Sunday, November 29, 2009

Beaver Lake

Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains really is beautiful. Our trip this time was quite different (we went about 6 months ago as well). We knew the place, so neither of us felt the need to explore very much; plus, northern Arkansas has already seen the onset of winter. As you can see from the photograph, the trees were bare. Still, that carried its own beauty, I suppose.

We had two full days of exquisite rest. More than that, really. When we arrived on Thursday we had enough time for David to cook our yummy Thanksgiving dinner. Afterwards, we fixed a beautiful fire in the fireplace, something we never do here at home.

I'm so grateful for this little getaway time. We both came back tonight feeling refreshed and happy.

And now a month of hard work ahead of us! Let us begin!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"a beauty that suffered its way through the ache of desolation until the music emerged to equal the desperation"

It's a dark cloudy Saturday. Quiet. I'm a tad sick again and have zero energy. Good thing I finished my sermon yesterday.

A wonderful friend invited me and David to the symphony last night -- her husband plays the trumpet with the Ft. Worth Symphony. Lovely performance. Different, South American music that we all enjoyed. We walked downtown to a nice restaurant afterwards. Heavy, humid night air that I'm sure didn't help my lungs. Worth it, though. We had a nice time.

TCU Horned Frog (Go Frogs!) won again this afternoon, 45 to 10. Wow.

David's back from a 42 mile bicycle ride this morning. He's in the kitchen now preparing for dinner -- Young Man with Integrity and his family are coming over in about an hour. Morgan will once again spend the night with us--wish I had some energy to enjoy her more...

I'm drawn to John O'Donohue on a day like today. Here's just a random passage from his work Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.

Page 179. "To Create Beauty out of Woundedness."
Beauty triumphs over the suffering inherent in life. (Nietzsche)

When we decide to explore our lives through creative expression, it is often surprising to discover that the things that almost destroyed us are the very things that want to talk to us. It could be years later; time makes no difference in the inner sanctum of this encounter. The wound has left its imprint. And yet after all this time the dark providence of the suffering wants to somehow illuminate our lives so that we can now discover the unseen gift that it bequeathed...

...Beauty is not all brightness. In the shadowlands of pain and despair we fine slow, dark beauty. The primeval conversation between darkness and beauty is not audible to the human ear and the threshold where they engage each other is not visible to the eye. Yet at the deepest core they seem to be at work with each other. The guiding intuition of our exploration suggests that beauty is never one-dimensional or one-sided. This is why even in awful circumstances we can still meet beauty...

...The beauty that emerges from woundedness is a beauty infused with feeling: a beauty different from the beauty of landscape and the cold beauty of perfect form. This is a beauty that has suffered its way through the ache of desolation until the words or music emerged to equal the hunger and desperation at its heart. It must also be said that not all woundedness succeeds in finding its way through to beauty. Most woundedness remains hidden, lost inside forgotten silence.

Indeed, in every life there is some wound that continues to weep secretly, even after years of attempted healing. Where woundedness can be refined into beauty a wonderful transfiguration takes place.

For instance, compassion is one of the most beautiful presences a person can bring to the world and most compassion is born from one's own woundedness. When you have felt deep emotional pain, you are able to imagine what the pain of the other is like; their suffering touches you. This is the most decisive and vital threshold in human experience and behavior. The greatest evil and destruction arises when people are unable to feel compassion. The beauty of compassion continues to shelter and save our world. If that beauty were quenched, there would be nothing between us and the end-darkness which would pour in torrents over us.