Friday, December 31, 2010

The other day a fella came into the center with a small box and said his company had some leftover food they were going to donate and wondered if we would like it. I happily accepted his donation and enthusiastically thanked him. Later as I opened the box in anticipation, I found his loving donation to be............well, I'll let the picture speak.

In the following quote by Jeremy Taylor, he exhorts us to redeem the time by reminding us of the opportunities we often waste.

“If, besides the ordinary returns of our prayers and periodical and festival solemnities, and our seldom communions, we should allow to religion and the studies of wisdom those great shares that are trifled away upon vain sorrow, foolish mirth, troublesome ambition, busy covetousness, watchful lust, and impertinent amours, and balls and revel lings, and banquets, all that which was spent viciously, and all that time that lay fallow and without employment, our life would quickly amount to a great sum.”

I wonder if my life was illustrated with a pie chart, how it would fair? What percentage would “lay fallow”, or is spent in front of the television with “foolish mirth”?

Painting by W.C.Duyster

Monday, December 20, 2010

I ran across this photo the other day and it so captures the spirit of childhood for me. With Christmas nearly upon us, and the excitement and anticipation that comes with it for children, I can't help but remember how the true childhood joys came from moments like these depicted in the photo. The times of exploration, stalking creatures, imagined or real; wading in a stream or irrigation ditch anticipating the capture of some wild, elusive creature.
This photo by Umpaporn Sathanphop illustrates the stealth and focused attention required for the catch. Ahhhh, the joys of childhood.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

"The Shakespeare of the divines”, the nick name given to Jeremy Taylor, is clearly illustrated in this following piece. It is from his book “Holy Dying”, where he calls us to prepare for death as we live. It is a sobering and highly practical book. I’ll help set the context by this paragraph --- “Since we stay not here, (on earth), being people but of a day’s abode, and our age is like that of a fly and contemporary with a gourd, we must look somewhere else for an abiding city, a place in another country to fix our house in, whose walls and foundation is God, where we must find rest, or else be restless for ever.”

Now the following piece is on the brevity and vanity of life, admittedly a difficult read but worth it.

“It is a mighty change that is made by the death of every person, and it is visible to us who are alive. Reckon but from the sprightfulness of youth, and the fair cheeks and full eyes of childhood, from the vigorousness and strong flexure of the joints of five-and-twenty, to the hollowness and dead paleness, to the loathsomeness and horror of a three day’s burial, and we shall perceive the distance to be very great and very strange. But so have I seen a rose newly springing from the clefts of its hood, and at first it was fair as the morning, and full with the dew of heaven as a lamb’s fleece; but when a ruder breath had forced open its virgin modesty, and dismantled its too youthful and unripe retirements, it began to put on darkness, and to decline to softness and the symptoms of a sickly age; it bowed the head, and broke its stalk, and at night having lost some of its leaves and all its beauty, it fell into the portion of weeds and outworn faces. The same is the portion of every man and every woman, the heritage of worms and serpents, rottenness and cold dishonor, and our beauty so changed, that our acquaintance quickly knew us not; and that change mingled with so much horror, or else meets so with our fears and weak discoursing, that they who six hours ago tended upon us either with charitable or ambitious services, cannot without some regret stay in the room alone where the body lies stripped of its life and honor. I have read of a fair young German gentleman who living often refused to be pictured, but put off the importunity of his friend’s desire by giving way that after a few days’ burial they might send a painter to his vault, and if they saw cause for it draw the image of his death unto life: they did so, and found his face half eaten, and his midriff and backbone full of serpents; and so he stands pictured among his armed ancestors. So does the fairest beauty change, and it will be as bad with you and me; and then what servants shall we have to wait upon us in the grave? What friends to visit us?”

Top picture by James Pan, bottom picture by Facundo Jose.