Tuesday, July 27, 2010

this is goes deep

Seth and I are buying a house today. I mean, we've been in the process of buying a house, but today we close, it will be ours, and we can finally "settle down." This of course has not been an easy choice--it hasn't come without its fair share of fear, uncertainty and hesitation. It took a lot of counsel and "back and forths" to realize that we probably should do this. Things are going to be really tight and as we looked at our expenses and income(s?) and we had to face the reality that we are not where are parents are. We have been blessed with families and parents who have provided for our every need. I don't want to say we were spoiled. But we were, we are. We still are. We are able to buy a house, albeit we will be scraping the bottom of the pan so to speak ;) Anyways, it goes without saying that, looking at Seth and my chosen careers/educations (philosophy and art, respectively) we may very well never be able to secure the futures for our children that we have been given. This is a weird weird thing to realize. I don't know if I feel bad, or ashamed or worried. I'm just uncomfortable with it. I mean, not comfortable.

But again, Seth always steps in and reassures me. With something more than, "we'll be fine" or this is only how it will be now.....He says something like how he tells his residents how poverty is a blessing. A virtue. What?!

And then he leaves a note for me on the kitchen table, "read from page 53" in a book called, God Christ and Us by Herbert McCabe. On page 53, the chapter, "Poverty and God" profoundly challenges our very realities. Put quite simply it says, "In a way, the success story for Christians is from riches to rags." I know most have heard that we're supposed to sell what we own and give to the poor. And I feel, since I do it all the time, the idea of giving and living simply is often looked over. It's another Christian mantra that everyone hears but don't really care about doing. ( how does that fit in with American living/reality!?) It's just normal and accepted that we must eventually progress and succeed to build a huge place (house or, worse, church) to sit idle and to sit in complacency. I am so guilty of it of thinking in the same way: first I have to get this so I can give that. And what do i give really? I don't know. But I know what I should be doing, and what I shouldn't. That is, aiming for riches.

McCabe makes the claim that "there is something godlike about being able to live in poverty; so we shall have to think about the poverty of God." And then! he brilliantly starts talking about the distinction between possessing and being! "Taking is essential to possessions. Being or life, on the other hand, cannot, in this sense, be taken. It can only be sheer gift." He argues that no one can talk about the riches of God. What can he take? If he is. "He can only use one creature for the sake of another, for the benefit of another. Nothing is or acts for the benefit of God." woh.

He goes on to write that though we can't talk about the riches of God, we can talk about the poverty of God. (he includes that God's poverty is different than our poverty, just as "his wisdom is not the same as ours") He says though that "He only has life and being. And, if you want to press the point, he does not even have life, as he does not have wisdom or have goodness." [i have to admit I love this kind of writing, i get so excited] Wait. What? oh right, "In God, being alive or being wise or being good are just simply being God and nothing more, nothing extra he has."

McCabe says that creation is an example of God's poverty, He "gains nothing by it." We have been created by a "purely gratuitous act of love, that characteristic act of love which is life giving." And that we can aim for riches or aim at poverty, that is, "growing up in our being." And this is where that verse from Mark comes in, we can only live when we "throw ourselves away." This is what we're to aim at. And this is where Seth and I get our purpose or maybe you could call it our world views and goals, etc.....We won't try/aim to live comfortably. Because how Christian is that? Sure, we want to give to our [future ;)]children, as we've been given, but our culture has so many temptations to slip into comfort, complacency and you know, that thing i always complain about, independence....

After writing all this I am aware that I still am a hypocrite. I want things for the house, I want to improve aesthetics, I always want new clothes, I want that good makeup. I wish I had whiter teeth. But where does all this come from? Perhaps the national religion--materialism/spending money!!!! So that's why I went shopping in Lacey's abandoned closet (sorry Lacey, you'll see them when you get back), why there are twigs framing the map that is trying to cover the wood paneling and why i should cut back on the coffee. We just don't want to be pawns in the the little game of consuming. I don't want to be as disposable as the money, commodities, and life that this culture encourages. And I don't even think it's a matter of what "we want to do;" rather, we MUST seperate ourselves from the "American dream" (read: terrible life of sorrow), and we MUSTNT seperate ourselves from our neighbors, family, from Creation.....our friends. For, by being, as McCabe encourages, we are able to be friends, and thus we are reflect "God's creative poverty."

