may have created man before woman, but there is usually a rough
draft before the masterpiece.
"Wit" is the ability to see resemblances; "judgment" is the
ability to discern differences.
From Dr. Johnson's dictionary.
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Jon Kennedy's recent book,
C.S. Lewis Themes and Threads,is available
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mission to Belfast, Ireland.Click
download it directly to your Kindle or your Kindle bookshelf
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Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
his sojourn in Northern Ireland'
"Truly, truly, I
say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God
ascending and descending upon the Son of man."
John 1: 51 (RSV)
from today's lenten Orthodox
few posts back I said I should give some thought ("philosophize,"
was the term used then) about why, when I consider myself very optimistic
in my overall outlook on life and its big issues, I'm often pessimistic
about smaller things. I gave as a recent example my expecting a worse
scenario about my visa coming than turned out to be the case. What
does this say about my faith and relationship with God? Being snowbound
for the past two days provided opportunities to think about that topic
again (and again). Connecting with my family in San Jose yesterday
via Facetime, in order to be part of my youngest grand-daughter's
first birthday party, also played a part. Facetime is a "video
chat" application that let me see closer than I think I ever
had before the faces of my children, as well as the party decorations
and lavish food spread in my son's back yard. The temperature there
was double what it was here (70 degrees vs. 35) and the bright sunshine
bathing that back yard was something I'd almost forgotten about. Why
suffer with the weather in Belfast when I could be basking in San
Jose? San Jose also often has cold wet weather in Marchalso
April and even into mid-Maybut it seemed yesterday that someone
was teasing me. At least I could have seen it that way if I were more
pessimistic than I am.
On the micro-level,
my hands are cold even inside the house (pressing the typing keys
is a chore), I'm unable to venture farther than the next-door convenience
store for fear of slipping and breaking something (which at my age...).
My bed is so lumpy that my spine is likely to get deformed. Those
are frowns. But in the big picture, I'm living a dream of a lifetime,
experiencing the land of my roots, Northern Ireland, in a longterm
and real-life facetime. I'm hearing the accents, picking up on speech
patterns that give me insight into why "Pittsburghese" says
"slippy" when the rest of the world says "slippery."
I'm hearing the concerns expressed and the historical reflections
of these people that my people once lived with and even talked about
in Pennsylvania. I'm experiencing life, including the weather, in
the same environment as one of my favorite saints, C.S. Lewis, did.
Now I understand his observation about how cold his grandfather's
church was on a certain Christmas morning better than I could ever
possibly have without this opportunity. God has given me a call to
be here and I can expect that He'll grace me to bear some fruit or
at least to consume some, even here where, generally speaking, Christian
enthusiasm runs higher than it does anywhere in California.
many small ways I'm fairly pessimistic. I never bother sending in
a product warranty card, for example, because I'm just "sure"
that if I ever had to make a claim, it would not only not be honored,
the grief I would be given would make me regret making the effort
(this is even true of automobile warranties, at which many of you,
I'm guessing, are shaking your heads in pity mixed with contempt).
I can't remember when I've played a game, for a variety of reasons,
though in the back of my mind I suspect the main reason is that I
know I'd lose if I did. In many situations (other than writing) I
figure it's better not to try than to risk failing (though I suspect
that there are many things in most people's lives about which they
have this attitude). Even more pitiful than fear of failure is fear
of success, which also paralyzes many people, though I can attest
that I've failed enough times that I can't be accused of being paralyzed
by fear of success.
who diagnoses his own ailment has a fool for a patient, it's been
said, but the flip side of that is that the unexamined lifeincluding
the examination of our efforts, failures, successes, and attitudesis
not worth living. And if we don't criticize ourselves, we won't grow,
and life, especially spiritual life, is all about growing. But I won't
claim to know why I sweat so many small things while facing the big
challenges with not only no sweat, but with eager anticipation. I'd
like to say it's because I have given all the big things to God to
work out and that I have myself to blame for all my small failures
and failings. I'd like to, but that would be arrogant, proud, self-righteous.
But I hope. I pray, may it be so. Kyrie eleison...
Now the forecast says most of the snow outside my windows will not
be melted tomorrow, or even the next day, but that we can expect some
more flurries on both of those days. Ah! A new coat of white to hide
this slushy grey!
I am sending
these posts to two mailing lists, my home town (Nanty Glo, Pa.) website
blog list and my San Jose parish list. This morning I stumbled on
a YouTube video that I found a delightful surprise, a 24+-minute bike
trip from the town where I was born, Vintondale, through Twin Rocks
where I attended school, and Nanty Glo, to the countyseat of my home
county, Ebensburg. So I'm embedding it here for the enjoyment of all
those who are too old and frail, or too hemmed in by late winter weather,
to enjoy a bike ride of their own, and of any who may have wondered,
where in the worldand whatis Nanty Glo (the footage of
my favorite town, by the way, begins about 10 minutes into the video;
how appropriate that the microphone picks up chimes being played in
one of the borough churches when the bike arrives in town).
§ § §
If you missed
my overview of my venture in Northern Ireland, check it out here.