April is National Poetry Month. Sign up for a poem a day, an interesting way to express an idea, to support the artists, or to learn new ways to express yourself.
This picture is a composite of two images: an eye and a collection of five intersecting lines. The eye reflects the view’s momentary interest. It appears blurred. The blurred reflection is the reason I am reminded of the phrase – live by faith not by sight.
The prevalence of iPod™, iPad™, computers, books, movies, and driving automobiles raises our eye- the organ of sight- to an exalted position in making decisions. More clearly, after seeing another live a certain lifestyle, many desire to live the same life style; seeing a certain car race by, many desire to drive that model or a better one; seeing another sporting a sculptured body, many are driven to so sculpture their body, etc. Some actually get what they seek. A time later, the appeal of their acquisition fades and what appeared to be a sure entrance to happiness proves to be an illusion. Hopeful to find happiness, the seeker continues the search but meets the same failed fate. After many futile recurrences, he learns the senses reveal only the appearance of happiness – never happiness. To avoid the endless search for happiness that sensual input promises, live by faith.
Living by faith
To live by faith, adopt a well defined life plan, a plan that is not dependent on sight or worldly things. Each day, determined to live all aspects of the plan perfectly. Each step towards perfection serves you a bit of the sought after happiness.
Isaiah 28 reveals an invitation to embrace a life plan free of chases leading in dissatisfaction. Click to read. Properly interpreted, the lines in the second image illustrate the invitation. Below is my interpretation of of the lines.
The second theme: the collection of five lines
Three of the five lines in the collection intersect in a point to the left of the eye. One of the three lines is horizontal. A vertical line intersects the horizontal line to the right of the eye. The vertical line is the fourth line in the collection. The fifth line rises from the picture’s center-bottom to intersect the vertical line near the top of the picture.
Each line represents the trace of a person’s life journey. Call it a life path. All possible life paths cannot possibly be shown, so only those having a certain defining qualities are shown. The actual trace is of lesser importance than its direction.
The horizontal line describes balance. It represents temperance, self-control, among other things, treating everyone with respect etc. It’s the life path of a just person. The vertical line has no deviations. It is a plumb line. It represents the life path of a righteous person. This is the good life promised in Isaiah 28. (A righteous person is also a just person)
The Isaiah theme
Begin the interpretation with a person positioned on the intersection of the three lines (life paths). Movement along a life path to the right advances the person towards the good life. Remaining in the same position or movement to the left is a failure to advance towards the good life. A person who moves on the horizontal line to the left is a just person but is not a righteous person. But a righteous person is a just person.
Why start at the intersection of the three lines?
Beginning the interpretation at the intersection of the three lines, means at any time a person is able to choose: to be just, to remain at the present life state, to move away for the good life or to move towards the good life. The choice is for the person to make. The fifth line in the picture is a reminder that all life paths can end in the good life.
Michael Pick presented this two images picture as a writing assignment in WordPress Daily Post, February 18,2013. The blurred reflection in the eye characterizes the nature of sense information, in particular sight. Information from the senses, (sight) is never complete. Life concurs this.
Isaiah 28 is a revelation. Revelations are better guides by which to live than responding to sight information. The lines in the second image represent the choices in Isaiah 28 hence they promise a good life, a life free of disappointment.
I know I should have registered a post by now. The Daily Post has warned us about the use of widgets to alert readers when post scheduling is erratic. I have not learned the sercet of widgets. I promise to make an effort.
The long interval between post is caused by a convergence of many events:
- Recovering from the 4500 mile drive to witnesss the investure of the new Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, a high school classmate. I am so proud of her accomplishment. It is my submission for Black History Month and Women History Month.
- Extended visits while in Louisiana to a longtime friend and my dear uncle .
- Taking extra time to see parts of this beautuful country along Interstate 40.
- Resting from the long drive. I was alone.
- Presently satisfying scheduled appointment with doctors.
Within a week I will post thoughts about this past GPchallenge picture.
Please remain patient and excuse my poor manners.
This photo ushers forth three significant themes from my memory. The streetcar ascending the hill (I choose to interpret it to be ascending), the embracing couple, the passengers departing the streetcar and those allowing them to depart before boarding: each is a chapter in a dream-come-true story.
Let’s focus on the streetcar. It represents the train of life that slowly advances humanity to a higher awakening. The departing passengers are the old guard. They are at the end of their life journey. The passengers waiting to board represent the new order that is to be tried.
This scene symbolizes my patience to board the life train and ride it into a long awaited new order.
Soon I will depart for my home state to attend the investiture of a high school classmate to be Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. This is a historic event. It begins a new order.
My classmate is not the first female to lead this court but she will be the court’s first African-American Chief Justice. How can I describe the significance of this uphill trek?
