Monday, February 16, 2009

Lady Bird Said That?

Art is the window to man’s soul. Without it, he would never be able to see beyond his immediate world; nor could the world see the man within. Lady Bird Johnson

I don’t often find myself quoting Lady Bird Johnson, but I ran across the above quote from her that I really love. It especially spoke to me because I’ve been spending a lot of time on my art lately. “My” art is stained glass mosaics and fused glass and recently, singing. I’d neglected them for quite a while but for the past six weeks I’ve been neglecting housekeeping and cooking to spend time cutting and melting and warbling. It is very satisfying to see or hear something that didn’t exist ever before and then it does exist because I created it. I thought it up, I shaped the pieces and I put them together differently than anyone else might have. Though the process is different from visual art, the song I sing won’t sound like anyone else’s, either. For some people, the creation of the art is enough, and it is powerful for me, too. But I guess I’m insecure enough that I also really enjoy the feedback I get from my art. Seeing someone wearing a piece of my jewelry or driving by a house and seeing a large piece of my mosaic hanging in the window is very rewarding. Hearing applause after a performance is the ultimate high for me. I guess I think it means the world approves of my “man within.” Sometimes I need that.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Gran Torino

Jack and I had a movie date Saturday afternoon. I guess it counts as a date even if the kids were in the next theater. We even ordered the $7.00 popcorn! I don’t go to the movies much. They are expensive and I tend to fall asleep in the dark. For this movie, however, I was awake and enthralled to the bitter-sweet end. Gran Torino was the movie and (excuse the pun), I was blown away. I have heard this may be Eastwood’s last acting role. If it is, he is going out on top.

I am surprised the Academy overlooked this film for the Oscars. It got some good reviews. I think the Hmong boy should have gotten a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His character grew and matured beautifully through the movie. Here is a website with some reviews. Some of them are spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie, choose the reviews carefully.

The reviewers all have different opinions regarding what the film “is about.” I think it is about loving your neighbor, your enemy and yourself and about being givers rather than takers. It is nice when Hollywood reminds us of those things rather than how many household power tools can double as murder weapons. By the way, I'm not going to go see the remake of the remake of Friday the 13th.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Is Anyone Safe?

In the past couple weeks two of my acquaintances have been robbed – at gunpoint, in separate incidences! Two people I know, not strangers on television or statistics in the paper. Two people who drive the same streets I drive and shop at the same places I shop. Two people just like me were robbed at gunpoint in broad daylight! Frankly, that scares the hell out of me. Both were unharmed but it is still a scary, scary thing.

My initial reaction has been to protect myself and my family. I’ll lock the doors, not go out after dark, etc. But these protections are only temporary. If we are truly going to protect ourselves, we have to look deeply and seriously not at what causes individuals to be victims, but at what causes individuals to be criminals. I’m not a criminologist or sociologist but I have some theories. Economic hopelessness, the media glorification of the “gansta” image, the punitive rather than rehabilitation emphasis of the courts system, insidious drug use, out of control materialism and consumerism are a few of the things I think contribute to crime in our country.

So What? What can I do about these mammoth problems?
  • First, I have to remember that it isn’t just PROBLEMS that cause crime. It is PEOPLE with problems who commit crimes. At the beginning of every crime statistic is a person who is addicted to drugs or money or who is economically or spiritually hopeless or who has any of the thousands of excuses we’ve made available to criminals.
  • Next, I can support leaders and public policy that recognize criminals as people and that employ methods to address deficiencies in society that cause criminal behavior.
  • And lastly, I can pray for the criminals and the public officials dealing with the crime. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.

So, here is a challenge, friends. Go to this web site or your local newspaper, find a crime that has been committed in your neighborhood and pray for the victims, the accused and the officials who have to make decisions regarding the crime. Even write one of them a note letting them know you are praying for their wisdom or peace or healing. If everyone did that, every week, I can’t help but think the world would change for the better.