A side discovery to this was finding an amazing portrait of over 400 of the 1000 plus Scottish dissenters who met to begin their independence movement. A painter present for the festivities wanted to memorialize the confab and a photographer who was also present offered to take pictures of the rabble as reference material. It was a pioneering event in the history of photography and resulted in one amazing 5’ x 11’ painting. (See image here)
The theme of this blog is the life we live in between. We have our main life, usually one of work and home and family. And we have our other life. The one we use to offset the primary life. Vacation. Hobbies. Community service. If we lived only in the first life we might function responsibly but we might also arrive at that dreaded sense of stagnancy. Endless cycles in the mundane. Featureless existence on a long slog towards our demise.
Life proceeds without our prompting. But our sense of being alive depends crucially on our ability to inject our energy into it. And this ability must be expressed in two ways; our responsible existence, and our crazy life. In the time we are allowed we are provided the opportunity to create this crazy space that helps us to regain something. I know that life wants a discussion about what is possible. But practical Dave says this can’t happen. Or that is just plain crazy. We can’t afford it. It can’t be done. Dreamer Dave says “Why not?” So we move into little spots where our dreams can meet up with reality. We buy a boat. We start a project that benefits the community. We open our minds to a way of thinking that isn’t part of our habit.
I find that this creates a space in between. I call it “Life in the Hyphen” because it exists as real as both sides of life. It is where we find wholeness and peace. If we are courageous enough to create both we can then find a point of balance in that “between”.
We’ve come back around to the season of gratitude. My favorite time of year. This year we have the option to click on a Facebook app which assembles a photo montage to pay tribute to a friend and that’s just fine I guess. But something in the “easy” is awkward. Like giving or receiving an electronic “Thank-you” card that was done with just a click or two. It works from that low level position of minimal effort because hey, don’t we all know that inarticulate and time-pressed feeling? And sometimes it’s nice to be able to send a quick feel good message because it’s one of many other things demanding our attention. But we are still capable of real attention, right?
Anyway, here’s hoping I never lose that ability altogether. And here’s the list of what I’m grateful for. I wrote it the other day. Today I wrote the second part of each one because the first part seemed way too corny.
I am grateful to be a warm blooded person on this planet. Try cold-blooded sometime. Makes you grateful real quick.
I am grateful for friends in my neighborhood who genuinely care enough to listen as I try to express what is important to me. And if you’re just pretending you’re doing it very, very well.
I am grateful that I still have an urge to find a way to give more than I have given. That’s a nice way of saying I’m a slug in this department.
I am grateful that my eyes are not dimmed by age to the point where I no longer see the intense wonder that my youth taught me. Now if my youth would just quit going on sabbatical.
I am grateful that I know one person who joins with me in a promise to stand by and elevate every moment together as a demonstration of shared love. And for not thinking this is all sentimental bullshit.
I am grateful for the wisdom of my body when it knows what is enough. Most of the time.
I am grateful for glorious, unexpected elation that comes when I stop demanding it. But I was really hoping for last Tuesday at three.
I am grateful for the ability to work on something that faith tells me is possible. And for the ability to stop working on something when it all goes to hell.
I am grateful for the quiet peace of a lazy afternoon. Because then I can just space out… I mean “be creative.”
I am grateful because being grateful builds a stronger heart. And I should quit here because I just used “grateful” twice in one sentence.