“The greater the struggle the more glorious the triumph” From the Butterfly Circus. Amazing short video. Well, it is about 20 minutes long so hopefully your internet speed is not too slow when you try to watch it.
Got the above title from a post by John Piper called 10 Resolutions for Mental Health, a reflection on Psalm 19. Following are my four favorites:
At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.
I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities.
I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.
I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.
If you have not seen this, hope you enjoy it.
Lovely words from John Fischer about a beautiful blind woman together with a nerdy looking fellow. From his Dec 3 post. I am reminded of the words of Jesus saying that it is those who are blind that will see and that those who think they see are the ones who are really blind.
What did she see in him? Everything. Everything that’s important about who a person is, what love is, and what a real man is. She saw everything she needed to know about him.
But this is not the only blindness going on here. The girl is also blind to something else. She is blind to her own beauty. She doesn’t know she has cover-girl looks. She has nothing with which to compare herself. She doesn’t know that she conforms to what society is currently calling “beautiful.” All she knows is that someone loves her strictly for who she is, and in that love she reveled.
In this, she is like all of us, for we do not know our own beauty as God sees us, and perhaps it’s just as well, since we wouldn’t want to become arrogant or self-serving in our relationships. Our value comes from knowing that we are loved by God, and that alone is all we need to know.
Although they call it “natural quiet,” I prefer the term natural music to describe recordings made in nature here, apart from any man-made sounds. Starting with butterfly wings and ending with the waves of the Atlantic, you will hear two minutes of each sound. For some, this might be tedious–I mean two minutes listening to butterfly wings! There is a link to a still picture where the recording was made and I wish they had a video along with the nature music but maybe that would have been a harsh intrusion into this beautiful and delicate symphony.
Came down last night and caught the end of a movie called Copying Beethoven. (2006) Understand it is a fictional account about the last year of Beethoven’s life when he was deaf and needed someone to assist him in conducting and in recording music. A couple of quotes I heard made me think of an article I read this week in which the author laments about the loss of the “spiritual” in art today.
Theodore Dalrymple wrote in “Beauty and the Best,” how the loss of the spiritual in Western art has led to a “terrible impoverishment of our art.” He is referring to an article by Roger Scruton.
Professor Scruton’s suggestion that western art had become impoverished as a result of its radical repudiation of anything transcendent in human existence in favour of the fleeting present moment.
Dalrymple’s quote about beauty is worth quoting in full.
Beauty is a fragile and vulnerable quality, and moreover one that is difficult to achieve; ugliness, by contrast, is unbreakable and invulnerable, and very easy to achieve. (How easy it is to look bad, how difficult to look good!) By espousing the ugly, we make ourselves invulnerable too; for when we espouse the ugly, we are telling others that ‘You can’t shock, depress, intimidate, blackmail, or browbeat me.’
We use the ugly as a kind of armour-plating, to establish our complete autonomy in the world; for he who says that ‘I find this beautiful,’ or ‘This moves me deeply,’ reveals something very important about himself that makes him vulnerable to others. Do we ever feel more contempt than for someone who finds something beautiful, or is deeply moved by, what we find banal, trivial or in bad taste? Best, then, to keep silent about beauty: then no one can mock or deride us for our weakness, and our ego remains unbruised. And in the modern world, ego is all.
What a contrast with Beethoven and his sense that his music came from the hand of God. Found the following quotes from Copying Beethoven at IMDB
The vibrations on the air are the breath of God speaking to man’s soul. Music is the language of God. We musicians are as close to God as man can be. We hear his voice, we read his lips, we give birth to the children of God, who sing his praise. That’s what musicians are.
God whispers into the ears of some men, but he shouts into mine!
[conclusion--Beethoven is describing his "Song of Thanks to the Deity"] No key. It’s common time, molto adagio, sotto voce. First violin, quarter notes. Middle C up to A. Measure. G up to C, tied, F. Second violin, bar two. Middle C up to A. Double note E, G, C. Viola clef, 2B pressed. It’s a hymn of thanksgiving to God, for sparing me to finish my work. After the pianissimo, the canon resumes. First violin takes the theme. Viola, C to A. It’s growing, gaining strength. Second violin, C to A, an octave higher. Then the struggle. First violin, C, up an octave, and then up to G. And the cello, down. Pulled down. Half notes, F, E, D. Pulled constantly down. And then, a voice, a single frail voice emerges, soaring above the sound. The striving continues, moving below the surface. Crescendo. First violin longing, pleading to God. And then, God answers. The clouds open. Loving hands reach down. We’re raised up into heaven. Cello remains earthbound, but the other voices soar suspended, for an instant in which you can live forever. Earth does not exist. Time is timeless. And the hands that lifted you caress your face, mold them to the face of God. And you are at one. You are at peace. You’re finally free