Thursday, March 28, 2013

You Make Me Happy and Everything Makes You Sad

This picture of Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, his wife Zelda, and their daughter Scottie was taken in Paris in 1925. 

Immediately upon inspection of this picture, one thing is evident.  The look on Mrs. Fitzgerald’s face does not match the countenance of Mr. Fitzgerald.  He appears content and even pleased with his little domestic creation.  She looks bothered and impatient.

Having dealt with individuals with mental illnesses, I can understand why she may be less than enthusiastic about family portrait day.  Conversely, having been so in love with someone who I could not please nor provide for, I can understand the pleasure Mr. Fitzgerald is taking in this moment of fleeting domestic normalcy.

Thus far, I have enjoyed The Great Gatsby immensely.  I am only about halfway through the book, but so far, it is delightful.  The imagery and symbolism that Fitzgerald uses transports the reader to the setting via a vernacular so extensive, intricate, and beautiful that it makes you wonder if Fitzgerald wasn’t  weaned on Tennyson and Frost instead of nursery rhymes.

(…to be continued)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

This is undisputable proof that Richard Nixon was correct when he declared that he was "...not a crook."  If he were, I'm pretty sure Agent Murphy, aka Robocop, would have detained him.

Let me get straight to the point, friends.  I detest poets and poetry.  I look at poets the same way I look at hippies.  They choose to view things and describe them in a way that is foreign to me.  When I see a pretty flower there are a multitude of apt words and word pairings that I could concoct to describe that flower.  All of which are relevant to flowers and beauty.  I fail to see the point in describing a beautiful flower as a “piece of happiness that yearns to stretch towards an unreachable life source”. 

At this juncture I would like to point out that as much of an opinion as I have towards the “art” of poetry I have never actually read an entire piece, save Shel Silverstein’s work. 

So as uncharacteristic it is for me, I am going to give something new a chance.  I mean, I am the type of person that orders the exact same meal every time because I know I like it.  If I like something, why take the chance of getting something I might not like?  I am going to read poetry with an open mind.  I assure you all that if I like it, I will recant all previous statements made to the contrary.

That being said, if anyone has suggestions for poetry that is not mushy and introspective but instead focuses on something a bit more masculine, please let me know.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

 C.S. Lewis said this about my role model and Savior in his book, Mere Christianity: "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."

This is a literature-related blog, so I am going to say a few words about the best-selling book of all time, the Bible. 

Before I got saved I read a lot of books.  Books about philosophy, books about eastern religions, books about counter-culturists and their beliefs, self-help books, and anything else that I thought would finally give me the answers to the tough questions that kept me up at night.  Questions such as; where did we come from?  Why are we here?  Where are we going?  What’s the meaning of life?  Is there life after death? Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera…  And then one day, I read a book titled “Smith Wigglesworth on Faith”.  In that book, the great and uneducated pioneer of the Charismatic Movement, Smith Wigglesworth, penned one line that changed my life.  He said “Faith is not a feeling that you get once you have believed long enough.  Faith is a decision that you make.  You choose to believe or you choose not to.”  I was gullible and na├»ve enough to believe what that man said.  When I was a little boy my daddy told me something.  He said “Boy, you best always respect your elders.  And if you don’t respect your elders, at least respect your betters”.  I suppose, perhaps, that I am blessed with the ability to take good advice.  And in my reasoning, Smith Wigglesworth was my elder and my better.  But I digress.

So, I read the Bible.  Actually, I devoured it.  Thrice I read the Old Testament and the New Testament was read in its entirety exactly 27 times.  From the first word on the first page I had decided that I was going to believe.  I was going to take the book for its face value.  I was going to take it literally and do what it said I should do.  And wouldn’t you know it, that Jesus did just what He said He would do.  All I had to do was follow the instructions. 

Since I decided to believe, I have been converted from a lying, cheating, stealing, gambling, womanizing, alcoholic and drug addict into the person I am today.  I am not saying I am perfect.  Nothing could be further from the truth. The difference is now I have someone to answer to.  Prior to my conversion, I was not scared of much.  I dared anyone to challenge me or threaten me.  I was held accountable to no man or moral code.  Post salvation, it is in the forefront of my mind that whenever I commit a sin I am spitting on the man who gave His life for me.  I am not scared of Hell.  That isn’t why I follow Christ.  I follow Christ because I love Him.  I love Him because of what He did for me.  All those years I cursed His name He never gave up on me. 

As I write this my eyes well with tears.  I was an unlovable mess who Jesus deemed worthy of life.  I was the Roman soldier who beat Him and spat upon Him.  Yet He, in his infinite wisdom and compassion, still reached out for me and longed for me to accept Him.  It is the greatest love a person can experience.  I do not fear death.  Rather, I long for the opportunity to walk and talk with my savior in His physical form.  To spend eternity picking the brain of the one who hung the stars and breathed life into mankind.  No matter how tough life gets, I can always look forward to an eternity in paradise.  Like Bill Murray said, “…so, I got that going for me.”

So yeah, I love Jesus.