Monthly Archives: July 2014

Random Thoughts

Hi!

Well, not sure how random they are, but I needed a quick title.

I just finished reading, Dead Man Walking, by Sister Helen Prejean.  One quote struck a chord.  She said:

“In 1980 my religious community, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Medaille, had made a commitment to “stand on the side of the poor,” and I had assented, but reluctantly.  I resisted this recasting of the faith of my childhood, where what counted was a personal relationship with God, inner peace, kindness to others, and heaven when this life was done.  I didn’t want to struggle with politics and economics.  We were nuns, after all, not social workers, and some realities in  life were, for better or worse, rather fixed – like the gap between rich and poor.  Even Jesus Christ himself had said, “The poor you will always have with you.”  Besides, it was all so complex and confusing- the mess the world was in – with one social problem meshed with other problems…” (p.5)

She was moved by the fact that the US made up of about “6 percent of the world’s population,” yet consumed “48 percent of the world’s goods”… (p.5)  (Not sure if this statistic is still current – the book was written around 1984-85.)

The speaker “pointed out that to claim to be apolitical or neutral in the face of such injustices would be, in actuality, to uphold the status quo – a very political position to take, and on the side of the oppressors” (p.5-6).

The speaker also asserted, “The Gospels record that Jesus preached good news to the poor…and an essential part of that good news was that they were to be poor no longer.” Which meant they were not to meekly accept their poverty and suffering as God’s will, but, instead, struggle to obtain the necessities of life which were rightfully theirs.  And Jesus’ challenge to the nonpoor, she emphasized, was to relinquish their affluence and to share their resources with the dispossessed” (p. 6)

It was an interesting read, particularly as I had just finished reading Persuaders – Influence Peddling, Lobbying and Political Corruption in Canada by Paul Malvern.  At the beginning of the book, he suggests that the reader get a “stiff drink”.  I was doing okay until I got to the part where a Commission formed to tackle “overt racism” began to come up with other forms of “subtle racism” to keep the Commission going – they didn’t want to be unemployed.  It seems it is in the Commissions best interest to cause problems, to stir the pot.  

I read this in disbelief – They actually want to cause divisiveness, conflict, bitterness, resentment between Canadian-born peoples and Immigrants and Non-Whites.  It was almost time for that “stiff drink” but I somehow managed to hold it together.

And, then I picked up, Dead Man Walking – a friend had suggested it.  When I began to read about the politics involved in the Death Penalty, and prisoners on Death Row, it was time for that “stiff drink”.  (Seriously, Kahlua and Milk X 2, my friends!)

But hey, at least in Canada it’s only money that the elite stealing from our pockets – Maybe we should count our blessings that we’re not being sent off to the electric chair, so the “Governor”does not look like he is “soft on crime”? Reelection is electrifying in America.

I believe Sister Helen Prejean said that when you stand up for the poor, you are going to be political – you will naturally become a target.  Makes sense, given that the elite are fueled by fear and greed.  To try and get them to pry the money/resources out of their hands is going to be difficult to say the least.

My gut is, “Oh Crud!”  Does this mean I am going to have to stand up, speak up for those who cannot?  I feel challenged, inspired and downright frightened by both Malvern and Sister Helen, two people, like you and I, who found the courage to speak, and who could no longer stand by, allowing injustices to be swept under the rug by the elite.

How you and I respond is entirely up to us.  Maybe a song by the wonderful Emile Sande will help to encourage?  Let it be our song because we really are “wonderful, wonderful people!”

Praying for us “little guys”.

Ellie

 

 

Joie de Vivre via Wiki…

Hello!

