

Around when I wrote my last post in late 2020, I had started playing chess online. I joined chess.com and played against people around the world. It’s a good pandemic activity. It’s strangely addictive, and I feel that I got quite good quite quickly, but the scary thing is that you get rusty quite fast too. I’m already rusty because the next thing I found was K-dramas. Netflix has quite a few of them with English subtitles. I watched “Rookie Historian” and lived the experience of binge-watching. My longest session was 6-hours straight, I think. Boy, those Koreans know how to tell a story. I’ve heard that they begin airing the episodes even before filming is done, and the writers adjust the plot lines based on viewer feedback. I think that’s clever, and I’m sure the shows would have benefitted from viewer feedback. I never did watch any of Game of Thrones, but my understanding with that is that the writers purposely went against what the viewers wanted at the end. What did they do? Didn’t they make a good character behave immorally? Hmm. Let me just look this up on Wikipedia. One moment.

Okay, I’m back. The final season, season 8, was very disappointing for the viewers. According to Rotten Tomatoes, all of the other seasons were rated 93% or higher, but the final season was rated 55%. People were very unhappy with how they ended the series. From looper.com, I found this: “the shocking twist was when Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) descended into madness.” Someone named Turner was angry that 1.7 million fans signed a petition asking for the final season to be re-written. “Turner says that it shouldn’t have been ‘such a negative thing’ for audiences at home. ‘It’s a shock for sure, but I think it’s just because it hasn’t gone their way,’ she stated.” Hmm. Let me disagree with that. If Daenerys Targaryen was a well-loved character, then the audience wants to see a victory for her; that would be satisfying. The K-drama makers know that normal people want a happy ending. Having her go nuts is not a happy ending.

I’m curious about her character. Another moment, please.

Alright. I see basically what they did. Daenerys Targaryen struggled a lot and stood for a lot of good, and then at the end she is responsible for the death of a lot of innocent civilians. Yeah, that’s lame on the part of the writers. It’s realistic, in the sense that in real life, many people are not what they seem, but the problem here is that so many viewers were led, step by step, line by line, season by season, to cheer for her and empathize with her. When she became very immoral at the end, those fans lost the character they loved and even identified with. Yeah, I can see why people would be upset. I think the writers of television show deliberately and maliciously mismanaged that. I can be as bold to say that it was malicious because these things don’t happen by accident. They chose an ending that they knew would disappoint. There are a lot of ways to end a story in a satisfying way, so why not give that to the fans who have given success to the series and everyone associated with it? Too often writers don’t think they’re being clever enough if things turn out well in the end. They think that a dark ending is more ‘sophisticated.’ That’s just pride.

I hear the writer of the original story has still not finished writing his version (the television series went beyond the book version), and there are hints that he will do better. It seems he couldn’t really do worse.

But back to me, after “Rookie Historian,” I watched another K-drama called “Crash Landing on You,” and that was also thoroughly enjoyable while also showing the sorrowful separation between North and South Korea. After that, I watched “Start Up,” and that was great too. Not all K-dramas are as good as those; there were some that I didn’t watch more than one episode of.

I also went to the Heritage Days festival. I love it and attended all three days of it. To me, heaven would be something like that, except the food would be free.

I gardened.

I reorganized my wardrobe and bought new things. I really like Coach purses when they are 8 inches long and 5 inches tall and have the little brass turn-lock closure. When I take a chance and buy a Coach purse that’s an inch wider, I think to myself, “Why did they make it so huge?” And when it’s smaller, I think, “Man, this is just not right!” But this size, and with the golden coloured turn-lock — well, it’s the closest I come to being a collector.

I got vaccinated, twice, but still support those who don’t want to get vaccinated. The vaccine should be available to those who want it, but those who don’t want it should not be unduly pushed into it. As I’ve said before, distrust of the government and the billion-dollar health industry is a valid reason to not get it. (Some who are opposed don’t even call it a ‘vaccine.’) In addition, fear of needles or medical situations is also a valid reason. Yes, the hospitals may be overwhelmed, and yes, some of the unvaccinated people may become ill and may even die, but we must not vilify or bully a group of people in the name of health or economy. It’s outrageous how far all the establishments and people in power will go to pressure the unvaccinated. Only those who are willing to say that people have a right not to get vaccinated really know what it is to believe in human rights.

I have gone to church, but not as much as before. It’s been more difficult and the obligation is currently suspended.

So the weeks all blur together without being separated by Sunday Eucharist.

 

 

Post 363

Small Talk About the Weather

This fall, a neighbour saw me watering my plants after the weather had turned noticeably colder. Roland is his name. He made small talk, “Doing a final watering?” Many of my neighbours were done with their plants, but I wasn’t thinking of it as a final watering. (I don’t give up easily, you know.)

I wanted the summer to keep going even though the temperatures had dipped. My little flowers didn’t know that winter was coming, and as a matter of fact, they looked just fantastic — really big and healthy. The marigolds had a whole bunch of buds, and there were rows and rows of little buds on the geraniums too. I figured that I would just keep watering as long as the flowers were doing their side of the equation. So I told him that I was planning to keep gardening as long as I could. He said, “Well then you’ll have to do something about the weather.”

