Monday, November 23, 2020

A Broken Winged Dancingbird


I've put off mentioning this in public much but I felt I needed to explain my Christmas absence to my faithful patrons and why, I'm sorry to say, but I won't be doing a Christmas show this year in my beloved Manhattan Kansas.

Due to COVID19 my glass business slowed to a crawl and I took a job to make ends meet, it was my first one in many, many years. I went to work in the garden center of a local big box home improvement store. 

I schlepped somewhere between 6-12 tons of mulch, dirt, manure, concrete, sand, rocks, bricks, lumber, et cetera daily, while walking an average of 16 miles at work to do it. 

As a result I suffered a pretty severe spinal injury this last summer. I have been under the care of a neurosurgeon, physical therapist, and pain specialist since the end of July. 

My prognosis isn't good. I may or may not be able to return to my passionate career of glassblowing.  Only time will tell that particular story.

I simply can't do production work any more.  No matter what I've tried in terms of setup and how I've tried to accommodate my new physical condition, the reality is, much to my despair, that I simply can't do what I once did.

I don't know what the distant future holds for me or my passion but I am finally coming to the realization that in the near future, the Dancingbird's wings have been broken and he can no longer fly.

When it's too tough for everyone else, it's just right for me.  I know I'll find a way to get through this and ultimately thrive in one way or another.  My faith is strong and with God, all things are possible and all things work for the ultimate good.

So folks, be safe out there this holiday season.  Life can change in a flash and when you least expect it.  Wear a mask!  It's such an easy thing to do and it'll keep your nose warm this winter! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

St. Martin's Lent: Litany For Peace

White Poppies For Peace


We would like to invite all of our friends and associates, who feel called, to join us in prayer on November the 11th, the Feast of St. Martin of Tours, praying for the peace of ourselves, our communities, and the world. As is our tradition, we will be offering the Litany For Peace every hour on the hour. Won’t you please join your prayer with ours? 

Litany For Peace By Archbishop Karl PrĂ¼ter 


Leader: Lord, Heavenly Father help us to become peacemakers, that we may be called, "The Children of God." 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Lord, Heavenly Father, help us purge ourselves of those attributes which make not for peace but which set the stage for war. 

All: Lord hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Lord, open our minds to see ourselves as Thou seest us, or even, as others see us, and save us from all unwillingness to know our infirmities. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: From all hasty utterances of impatience; from the retort of irritation and the taunt of sarcasm; from all infirmity of temper in provoking or being provoked; from love of unkind gossip, and from all idle words that may do hurt, save us, O Lord. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Grant us, O Lord, the strength to obey Thy commandments, that we defraud our brother in nothing. May we never commit adultery or do anything to disturb our neighbor's home or family. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Lord, Heavenly Father, grant that we covet nothing that is our neighbors, neither his house, nor his auto, his bank account, his job, nor anything that is our neighbors. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Heavenly Father, help us to maintain peace within our own households, with our neighbors in our communities, within our own nations, and in the world. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Lord, Heavenly Father we pray not only for the absence of war, but more especially for Thy peace, which passeth all understanding. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace. 

Leader: Lord, Heavenly Father, grant us Christ's wish that we may become One with Him, and with Thee; that in union with Thee, we may desire only what Thou dost desire, and thus come to know Thy perfect peace. 

All: Lord, hear our prayer, and grant us Thy peace, this day and for evermore. Amen.


St. Martin's Lent

St. Martin and the Beggar
By Alfred Tethrl 1836


As we begin St. Martin's Lent I just wanted to wish every a happy St. Martin's Day!  May the peace of Christ be always with you and may you always choose to follow the Prince of Peace!


Friday, October 30, 2020

Ozark Mountains


“Ain't nothin' to a flat country nohow. A man jes naturally wear hisself plumb out a walkin' on a level 'thout ary downhill t' spell him. An' then look how much more there is of hit! Take forty acres o' flat now an' hit's jest a forty, but you take forty acres o' this here Ozark country an' God 'lmighty only knows how much 'twould be if hit war rolled out flat. 'Taint no wonder 't all, God rested when he made these here hills; he jes naturally had t' quit, fer he done his beatenest an' war plumb gin out.” ― Harold Bell Wright, The Shepherd of the Hills

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Stand Up


"Each time a man stands up for an ideal or acts to improve the lot of others or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope and, crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." -Robert Kennedy

Friday, October 23, 2020

Perchance to Hope



Spoiler alert: Star Trek Discovery

I'm about to let my geek colors fly and embrace my inner nerdiness.  You have been forewarned.

I've always been a fan of Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry and his vision for our future, a brave future exploring strange new worlds, seeking out new life and new civilizations, and boldly going where no one has gone before. 