“Joie de vivre” (or the “joy of living”) is an expression for a rare quality that simply shines forth in some people, an ability to love life to its fullest and to reflect this in both personality and deed. Unfortunately, for many of us the hustle and bustle of everyday life can wear us down to a pile of complaints so that all we see is the less joyful side of things, and we sidestep joie de vivre under piles of duty, worries, and the occasional catastrophe. Yet, recapturing love and enthusiasm for simple things in life, a quality that came effortlessly to us as children, is important for our sense of well-being and fulfillment. It is not about being ‘happy’, a word rooted from happenstance, fully dependent on the situation. But being joyful comes from something deep down.

Joie de vivre cannot be bought, nor can it be sourced from an endless obsession for acquiring things we don’t yet possess; and it most certainly cannot be found in increasing our work obligations without really thinking about where doing this takes us. Joie de vivre is about unburdening ourselves from want, and rediscovering the simple joys of life and of noticing that small things that matter. Inspiring your joie de vivre begins here.”

Well, are you feeling inspired to cast off all of your burdens and cares and live with a spirit of “Joie de Vivre”?  Well, do you?

It’s a bit odd how I stumbled on this Wiki Article.  I was looking up name meanings – do not ask me why – Apparently, my grandmother’s name, Dolorosa, means “the way of grief”, from Via Dolorosa, a road in the old city of Jerusalem, where it is believed that Jesus walked, carrying his cross to Golgotha.

I felt kind of bad for my grandmother – to have to carry such a sad name – She was nick-named Rose, so I guess that’s better, and much more suitable to her wonderfully kind and generous nature…

“What’s in a name?  that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet” but I digress…

I wondered about Jesus telling us that we are to be like little children – It’s been so long since I’ve been one – who can remember the bloody details???   So, lately I have been paying attention to how kids act.

A few days ago I was walking down the street, and there was this little girl, wearing a jean dress (SUPER cute), and she KNEW it.  She turned around to me, and said, “Hello”.  I said “Hello” back, but didn’t initiate further conversation.  (I hate how our culture makes us feel like we’re all a threat to the innocents of the world!)

Anyway, I guess the mom is used to her extroverted daughter saying “Hello” to random strangers because mom simply smiled.

This article on “WIKI How to” gave me some insight into these precious “little children”. They actually STOP and enjoy the moment, savoring every little bit of it for what it’s worth.

Huh?  Actually stopping to smell the roses???

If you would like to read some tips on how to get “Joie to Vivre”, here you go:  http://www.wikihow.com/Capture-Joie-De-Vivre

They also have a “How to Kiss” article in case you feel you may be in need of a tune-up…Speaking of kissing, “Romeo, Romeo, where ART thou Romeo???”

Sigh… Oh right, enjoying the moment, the present for all it is worth – unloading my worries and cares … how quickly we forget …

Blessings,

Ms. Ellie

Children and Other Such Musings…

Hi there!

I hope you are all well…

I went off to the gym this morning.  I passed by a young boy putting money into a parking meter.  I can hardly figure out those machines, so I was pretty impressed by him.  He stood there, reading, and then starting plunking change into it.

I continued up the side-walk, and saw the boy’s mother along with a daughter. The little girl looked up at me, and as I passed spun around to watch me.

I continued on my way, and as I approached the building noticed in the alley two big containers with garbage overflowing.  I most likely made an “icky” face, and continued on to the gym.

As I waited for the gym to open, the family passed by, and then returned from their mission.

While passing by the same garbage bins I had, the little girl said, “Ooh, garbage.  It’s stinky.”  Apparently, the little girl and I have the same disdain for garbage…

The thing is – the garbage didn’t really stink.  For the little girl and I, it was just the thought of the garbage that made us both make the same “icky” face.  She voiced her opinion about the garbage matter loudly, while I, the adult, remained quiet.

that leads me to the second thing – It kind of felt like I was looking at myself…I know parents have these moments with their children, but it was just odd to see myself in this little girl.