A few weeks later, we were suddenly in a warm spell, getting summer temperatures instead of autumn ones. I saw Roland again, and I said, “And look at the weather now — you’re welcome!” Of course he knows I was joking around about taking credit for the weather.

Now it’s December 6, and it’s 7 degrees Celsius in my town (43 degrees Fahrenheit — spell checker shows me that I need two ‘h’s in there). Normally, the days in early December reach a high of -4 and a low of -12. When you’re used to that, then +7 feels downright balmy.

I’m really glad for it. The days are so short that it’s nice to be able to go outside and enjoy what daylight there is. I think it’s neat to see the long row of cars parked near the toboggan hills. People drive here to bring their kids sledding.

This year I did pray for a long summer. I asked for unseasonably warm weather stretching far into November. I wanted it for the sake of gardening. And I did enjoy that extra bunch of summer days in September and early October. But then when a heavy snowfall came a few weeks later and decisively buried all my plants, I thought that what had happened in the autumn was the whole gift. That’s what I thought. Then this — it’s lovely. People are talking about it here. People say, this is very strange, but I’ll take it!

Yes, I’ll take it too. As for taking the credit for it, I won’t do that of course. But I will talk about it.

I remember that part in her autobiography where St. Thérèse of Lisieux (spell checker shows me that I need two ‘i’s in there) tells how she was so delighted at the snowfall on the day she received her habit. Snow is what she had ‘childishly’ wished for, but the weather was so mild and spring-like that she gave up her hope for it:

And now my clothing day drew near . . . the Bishop fixed the ceremony for January 10. The time of waiting had been long indeed, but now what a beautiful feast! Nothing was wanting, not even snow. Do you remember my telling you, dear Mother, how fond I am of snow? While I was still quite small, its whiteness entranced me. Why had I such a fancy for snow? Perhaps it was because, being a little winter flower, my eyes first saw the earth clad in its beautiful white mantle. So, on my clothing day, I wished to see it decked, like myself, in spotless white. The weather was so mild that it might have been spring, and I no longer dared hope for snow. The morning of the feast brought no change and I gave up my childish desire, as impossible to be realised.

But then she saw it:

The instant I set foot in the enclosure again my eyes fell on the statue of the Child Jesus smiling on me amid the flowers and lights; then, turning towards the quadrangle, I saw that, in spite of the mildness of the weather, it was covered with snow. What a delicate attention on the part of Jesus! Gratifying the least wish of His little Spouse, He even sent her this. Where is the creature so mighty that he can make one flake of it fall to please his beloved? Everyone was amazed, and since then many people, hearing of my desire, have described this event as “the little miracle” of my clothing day, and thought it strange I should be so fond of snow. So much the better, it shows still more the wonderful condescension of the Spouse of Virgins—of Him Who loves lilies white as the snow.

God knew how she loved snow, and she joyfully accepted it as a gift for that day. Do you see it that way, or do you sort of dismiss it as her well-meaning mistake or delusion? After all, her claim that God did it especially for her and her special day is a bold claim, isn’t it? It’s bold because weather events affect a lot of people at once, and we don’t think that God would change the weather over a large area in order to please one person, right? Even if we believe in God, our minds have difficulty with that. We feel like there’s an inefficiency there, like weather is a phenomenon that is too big to be directed at just one person.

Of course the first step is to believe that God can and does control the weather. But even if that is true, would God would really do things that are so ‘big’ for the sake of so few? St. Thérèse has been declared a Doctor of the Church, so it’s worth paying attention to what she claims. She says God does this kind of thing (she says elsewhere that the weather has so often matched her mood). It’s true. God does do this kind of thing, but it’s important to note that he doesn’t neglect anyone else while doing so.

The key thing to appreciate and believe is that God’s power is so great that he is always simultaneously doing everything for everyone. This means that if he sends snow for St. Thérèse of Lisieux in order to show his love and thoughtfulness, she will appreciate it for what it is, and meanwhile, the snow will do what it is meant to do for the lives of everyone else who experiences it. For some people, it will serve as a pleasant surprise, something which breaks the monotony or predictability of the day and season. Some will enjoy the snow for its beauty, and some will enjoy it for the memories and associations. For others, it is more; those who found out how she loved snow felt the significance of it along with St. Thérèse. These are all examples of God benefiting people in different ways, even though they didn’t attend the ceremony.