When we graduated high school, Louisiana was among the segregated states in the South. Its legislation and culture prohibited African-Americans from attending LSU and Tulane, the premier educational centers of the state. Education in Louisiana was separate but seldom equal. Although Louisiana segregation laws have long been set aside, this investiture makes her one of the sworn to guard exclusion based on racial designations in Louisiana.
The streetcar is advancing up the hill.
I see myself as a passenger patiently waiting to board the streetcar to this historic investiture.
My great grandparents were Louisiana residents. They dreamed of this day. They died hoping for a new order, but they never saw it. They died in hope. With my weaken but proud eyes, on February 28, I board the life train to witness what they hoped for.
The embracing couple symbolizes a new responsible humanity. It is educated. It knows humanity’s past fears. Education is its only defense against the pitfalls and lies that ruled previous generations. More importantly, the couple’s education is its only protection against threatening things yet unseen. But they embrace. Their greeting is warm and they whisper into each other’s ear a vow to never let the sun set without throughly addressing a division between them. They know, all too well, an untreated wound in their relationship is the beginning of a slow death to society.
Their embrace shouts the arrival of the new order, a dream come true – at last!
February 10, 2013, the Sacramento Ballet Company presented the Great Gatsby at its matinee performance. The performance educated, energized and delighted the audience.
Through dance the ballet company illustrated how the convergence of drama, intrigue and changing morals in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s third novel ended in senseless tragedy.
The famed author tells a story that show how youthful love, playful infatuation and moral restlessness within a wealthy society group can end in tragedy. The time is the rollicking jazz era of sex and alcohol in the 1920’s.
The dancing was excellent.
The ballet company showcased the attitudes and the mannerisms of the wealthy with smooth foxy trots, class cohesion through group closed precision high kicking, their predatory prowling while avoiding to become prey and their hostility towards the less fortunate through tango-like movements; and finally their grace through smooth and exact swing techniques.
The music was superb.
The orchestra energized the auditorium with Ragtime and Dixieland sounds. A bossy tuba and a snappy snare drum metered the classic jazz beat of the period. Not to be out done, a jubilant clarinet raced the scales with sounds of joy. All within me danced. Applauds and calls flowed from attendees to appreciate the joyful swing music. During other tunes, the clarinet called forth feeling of pain with sustained sounds that whined and stretched into a wail.
The performance began ten minutes late. Management announced the late start accommodated the many last minute ticket purchasers. The inconvenience was worth the wait. In the language of modern competitive sports, the Sacramento Balllet Company left it all on stage. The exuberance and chatter of the departing crowd suggested a bright future for this dance company ‘s future performances.
The Lord Almighty said:
I have placed a special one among you.
He is tested and has my authority.
For those who rely on him,
your concerns are covered.
If you follow him,
your interactions are just and
I will declare you righteous.
Those who rely on him:
Your ungodly alliances with associations and worldly things,
Your lies and falsehoods behind which you hid,
In my special one,
there is rest, repose and peace for your soul.
His rest will completely wraps you in justice,
His righteousness and His strength
will support you during troubled times.
Pay attention to His faithfulness, His proven faithfulness;
to do his work, his strange work,
and perform his task, his alien task.
I permitted his death on a cross.
I permitted the curse
to compensate for your return to the Divine.
Then I made him My throne of mercy,
through which I dispense grace.
My Fellow Travelers: In times of crisis,
The Lord Almighty wishes you to remember
the beauty and the mystery of His work – His strange work;
and that His alien tasks create what seems alien to His nature
though, it is good,
all the time.
For an NIV translation of Isaiah 28, go to:
During the Christmas season, few musical compositions rivals the magic of Messiah’s “Hallelujah” chorus by George Frederick Handel.
Words from an anonymous poem expresses it best:
But Handel’s harmony affects the soul,
to sooth by sweetness, or by force controul;
The Gentleman’s Magazine (May 1740),
Handel, a German, was musically trained in opera by Italians and seasoned in southern German sounds. These experiences came together in presentations of oratorios to England. Even today the baroque tradition of this composer continue to contribute experiences as instrumentation of all types and sounds take stage with new technological advances.
Georg Frederick Handel (1685-1759) was born in Halle, Germany the same year as Bach. He studied with the great organist Wilhem Zachou from the age of seven to nine. In 1706 he went to Italy and began mastering contemporary trends of opera. He returned to Germany as Court composer for the Elector of Hannover who would become the English King George I.
With the blessing of his former patron, Handel went to England. He shifted his focus from presenting operas to the wealthy to delivering understandable musical experiences to the middle class via oratorios sang in English. It flourished. He died a wealthy and respected composer.
Click the oog file link or mp3 file link to hear the beloved Hallelujah chorus. Sing along.
Feel the power it generates through its prose and the promise it proclaims.
Oratorio – A musical composition for voices and orchestra, telling a sacred story without costumes, scenery, or dramatic action.
Baroque– a style of composition that flourished in Europe from about 1600 to 1750, marked by elaborate musical ornamentation and development of new instrumental playing techniques.