Monday, August 6, 2012

7 Quick Takes - To Climb Great Heights

1. Lately, and more and more these days, the internet overwhelms me.  There is such a wealth of information.  Not all of it is correct and not all of it is useful to me.  Somehow I must wade through it all.  It makes me want to not participate.  However, if I quit then I will be missing out on what is changing the world about us and I will be left behind.  I do not want to be that granny whose grandkids smile and sigh, "Oh Gran, you're so behind the times.  Why don't you take a class at the community college and get with it."

2. I have been watching the Olympics in a limited capacity and I think to myself, "I will never be the best at anything."  I would love to be the best at something once in my life.  Do you ever feel that way? But, I don't think I have it in me.  I think it is best to live a life of moderation--complacency, if you will.  But I would like it if one day someone looked at my additions to the world and said, "Look at that woman. She has changed the world for the better.  She did what no one else could."  

3.  When I dream the aforementioned it is almost always followed by exasperations, "This is not what makes us holy! Is not holiness (the ultimate good) our goal?"  The Olympians live extreme lives and while this is good for achieving the height of their sport, it is only useful for sport--useful once every 4 years.  Life would be so empty if our sole purpose were to create and achieve such fleeting things.  I am sure this is an overly simple argument.  I know that more can be argued in favor of Olympic sport.

4. Devotion - I am about to begin devoting more time to Icon writing.  I just need to.  I am called to it again and again.  This school year I plan to teach Kristiana icons as I did with Alex (see Alex's icons).  I may even offer a lesson or two to friends' children.  I fear the chaos of teaching many children, but I think it would be good for all.  Do you agree?

5. The Icon below, "Not of Human Hands,"  It is the first icon, image of Christ, made by Christ.  I wrote it as an exercise in icon writing.  I do not have my icon writing tools, but I still long to pray and lose myself in the image of God.  It was freehand with a children's watercolor set and colored pencils on paper.  I sat down to make a thank you notecard for friends and I could not turn my mind away from this image and therefore, God became the thank you.


6. Tranquillity of Spirit - I have been reading a book called, Praying With Icons.  I have been pleasantly surprised by it's accessible depth.  I have read other books on icons before.  Most are heavy on history and some do not explain enough.  Anyhow, this one has already had me feeling deeply for icons and connecting with God twice just from the introduction and first chapter.  It includes Orthodox daily prayers in the appendix.  I pray a version of these prayers daily, but these ones were worded a little differently and got me thinking.  Instead of praying for "peace of soul," it was phrased, "tranquility of spirit." …Tranquility of Spirit?  Yes, this is something I long for throughout my days.  What is it? I think it is when you know God is all about you. It is something we all want--peace. If you do not have this inner peace, you cannot be close to God.  And if you don't have inner peace, it is not because God has not given it to you.  There must be something that hinders it.  Root out what hinders your inner peace.  

7. Leap of Faith - In response to not abiding by the tenants of our faith (not that I am without sin): Faith is always a leap! Faith is a leap into the unknown and one must have faith, that the leap will not result in one's demise, that when we land there will be a savior.  That is God.  Why should it be a leap to God?  Because there is a great deal that is unknown to the limited human mind.  So leap and follow those tenants, even though you think you cannot possibly leap for fear of falling.  If it is God's law, God will catch you.


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