April 14, 2005 Header

Married, moved, and getting it together.

Fat Tuesday, Gird Loins, Wabi-sabi


So Mass today was good. The homily was about Grace. Grace as in that “hand of God,” possibly last seen inspiring Jules Winfield in Pulp Fiction.

Or maybe dropping down and bopping me on the head to go to Mass on the morning after Leah announced that we should be separated. I was comforted.

Faith as desperation? Faith as need?

I always thought that was a bad way to go. Sort of like being the fairweather fan of a sports team. You know the type, if the team wins a pennant, they’re wearing the hat. No wins, no pennant.

Well, I’ve kept rosaries and my Confirmation shawl and my First Communion book for a reason hoss. Not just because I collect stuff. Religion is part of my core. Imagine a computers operating system: I/O, processing, memory. Part of my kernel is and always has been running theist, Christian, and Catholic subroutines. I might ignore them, I might freeze them to a virtual disk, but they never went away.

Ignoring them was a mistake. They’re back and strong. It’s a fierce thing. Everything is new.

Today’s readings included a phrase that Leah always chuckles/appreciates: “gird your loins”

USCCB – (NAB) – February 28, 2006
Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, live soberly,
and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you
at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Like obedient children,
do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance
but, as he who called you is holy,
be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct,
for it is written, Be holy because I am holy.

It gave me a smile.

Even moreso that the lines really meant something to me.

When I go to weekday Mass, I have to listen a little closer. They don’t have all the readings in the missal, so I can’t catch up and doublecheck against the reader. I have to listen. It’s a nice discipline, though sometimes I can’t understand the reader so well. The lay readers vary in their quality.

I remember I have read in Mass a few times, a very few. It was a great honor. It was a part of attending Catholic School for many of my grade school and high school years. Today I imagined myself… no, scratch that, I saw myself reading as a young man. With puffy cheeks and longish hair. Maybe 12 years old. Awkward, but intense, and usually pretty smiley.

I think of that kid, he went to Mardis Gras in New Orleans. An old American city. An old French city. A city in ashes. I lived there. I touched that city and feel I understand it. Always remaking itself. Decay and rebirth. Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Vieux Carre. A very Catholic city. Interesting that it sits there in my personal history. I missed Fat Tuesday today, but I’ll get there again someday.
I used to think about being a Priest. I thought about that today, as one of the intentions was for the vocations — being Nuns and Priests. It was a silly thought to me, I mean to the today-me, I do not long for a life enmeshed in prayer and contemplation. I want a life of partnership and stewardship. I a looking at my role as a stepdad in a different way. I was reviewing sin on some website and it talked about an interpretation of the commandment to “honor thy father and mother” where the honor goes both ways, both to the parents, and also to the children. And failing to honor your children was thought of as a sin. It’s an important vocation for me. That and of course honoring my wife. I wonder if that one goes with that commandment as well.

I don’t know if I buy it, but it seems not a bad principle, regardless.

Aside: I have amazing parents. They’ve been amazingly supportive. I now have a rosary that originally belonged to my Grandfather. Incidentally named Jesus. He died many years ago, but his spirit I know I carry with me.
Hmm. What else?Wabi-sabi. I had heard this term before, but I never quite understood it. I’m not actually sure I understand it now. It’s something to do with the beauty of things as they age and are impermanent.

It reminded me of Leah and the way she talks about her paintings. My wife uses natural materials in her work, seed pods, bark, leaves, dirt, rocks. These materials age. Leah talks about how her paintings are meant to age and decay over time, and that’s part of the work. For some reason it really moved me to think about this aspect of her aesthetic point of view.

One of my favorite songs is “Nothing is Permanent” by Brave Combo, it’s a great site:

Nothing is permanent
Nothing will last forever
Nothing is permanent

Rain falls and turns to mud
And then it dries and blows away, away
Grass grows in yards of green
And then it gets too tall and causes worry

Need leads to satsified
Which doesn’t last so long and well
You know

All things, always change
And change is fast if it’s not slow

Nothing is permanent
Nothing will last forever
Nothing is permanent

Where was the neighborhood
Before they marked off all the streets and roads
Who came to live here first
And does it really matter
I don’t think so
New stores of few design
Look old and dated long before they fall
Buildings of any sort are just lean-tos and that’s all

Nothing is permanent
Nothing will last forever
Nothing is permanent

I quite like that.

I especially like: “All things, always change / And change is fast if it’s not slow”
Yeah. I like that.

It’s about decay, but it’s also about possibility.

Not a bad sentiment for Lent, coming real soon now. Ash Wednesday is tomorrow.

All things end.

But there is also rebirth to consider.

So turns the wheel, as the Buddhists might point out.

Everything is new.

Everything decays.

Two truths, that go great together.

Catholic Mormon Podcast

I’m not quite sure what to make of something called a Catholic Mormon Podcast.

“Hey you got your Mormon in my Catholic!”

“Hey, your Catholic got into my Mormon!”

Two great tastes that go great together!

It sure is a big internet.

Mathowie on “Myutterconfusionspace”

Matt made me laff when he said:

Next time I see Clay Shirky, I want a hug and a story of how it all makes sense somehow.

Speaking of which, I miss Clay’s writings. Nothing new, no new newsletters or essays in a long time.

Maybe he really is sitting on the mountaintop somewhere, explaining NeoPets and MySpace.

Question of the Day

Overheard by someone else, but a necessary koan nonetheless:

If I can’t trust your ‘no,’ how can I trust your ‘yes’ ?

The concern this day is constancy. Of doing the right thing, for the right reasons, without trying to “sell” “win over” “impress” or otherwise manipulate another person.

I do that, it’s not a good pattern. It’s a disordered way to treat people.

I’m done with it. I vow to be who I am, regardless of who’s watching.

Character is what you are in the dark.

Word of the Day


State of the Union

Joe and Leah, Today

Skeptical, and on the verge of smiling, or possibly crying.

“Every Day is like Sunday”

From a Set by Leah.

Quote of the Day

“Do one thing every day that scares you.”

attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt.

and Tom Peters quoted her too.

also, Scared straight – ‘Do one thing every day that scares you’ forwarded to me by Leah.

Advice To Myself For The Day

(actually, yesterday now)

Lead With Your Chin.


Be gutsy. Be truthful. Be loving. Be authentic. Be love. Be real. Be risky. Be honest. Be spiritual. Be dogged. Be respectful. Be open. Be yourself.

Yo homes, ONWARD.

Word of the Day

Well, it’s an old one, actually:


Scrabble® Score is: 17

Made here.

Stew and Stanford and Passing Strange

I’d love to see this. Given it’s in Palo Alto up by Stanford, seems like a longshot. We’ll see how well we get things together:

Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts | Stew
Stew’s new musical, Passing Strange, is a work in progress that will be developed and performed at Stanford. The piece employs and toys with the time-honored tradition of the “musical travelogue” filtered through the black bohemian perspective of this acclaimed indie-rocker. It is commissioned by The Public Theater and Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

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