Wednesday, July 28, 2010


He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual; he tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world's believing him. This falsehood of tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good dispositions. --Thomas Jefferson

Friday, July 16, 2010

are you there, God?

I have been reading a bit about Vincent van Gogh, and while I always enjoyed the beauty of some of his most famous works of art, I never realized how profoundly deeply he wrote. 

As many artists now famous, van Gogh did not get to enjoy the appreciation that others find in his art nor the financial rewards of that appreciation.  He lived a life full of poverty and tragedy and died at the young age of 37.  During his life his younger brother, Theo, helped to support Vincent financially, and Vincent wrote to Theo hundreds of letters often discussing his life's woes and also on his views on life.  Many of these letters were left when Theo died and have been translated to English.  (Good thing for me, since I don't know Dutch!)

When I read some of his letters two things stand out to me.  First, he seems to have been hurt by men during his life, and in particular religious men.  This hurt caused him to question faith and God and religion and all that goes along with those things and with life. 

The second thing that marked me when reading some of his letters is that, even though he had these deep emotional scars that he carried with him which caused him to seemingly harden to all things "religious", he could not deny the beauty and love in life, and at least acknowledge that God was in there somewhere.  When he painted the stars, that is where he felt God.  When he loved others, that is where he felt God.  When others showed love to him, he felt God. 

It touches me to have learned about a man who, like so many others, has had a difficult life, has been hurt by others, but yet is still able to see good in all that God created.  My heart goes out to him and others like him.  No matter how low I find myself in this life, I will never be able to deny the existence of God.  In the wind.  In the waves.  In the fields.  In the flowers.  In a baby's cry.  In a child's smile.  In the majestic trees.  In loving others.

Vincent van Gogh quotes:

The more I think it over, the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.

I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.

What has changed is that my life then was less difficult and my future seemingly less gloomy, but as far as my inner self, my way of looking at things and of thinking is concerned, that has not changed. But if there has indeed been a change, then it is that I think, believe and love more seriously now what I thought, believed and loved even then.

I think that everything that is really good and beautiful, the inner, moral, spiritual and sublime beauty in men and their works, comes from God, and everything that is bad and evil in the works of men and in men is not from God, and God does not approve of it.

But I cannot help thinking that the best way of knowing God is to love many things. Love this friend, this person, this thing, whatever you like, and you will be on the right road to understanding Him better, that is what I keep telling myself. But you must love with a sublime, genuine, profound sympathy, with devotion, with intelligence, and you must try all the time to understand Him more, better and yet more. That will lead to God, that will lead to an unshakeable faith.  Try to grasp the essence of what the great artists, the serious masters, say in their masterpieces, and you will again find God in them. One man has written or said it in a book, another in a painting.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The General

Dispatch is no longer a band, and I did not discover their music until after they had broken up.  "The General" is my favorite song of theirs, and every time I listen to it I ponder the words and try to figure out what the meaning of the song is.  Is the point of the song the general's concern for his troops and the concern and love he had for his troops in warning them about the upcoming defeat and ultimately their certain deaths?  Or is the point about the loyal troops, facing their destiny with pride and honor?  Or am I way off base in both of my interpretations?  Either way, the song is inspiring to me.


Friday, July 9, 2010


I'm not even talking to anyone, yet, since I am just starting my first blog.  Blogging is one of those things that I was comfortable with not knowing or ever caring about.  Only weird people who had nothing better to do blogged.  This is what I told myself, at least, so that I could remain comfortable not knowing a single thing about blogs.

Then I had a life-altering event in my life.  I am not sure I can call it a single event, but one day I woke up and saw the chaos in my life.  Bad chaos, not like the kind of blessed chaos that comes with raising children, but the kind of unwanted chaos that others can selfishly bring into a person's life.  I saw the chaos and I chose to remove myself from it.  I don't plan on focusing on the circumstances that lead me to where I am now, because amid the chaos, I realized there is a whole world out there that I have been missing.  The world is a beautiful place and has wonderful things to offer.  My eyes opened up to poetry, beautiful poetry.  And photography.  And music.  And reading.  And blogging and finding out about so many different people in the world who have so many things in common with me.  I plan to use this blog as my own journal, and if anyone finds it interesting enough to join me on this journey, I'd be touched and honored. 

It won't be the most creative blog.  It won't be the funniest.  It won't have the best poetry.  It won't display the best photography.  But it's mine and I need it right now.