30 Jul 2005

Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line
Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine.
If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born.
“Come in,” she said,
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

– Bob Dylan

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Henri Matisse
A Glimpse of Notre Dame in the Late Afternoon


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posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

29 Jul 2005

Who rises from prayer a better man, his prayer is answered.

– George Meredith

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

I feel sometimes as if I am insubstantial, a ghost within the world, nothing nowhere nobody. I do not know why. I have friends, family, I love and hate, work and play — but none of it seems to me to have made any kind of imprint on the world. I am as the wind, that passes by, and is thought of no more. I do not know what could cure me of this condition, that perhaps there is something I could create, or perhaps if I were to have children, I would feel some solidity to that which is me. Or is it the human condition, that we all of us leave few marks that we ever were? And what I sense is how ephemeral our existence is, how fleeting is this whole business of life…. Better make something of today, if that is so. Pass not from this world with few memories and many regrets, for even if I leave no mark on it, I would perhaps… that the imprint of the world on me is worthy of all the breaths I have taken.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

28 Jul 2005

I live sometimes as if all the drama in the world has already been played out a thousand times, or more. And much of it has, I think. It’s why you can’t copyright story ideas, because all of them have been done and done and done, just with different words written in a different handwriting. But it is not with sadness or regret that I feel this way in the course I am traveling — it is more a sort of cruise control down the fairway, and I just gently steer left and right, no surprises right now, nothing to disrupt the flow. I imagine there will come days when everything will turn upside down and inside out, and that day may be near, to strike out of the blue — but even this prognostication does little to upset me. We tend to survive those kinds of things, n’est-ce pas? I’ll just wait here, in plain view, and perhaps fate has nothing to render upon me for the time being; ordinary days don’t get the credit they deserve. This day is well spent taking care of this day, and nothing more.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

26 Jul 2005

We are weaker than we know, and stronger than we can imagine.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Again with Thought

Thought is a thief
that steals away the seconds,
whole moments snatched
from becoming anything, rendered
inarticulate questions
that never get answered.
And all I do sometimes
is think think think, when there are
so many stories in me
I want to tell, so many
contraptions I want to build,
so many conversations
that never get started —
all there is is the imagining,
protoforms that no one else
understands (myself barely
if at all). I conceive revolutions,
if you must know,
like any self-respecting artist….
I can only foresee,
if my dreams somehow come true,
that far in the future
someone will hear about
all my sacrifices, and then,
hear about what I made happen
in this world of ours —
and they will not nod, and say
that it was all worth it,
but merely tilt their head,
offering no judgment at all,
only sympathy, sympathy.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

25 Jul 2005

I have desired to fly to Heaven, not understanding that it is better instead to climb.

I have desired at times to throw it all away, but afraid I was that there was nothing else.

I have desired wealth and fame, like many, then thought, “why?” and found no good answer.

I have desired things I have regretted, but rarely does anyone ever get these kinds of things.

I have desired to be noble and self-sacrificing, but mostly, it was just another form of vanity.

I have desired to achieve greatness, then I was afraid that I would succeed in doing so.

I have desired truth, but then, I imagine there are some truths I would regret knowing.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

23 Jul 2005

Pride calls me to the window, gluttony to the table, wantonness to the bed, laziness to the chimney-corner; ambition commands me to go upstairs, and covetousness to come down. Vices, I see, are as well contrary to themselves as to virtue. Free me, Lord, from this distracted case; fetch me from being sin’s servant to be Thine, whose “service is perfect freedom,” for Thou art but one, and ever the same.

