Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Good and Evil

Evil is not really the opposite (in the sense of the opposing and equal counterpart) of good. Trying only to do the opposite of an evil, by studying some particular sin and avoiding it at great effort, doesn't necessarily lead to doing good, but may lead to engaging in quite a different form of evil. The truth is that it has to go in the other direction; the goal must not be just to NOT be evil, it must be to actually BE good. Good is not only that which is not evil; at least, that isn't a useful definition,  not a practical one for understanding which acts or attitudes are good and which are evil, for one can follow a list of things not to do, and still do no good; instead, evil is that which is not good. Goodness is like light, or warmth, or sound; it is a thing in itself. Evil is the absence of it, like darkness, or cold, or silence. Evil is the echo, or the distortion, or the shadow, Good is the original sound, the original image, and the Real Thing.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Brief poetic interlude (on frightening things)

Sights and sounds and scary scenes
Shapes and shadows in my dreams
Never stronger than the angels
Keeping me in love surrounded
And my brain in God's truth grounded
Knowing that the light SHALL win
And in that trust can peace begin...

Monday, May 20, 2013


I often hunger for silence. I need silence in which to reflect, to recover, just to be for awhile. But as much as I need it I am often the one surrounding myself with noise to avoid it. Not to avoid the silence, precisely, because the silence is never silent; it is a space for me to think, and I do not always want to think. The way for me to reach the state of peace and contentment is through the silence but it is not the silence. Allowing silence means allowing a blank canvas, a white space, an emptiness, and that is never the goal-- the goal is to hear and see and feel. To hear myself; to hear God; to see truth; to feel whatever it is that I feel. It takes courage for me to allow that emptiness because I never quite know ahead of time with what it will be filled. But if I do not allow it then I become over-stimulated and exhausted and... numb. I know that can't be the goal. I must schedule silence into my life so that I can sing my prayers to God, so that I can process things, so that I can tap into the creative gifts that God gave me, that He gave me and which therefore I'm certain He intends me not to stifle with too much external stimulation, but to use.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

On finding contentment

I didn't want this time of my life to be remembered as "the time that I had the time to write, read, crochet, draw, study languages for fun, and practice instruments other than my primary instrument, but didn't take advantage of it" so I am insisting that I pick up some projects I had wandered away from and work on them again. I haven't gotten to all of them yet and I might not; I almost never manage to quite do as much as I expect, probably because my expectations don't tend to be very realistic.

However, in just having done what I've done in the past few days, I am feeling an increasing sense of peace and contentment. I remember why I liked doing these things in the first place; they rearrange my insides somehow, into something more -- I'm not sure what the word is. More settled, perhaps; more peaceful, less troubled, less wallowing in unhelpful thoughts and more giving things an outlet and a place to exist outside of my own mind.

As I'm writing this, I remember that that's why I wanted to pursue the arts in the first place. Because I need it as my own sort of soul-therapy, but also because I want to give that help to other people. If I have sat in the audience of a concert feeling thoughts and emotions well up inside me and get expressed through the music, things I wasn't even letting myself notice I was feeling, but that I needed to feel, and then walked out feeling more whole, more like a person-- well, that's what I want to do for other people, if I can. I just hope that I remember that.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some crocheting to do in the few minutes before I go to bed.

Monday, May 13, 2013

What He wants from me*

Approaching Thee with open arms I say:
"Command me, Lord; what hard thing wouldst of me?
What sacrifice, what dreadful price to pay?
What quest, what secret hero must I be?"

Embracing me with open arms You say:
"To live your life, with courage, and with joy
In fellowship with Me to walk each day
Pursue your dreams, your talents to employ

"Be your best self, that is, the girl I made
But think not of the price, for it is paid."

Approaching Thee again I fearful plea:
"But, Lord, I am confused, how could this be?
It sounds so selfish, like I'd live for me
There must be some mistake, life can't be free..."

Embracing me again You smiling say:
"The price, I said, you do not need to pay
And as for selfishness, it is not so
Not if it is because I ask you go.

"Let love for Me be motive for your quest
And pleasing Me be why you try your best."

*an attempt at a poetic paraphrase of a conversation that has happened, well, rather more than once.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

On Fairy-tales

So many greater pens than mine have written original fairy-tales, or fairy-tale adaptations, or essays on the importance of fairy-tales, that I doubt I will manage to say anything new. But I can at least write about why fairy-tales are important to me.

I was pondering why I enjoy certain fairy-tale based works, even though they are far scarier than I (a self-proclaimed wimp) normally tolerate. It hit me last night exactly why: it's not because of the scary monsters and the terrible things that happen, it's because they show heroes fighting against those monsters and winning. Is the faery-land in my mind more peopled with terrifying creatures than it used to be? Maybe, maybe not-- I came up with some surprisingly terrifying nightmares all on my own even as a child. The thing is, along with those terrifying creatures I've met have come brave and capable heroes, loyal friendships, incredible rescues, and true love conquering all manner of difficulties.

A quote I read attributed to GK Chesterton sums it up better than I do: "Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten."

That is exactly why I love--no, not just love, need--fairy tales as much as I do. I need no reminding that there is darkness in the world. I need reminding that there is good, that there is light and love and courage and kindness and justice, and that in the end these are the things that conquer, these are the things that matter, these are the things that will eventually receive their reward.