So, welcome to the Forwoods, God help us make our home into a place where all are welcome. Really, I make cookies. Please "intrude."

"We do not live by building ever more secure fences of possessions around ourselves, but by giving to others space to live. This is to give life to others. The human animal, human society, flourishes, not to the extent that it possesses riches, but to the extent that we give life to each other, to the extent that we imitate the creativity of God."

ps. you can read this book or chapter in this book if you go here: http://books.google.com/books?id=P6hQ5KNoniMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=God+Christ+and+Us&source=bl&ots=4_I7sn9tFe&sig=5k_9vwE78SmH1RebcH0tedTj2H4&hl=en&ei=OPROTJn1EI6msQOxiKWTBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CB8Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

it's a shame to waste a day

Seth's sick with a cold, I'm sick with fatigue and dull pain. But then Seth sent me two poems. This is going to be a personal, kind of too much information post. Maybe a little selfish. But my brain is fuzzy and thinking might make me feel like I've accomplished something today.

Now I sit, calmly experiencing the recovery of a morning of pain and a brief encounter with the bathroom floor and consider our descision of nfp. I've heard the pills help with the pain and that the pills take away from the worry. But the pain to me is more tolerable than than uncertainty, the separation, and the questioning about the authenticity of added hormones. I just cannot trust them.

I went outside and saw our garden. Things are really starting to grow. I can see it. I see our beans, our zuchinni, and that our dying tomato plant is living--and thriving. I see a lone peach growing on the peach tree whose branches suffered through a real late spring snow (mother's day snow--what?! and for a tree that only fruits every other year, we were very disappointed to know that the freeze would have inhibited any of the possible fruits for this year) This is living in and according to Creation. It dies or lives. And when it lives, it lives according to the seasons, the world the good God created. The organic, the real the true. Nothing artificial, Nothing fake. Nothing I can buy. Learn and look at nature; look at how I'm a part of it. I worry when I say things like this I sound a bit new age; "granola girl" as my dad would put it. But I don't really see it that way--I'm not really affiliated with the right or the left; I value conservative thinking in terms of simplicity and "conservativeness" in terms of my grandparents' simple philosophies on life, but I agree with some "liberalness" too. Politics are a load of bs and that's why I hesitate in saying that I'm leaning more towards either "side." Frankly, I think Jesus wouldn't be on either side. Don't we stand for so many things Jesus was so adamently against (rich, materialism, competition?) Anyways, aside from all that crap and all the connotations that go with using the words, "a part of Creation," I believe it's a huge way to live a True, Honest, Christian life. Here's one of the poems Seth sent me this morning. Hoorah, Wendell Berry!

Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know.

So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.

Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Doesn't this just sound so right? Nothing that extreme but so simply alternative all the same.

And now a great song just came on. Parentheses, by The Blow. For me, tt started as a cute song me, Sarah, and Hannah would sing and dance to. It was the words, "when you're holding me we make a pair of parentheses" that seemed to speak to our friendship--this mysteriously beautiful bond we shared during some of the most confusing and healing months of my life. The words go so fast that only recently I really read the first verse and found that the song really is perfect. This too is the good life--that is living together--caring together--dependency--active love.

Some philosophies fuel a belief in the self,
constructed to keep one's goods on one's own shelf.
Built well you're a strong letter I,
with the feet on the ground and the head to the sky.
Now and then you can bend,
it's okay to lean over my way.
You fear that you can't do it all,
and you're right.
Even diligent day takes relief every day
from its work making light from the night.