In short, because volumes could be written on the topic,  Roddenberry's vision is a type of utopia centered around human society's future evolution as we reach out to the worlds and subsequent civilizations around us within the stars.  It's a time in earth's future when we've evolved to a point, not of perfection, but to one of being able to look beyond our more selfish individual base instincts to one of reaching out to other.  Other in terms of others not apparent, on the surface, to be like us at all; other in terms of embracing the inalienable reality of the importance of respecting life outside of ourselves; other in terms of attempting to understand, support, and embrace infinite diversity within infinite combinations; other in terms of the immutable truth that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is for everyone, not just ourselves.  This is what Star Trek has always meant to me.  This is the vantage point from which I go forth into my own exploration of life in the universe around me.  That's why "To Love So Well The World" exists for me as a blog. Homo sum; humani nihil a me alienum puto.

Yesterday something I watched made me weep almost uncontrollably, multiple times. No, not the presidential debate, sad as it was, but rather the newest episode of Star Trek Discovery.  I would suggest that if you don't want to encounter a SPOILER DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER.

In the third season of Star Trek Discovery, the intrepid crew of the USS Discovery has been forced, in order to save the universe, to leave their own time period in a one way trip and head into the very distant and unknown future.  In this new future, they discover that the United Federation of Planets (UFP), once a great unifying force in the galaxy dedicated to the above mentioned vision and it's exploratory arm Starfleet has been all but destroyed.  They then begin their quest to unravel the mystery of what has brought down the United Federation of Planets and all they hold dear while at the same time trying to discover what this means to them, their identity, and their mission.

Much like another Star Trek series, Star Trek Voyager which follows the lives of the crew of the USS Voyager who have been displaced on the other side of the galaxy in relation to their home in the Alpha Quadrant, the crew of the USS Discovery must learn what it means to follow the vision and goals of the UFP while essentially being on their own, displaced in time, while experiencing life threatening challenges.

Without getting into to much plot and scene work here, suffice it to say, their moving commitment to the ideals of the Federation and as such, Gene Roddenberry, and by extrapolation, the ideals of the United States is heart moving.  When faced with becoming something else, something less than, and betraying those ideals mentioned above in order to expedite their plight or save their very lives, they choose instead to make a stand, asserting:  "That is not who we are; that is not what we're about.  We're Starfleet."  And I wept.

I wept in large part because I think we as Americans are in the middle of a existential election and have been losing our way.  In the past 3-4 years we've embraced a political reality that is diametrically opposed to those ideals mentioned above and the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Other is now dangerous, less than, and somehow wicked because other is not like us.  We seem to be embracing a world where it's okay to make fun of people for whatever reason; to name call in order to denigrate and diminish other; to boldly lie about anything and everything even in the face of verifiable reality and truth to the contrary; to warp cultural understanding of reality into something it's not because we fear to lose our own personal identity and reality; to disregard science and verifiable fact in service of personal preference or convenience; to abuse other families and children through killing, separation, and caging because they are not like us, their skin is a different color or their gender and or sexuality is different than ours and we fear them.  These are just some of the ways we seem to have gone off track.  And I wept.

I hope we can find our way back to our mission, back to our goals, back to our ideals instead of embracing this fear filled and self-focused isolationism that we seem to have embraced over the last 3-4 years.  I hope we can once again embrace the Great Experiment and the noble and bold goals it embodies.  I hope that we can again be the United States of America, albeit not a perfect union, but one committed to the ideals enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

And now perchance to hope...

Friday, September 4, 2020

Heroes

 
 
I am not a flag waving kind of person. My patriotism is a very personal and private thing for me. I have too much respect for our flag to treat it frivolously, salaciously, or manipulatively. I have never even flown a flag at my home because I was concerned that, with my kind of schedule, I couldn't give it the respect and care that it deserves.

I am also not a huge fan of war nor do I elevate our service people to the level of celebrity or worship as many do. I do, however, have a deep respect for the danger in which they place themselves for what we call service to our country. For that act alone, they are heroes in my book. 

I feel that way about all of our first responders, paramedics, police officers, firefighters et cetera. They are, in their own way and in their own time, heroes. However, so are our teachers, nurses, doctors, and all of our essential employees and in fact everyone is a hero to someone.

In my everyday walk often I'll smile at someone doing a job that impacts my life in some way, be they a convenience store clerk, fast food employee, customer service rep, or whatever and say to them, "you're my hero!" They always brighten up and flash a genuine humble smile. In that moment, with those simple words, you give acknowledgement to their lives, their worth, and their seen and or unseen struggles. You are saying to them that, "I see you. I value you. I appreciate you." 

We all have the opportunity to be, and indeed are, everyday heroes within the scope of our lives. Not everyday or in every way but all of us are at times heroic and make a difference to one another. 

I find it telling and deeply disturbing that our President speaks the way he does about people. I hate the name calling. I hate the belittling. I hate the divisiveness. I hate the casual brutality of his constant dismissiveness of anything that doesn't serve his ego, image, or agenda. I hate his presidency for what it has done to our society socially, psychologically, and spiritually.  Be that as it may, even he, the 45th President of the United States is a hero to many and that, my friend, is something that we need to acknowledge, try to understand, and wrestle with.

Friday, August 14, 2020

My Wish For You

“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness. Continue to allow humor to lighten the burden of your tender heart.” #MayaAngelou

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Love Is Growing Up

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle. Love is a war. Love is growing up.” -James Baldwin