Friday, October 30, 2009

This Time!

At this time last year, in fact one year to the day yesterday,Vicki and I went to see Bailey's school band Halloween concert. What sticks in my mind is that Vicki was really starting to feel poorly. She had gotten very weak, much like she was before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In fact, I had to drive her right to the door and drop her off and then go and park the car. We live only 5 minutes (walking) from the school! Well, I guess what I am saying and feeling is that this event really marks the beginning of a very challenging and difficult time. In therapy I asked my therapist what I have to be positive about and she said, "You have a future!" So very true and there have been moments where I feel optimistic and positive about life. It is like I have been a zombie for the last year, alive yet comatose, hyper-aware, but sleepy, living life but not feeling truly alive. Dealing with death is such a powerful force. It it is the ultimate reminder of how powerless we can be and that we understand so little. I have truly been on a voyage that I never bought a ticket for (Night Sea Journey). So now I live in the push and pull of going forward, but having these vivid memories that are burned into my mind. It isn't that I want to forget at all , nor am I trying to avoid the feelings in any way. It is all a part of this journey. Anyhow, Bailey was supposed perform in this years Halloween concert last night, but it was cancelled due to the fact that so many students and adults have been sick in our school. This week more than 28% of our students have been absent with various illnesses but most with the flu (some with swine flu).

The picture I have posted above is of the very best costume Bailey ever wore for trick-or-treat! Vicki found the instructions for making it in Family Fun magazine and I made it. Bailey got chased by dogs in the neighborhood because they thought he was really being carried by the SCREAM character. The other picture was taken just minutes ago and as you can see Bailey is wearing Michael Jackson's jacket and he is going to be in tonight's Halloween parade with his school as a Michael Jackson/Thriller dancing zombie!!

I want to post the song, THIS TIME from the movie August Rush. The movie was a favorite of Vicki's and is full of emotion and memory for me. In fact, this movie is part of the inspiration for a video I am planning to make using my home video and tons of pictures I took over the years!The video will be a kind of elongated blog entry full of pictures and video (art). This movie and music brings me to deep gut level tears! The song is performed by the actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers.

This movie has great music and I think it conveys the message that has been swirling around me for some time now! "Truth can only be expressed aesthetically--in story, picture, film, dance and music." Music has always been a life saving part of my life. Without it I would not be here! The movie ends with...THE MUSIC IS ALL AROUND US......ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS LISTEN! This song works for me...

So if you love music....if you believe in magic, love, hope and know there is power in secular as well as sacred things...WATCH THIS MOVIE! The next quick song shows the diversity of music as well as amazing youth talent in this film!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

We Remember Them

I received the newest Hospice mailing to day and sat and ate a cheeseburger with Bailey while I read it. These letters always seem to hit the right spot and this one did no less. It also had a poem from Gates Book of Prayer, Reform Judaism Prayerbook! Here it is..

In the rising of the sun
and its going down,
We remember them;

In the blowing of the wind
and in the chill of winter,
We remember them;

In the opening of buds
and in the warmth of summer,
We remember them;

In the rustling leaves
and the beauty of Autumn
We remember them;

In the beginning of the year
and when it ends,
We remember them;

When we are weary
and in need of strength,
We remember them;

When we are lost
and sick at heart,
We remember them;

When we have joys
we yearn to share,
We remember them;

So long as we live,
they too shall live,
for they are a part of us as
We remember Them.

This song was running through my head..and yes it is Savage garden again...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Field of Dreams

"Truth can only be expressed aesthetically--in story, picture, film, dance and music." This is a quote from "Dark Nights of the Soul" by Thomas Moore. It is also what this blog is ultimately about (see my side bar). Tonight, I caught the film, Field of Dreams on AMC and the tears just flowed at a movie I have seen many times, in fact even own. It is a story where a corn field turned baseball field heals, fulfills, and transforms lives. It is a great movie, perhaps the best Baseball movie of all time ( also Bull Durham)! If you see it you will cry and if you don't, you must not have blood in your veins. Men, especially men who never cry, weep at this one. It is about a father and a son separated by stubbornness and hurtful words who are healed because of a willingness to listen to the inner voice that can guide us all to truth. Many in the movie ask if this place (the field) is heaven. Ray, (Kevin Costner) always answers, "No, this is Iowa!" Then in the end after his father tells him that heaven is a place where dreams come true, Ray says, "Then maybe this is heaven! There are so many other story lines too....a failed ball player turned doctor gets to fulfill a dream and then fate returns him to his true calling......Shoeless Joe Jackson gets to play ball again.....A great writer from the 1960's becomes re-inspired to follow his calling to write.....the farm Rays owns, deep in financial trouble is saved by the inspiration of it all as people flock to pay and see what only those who believe can see...a baseball field in the middle of nowhere with legendary (dead) players playing ball! OK...had enough??? :-) I am going to post a song from the movie by The Doobies...

