Art is draining. For the past two days I’ve spent almost every moment of free time working on an art project for class. I finally finished it tonight, and I feel so tired. And this isn’t even real art. I have a new respect for all the artists out there, be they painters, sculptors, musicians, writers, or what have you. Good artists poor themselves into their work for the benefit of their audience. Take notice of that next time and be a little more appreciative of the effort the artist puts into the work.
Love. With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching (sorry for the continued topic, but it should be obvious that lately I’ve been working hard on my contribution) I’ve been pondering what love is all about. Love. What a stupid language we have that I can love my yo-yo, I can love my friend Adam, I can love my girl friend, and I can love God. All the same word, yet all have a different meaning. I could slip into a Greek word study right now, but that’s beside the point.
With all those different meanings, love is very hard to define, much less understand. It can get very confusing and cloudy. It doesn’t help when most people equate sex with love. It’s such a mixed bag that it’s really pretty hard to talk about. Yet I think love is very important. I think it has the ability to bring about a lot of change. But it also has the ability to fade into confusion with an over abundance of hearts and “I love you’s.” Do we really understand what we’re saying when we say those words? Do any of us even say those words? And why can I only say those words to my girl friend?
I think love is so much more. It’s something higher. It’s something that is grossly misunderstood today, even among couples that should understand it. I wish I could define it in exact language. The ambiguity is killing me. I just wish I could get a blanket statement, Love is x. I suppose there are a few of those. A chapter in the Bible lists off several (1 Corinthians 13). A certain cartoon featuring naked eight year olds who are married (as Homer would describe it) tries to explain what love is, and I think it usually does a good job. I think a lot of people need to understand these definitions of love. They’re not so commercialized and marketed. Love doesn’t come in boxes or bouquets. It’s higher than all that. And it’s something everyone needs.
Valentine’s Day is next Sunday, so I think it would be appropriate to talk about love and beauty. The following is an edited exerpt from an e-mail I sent to a friend talking about beauty.
“Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs.” – Pablo Picasso
Today I rediscovered the joy that is hockey. I’ve only managed to play once so far this year, so I donned the skates this evening and went out for an hour or so. Seth and Anders, the two ten year olds I played with, were really cool. They let me play with them and we had a blast chasing the ball around. The ice stunk, my skates were dull, and we were using a tennis ball. But that’s okay, it was hockey, and I loved it. Broomball may be a blast, but nothing comes close to strapping a pair of metal runners to your feet and gliding gracefully across the ice.
Truly remarkable literature tells a story. But not just any story. A powerful story. A wonderful story. An enchanting story. A story that makes you sit back and think and wonder and dream. Tonight I watched the movie version of Les Miserables (1998, the movie, NOT the musical). It’s been a while since I’ve seen such an amazing story. If you don’t know the story, I’m not going to explain it. It’s not exactly that easy (which is what makes it such a great story). Basically what I find amazing is the measure of grace Jean Valjean receives. After being released from 19 years of prison working hard labor, Valjean is angry, bitter and resentful. An old priest gives him a place to stay, and Valjean attempts to steal his silver. When the police return the crook in the morning, the priest ransoms his soul, giving him the silver as well as the silver candlesticks, telling the police he gave the silver to Valjean. The priest’s act of grace astounds Valjean, and he goes on his way a changed man. He begins a new life and lends grace to others as it has been given to him. A near perfect picture of Christ and his love. When we were far from deserving, Christ pardoned our debt and sent us out on a new life. Our mission is to do unto others as Christ has done unto us. That is only the beginning of the story, and it unfolds wonderfully from there. But I found myself captivated and drawn to Valjean. His actions were odd. They called him a hermit. But he was living a life of grace. A life of love. Unbelievable. I could ramble for hours about this. I’m tempted to read the book now (with all my free time, ha!). Such a powerful story is the basis for any good movie, musical, play, or novel. It is a tale of this type that I desire to weave.