Shall I now go on to “spiritualize” garbage?  I don’t really want to, but feel that I should…

Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

I remember a sermon preached on filthy rags.  It’s not cool to think of ourselves in such a lowly way.  We want happy!  We want the, ‘We’re all going to heaven version” of the story.  I kind of like that version, myself…

We don’t want to think about the wrath of God, or to think that we should receive the brunt of God’s wrath, but we are told, “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [God’s]throne” (Psalms 89:14 and 97:2).

We Christians believe that Jesus came to take on our filthy rags, to make us right (or righteous) before God, as “They have all fallen away;/together they have become corrupt;/there is none who does good,/not even one..(Psalm 53:3).

And, when I see that over 100 people have now been killed in Gaza, I want justice.  I want God to return to make everything right, to make wars and conflicts stop – it is always the civilians that are most hurt by these ‘national’ conflicts.

Filthy rags!  This is what we see around us – on the television, on our streets, sometimes, it is within our own homes and families…

Jesus said,  “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
(Luke 18:7-8)

Faith?  When I was on the cardio machine, this is what I told God that I would keep:
my faith… But, “Even so, “Come Lord Jesus”…Amen!”(Revelation 22:20).  Amen!

Blessings,

Ellie

 

 

The Lady of Shalott

Greetings!

A few years back I made a trip to Kingston for the weekend.    I would have preferred Montreal, but a couple of people suggested it, so I thought it must be from God, right?  🙂

I am not entirely sure of that, but just before I went off to Kingston, I pulled out a book from my shelf my mom had bought me for my birthday a few months earlier.  It was written by her pastor, Ian Dunn, called “Rescuing the Beauty“.  The front cover has a picture of a tower.

The book had been written for husbands, and told them how they needed to battle for their wives.  Dunn argues that when Eve was being tempted by Satan in the Garden, Adam was standing right beside her and did nothing.  It was his job to protect her, and he failed.  According to Dunn, husbands have been making this same mistake ever since the Fall .

I arrived in Kingston at the Bed & Breakfast, and was shown to my room.  I took out the book.  While sitting in the room, I looked over at the wall beside the bed, and saw a picture of “The Lady of Shalott”.  I recognized her from having studied the poem in my Victorian Literature class.    Here’s the picture:

Now, “The Lady of Shalott” lived in a tower.    There was a curse on the Lady.  If she looked out of the window directly, she would die.

She employed herself by embroidering scenes from the outside world in her tapestry through the reflection of a mirror.

As you can imagine, the Lady becomes lonely due to isolation from society.

  And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half-sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

One day Sir Lancelot rides by.  Over to you, Tennyson:

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flashed into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

So what’s a girl to do?

  She left the web, she left the loom;
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

So, what does “The Lady of Shalott” and “Rescuing the Beauty” have to do with my trip to Kingston?

I have tried to process the meaning of it.  I feel like it is too coincidental to be coincidental.

So, what does this poem say to me?

Well, for starters, like The Lady of Shalott I “hath no loyal knight and true”.

Isaiah 38:12 says, My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me/like a shepherd’s tent;/like a weaver I have rolled up my life;/he cuts me off from the loom…”  Hezekiah, the King of Judah (I believe), was sick to the point of death.  He prayed a prayer for deliverance and God heard him, and healed him.  

The word that jumped out at me in this passage was “loom”.   Hezekiah believed that God was cutting him “off from the loom”.  His story in God’s plan was over…

The Lady of Shalott “left the web…left the loom” to pursue Lancelot.  She voluntarily “left the loom”.  She wanted something of the real world, not the artificial tapestry.

But, it is God’s loom.

I like the idea of a tapestry that God is weaving.  He is the one weaving His story and His purposes into this tapestry.  And, we get to be a part of God’s story.

Sometimes, what is “shiny” or “somewhere out there” can look good to us, in view of our limited and sometimes mundane every day tasks.

I am absolutely certain that God is weaving something beautiful.  (Even if we cannot understand or see it.)  We just need to have a little hope and faith.

Blessings,

Ellie

Question:  What do you see in the poem, The Lady of Shalott?