Sunday Best – November 27, 2022

When I turned fifty, I declared to friends and family that my intention was to become even more earnest. That might sound simple, or even simplistic, but in a world of ever-escalating cynicism, it was the most courageous resolution I could imagine. 

As Ferris Bueller reminds us, life moves pretty fast. Before we know it, we’re in grown-up mode, and from there it can be a slippery slope to mortgage calculations and Twitter trolls and lumpy mashed potatoes. 

And yet, we have choices, all day, every day.

We can sing along to the surprisingly great soundtrack in the grocery store.

We can opt for compassion over clever barbs.

We can buy a gadget whose only purpose is to send love notes. 

We can refuse to hide behind jargon when questions also demand humanity. 

We can fill paper turkey feathers with gratitudes big and small.

Dear ones, we need not display maximum cheesiness, or oblivious good cheer.

But let us be earnest.

And thankful.

 

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My favorite writer on gratefulness is Brother David Steindl-Rast, who also reminds us that the common root for human, humor, humility, and humus is “hum” – of the earth. The volume of his Essential Writings is a great introduction to Brother David’s wisdom. 

 

Sunday Best – November 20, 2022

 

and there in the dust of my heart (where

so many plentiful things will be stored),

you will come and go among the melons.

    – Pablo Neruda

 

This week I received a gorgeous new publication from the Arion Press,one of the few artisanal publishers remaining. Each book is hand set, hand printed, and hand bound, accompanied by the work of ingenious contemporary artists.

When I opened Pablo Neruda’s Love Sonnets, these final lines from sonnet 99 leapt up to me. Now visions of honey-barrels and melon gardens of the heart have been wafting around me all day, as I ponder “the silence of plants and of planets.”

Friends, let us bless the artists among us – those who write the poems and those who set the type, those who bind the pages and those who deliver them to our hands.

May their work quiet our minds, expand our hearts, and spark our souls.

 

 

Sunday Best – November 13, 2022

I have the honor of serving on the Santa Fe Institute board with Cormac McCarthy, who has not one but two novels being published this fall. This inspired me to listen to a long-form conversation Cormac recorded with SFI President David Krakauer a few years back. It’s one of those discussions where each thread can be unspooled to reveal the most essential wisdom, the most worthy questions.

At one point, Cormac reflects on his fondness for mathematics, noting, “Working on a mathematics problem – sometimes for a long time – and then coming up with the answer, it’s like a lost animal coming in out of the rain. You just want to say, ‘There you are. I was so worried.’”

Friends, our lives are all full of problems that worry us, whether mathematical or relational or spiritual. May we all know that feeling of relief when an answer is found, the one that has been there all along, wandering out of sight.

Like a lost animal coming in out of the rain.

 

 

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In case the links above don’t work ,you can listen to the conversation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrUy1Vn2KdI

And you can explore Cormac’s new books here: https://amzn.to/3X0lFcW

 

 

 

Sunday Best – November 6, 2022

It is important to find wisdom but not answers because to do so represents an end point.

Insight is enough.

    – Artist Max Cole

 

How wonderful to have a meeting in a museum, where coffee breaks offer art and inspiration instead of just a chance to catch up on emails.

In our tumultuous world, we are all yearning for answers, sometimes squeezing tight to analysis or conviction even as they fail us.

Friends, let’s try to loosen our grip, and open our explorations. Sometimes there is no tidy answer to be found.

Insight is enough.

 

 

Sunday Best – October 30, 2022

A wonderful invitation to speak at the PopTech gathering this week had me musing on the topic of remembering – more precisely, re-membering, putting things back together again. Maybe differently. Maybe better.

Within my own re-membering is the vivid childhood presence of our playground, built for us kids by the grown-ups of the neighborhood. There were endless games of box hockey, baseball, and our own invention, “roofball,” along with a powerful classic merry-go-round that would never make it through a modern safety inspection.

The playground was the first place that felt like my place – a spot away from home that I knew inside and out, better than my own parents did. I knew every person, every creak of the monkey bars, every worn-out scuff mark under the swings. I knew when the neighbor on the hill would summon her kids home with a duck call, and when the soda machine would be restocked with grape soda. I knew when the blackberries along the road were ripe, and when the fireflies would start flashing, and when the corn in the field beyond the park would be poached for Halloween “raiding.” What a gift, to know a place like that!

Dear friends, as we re-member the arcs of our own lives, let’s treasure the places and the people and the times that make us, us. 

May the roofball match go on and on.

I call next up!

 

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Short read of the week!  Foster, by Claire Keegan. Spare and heart-rending and a beautifully printed new US edition.

 

 

Merry-go-round photo pulled from the internet, no attribution available. 

 

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