Daddy don’t you know that your daughter needs you? Mommy don’t you hear her crying in the night? She wants to be loved. She longs to hear your voice, nothing more than a simple hello. Yet you ignore her, turning your head as if she wasn’t yours. As if you never once held her tender little shape in your arms. As if you never loved her. Why have you grown so callous and cold? When did you shut your eyes and retreat into the night? Where have you gone that you left your daughter so alone? How can you–how dare you treat such a precious gift, such a priceless treasure with such apathy? Some day you will weep when you realize what you have done. Your cheeks will streak with tears and no one will be there to wipe the pain away. You have started this pattern of neglect and someday it will return to haunt you when you realize the daughter you thought you loved is gone. And by then it will be too late. Wake up you fathers, stop your snoozing mothers and know the mess you have made. There may still be time.
Complain, complain, complain. Bicker, bicker, bicker. Sarcasm. Cynicism. Little, tiny annoyances. Differences. Flaws. Stereotypes. I put you in a box and you put me in another. The lines are drawn. You stay over there, and I’ll stay over here. Our societies are splintered. Our communities are divided. What I feel is important. What I want is important. What is different from me, what is not what I want, is wrong. I am important. I am number one. You are secondary. Is this how we are called to live? Then why is it the predominant attitude? Why don’t I look out for someone else?
One of my roommates just got a brand new Macintosh G-3 yesterday. It’s the snazzy new bluish looking Mac with the big handles. Personally, I’m a PC man. I use a PC. I like a PC. I’m some what biased to a PC because it’s the only thing I’ve used (besides my old Commodore 64, but that doesn’t count). But I must say, the new Apples are rather appealing (pun definitely intended). They look good, I mean darn good. They’re aesthetically pleasing. Almost beautiful. There’s just something about a colored computer that’s cool. It’s not your run of the mill computer, which I guess is Apple’s whole deal (Think Different). I do have to wonder how people who care about interior decorating feel about the new Macs though. In a college dorm room, it really doesn’t matter. Just an odd thought. So what am I saying? Nothing really, just that I like what Mac is doing. They’ve got a nice ad campaign going, they have good looking computers, and they don’t have Bill Gates. No other computer company can say that. Hmm, maybe I’ll have to start looking into a Mac. Of course actually using a Mac is a whole other world. Oh Andy, can I…
It’s only the second day of the semester and I already have homework. What do these teachers think they’re doing to me!? I actually had to buy a newspaper and read it. I did come across some interesting stuff though, like Bill Clinton’s new 2000 budget plan for example. At first his plan seems all well and good. Using this surplus to take care of Social Security and Medicare, pay off some debt, and take care of some other concerns. It sounds just peachy, until I read the last half of the article that talked about where all this surplus comes from. It turns out Bill is just taking a stab in the dark at how much money we’ll have in the next fifteen years. Assuming of course that the economy stays just as it is right now. No recessions or anything like that. No change for 15 years!? Yeah Bill, that’s gonna happen. Already the economy is setting records for how long it’s been stable. And he expects it to go 15 more years? The paper was talking about other such predictions of surplus and a six month prediction forecast some 73 million. It turned out to be 166 million. And that was only six months worth. What about 15 years!? Why are we trying to spend money that we might have after 15 years? Why not just wait 15 years and when we have the money sitting in our pockets, spend it then. Then if Bill’s predictions are wrong, we don’t get screwed. Politics is stupid.
Oh yeah, Happy Groundhog Day. I guess the silly ground hog didn’t see his shadow so spring is coming early. Sounds like your average weatherman if you ask me.
You know what? We need to slow down. So many times we just live life at our hurried pace and never stop to smell the roses. Or something cheesy like that. But it’s true. This weekend I was reminded of real beauty as I just gazed into my girlfriend’s eyes. The colors were just amazing. So many times we just don’t notice the things worth noticing. For an hour this weekend I just sat on the couch starring. My eyes shifted between my sleeping girlfriend in my lap and the sun shining across a field of snow as it set outside the window. Two astounding creations of God. And do we ever stop to notice? Not often enough, not often enough.