– Thomas Fuller

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Jan Vermeer van Delft
Girl with a Pearl Earring


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posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

22 Jul 2005

Why is it that such beauty can come from sadness? Why is it that it seems that the most moving of poetry comes from such depths of sorrow, that joy is never so exquisitely expressed? There is no other music quite like the blues, none other with such soul — that phrase perhaps meaning that no other communiqué pours the contents of one soul into another quite as well. Is it that all of us so readily relate to pain, that it is the greatest thrust of the human condition? And perhaps it is in us not to react automatically with glad at another’s happiness. Perhaps it is the opposite of the saying, after all, that when you cry, the whole world understands, and when you laugh, no one else wants to know why. Perhaps it is part of the ineffable Plan, that the consolation of sadness is the more immortal fruit. Still, I’d rather be happy. And I think I am not alone in this, foolishness that it may be — wisdom elsewhere, dwelling in the house of mourning.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

21 Jul 2005

Be modest with your promises.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

There is quiet in unexpected places, small windows:
perhaps this is where we truly connect with the world, be at one:
when everything is still, I imagine time stopped, just for me.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

19 Jul 2005

A simple rule, to be followed whether one is in the light or not, gives backbone to one’s spiritual life, as nothing else can.

– Evelyn Underhill

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

I dither my time away. I do nothing for stretches — that’s the best way to explain it — I can’t for the life of me remember where the time went. How many years will it be, when the moments are all counted at the end of this life, the sum total of my wasting time? No, not practicing patience, for I wait not for anything at all, barely paying attention to the TV or the internet or the radio, letting my mind drift off in worthless worry… and all I do is age. I take a few minutes to jot this down, but I know I will go back to it, as soon as I am done here: let the day slip by, with nary a fingerprint on it to say that I was there. And always, always, conceive that tomorrow will bring with it some mysterious diligence, some change will happen upon my waking the next morning. Sigh. I think I will go and look in the mirror. The last time I checked, I was a pimply faced teenager; it couldn’t have been that long, could it?

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

18 Jul 2005

Strange noises in the night, even here, in the middle of somewhere… and I find I am found, no longer lost, and I wonder what that might mean. What do I do, now? Could it really be that it was easier, back then, when I was in desperation, praying that my heart no longer hurt, hurt with the pains of despair, with the anguish of he who has all but thrown life away? Christ picked me up from a very low place, but now I am finally beginning to feel secure in my faith — secure enough not to need to constantly beseech Him above to save me upon my dying. But back then, I had a plan, didn’t I? Step one: get myself saved. And now, now I find I didn’t think any further ahead than that. There are strange noises in the night, even here, in the middle of somewhere… and I momentarily flash back to the me who would have been so terrified of unknowns like this, who would need Christ so to calm his heart, for it could not be calmed in any way he knew how — and the desperate prayer of he who had become mentally unstable. But now, all I need do is wait a moment, and discern it is merely the neighbor, moving something around outside.

I never planned for success. In my youth, I had great dreams, but I neither believed I would succeed or fail, as I really had no idea of the taste of either. Then came the troubles, and I understood very deeply what it was for me to dwell in the latter, to fail, and fail, and fail. Jesus Christ then came and saved me not merely in some faraway “next world,” but in this one, too, though it was by no means a short process. So long did it take, that years after I gave my heart to him, it snuck up on me: I suddenly find myself whole, and I really did not see it coming. And so, I ask, what do I do? For I am no saint, and cannot do the more drastic of paths He laid out, to sell all I have, give it to the poor, and go and follow Him. And I wish not to go back to the desperation of the lost. Do I wait, to see a sign? Or is it merely corruption in me that wants to see something like that (for He said He would only show the sign of Jonah)? Perhaps there is no easy resolution to this question. Here, perhaps the sign of life itself: now I have reentered the great stream of being. Now I have enough to go my way, and make something of myself.

Normality to me is strange. But I imagine I’ll get used to it. My stab at this (life) is maybe just to follow the Golden Rule wherever I go, and see what I would have done unto me, and do so to others. Other than that, I imagine the Lord would have of me something of which I as yet know not. But maybe I am finally ready to do it.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

16 Jul 2005

In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation an’ they gave me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
“Come in,” she said,
“I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

– Bob Dylan

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Tintoretto
Christ at the Sea of Galilee


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posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

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