This is how I want to approach all of life, all my relationships. We're all so broken. We all need each other. As strange as it sounds, and maybe I'm just taking shots in the dark trying to tie all these weird at times abstract thoughts together, but whatever, as strange as it sounds, I am finding this out as I'm struggling with this aching want of a job--in photography. I haven't really told anyone about this since it's such a strange opportunity, but for the sake of the story I will mention it. This past Saturday I had an interview with a woman who is redesigning her photography business and is looking for four assistants to train--kind of from the ground up...I had written her an email practically spilling my heart, "I JUST WANT TO LEARN I WANT THIS SO MUCH." essentially. no i didn't use all caps. I admitted at the interview that I had had no training, I only use a little point and shoot. Still, I got good feedback from her, and I was encouraged but I'm weary of this program. I don't know what to think of it. OR what to do. Maybe more on that later, but while waiting to hear from that program I remembered to email a photographer (Amazing) who is friends with one of my friends at church. She gave me some of the best, most encouraging advice. And she offered to help. I'm learning I'm going to need to be guided. I'm learning that me asking for help is not a terrible thing...I'm not a burden ? Wow, that's a concept. I only pray that as I'm depending so much on others now that soon I would be able to give what others have given me...advice, comfort, encouragement, love.

"Now and then you can bend,
it's okay to lean over my way.
You fear that you can't do it all, and you're right."

happy wednesday...but i now want to write more! about how stupid the movie Paper Heart was and this funny review of the Twilight movies. ah well.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

we're trying

here is seth showing what it is to pay attention to detail

Something about me: I really don't like paying attention to detail. I take shortcuts. I realize this could be really bad. When it comes to my "art" i suppose I've found that it's when I can work quickest that I reach the ultimate, "brooke style?." That is I reach what I like the most. I think of painting or my style of so called photography....it's those things that are most quick and most instant that I find most sucessful. My painting prof. was encouraging at least because she would say, "you work so quick so you should try to do this...." and followed with a suggestion that rather than reigning in or encouraging me to slow down, taught me how to make the use out of what it is that I do: things that are often sloppy, messy, and crazy. However, I think i get really embarrassed by it. I usually try to validate the things I do in order to save my self the embarrassement of "what others are thinking" by saying, "it's still a work in progress" rather than admitting, "I'm done, I like it, I don't care if you like it."

All this to preface how I've been approaching my house. decorating. I am don't claim to be a designer or
know what I'm doing but I, like taking a random, "secret" picture, love to see the instant result...often results that are most beautiful and surprising to me. It's in the surprise that I get the most satisfaction. I suddenly got the idea the other day to use yellow accents in my well, there is no color scheme so I'll just say, dining room. I have a blue and white floral rug under an old rickety table covered with a red and yellow and orange striped table cloth. There is a huge world map hanging perpendicular to the table framed by twigs that i found in the back yard. today I went to Joann's fabrics and got a few yards of yellow plain jane fabric and some burlap. these so called window treatments (i don't know what they are freaking called) are so cute to me. It's amazing what some fabric and ribbon does for me; how much satisfaction it gives to look at our kitchen and see bunched up burlap over the kitchen windows: we don't have blinds or curtains yet but we're experimenting....I'm trying! This place is slowly coming together and for cheap, I think! (18 for fabric and ribbon, pillows and mirror for ten, and the cutest little 60s styled chair for 10).

But I really could go overboard. It's hard for me sometimes to get past "having a nice looking home." I worry about it. But what's really important I think is trying to make it a place of comfort and warmth, a home for my family, a place of shelter for those who need it, and a place to build up over the years. I love it here.

And, even though I am actually kind of content in my quick working nature (read: impatience), I know that I have a lot to learn from others. Take for instance, Sethy. He makes cheese and beer; things that take measurements, time and PATIENCE. I love that he teaches me. He makes me better. I have alot to work on....but I still quite fond of my crappy (unfinished) window treatments :)

happy 6th sunday of pentecost

and have a safe 4th of july