Saturday, 24 January 2009

A real writer

My admiration for those who are truly proficient in writing is unbounded because every now and then, I glimpse just how far ahead of us wannabes they really are. Linda Nichols is an author with Park Literary Group (a New York agency) and described the role of the creative process in writing: A story usually begins with a seed. Sometimes it's an event. The opening scene from At the Scent of Water was born when I was having dinner with friends and we watched a man at a nearby table wait with champagne, roses, and a very small velvet box for a dinner partner who never came. I never forgot the impact of watching that man wait, and several years later a story was born from this incident.(
An entire story in barely 5 lines.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Snatches of tranquility

The nature of modern living means that despite our best efforts, with jobs, kids, and the rough and tumble of life, we yearn for a peace that is, more often than not, elusive - except for stolen moments here and there: the quiet house before anybody else is up or awake, the soft morning sun beginning to gently caress the garden awake with its warm beams; the stillness of the Church before others arrive for the service; the unexpected encounter with nature that 'intrudes' a wonderful moment of blessing in an otherwise chaotic day when you see a strikingly beautiful flower growing defiantly out of a grubby, city sidewalk. All we have left are these snatches of tranquility, reminding us that behind it all, Love waits.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Truth and Love

In an earlier post, I distinguished between what I saw as the difference between a happy and a life of meaning. I guess that what I was trying to say is that I feel such a sense of urgency about my life and such responsibility for the gift and privilege that it is that I don't want to waste it. Not because God will call me to account, but because I will be ashamed if I do and have to face Him empty handed. I can be such a contradiction in the sense that I seek truth and seek to communicate it because I am paranoid that if I am to communicate love, it must not be something vacuous, but Love in the fullest, most profound Christian sense. The trouble is that I feel I am approaching an understanding of what it is not and even occassional glimpses of what it is. But it has not made me more loving. And is that not the point?

New Age freedom and the Christian Journey

I am almost obsessed with living a life of meaning - something beyond happiness. Happiness has always seemed to me, to be a frivolous or superficial basis on which to judge the quality of one's life. This was reinforced some years back when I came across the following passage, by the writer, John Powell: Do we get fulfilled by trying to have all the experiences we can? Is it true that the more experiences a person has, the more fulfilled or developed he or she will be as a person? Or Is a person fulfilled by making a commitment and then choosing experiences according to whether they honour, promote and reaffirm the commitment. Trying to choose all available experiences is confusing, fragmenting and disintegrating to the human person. Human nature desires reality as somehow ordered and meaningful. This implies a value structure, priorities. It is in the light of these values and priorities that we must evaluate experiences.

I have read so many beautiful passages and works by New Age musicians and writers, but without a faith context, for me, they merely evaporate into nothingness - much as an icecream, so creamy and sweet to the taste, once consumed, leaves little behind of nutritional or nurture value. I do not agree when people say that the meaning of life is about the journey not the destination, because as a Christian, I look forward to union with God. I must appreciate the journey in itself as it is what leads to and teaches me about Him. The context however, of the journey, is that it is always a journey towards Him. It is not a sightseeing journey of exploration. It is a journey of purpose. And in that, it is different from the journey of the wanderer and the philosopher. It knows it has an ultimate destination - God, who is my home.

Monday, 5 January 2009

6 months on

It is 6 months today since Kirstin died. Somebody posted this somewhere - I am too lazy to look it up, but it communicated what I first heard in the movie, 'Shadowlands': that joy and suffering, love and pain are always, absolutely always, inseperable. I have, in the years subsequent to seeing that film, read and heard that truth expressed similarly in a variety of ways. This was one of the 'tightest' imo:

The sense of loss
must give way
If we are to value
the life that was

Grief is not a sign of weakness
Nor the lack of faith
it is the price of love…
(Author unknown)

The marvel in my view, is not that this is true, but that as in another classic, The Thorn Birds, our human need or drive for love gives us the courage to love in spite of what is inevitably, to come.

"There's a story... a legend, about a bird that sings just once in its life. From the moment it leaves its nest, it searches for a thorn tree... and never rests until it's found one. And then it sings... more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. And singing, it impales itself on the longest, sharpest thorn. But, as it dies, it rises above its own agony, to outsing the lark and the nightingale. The thorn bird pays its life for just one song, but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles. "The bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it."(Colleen McCullough)
Rest in peace, Kirst. In Him.

Friday, 2 January 2009

Moving to Aus same old, same old

As 2009 starts and we prepare to move to Aus, I can't help but be struck as I look ahead how much will remain the same. Sure there is much less crime, but the meaningless, pointless work continues: sell, rent, machines rust. Make an impression on new company, don't make an impression. The posturing continues. No different to an anthill in many ways until I can get rid of this what HDT called 'incessant business'. Always amused at the business 'power' brokers and movers and shakers in business - not that dedication to business is not impressive, but that they can't see how pointles it is and they actually think it means something. People say my perspective will change when I have kids this year. Will it? Ants work and work, raise offspring and work to feed and secure them and then die. Still don't see a difference, to be honest.

A man may be a tough, concentrated, successful money-maker and never contribute to his country anything more than a horrible example. A manager may be tough and practical, squeezing out, while the going is good, the last ounce of profit and dividend, and may leave behind him an exhausted industry and a legacy of industrial hatred. A tough manager may never look outside his own factory walls or be conscious of his partnership in a wider world. I often wonder what strange cud such men sit chewing when their working days are over, and the accumulating riches of the mind have eluded them. (Robert Menzies)