Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Five--Seeking what?

So Jan posted on RevGalBlogPals
I was struck in our weekly Lectio Divina group by a few verses from Psalm 105:3-4:

. . . let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.

Seeking is rejoicing. Rejoicing comes from the seeking, NOT the end of glory, heaven, enlightenment, or whatever. Seeking is the journey--RIGHT NOW!

So for this Friday Five, list what you are seeking, whether it is trivial, profound, or ordinary--whatever you would like to share! List 5 and add a bonus if you feel like it!
I have two thoughts to share of what I am seeking. Or perhaps only one because they are related, or now that I think about it three.

One of the things I struggle with, particularly post cancer, is how to live my life. I mean LIVE my life, not going through the motions, not dulling my senses with surfing the internet. How can I live intentionally each moment. It's a difficult task. It is much easier to waste my time on the internet or with computer games. It's easier not to feel the emotions that sometimes come up--fear, regret, sorrow, sadness, loneliness. When I stuff those feelings, I don't leave room for joy, companionship, happiness, exhileration.

Yesterday a friend asked me "Where do you find meaning?" And the answer is beauty. And I (mis?)quoted I think Keats (?) "Truth is beauty, beauty, truth. That is all you know on earth and all you need to know." As I have thought about what draws me to photography it is beauty--beauty in flowers (my current photography passion), landscape, cities, people, places, nature. I've posted a link on my FB in the last couple of weeks to Dewitt Jones, a photographer who has also done some amazing motivational videos. (A couple were used for a new pastor retreat in Lake Michigan presbytery.) He also writes a bimonthly column for Outdoor Photography. He has started a discipline of finding something beautiful to photograph everyday.

Beauty is what I seek. And I want to share that. And so my latest idea, project, is printing my flower photographs on fabric and then making art throw pillows. A friend made some fantastic suggestions which bring together my love of textiles and color with the photographs. And so I am thinking seriously about melding these together into a "business" to sell my art pillows.

I've also been playing with an idea for a stole for a friend--it's a much guttsier stole than I have made before but I am in love with the idea of piecing together beautiful silks and satins into a stole that (abstractly) tells a story that we both connect to.

Where I am today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Authenticity and Integrity

I was intrigued by an article in the NYTimes on authenticity. It's a big word today. Everyone wants to be authentic. What I hear when I hear authenticity is being true to one's self. Being who one is, not wearing a mask.

When I was growing up the word was integrity. Integrity is a lot like authenticity. Integrity is about being true, being true to one's word, following through with what one has promised, being able to be trusted.

Authenticity and integrity are related--both are related to truth. But, they are polar opposites. Authencity is inwardly focused--being true to who one is, what one wants. Integrity is outwardly focused--being true to others.

I'm sure I don't want to be authentic. I want to be different depending on the circumstances. I am not the same person with my son as with my bridge group. And believe me, my son would not want to be around me if I were the same person with him as with the bridge group. I am not the same person in a cathedral as I am watching a bad movie. I was not the same person as a pastor as with my clergy friends. Each of these masks are me, but they are different.

What I can hope to be in all situations is a person of integrity. I can keep my word, I can be honest. I can not take advantage of people. I can be true.

To some extent, I am feeling a bit cranky and old. I feel like one of those really old cranky people who is constantly saying how things were better then. One of the things that concerns me, though, is our current self focus. What do I want is the important question, not where is the common good. And I am as prone to this as anyone. What has shifted is that selfishness, selfcenteredness is now the accepted norm. I think people have always been selfish and self centered. Moral norms though encouraged people to consider others and the common good. Selfishness was discouraged. Now, it seems everyone has taken Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" seriously. And greed is not good. It is certainly not good for society, free marketeers to the contrary notwithstanding. (And Adam Smith recognized that even in a free market, there must be concern for the common good.) Greed is not good for the individual either. Greed can never be satisfied. There is never enough. There is one more shiny toy. Greed is a deep well that can never be filled. Greed encourages long hours and using people. Greed is not good.

Well, I've wandered around a bit. My thoughts for a Saturday morning.