But what about the people who don’t want to see the snow? Did God just forget about all of them in his eagerness to please seventeen year old St. Thérèse? After all, some people dislike seeing snow. In Canada, many people groan when the snow falls because they know it means slippery roads and shoveling. So how do we understand what God is doing in the lives of people who wouldn’t have been happy to see the snowfall? (Let’s say that there were some.) Here we enter into something more complicated. These hardships or inconveniences are types of suffering. And suffering never goes to waste. Surely you see how almost all of the fitness people encourage you to endure all kinds of things for the sake of having a better body? It’s actually the same way with spiritual things. Suffering will have its rewards. To continue with a fitness analogy, suffering will either burn away your excess fat, which is like paying for the wrong you’ve done — the sins you’ve committed against other people and God, or suffering will increase your muscle tone, which is like gaining merit in heaven (and often on earth too). Nevertheless, as I have said in previous posts, you don’t need to seek out suffering. It is natural and good to take legitimate steps to avoid it when you can, in the way that St. Paul pleaded his Roman citizenship to escape death. Suffering will find you eventually, after all.

To summarize, God is always looking out for everyone, even when it doesn’t look like it. His power is such that he can move everyone to the next stage of their story one occurrence or coincidence at a time. Yet because we are only mortal, we cannot grasp the entirety of what he is doing even in our own lives (let alone everyone else’s life). We don’t know the future, and we don’t know exactly how and when good will be rewarded and how evil will be punished. For this reason, trust and faith are always asked of us.

He wants us to say Amen to the mystery of it all.

Anyways, now it’s almost 3, and the sun is getting pretty low in the sky. I look out my west-facing window and I can see it just above a neighbour’s roof. Today is Sunday, the second week of Advent. Oh, it’s also the feast day of St. Nicholas. Ah, that’s funny! I made arrangements to do an errand today, and it’s to drop off a costume to someone named Nicolas. Nicolas will be both Angel Gabriel and Magi Gaspar. It’s that time of year, and some things are worth doing, no matter what. (I don’t give up easily, you know.)

Post 362
To Our Lady, who accompanies us

November 23 & 24

This is the fifth anniversary
Of something sweet
The beginning of a new world
That turned some lives
Upside down and right side up
All at the same time

Jesus, we trust in you.

This is the fifth anniversary
Of first secrets revealed
Of promises made
And companionship in the darkest hour

Two years filled to the brim
Of the unexpected the undeserved and the extraordinary
Oh the thoughts of the dog!
The thoughts of the dog

Two years filled to the brim
Of spiritual stuff you couldn’t imagine
Of words you didn’t make up
Like the thoughts of the dog

And then a third year
Steadier stronger
Budding and blooming
Victories successes and garlands of flowers

A third year
That was nevertheless
Understood best
As another year of waiting

Ah yes

And then a fourth year
A year of growing closer
A year of understanding
That the future depends upon circling back to the beginning
The garden the tree the fruit the temptation the choice
A plan so perfect so simple so complete so generous so sweet
That it could only be God’s

There has never been a drama like this
No writer like this
As for me
I did my part but I never knew my role
Consider me astounded

The ring is on my finger
Seven diamonds are mine
But the struggle is not over
The work continues
As does the wait

Ah yes

A fifth year
Consider us blessed
Though we are unseen by those
Who thought they knew us best
And seen as nobody by the rest
Consider us blessed

The past fades from view
Yet it is a treasure which cannot be taken
The future is astounding
Yet the path to honour is perplexing
The present is working and playing and waiting
Yet we are told it has meaning

Children are we
Younger than before
Yet wiser
Taught and tested
Set apart yet never alone
But still, a child will ask,
Are we there yet?

This is the fifth anniversary
Of looking at the sky and looking at the sun
And the stars and the clouds and the moon
And wondering when
It will all come true

Oh Jesus, we trust in you!

 

 

Post 361

analogy in paris

cathédrale notre-dame de paris
i attended vespers in april of 2015
but i never saw the view enjoyed by the gargoyles
unlike the man who stood on the roof
imagining

imagining it being
consummated
by flames unlike anything before
lit by one unseen
deliberate

deliberate deliberations
yes it was
not some errant spark
not some bad luck act of God
planned

planned and plotted
by someone curious
about whether it could be done
and whether he could get away with it
criminal

criminal creepings
obsession and action in the mind
preparation for evil in the midst of preparation for good
obstacles and frustration despite opportunity
persistence

persistence in the pursuit of evil is more damning
the fire at notre-dame 15 avril 2019
was arson
someone who cared more for himself than anything
selfish

selfish pursuit of pleasure
arrogant blindness to the value of what was built with love and sacrifice
hatred for its stability its shelter its beauty
a thief who prided himself on his choice of victim
choice

choice is the heart of the matter
in everything
but especially in matters of the heart
the destruction of the cathedral
symbolic

symbolic of the destruction of a marriage
for this reason allowed by God
in the land led by a president who said the scandal was spice
as if catching a married woman is some kind of entertainment
adultery

adultery is not trivial
do you understand what it is
it is a fire in a cathedral
destruction of what is holy
sin

sin is real
it has consequences
consider the cathedral as an illustration
shame on any civilization that excuses or glamorizes adultery
evil

evil is real
even when hidden
yet here is a striking symbol of its goals
evil seeks to destroy whatever is good
but

but here is another symbol
another lesson
the power of evil is limited
curbed by a loving God
always

always know
the story does not end where you think it does
‘it did not turn out how I expected’ says Tobit
the rose window and doors point to the future
hope