Creativity: A Funny Thing

July 20th, 2017

Okay, I needed something quick to illustrate my point. The painting I’d been working on was getting too serious anyway, so here she is channeling Salvador Dali. (Not to worry, she can always shave!)

Sometimes, as he was growing up, I would say to my son, the now Dr. Hyatt E. Moore iv, “Hyatt, you need to learn creativity.”

It’s not like I had a ready answer as to how, I was just letting him know of its importance. I felt it wasn’t something he’d get much in school with all the emphasis on passing tests. He was good at that, but the rest he’d have to teach himself.

Changing subjects here (but not really), one time, in the car, he surprised me with, “Dad, how do you be funny?”

We’d been at a youth event and I’d been called on for some spontaneous ad lib and got lots of good laughs all around. That’s what prompted Hyatt’s question on the way home.

My first thought was, “Boy, this kid is too analytical!” My second was,“If you have to ask, you can’t do it.” But I said neither.

“Humor,” I quickly thought up, “is the collision of two things that don’t go together. What’s produced is a small explosion, or a large one, of laughter.”

“It’s the making-no-sense acting like it does that makes things funny.”

Brief example, last week my super creative niece April visiting from St. Louis, asked: “How many Lutherans does it take to change a lightbulb?”

Answer: “Change?”

She could make the joke on herself, being the daughter of a Lutheran pastor.

Back to my definition of humor, I’m aware that it is awfully rational for something that’s all about irrationality, but it seemed to work for the moment. It was later, when I saw him rollicking with his friends with brilliant quips back and forth that I saw he’d done it . . . he’d learned the creativity of humor.

So here’s the connection: Humor is the putting of two unlike things together, and creativity is putting two unlike things together. They both operate the same way.

And, more: One is exercise for the other.

Creativity, to me, is basically problem solving. If you’re not afraid to bring something completely different into the problem’s equation, then you’re solving it creatively.

Super-creative thinking is inventive thinking, where you think up the problem in the first place . . . and then go to work on solving it.

I’m a painter. Every blank canvas is another exercise in all this . . . thinking up some problem and then working to solve it. But I’m not only a painter. I like to think the exercise cuts across all matters of life. For all of us.

Young Hyatt’s strengths, it turned out, were mathematical. He went on with education after education finally earning his PhD in electrical engineering at Stanford. It’s all math, and the way he does it, very creative. Now he’s doing problem solving all day long.

So there it is. Whether it’s in the arts or the sciences . . . or just life . . . creativity is the extra ingredient.

It can be constantly developed. Just start with a little humor.

It’ll strengthen those biceps in the brain . . . and it’ll lighten your day.

________

PS A friend suggested things could be more interesting if I respond back on your comments. So I did last time, see “Color.

14 Comments

Color

July 17th, 2017

Mission-Mid-Summer-1200

Mission Mid-Summer,
oil on canvas. It’s a rendition of one of the historic buildings at the mission in San Juan Capistrano. All those reds are not there in nature. But why not? We can make up our own colors. (Click on the picture for details.)

A friend of mine, Jeff Girard, is heading for Germany to be part of a training seminar for artists. His main topic: Color. Though long an art director and no novice to this, he rounded out his presentation with brief videoed interviews of other artists.

Ha! I suppose it’s to add color.

He told me he loved what his friend (and my daughter) Allison said, that in painting she doesn’t think about it much; rather it just grows out of the need at the moment. She added that it’s color that’s the difference between a drawing and a painting.

Figuring he had enough of that kind of thing, I suggested other aspects of color, like in personality, or in speech.

The one not afraid to exhibit a bit of color in these ways brightens everything around. A book full of color in the writing is worth the reading just for that.

Colorless is not a description most of us would like to own. Fog has its own intrigue but we like it better when it clears.

My friend Francis Viscount just returned from an academic conference on world cultures. One presenter, he said, projected visuals of art and color and how it expresses the soul of a people. He old me the overall effect lifted the emotions all around . . . and it was the only thing that did in that room full of intellects. Who doesn’t have emotions?

It can be palpable. I remember the first time I encountered an assembly of fauve paintings. Those were the “wild beasts” who didn’t bother with nature’s actual colors but made up their own. My emotions shot up. It just made me happy.

And what about those lilies of the field? They could have been dull gray and still produced our needed oxygen, but how would that brighten our spirits?

So add some zest to the outline of your day. Splash in some color. Be a painting.

It’s for you. And for others to see.

