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Wednesday, December 52001

Back to self-analysis

It seems ironic that the period in my own youth (junior high and beyond) when I was considering personality development, examining whether I was, or wanted to be, an introvert or extrovert, what was to be valued in friendships and relationships, was also the subject of many short stories and dramatic treatments.

The Loretta Young Show—my favorite program on TV in my teens—often addressed self-image as a source of conflicts that could be resolved by improving one's self-understanding. I described her show also in this department last winter as often addressing the meaning of work in life and the importance of "meaningful work," but the two overlap so extensively that it's understandable that they had dual play as themes in the series' scripts.

As I recall, at the time about half of all television shows were in half-hour format. Now, generally, only sit-coms retain the half-hour format, and the networks generally try to have only one hour of those per night, because the hour-long dramatic format is more economical. Other half-hour dramatic series of the '50's included Fireside Theater, Death Valley Days, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Lineup, Mama, Lassie, The Big Story, and many others that came and went in TV's first big decade, not to mention a dozen western shows like Rin Tin Tin, the Lone Ranger, the Cisco Kid, Wild Bill Hickock, Sky King, and others.

I specifically remember one episode of the Loretta Young Show in which she played a successful woman who went through a crisis of identity. Today it would be called losing sight of her values or priorities in life. The career became the goal rather than the means of her life, which was falling apart. I don't remember the source of the light that finally dawned on her, but do remember a three-part formula that summarized it. Her self-discovery hinged on realizing she was, first, a child of God; second, a child of her parents (or member of a family), and third, the spouse of her mate (a lover and beloved). Only by keeping these first and being successful in them could she succeed in life in general and in her career in broadcast news (I'm guessing—it's been over 40 years) by being a balanced whole person rather than a cog in a big machine.

Such literary works can help us realize the need to redirect or steps, turning from the material to the more spiritual goal. Another word for such turning is repentance.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Another Empire State Building joke

Yesterday's story about Superman reminded me about another story from the Empire State Building: a man had a clone made of himself. There was a big problem with the clone. He cussed and swore terribly all the time. The man just couldnt make the clone clean up his language till one night at a party on top of the Empire State Building the guy threw the clone to the ground. The cops couldnt arrest the man for murder, as the clone wasnt really a person. So the charge they arrested him on?

...

...

...

Making an obcene clone fall.

—Sent by Jim Martin

Advent thought for the day

ANACREONTIC HYMN

By St. John of Damascus
(translated by, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1842)
From my lips in their defilement,
From my heart in its beguilement,
From my tongue which speaks not fair,
From my soul stained everywhere,
O my Jesus, take my prayer!
Spurn me not for all it says,
Not for words and not for ways,
Not for shamelessness endued!
Make me brave to speak my mood,
O my Jesus, as I would!
Or teach me, which I rather seek,
What to do and what to speak.

I have sinned more than she,
Who learning where to meet with Thee,
And bringing myrrh, the highest-priced,
Anointed bravely, from her knee,
Thy blessed feet accordingly,
My God, my Lord, my Christ!
As Thou saidest not 'Depart'
To that suppliant from her heart,
Scorn me not, O Word, that art
The gentlest one of all words said!
But give Thy feet to me instead
That tenderly I may them kiss
And clasp them close, and never miss
With over-dropping tears, as free
And precious as that myrrh could be,
T'anoint them bravely from my knee!
Wash me with Thy tears: draw nigh me,
That their salt may purify me.
Thou remit my sins who knowest
All the sinning to the lowest—
Knowest all my wounds, and seest
All the stripes Thyself decreest;
Yea, but knowest all my faith,
Seest all my force to death,
Hearest all my wailings low,
That mine evil should be so!
Nothing hidden but appears
In Thy knowledge, O Divine,
O Creator, Saviour mine —
Not a drop of falling tears,
Not a breath of inward moan,
Not a heart-beat— which is gone!

—St. John of Damascus, Commemorated 4 December
Sent by Christopher Haas

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