Yesterday itunes offered the audio book version of “The Alchemist” as a free download. Paulo Coelho is not my favorite but he is usually pretty interesting. I listened to the whole thing yesterday while I was working and I really enjoyed it. Listening to a story makes my day fly by and as long as I’m not doing translating work it doesn’t distract me from making ads. The book stayed in my head all evening and obviously I’m still thinking about it this morning. At one point the Alchemist tells the boy, “There is only one way to learn–through action.” That seems to be the repeating theme for me these days. I must stop just thinking about the things I want to do and go ahead and do them. If I keep waiting till I know what I’m doing to get started I will never get started. This is not a new or profound thought but for some reason it is one that gives me a great deal of trouble.
So my friend told me yesterday that by simply asking she has gotten what for her is a dream gig taking pictures for a music magazine. Her passions are for live jam band type music and for photography. She’s got a great camera, a good eye, and lots of contacts in the metro area’s music scene. She doesn’t have a degree or much in the way of formal training but she has spunk. Boy does she have spunk. She just emailed a music magazine that features jam band kinda music a few of her pictures and asked if she could cover shows for them. And just like that they said yes. They will get her credentials to bring her camera into shows, get her the tickets and then pay her for the photos they publish. Ask and you shall receive. I am so happy for her and proud of her, and well, yes, a tiny bit envious. I say I have a dream of making a living by my visual art. I also have a much less spoken dream of actually writing stuff that people will read and be effected by. But I am light years away from contacting galleries or publishers. I have made up my sample milkjug top magnets but can’t even seem to get up the nerve to drive by the local folk art place to see if they are something that would fit in there. What is that about? Am I still so fear-driven and more to the point, what exactly is it that I am so scared of?The key to change… is to let go of fear. -Rosanne Cash
Has anyone noticed how divine messages seem to come together in force when they are really needed? Our church has been having a series called God at the Office, the main thrust of which has been living out our beliefs in a way that they actually show during the work week. I think everyone, Christian or not, would agree that far too many people cliche-ly “talk the talk” without “walking the walk.” I heard the message and thought about a few ways I could do better. It didn’t really effect the way I worked this morning. Then I listened to Rob Bell’s sermon (All of You) for this week, and lo and behold, he was talking about the same thing. I started thinking more specifically about what I needed to change. Then later in the afternoon my daily verse and quote came from Sojo.net and it said…
“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” – Matthew 5:46-47
– and –
“Contemporary American churches in particular do not require following Christ in his example, spirit, and teachings as a condition of membership—either of entering into or continuing in fellowship of a denomination or a local church…. Most problems in contemporary churches can be explained by the fact that members have not yet decided to follow Christ.” – Dallas Willard The Spirit of the Disciplines
I got the message. I was convicted, perhaps almost repentant, then my coworkers decided the share with me the joke they had laughed at over lunch. They had been talking about who was going to be sent to the printer to oversee the printing of directory. My supervisor had said she would send me and a certain guy on our team. That was the joke. Everyone cracked up. They all thought it was hilarious. This is simply because I have made no attempt to hide the fact that I don’t think very much of him, personally or professionally. I can try and church it up and say he’s my “extra grace required” person, but it’s past that, I don’t like him, I don’t like the way he shares information and I don’t think he does his job well. And I have not kept this to myself. I may not say a lot with words, but my rolled eyes, my way of gesturing towards his cubicle, the things I imply but don’t quite say, my actions have been been plenty clear. I have been judgmental, mean-spirited, and just plain out non-loving. What a Christian example, no? And so now, it is painfully clear to me that my job as a person who wishes to follow the second greatest commandment as well as the first is that I have to show this guy Christ’s love. I am not excited about it. I’m not even sure how to start, though I did just get the idea that a couple of OJ’s be in order. The man loves him some juice. Anyway, even though no one is actually reading this blog I think that just typing this out and having it “out there” should help hold me accountable.
So, I’ve made the leap. I called and signed up for phone and broadband service. It will be hooked up on the 10th. Life as we know it will be changing. Oh, how it will be changing. This morning Little Sebastian recited to me by memory several websites he was ready to visit. I’m feeling just a bit of panic.