 

11 Comments

Richard

July 13th, 2017

Richard-1300

It’s easy to say in our heart, “Why doesn’t that guy get a job?” Then again, would we hire him? It might not be so easy.

God has been awake all night waiting for me to wake up and show me things. What’ll it be today? The wonder never stops. Not to mention the chance encounters.

I needed a florescent light fixture of a certain size. It was three stores before I found it, then, pulling away, stopped for gas. I wasn’t that low but remembered that station carried beef jerky in abundant supply, something I really was out of, and had been for a long time.

The stalls were full, all but one; I had to turn around. Opening my door I banged a post. Slight dent. Bummer. I looked up and found a man looking at me. In his 40s, a bit of chest tattoo showing above his shirt, a squeegee in his hand and an appeal on his face, I could see what was coming.

“I’m just out of prison and trying to earn a little . . . it’s not for drugs or drink or anything . . . I’m just washing windshields and . . . ”

That was enough. I gave him a twenty. His eyes popped.

“What’s your name?

“Richard.”

“What were you in for?” I asked, all flustered, the pump not working right. First the dent, now this.

“Narcotics, up in Fresno.”

It’s like it wasn’t accepting my card.

“Better go inside,” he said.

“I will . . . and get those wheels too.” It’s something I always do when getting gas.

The crazy thing is all I really wanted was some beef jerky. I paid at the cash register, adding in a big $15 dollar bag of jerky, and then a second. Back at the car I threw one in the window and put the other in the squeegee man’s hand. “Wow,” he said, “I love beef jerky. In prison they say they feed you well but  . . . ”

“Where were you?” as if I know one correction facility from another. “San Quinton.” I know that one. I was still having trouble with that blanky-blank pump. “Here, let me try,” he said and took over, somehow making it work.

“How long have you been out?

“Two months.”

“Are you looking for work?”

“I used to do tile work, but I’ve got something in my shoulder and I can’t lift. My sister’s a nurse, says it might be a bone spur. Even for washing windshields I have to use my left arm.”

“I know what that’s like,” I said. “I’ve got a bad shoulder, though improving lately, I hope.”

“They say I can get get a cortisone shot for cheap in Tijuana, but they hurt like hell.”

“Not so bad,” I said. “I’ve had two. It’s just a regular shot, maybe it’s in a little long, and the needle itself is a little long.

“Did it help?”

“The first one didn’t but the second must have hit the right spot.”

“That’s good, I’ll tell my wife.”

By that time the tank was full, the pump stopped, then . . . and I really didn’t see this coming, I just said, “I’ll pray for you.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah, right now.”

It was a brief prayer, just a sentence or two, for Richard’s shoulder and about steady work. I could have added it was for his income, for his wife, and for restoration of his confidence. But God already knows all that. I just finished with my customary, “in Jesus name, amen.”

To that he also finished, “in Jesus name.”

That was it. We shook hands and I was gone.

Later I thought, is that what this day was for? The $20 was next to nothing; he’ll go through that fast enough and I’ll never miss it. But the beef jerky, if he relishes it as slow as I do, will be lasting quite a time.

Maybe it’ll bring a good memory.

And, who knows, maybe God will answer that prayer.

 

10 Comments

Linger Longer

July 11th, 2017

Eucalyptus-2-1300

Eucalyptus 2, Oil on Paper, 15″x21,” inspired by a cluster of dead leaves lying on the deck.

One of the commenters on the last Blank Slate offered something worth pondering. My title was Hey, Look; Joan responded with Hey, Linger. She exampled with her insight that if she gave a person more time in conversation they came more out of themselves, expressed more and (though she didn’t say this) probably appreciated her more.

I’ve been thinking this is a good word for us in many ways.

Time, Einstein said, is relative. It goes fast or slow, depending. Sometimes fast is good; other times slow is better.

Like in romance. Never good if it’s rushed.

A friend once told me that what a woman wanted is time. “Time in what?” I asked her. “Everything,” she said. Being a woman I expect she knew.

I suppose it can be taken to the extreme. I just watched a documentary, 180 Days on Lake Bical. That’s in Russia, the largest body of fresh water in the world. When it freezes over the ice is two feet thick. He was there winter through summer, living out of a trappers cabin, by himself, his provisions, his books, his dogs, and a whole lot of time. He had much to say about that most of all. On an earlier adventure he’d traveled the length of Eurasia where he’d seen a lot in a hurry. On this one he saw less more. It changed him.

