Sunday the 1st: Whither thou goest…

Posted on August 10, 2014. Filed under: Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

As a teen in the Christian church of my Mother, I learned many scriptures.  Then, and still today, I find much of the King James’ Version of the Holy Bible difficult to read or even to understand.  There is much seeming redundancy in the writings and, after so many centuries, different meanings to words used.  I could refer you to my postings on the word “passion” for illustration.  In that environment, I memorized many passages on my own that, to me, where so eloquent they literally sang to my deepest soul.

Many of those KJV passages have an impact unmatched in other sources.  I have always been more attracted to the human saga recounted in its various books than the historical and political accounts.  The former speak to the soul in shades of sorrow, love, commitment, hope and of the staggering wonder of the Universe.  Two that come quickly to my mind are:

  • Psalms 139 (the whole thing)  “Oh Lord, thou hast searched me and known me…”
  • First Corinthians 13 (the whole thing)  “Love is longsuffering, kind…”

On the stage of human drama, there is far and away only one account that, though simply a collection of words, flows like liquid music from the page, and settles like the gentlest of breezes over the heart and soul of the reader or listener.  Even as a teen, reading it choked me up.  To me, this is the most beautiful passage about the human condition in the entire Bible, but only in the King James’ Version:

Leaving a land of misfortune and personal disaster, a young woman chased after her equally distraught mother-in-law, who had urged her to return to her native home, and begged to be allowed to stay with her:

  • Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee:  for whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge:  thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:  where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried:  the Lord do to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.  (KJV, The Book of Ruth)

I still get choked up reading that.

 

 

 

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Sorrow

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Memories | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Yeah.  It’s not what I indicated would be the next topic.  I pretty much had “The Merger” composed, but before finalizing it, there was this distraction.  It wasn’t much at first, just a hint of…   something…   like the whisper made by a butterfly’s shadow as it flits along a sunlit wall.  Just that tiny focus of attention was enough, and, through that opening, zephyrs from other-when, laden with yesterday’s treasure, wended their gentle paths through my thoughts. 

Familiar faces, sounds, smells.  Like they were still here. Happy times, and not so happy times.  And, then, I am in front of the reason I avoid this place — that door.  The one that opens without my hand, the one that hides the endless, dark emptiness that all of us fear.  Again, it opened.  again I trembled and shook as it swallowed me, again the tears choked me, and again I silently screamed my useless anger to an unresponsive void.

I’m from a large family.  This month marks the passing of two of us, and next month that of another.  Some years ago, I wrote a poem after the youngest of use became the first to take this voyage.  Following is an excerpt of Pegasus (In Memoriam:  DKD)

Life’s morning, so fresh and bright, softly glowed from her waiting gaze; He knew not how soon the night for her would come and steal her days.

Time.  Memory.  Pain.  Regret.  The measured beat of sorrow’s song.   Time, memory, pain, regret — echoes left by a life now gone.

Sorrow is a concomitant of LIFE; you can’t sneak through without being touched by it.  Like passion, it is fed by mysterious springs from deep within the psyche, suddenly breaking loose and crashing like a storm surge along the beaches of our well-ordered lives.

Words.  We live by them.  But, sometimes, we just cry.

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Passion: The Intervention

Posted on March 4, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, language | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

C’mon!  Get outta here!!  PCs got passion?  Sneakers got passion?  If you doubt that, pay attention to those television ads.

The “how to” guide I read that introduced me to this blogging thing makes the innocent observation up front that, at some point, I must get passionate about this pursuit if I wish to be “successful” at it.  Fair enough, I can concur with that usage, but, the author almost lost me a few paragraphs later when, in lieu of the word interests, he plugged in passions — repeatedly.  Within the context of that author’s point, I — like the cheetah — would have “checked out all the interesting choices, made a selection, then broke into an all-out passionate sprint toward the goal.”  Actually, had I written the manual, the words passion and passionate would not have appeared at all.  There are too many other words available without resorting to perfunctory HYPERBOLE.  The use of passion here is way overstating the effort.

Passion, it seems, is perceived as being a mere synonym of interest, but, passion is not a synonym for anything.  Using it as such says, “Look, everybody, I’m ignorant but Bertrand Russell used the word wrong decades ago, and he is a Great Learned one, so it must be a refined word, and, by using it indiscriminately myself, maybe you will mistake me for a Great Learned Refined Person.”  Maybe that sounds a bit mean-spirited, but, I just get riled up over this repeating-by-rote-because-it-sounds-refined thing.  And, it’s not my fault either, because PBS is the one that sensitized  me to it.

Passion is not a choice.  It is an imposed condition, a restless beast caged within, responding only to the command of its master, the mysterious Psyche.  We do not schedule its release, it is just suddenly there like a lightning-torched forest fire, and we succumb to its power, either in anguish or mindless exhilaration, so long as it rages.

How about it, writers and speakers?  Let’s get Passion off that street corner, pandering that which defines it to every trite expression that walks by and every product or service looking to really appear relevant.  Have you no sense of shame?  (I shouldn’t have asked that question; I know the answer.)

Next up:  I dunno.  It’s a new week, I’ll think up something.

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Passion: Can A Word Pimp Itself Out?