So, I’ve been spending the afternoon typesetting little pieces of text fillers that we use in the phone book when I came across this one…
Are you waiting for inspiration?
Deciding you are going to sit down to do some kind of work is often the hardest part of getting a task accomplished. Once you do sit down and begin, often something remarkable takes place, says Steven Pressfield (www.stevenpressfield.com) in The War of Art. A whole sequence of events is set into motion by that one act.
Pressfield says Somerset Maugham was once asked whether he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
According to this all I need to do is set a time to make art and then do it. I am going to try. I have been doing better. I did manage to make some masks for our company’s New Year’s Eve Masquerade ball…
When my family moved from Cancun to Dawsonville we couldn’t bring much. We brought some boxes and some suitcases but most everything was sold before we left. The only piece of furniture we brought with us was our dining room table. It was the first piece of furniture we bought as a young married couple an it really is lovely, hand-carved and heavy. Last winter it cracked as the weather turned cold and all the humidity left the wood, but this summer it has swollen together as it sat all alone in the room that is called the dining room. It is missing a piece that fits on the top and we didn’t have any chairs for it. But I like it sitting there, like a symbol of where we’ve come from, our journey. So now we have some chairs and I’ve been meaning to share the story…So, not this past Saturday, but the one before that I was home alone and it was cold. Not frigid, but coming out of a long hot Georgia summer it felt pretty cold to me. I was sitting on my couch with my Bible, my journal and the study I’ve been working through. I really wanted to take advantage of the empty house but I kept being distracted by feeling cold. I had on what I felt was enough clothes and we are trying to wait as long as possible before turning on the heat for the winter, so I decided I would go outside and stand in the sun. The sun was warm. It felt good. I kinda wandered around my yard a bit. I looked at my sorry excuse for a flower garden and I pondered how to get my ivy to grow in a different direction and I was observing my half-painted mailbox and wondering if I was ever going to finish it when I saw the chairs. Four chairs sitting in the sun at the end of the driveway two houses down. Now in Mexico its common practice to put anything you no longer want or need out at the curb and by the next morning, or sometimes within mere moments, someone who needs that very thing will come along and pick it up and take it away. It’s such an accepted practice that one has to be very careful not leave anything still wanted out in the open for anytime at all or it will be gone. I don’t think its as common here in the US, at least not in places where I have lived, but when I saw the chairs my first thought was that the chairs were unwanted. But then I realized that I live in the United States of America at the end of a quiet street in a middle class neighborhood in a very small town. People do not drive by looking to see if anyone’s trash will be their treasure. I decided maybe they had been put outside in the sun to air out from a spill or some mold or something. I walked over closer to see what I could see.There were four chairs, very used but still solid, almost a matched set. Wood with upholstered seats and cane backs, more traditional than modern but kinda funky. I looked around, no one else was out soaking up the sun. I was feeling pretty convinced that the chairs had been put out for me, they weren’t exactly what I’d been hoping and praying for the past year and a month but extremely close. But I certainly didn’t want to steal them. So I took a deep breath and walk up the neighbor’s driveway, which is rather long, and rang their doorbell. It took a long time for the man of the house to answer and when he did it was pretty obvious he had been asleep. He seemed a bit confused by me standing there and I felt awkward but I managed to ask if the chairs were unwanted and he answered that they were and I said I would like to take them and he said ok. So I thanked him and apologized for waking him and walked back down the driveway. The chairs were just heavy and awkward enough that I had to carry them home one at a time and I was not cold at all by the time I was done. They fit in the dining room quite nicely. They need to be sanded and primed and painted and decorated and the fabric on the seats will need to be changed, but they are cool chairs and I think they will look quite nice in shades of blue. And that’s the whole physical story of the finding and claiming of the chairs, but it’s not really the story I want to tell.The story I really want to tell as how this had had an enormous spiritual impact on me. I don’t really know how to share, because it all seems kinda weird. But I had been praying for those chairs and I absolutely feel like God purposely provided them to me. Just typing it out makes me feel odd. I think I may have to explore this in a later post.