All good things are worth the pondering.

Any book worth reading is worth reading twice. Same with a movie. Or how about just a paragraph.

Here’s the word for it all: Absorb.

Another: Gaze.

Another: Don’t rush.

Jesus said, “Could you not wait with me one hour?”

Ah, but the spirit is weak. How many moments have passed we could have relished better? Maybe we can return. Happily there will be more. More and more and more.

Linger longer . . . you’ll see.

10 Comments

Hey, Look!

June 29th, 2017

a-Yellow-Tulip-115
To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.
That’s William Blake. He noticed things.
We can too.

Recently, driving in a car with a child, we came up with the idea to notice everything red. It became a little game, not necessarily competitive, but a reason to look, to notice, to identify. We were both delighted with how many things we found, large and small. After awhile we did the same with things green, later yellow, then blue. Each category became special, our eyes were momentarily more opened, and perhaps the effect was lasting. Eyes, once opened, see more.

That’s basically what this blog is about. It’s noticing things, bringing out bits that may have been hidden, or not so hidden, just missed. Life’s material is so abundant it can overwhelm, we can overlook the nuance. How much blue is in the world with all that sky? But then it’s not always blue. And the ocean? What color is water really?

So, better to take longer looks. That’s what I’m doing here, noticing things, looking at them slightly longer, perhaps in different light, and sharing them with you.

Because sharing is part of it. Who can look at a sunset without wanting to experience it with another? Or encountering something unique, want to say, “Hey, look!”

I try to keep these short, knowing your days. A few upcoming topics include:

A Dash of Color (in the visual and in realms beyond)

A Funny Thing about Creativity (a way to strengthen such thinking)

The Lifetime Achievement Award (something for each of us)

About Consciousness (the mystery of our being)

Death and Life (with death coming first)

How to Evaluate Art (art being metaphor for everything else)

And on, and on, and on.

Then, there are other topics, like the now-and-then motivators on how to get going again. Back posts reveal many such; there will be more.

Sometimes there’s just something funny, because that’s important too.

As always, comments are welcome. They often round out the picture. And this is a community of friends.

Meantime, notice things, and tell me what you see. Your life will be bigger for it. And so will mine.

Hope to see you regularly on these posts.

Hyatt

 

9 Comments

Hanging in There, Happily

June 26th, 2017

a2005-c-Anne-Hyatt-Happy-115
Okay, this was some years ago, when our hair was dark and the tie was daily. Times have changed, but not the spirits.

I hope you enjoyed that last post, the one about fatherhood. I was glad, as always, for the comments. Shows I have some readers. As I thought about it, there’s one more entry I could add to the list: Stay married.

Or, better, stay happily married.

It’s something worth working on.

Not long ago Anne and I came across a useful tool, a marriage growth plan. Among other things, it involved a simple exercise of each of us making a list of (1) three things I want for myself, (2) three things I want for my mate, and (3) three things we want for us combined. All these were in the context of the marriage.

It’s pretty easy, if you don’t overthink it. Writing the first thing that comes to mind brings out the best honesty. Communicating it might take a little more finesse. Sharing it with each other is part of it.

I’ll not reveal everything we came up with here . . . that’s for us. Besides, you should have your own list.

But I will share two statements that one or the other of us came up with and that we agreed on.

The first: Our marriage should be typified by happiness and fun.

At first blush that seemed a little superficial. Isn’t life serious business? It is, and it isn’t all fun. But when there’s fun in it, it’s probably a healthy marriage.

So work at that.  (Or is that a contradiction in terms?)

The other: Each person is an expressive fan of the other.

Why not? Everybody needs a fan, and it’s so much easier if you don’t have to look far to find one. All it takes to be a fan is a little noticing, and a little vocal appreciation. We’re already good at fine-tuning the other. Don’t just lend a hand, lend two . . . for a full-on applause.

And that’s fun, too.

So there you go. Marriage is long. Or should be. Might as well make it fun. Might as well be a fan.

And that’s the first thing to having one.

5 Comments

Fathers Day

June 21st, 2017

 

I confess that to me, Fathers Day is not a big deal, never has been. I don’t think my children need the holiday to remind them to be nice to me. And I hope I’m worthy of their honor every day. Sorry to be such a grinch.

For all that, last Sunday at church I was one of three speakers asked to share on the topic. As time was limited I resorted to a list: The things I purposed and applied as a father. You could call them my beatitudes, being brief, and all accompanied with blessing. I’ll share the list below.