Posted on March 2, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, language | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

A block or two from the wharf where my blog (a.k.a., The Queen Mary) is laying over, I noted someone on the corner who looked a little familiar, someone from the far past.  I must admit, that bright red outfit looked hot, and, when Red motioned me over, I pulled over.  Turned out to be a little bizarre, but our verbal exchange sort of went this way:

     Me:   Do I know you?  Red:  Of course you doI’m Passionate. Me:  ??  Passion?  Is that REALLY your?  Red:  Don’t act so surprised.  We all change a little over time.  Look at you.  How do you explain all that?  Me:  What are you doing out here on the street, pulling people over?  Red:  A word has to turn a phrase somehow.  Me:  So indiscriminately?  You used to be so pure, describing both the depth and exquisiteness of suffering.  Red:  Hey!  It’s NOT my fault!  Your modern civilizations just aren’t into public mass executions and global poverty anymore, so where is all the suffering?  I’ll tell you where — no big name sneakers for Christmas, that’s where.  We turn that wish list into a “passion parade” and I get plenty of work in this town, Mr. High and Mighty.  Me:  So, you are no longer a Puritan but have lost your meaning, the very thing that defines you, to that Western Hyperbole Operation Revamping English?  (No way I’m going near that acronym.)  Red:  I am what I am, buster.  Now you got a gig for me or not?  Need to convince someone that his big passion is a new wart removal system?  How about PC’s?  The right one guarantees your path to passion pasture.  I can’t say enough about these athletic ambulation systems (a.k.a., sneakers), how they let you spring into that pursuit of your favorite passion.  And, this….

I left Red in mid-babble, all alone on that dark corner.  Well, not quite alone, ’cause there seemed to be a line forming to sample the wares.

Next up:  Passion:  The Intervention

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Passion: All Cheetahs Have It

Posted on March 1, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, language | Tags: , , , , , , |

Passion, then, is best described as an extra-normal condition that manifests itself in normal people from time to time.  It is a temporary condition that is all-consuming, full of angst, and selectively justifies everything in accordance with the demands of its very narrow goals.  A passion that does not abate is an ongoing condition called obsession.  (Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that resides just a few doors down from a place called Madness.)

Cheetahs got passion?  An ongoing concern for the cheetah (your standard African house cat) is a daily need to eat.  It spends much of the day looking over the available menu items, and, while almost every thing is appealing, there is a slight problem:  none of the juicy tidbits is eager to join him for din-din.  That means serious take-out, along with all the associated problems.  Our spotted tabby makes a selection, moves in as close as possible, and then — pedal to the metal — sells out its entire energy supply to sate an uncompromising need.  Whether successful or not, the big cat cannot reproduce this extreme effort until its energy stores are replaced.  This all-consuming need — survival at its most primal — moves through the cat like the rhythm of the tides, now ebbing, now surging, manifesting itself in all-out effort, heedless of the cost to SELF; the goal is all there is.  Passion, by definition, is a trait of the cheetah.

When it comes to passion, my antipathy toward it (or, at least, toward the current tendency to overuse the word) has its roots in a year 2011 PBS series about a former US president, Woodrow Wilson.  No problem with Woodrow, you understand, rather with the repetitious use of the word passion to describe seemingly everything about him.  Numerous blurbs about his interests, attested to one after the other by various attestants, each oozing the word “passionate” from between their lips as they lovingly caressed every syllable.  I lost count of how many passions he pursued (simultaneously?) before I passionately pursued a quest for a barf-bag while fumbling desperately for the remote channel changer.  (Honest, I would have taken notes had I known I was destined to be plugging away at this blog.)

I point you to my two previous observations about obsession and the personal cost of the cheetah’s pursuits.  Either Woodrow was a mad man, or, me thinks, the attesting attestants attesteth too much.  (Yeah, I should apologize for that, but, I think it’s pretty cute.)

Next up:  Can a word pimp itself out?

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Passion: A Real Pain

Posted on February 29, 2012. Filed under: language, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Passion.  Just what does that word mean?  I’ve heard it used all my life;  until recently, not a lot, but enough to get a feel for its meaning.  In my really early years, it was just a word that conveyed some sort of meaning that eluded me, such as the thread at the top of a New Testament page (Holy Bible, KJV) that read “The Passion of the Christ: in reference to The Crucifiction.  Imagine my confusion later when I realized the word was most often used in association with a heightened awareness of sexual attraction, lust, greed, et cetera.  Over time, my perception of the word’s meaning has elongated a bit to become “a very strong feeling about a person, thing, or activity.:  While that is a more relaxed perception than my earliest one, it still did not sit well with “passion of the Christ.”  What to do?  I KNOW!  Look it up in the dictionary…   finally.

Aha!  Mystery solved.  Passion, in year 1175, meant “suffering”  or “to suffer.”  Scribes/translators of the Bible used “Passion of the Christ” as a sub-title in organizing the Christian narrative.  But, how did we get from “suffering” to “intense interest in?”

In the case of The Christ, passion meant unspeakable emotional and physical agony.  This passion was a one-time, acute, fixed point in His earthly sojourn.  His commitment was to meet, then pass through that crescendo of suffering for the betterment of humankind.

This agony does not have to be physical.  As part of the crucifixion drama, the Christ also endured a night of great emotional suffering.  In similar fashion, a person engulfed by an intense and personal struggle (whether for unrequited love or social conscience) may well experience great agony and suffering.  This internal state would aptly, then, be a state of passion.  Crimes committed to sate an intense emotional state, often violently, fit into this “suffering” category and could be referred to as crimes of passion.  So, originally, passion referred to severe angst over an immanent decision, event, or situation that the person had to unwillingly either make or endure.

Next up:  I’m not sure, but hang in there and we’ll pin down this passion thing.

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