I had to write this post even though I was too tired to really want to because it all connects to this Sundays Sermon at First Church in Pittsfield. In that sermon we were told to read poetry, listen to music, watch a movie, view art, (See the first line of this post) because Soul (meaning) can be found, inspiration leads to inspiration, and truth can be revealed through imagination today. Enough from me...I will now post the last part of the sermon which contains a song and then the closing words from Sunday's sermon.....please listen, it is the inspiration for this post!

So It wasn't hard for me to complete this assignment. My blog is all about the arts and imagination and meaning. This movie tonight took me to another place. It inspired this entry and created tears and emotion and feeling I can only begin to explain! For me it was magic and for a moment heaven? Emerson said, "The poet stands one step nearer to things" and "Turns the world to glass." I say that truth is cultivated by art, music and literature.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Upside Down is Really Right Side Up

I know that this is a long blog entry and perhaps I do not yet possess the words to express well what I feel on this subject, but if you are a reader hang in there with me and really listen.

Today's sermon at First Church on Park Square in Pittsfield MA was extraordinary at many levels. Reverend Lumsden's words echoed for me personally since I have suffered a severe loss and continue to struggle with many aspects of this life SHOCK! Many people have tried to provide me with religious justifications for what happened to Vicki, and I can tell you some of it has made me very angry! I have been told that God needed Vicki to do more work in heaven because she was so good! I have been told her circumstances were a gift of some sort, and I just wanted to be sick. I truly sense some people don't want to even be near me as I am someone who represents awful life stuff that no one would want to experience! Most of what well-meaning people have said to me only negates the reality of what happened and thus eliminates the kind of lunar luminosity that could shine as a result. Their words are more of an effort to hang onto control rather than relinquish it to the higher power that frees us to truly live an upside down existence. As a man who has read most of what Thomas Moore and a few others have had to say about Christ, God and religion, I would have to say that Rev. Lumsden's remarks could pour right out of a book by Moore! So profound, and pointing to a new/old way of thinking that recognizes that life is full of joy and sorrow, pain and pleasure, miracle and tragedy. God does not cause this sorrow, but the world is constructed in such a way that even a life lived well can end too soon. The foolishness of one can kill hundreds of innocents and even good intentions can cause pain. We have finite physical lives that can only reflect the light of the infinite and all too often we strive to be the light rather than the reflection. Rev. Lumsden and all who think like him represent a shift in thinking that I think was always the intention in Christ's life!

I can tell you that while I see no good in the actual illness and death of Vicki at the age of 44, and I cringe at anyone who would suggest this notion. I have connected with new people (RJ) and new depths of feeling and thought that have helped me with cope with this shock to my soul. Perhaps this new awareness can further my own spiritual growth and call attention to new ways for me approach life. I can tell you that I know that God did not cause this tragedy with the explicit intention of teaching me some valuable cosmic lesson. But, the possibility does exist to see and live with the idea that I do not understand everything, and cannot explain much at all. This shock does indeed grab me and my therapist has even explained that there is a part of the brain that changes as a result of grief and puts someone like me on a sort of hyper alert. I feel that alertness. It has enabled me to view some things that the "normal" more self motivated Steve could not see. I have known some things with my head, but I think I see some things now with my heart. This does not mean that I have changed dramatically, but the opportunity does exist. It truly is a journey and not an easy one!

Enough of my rambling...let me post the three parts of this sermon...please listen to it all along with the wonderful Mindy Smith song performed by Between the Banks.

Religion is perhaps taking a new direction and perhaps it had better since so many seem to be leaving churches. This song by Tommy James and the Shondells with Vicki's sky picture as a backdrop comes to mind! With lines like.... The sun is rising...a new day is coming....see the light...peace and good...brotherhood.....look to your soul and open your mind....

I also want to post this next Springsteen song because it so reflects what one can feel like when dealing with loss, alone and separated.