1-Christmas-Dana-Point-650

Here we were, left to right, Allison, Hyatt iv, Anne, Cambria, Acacia, Dad.

Prayed a gift for each child, from the womb. This was on the order of “love,” health,” wisdom,” etc. I wanted to see if there would be a unique manifestation of that in each child. And so I did.

Meals together. I might not have even mentioned this but I understand it’s becoming more rare. It’s then that we have our conversations, hear each’s “good news,” impart values, keep friendship alive.

A day of fasting and prayer for each, by Dad. This is something they never knew about and I’d forgotten until putting together this list.  But children need help, it’s rough world.  Prayed for their future spouses too, and their parents, also needing help.

Media governed. Allison, our eldest, has bragged she was raised without TV. 
 It’s usually in the context of someone remarking on her incredible creativity and talent. The lack of TV didn’t hurt, more like the other way around.

Traded TV time for reading time. As the family grew there was an appeal to be current so I compromised: reading for watching. They rose to it, even making it a game, keeping track on a chart.

Paid a wage for reading books of my choice. These were books on their level, but perhaps wouldn’t have been thought of. They were always helpful. And for a brief book report they could earn dollars.

Served their first communion. The kids see adults doing this in church, but do they know what it’s all about?  At an age I thought each was ready we took a walk. I brought the elements. We talked. It was a meaningful time.

Father and child road trips. This was in additional to family travels, of which there were many. The one-on-one experience, when it would happen, was always special for both of us.

Purposeful conversations in the car . . . any topic. This was more than the random passing time stuff, rather an invitation for them to bring up whatever topic they might not otherwise, in an unjudgemental atmosphere. Though they were young, it was talk at adult level.

The “My son” passages in Proverbs. There are a lot of these all though that book, and Proverbs is still the best resource for training a child . . . of any age. Once Hyatt Jr. and I rode motorcycles up through California and discussed these, one at a time, at stops and overnights.

International trips, just with Dad. This came to be something of a “rite of passage” for each. As I was traveling a lot in those days, at their 12th year each accompanied me on some weeks long grand adventure. Allison: Cameroon. Cambria: Guatemala. Hyatt: England and Germany. Acacia: Kenya, Congo, Sudan. Tamara: Colombia. Great memories, just between us.

Saturday Night Bible Study. While he was in high school I encouraged young Hyatt to read the Bible straight through. I said not to get bogged down at the parts he didn’t understand but to make a note of them. Then on Saturday nights, if he wasn’t going anywhere, we’d have our own time, discussing the harder questions. I didn’t always have the answers, but it was good for both of us.

Dates. These were usually lunches, anticipated a week or so in advance to build anticipation. One time, with little Acacia, I asked her what was the best thing going on in her life right then. She just beamed and said, “This!”

Attendance at all events. This would be all sporting events, all music events, whatever, because parents should be prime fans. We never enrolled in sports, however, that would rob us of Sunday mornings.

Church. This is something we did, you might say “religiously” (except I don’t like that word). It’s the right habit for a multitude of reasons. I’ll confess there were times when I myself did not want to go; but I did anyway for the children’s sake. (As parents, we’re always watched.)

Dedicated each one to the Lord, as infants. This is Christian tradition, a promise of the parents, and a spiritual covering of the child from the beginning. We did it for each of our children, and now, as grandparents, we’ve done so, in our own family ceremonies, for each of the grandchildren . . . all sixteen.

Honor their mother. Anne and I, early in our marriage, made a pact to never disparage the other in public. We also agreed to not discuss our child raising differences in front of them. There were times we disagreed, of course, but we did it in private, upholding each other’s authority. Worked well; we had no favorites and neither did they.

5-Tamara-with-siblings-1300

The children as adults on the occasion of the first wedding, Tamara’s. On her right: Acacia and Hyatt iv, on her left, Cambria and Allison.

That’s it, or at least all I thought of for Fathers day. This is no judgement on others who see things a different way. My main point is the intentionality of it all. The fun was spontaneous, the travel mind-broadening, the one-on-one experiences special, but the training and the influence was intentional.

Happily, all of them seemed to have caught it . . . and are raising their own children in the same spirit.

And that is the greatest Fathers Day gift I could receive.

7-Moore-Reunion-6-11-1300

As with all these pictures, click to enlarge.

Here we were six years ago at one of our every-two-year reunions. Four more grandchildren have joined us since. I like this picture because it includes Allison’s Vernon (top right) who died last year.
God bless us everyone.

15 Comments

Anne’s Titles, Hidden Message?

May 20th, 2017

Ascension-th
Change-of-Direction-th
Concealed-Consequences-th
DelIcate-Demands-th
Divided-Attention-th
Elevated-Appointment-th
Field-of-Vision-th
Fragrance-of-Hope-th
Liberating-Yesterday-th
Above, details from new works.

I thought you’d enjoy the following. It’s a “poem” I constructed out of the titles of Anne’s recent work.

In preparation for the Festival of Arts in Laguna where she has summer-long involvement, she’s been producing new art . . . marvelous art, I might add. Besides her great pieces she also adds (after the fact) the most evocative and interesting titles. As I help her, for the sake of her website, with the photography and photoshop work to follow, I interact with the titles. In doing so, this time I sensed a theme coming through. Though there was nothing conscious about it, and the titles were put on in random order at different times, I put them together in a paragraph.

I’m calling all this Anne’s hidden (and unconscious) message, ultimately deciphered by me.

Here’s the list of titles (with sizes), followed by my sentences.

Ascension, 15×8
Bargaining Power, 17.5×12
By Mutual Agreement, 18×12
Change of Direction, 11×9
Concealed Consequences, 16×20
Considering Options, 11×9
Delicate Demands, 20×16
Divided Attention, 14×20
Elevated Appointment, 15×9
Engaged in Play, 16.5×20
Entitled to Play, 13×16
Field of Vision, 19.5×13
Fragrance of Hope, 11×10
Liberating Yesterday, 20×45
Muted Memory, 12.5×10
Opening Doors, 10×24
Open Invitation, 15×10
Orbiting Obscurity, 11.5×10
Overlooking the Past, 22×16
Profound Promise, 20×12
Promised Perspective, 10×14
Quiet Devotion, 11.5×10
Restoring Faith, 11×9
Set Free, 21×10
Voices of Yesterday, 11.5×10
Willing to Ascend, 20.5×11.5

Here’s my take on her “hidden message”:

By mutual agreement, using all bargaining power and considering options, putting aside concealed consequences of delicate demands, orbiting obscurity and divided attention, I propose an open invitation for overlooking the past and the muted memory of voices of yesterday. Yes, a change of direction, an elevated appointment, an ascension, an opening doors . . . all for a fragrance of hope that will include the promised perspective of a quiet devotion and a restoring faith . . . a field of vision with a profound promise that you (and we) will be set free. How? By liberating yesterday, by being engaged in play . . . even entitled to play. Are you willing to ascend?

When I read this to Anne she found it delightful. Maybe you too?

BTW, all these works can be viewed on her website, by name, under “New Work,” here.

Lots of her work, and mine, and daughter Allison’s will be on display at our show this weekend. Here’s the announcement. Come if you can.

2017-May-Show-border-low-res-650

7 Comments

The Road to Emmaus

April 28th, 2017

Last post I shared my wonderment about Good Friday and why it’s not called Black. Since then Easter has come and gone, but is it really ever gone? By coincidence (if one believes such really exist) I was recently commissioned by a friend, Chuck Smith, to paint a rendition of the Road to Emmaus story. It would be for his church.

Do you remember it? It’s part of the Easter story, happening the night of the resurrection. Two men who’d followed Jesus were leaving Jerusalem where all the bad stuff had happened, heading for the town of Emmaus, seven miles distant. Jesus joined them, keeping himself from being identified, and asked what they were talking about. Before long, still without revealing himself, he was telling them the whole story of how all this had fulfilled many prophesies and that it had to happen that way.

By the time they get to Emmaus Jesus acts like he’s continuing on, but they convince him to stay for dinner. He does. When he gives thanks and breaks bread their eyes are opened, they see who he is, and at that second he disappears. They, overcome with wonder, rush back to Jerusalem to tell the others, confirming that indeed he was alive, resurrected from the dead.

It’s a beautiful story, and I was happy to take the painting on, but what aspect?  I did a search of how other artists have approached it over time. I’ll share here part of what I found, and at the bottom, how I did it.

1-emmaus-icon

Here’s an icon painting of the Orthodox tradition, more symbolism than anything. Note the fish on the table. There’s nothing in the story about that, but later in the evening, back in Jerusalem when Jesus revealed himself to the eleven disciples, he asked for a fish to eat as proof he was not a ghost.

2-Duccio_di_Buoninsegna_Emaus

The account by the prolific, 13th century painter, Duccio di Broninsegna. Being pre-renaissance, he didn’t have the rules of perspective worked out yet. Depicted is the moment of arrival at Emmaus, the two were inviting Jesus to tarry.

4-road-to-emmaus

Here’s a more familiar take by Swiss artist, Robert Zund, painted around 1900. It’s a fine piece of composition and story telling.

5-SupperEmmausBaja

This is Friend of the Humble, by French painter, Léon Augustin Lhermitte, in the mid-1800s. Though he had access to all the colors of the pre-impressionists, he chose monochrome for the evening-lit room. At this moment, having broken the bread, the eyes of the disciples are opened. Note the wait staff has little idea what’s happening.

8-caravaggio_emmaus_1606

The dramatic renaissance artist, Caravaggio, painted the scene more than once. Anne and I saw his work in person while in Italy. Majestic, incredibly real, full of action and drama. Here the climax of the story is just moments away.

6-The_Supper_at_Emmaus_by_Rembrandt

Here’s Rembrandt’s take, an artist who painted a great many Biblical images. Note the extreme dark to light to dark again, and the power of the expression as the diner recognizes who he’s been listening to, a split second before, poof, he’s gone.

Emmaus-Road-650

18-Standing-Figures-115

There were more I researched, and more I’ve found since. In the end, after consultation with friend Chuck, I went with the moment of arrival at Emmaus, when Jesus was about to take his leave but was coaxed to stay. There’s meaning in it for all of us. The Lord has plenty to offer, but won’t push himself on us. Still, at our request he will stay, and dine. Left is a detail of the di Broninsegna piece shown at the beginning of this little art history overview. (Double click for larger view.)

in-situ

Emmaus Road, oil over acrylic, 67×47.

Here’s to give an idea of the scale as I shared the finished work at a friend’s house before delivery. Hope you’ve enjoyed this little overview. It’s a painting to keep the story alive. In a sense, it’s always Easter.

6 Comments

Black Friday

April 14th, 2017

Easter-Night-cropped-115

I’ve sometimes wondered why they call today Good Friday and the big shopping day after Thanksgiving Black Friday. Seems to me the titles should be reversed. Aren’t all the sales intended to be great? So great that stores open before dawn, with lines already formed? Isn’t that the inaugural day of shopping for Christmas? Isn’t it a good Friday for shoppers and sellers alike. Why it’s called “black” is a mystery.

On the other hand, why do we call this day, “good,” when history’s most innocent man was subjected a gruesome, public death. I don’t get it.

The Roman governor couldn’t find anything in him worthy of death . . . or worthy of any punishment at all. So instead he just flogged him within an inch of his life. For that we call the day “good”?

What about the mock trial, conducted by an advanced society that knew all about justice—illegally conducted at night, with “witnesses” whose accusations didn’t match or make sense, and a fist to the face against the accused without recourse? What was “good” about that?

What about the desertion and denial of his closest friends at the moment of greatest need? Was that “good”? I think not.

There’s more: like the cynicism of the purple robe—appropriate for a king, but that’s not how they meant it. And what about that crown of thorns jammed down on his head, likely of the one- and two-inch variety. I wonder if that sadistic weaver punctured his own fingers. Would he have called that a good Friday?

Speaking of that, forehead wounds, with the myriad of tiny veins just below the skin, make for a face completely covered in blood. Not a pretty picture. Certainly not “good.”

There’s more: like being crucified naked, a public shame. “Good”?

And crucified! . . . an expression that rolls across the tongue as casually as hot cross buns on a stick. Loathsome spikes pounded through muscle and bone and with the weight of the body hung out to die. Thirsty under scorching sun with only vinegar offered to quench? What kind of day is this? Not “good.”

Then just to be sure he died they pierced his side. It was finished, and they called it “good.”

Why’d it happen? Why did everything go wrong that could? Because, they said, he claimed to be the Son of God. They didn’t like that. They put him away for “good.”

But the skies went dark, ominous and fearful, convincing the centurion he was who he said. It’s another reason, those dark skies, that this Friday should not be called “good,” but “black.”

It’s a mystery, these reversals of terms. In the end, reality also reversed. Two days later the tomb was empty and the sightings began. A whole new reality came to be with us, and has never left.

What could we call that but “good”!!

Easter-Night-with-me

PS Here I am a year ago Easter, painting live at Saddleback Church, San Clemente. I call it Easter Night, on the day that really should be called “good.” Click on it for details.

10 Comments