Sunday, 27 January 2013

Our Choice of Solutions.

A short term solution.

I finally got into my studio. I knew it would be cold, and it was, very cold. The landlord being reluctant to spend money on heat when no one is in. I have no idea how long the furnace has been off? I turn on the lights, and the furnace, it's "on-switch" connected to the light switch, roars to life. I wait for for the 15 degree temperature to turn to 21!

I've had Christmas, New Years, a death in the family, dealt with the estate, spoken at the funeral, driven 800km back and forth twice, half of it white knuckle driving through up to 70km blowing snow better known as "white-out" conditions. Then, too it's January, a time when renegotiation's happen with clients for the coming year. Finally, I'm back at the studio, but I'm feeling cold, hesitant, and unmotivated. Making and placing more swords on the huge "Game of Thrones" chair is getting old, and may I say, tedious. Yet, slowly the old movements and habits kick in. The music goes on. I run the water for my work till it's hot, then fill my working container. With the clay so cold it will keep my fingers warm as I work. I begin placing swords, slicing a strip off the block of clay, rolling it flat, cutting it to size, rolling the sharp edging...

About an hour in I notice a crack developing at the very centre top of the chair, and moving down two of three inches. It's small, no worries. I wet it, cover it with existing clay alongside the split, plus adding new as necessary. And it's gone, once again a clean surface. You would never guess there had been a split. I carry on applying more swords.

In half an hour, it has reappeared, but now it's rapidly moving and opening down from the top. My new clay I'd applied obviously no match for the apparent stresses pulling the back relentlessly into two pieces.

It's clear, this is now more than a simple little crack. With it's rapid development I realise I must deal with it, for if I do not, the integrity of the chair itself will soon become an issue.

As you can see in the photo above, I found the materials whereby I was able to use the old tourniquet trick to force the two halves together, and hold it there, without cutting the sides and keeping the integrity of the back intact. Whew!

But now, I cannot stop thinking about it. This "Throne of Swords" is a metaphor of King Saul's life. A man who's life began to crack and fissure. There came a time when he simply could not keep it together. Haha! I know, bad joke! So he tried to hide it. Fix it in some way. Someone told him about David, who was a gifted musician, one who played the harp. Possibly he could play for Saul and so, when his demons came upon him, his playing might bring relief and healing. Taking away all signs of the cracks and rips in his life. Pretending they did not exist at least to the public, the country just outside his door he was to lead as a king. 

And so, he became an actor, a fake. Under enormous pressure this ordinary man who became king was forced to attempt to live in such a way that no one would suspect the very reality of his problem. And he had not even had acting lesson! But, not only that, all in his court, became complicit in the ruse. The cooks, the generals, the foreign ministers, the priests, his wives, and such, all lying, making excuses, to cover for his bouts of depression, roaring fits of anger, his dramatics, like spears thrown and stuck into walls. His inconstant and arbitrary decisions, and confusion. Were they under pressure? You bet, for if they failed, it's not just their jobs, but their lives that are at stack!

I can just hear one of them explain that the music heard through the doors was simply entertainment for the king and his courtiers from a new up and coming musical protege!

It's a reminder that the "tourniquet" is a very short term pressure solution to any cracks or brokenness in our lives. We must look elsewhere for the solution that brings not only lasting healing but freedom and a life of integrity.

"Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered, but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall." Proverbs 28:18

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Unexpected Expectation on Glass

"Unexpected Expectation"
Artist: The known, unknown.
Moisture crystallised with heat and cold on glass.
An image, art, created by the will and freedom
of the uncontrolled,
by the forces of nature itself.
I remember the rule of the universe extolled,
"From order to disorder"
What beauty, we must admit to here.
Somehow this accidental yet amazing result,
despite the raw, slow breakdown of natures journey!
In it's death throws, proving yet, it's creative prowess.
A birth of the contact of opposites,
without the the fabulous mind of man,
without the overpowering will of man,
without the amazing skill and draughtsmanship of man.
So, why do we as "mankind" admire it so?
Because it is not of ourselves?
Because we have lost connection with nature?
Because we must admit...reluctantly,
it is surprisingly, actually, beautiful,
despite our lack of involvement?
As if, without our personal touch,
this could not and should not be possible?
Who are we? Really?
This image so delicate and fragile,
retouched with a ray of light.
Reshaped with the slightest breath of air,
monochromatic, with luster pulsating,
with the slightest vagaries of the opposites.
What if the real reason we love and admire it so,
Is because the crystal speaks of richness and deity.
The white of purity and holiness.
The pulsating changes and movement,
a mystery of the Spirit.
The whole speaking of the unending shades of beauty,
and depth of the Transcendent.
So, forever we are intrigued and interested,
Us, seeking, searching, finding more.
This image on glass,
how did it get to be like that?
Will it ever come again?
Will it ever look the same?
Yes, an image will come again,
and when this one and those after,
(for this artist never becomes weary,)
continue to present themselves on my glass,
They will speak volumes to mankind,
and will also speak volumes to me!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

My Tribute to My Father.

My Dad, Ernest Derksen - 2011

My father, passed away Dec. 20, 2012. He was 97 years of age.

His passing was expected. Yet, despite that knowledge, when it happens it kind of knocks you sideways in unexpected ways. 

There are the mixed feelings of sadness and celebration in his actual finally leaving this painful existence and entering his reward. 

Then the realisation, that this is my last parent to pass on. Mother left us in Oct. of 2006. I am now truly without parents! I am an orphan! Even though Dad had had dementia for a few years and I'd said my "goodbyes" still, suddenly I felt so alone. Amazing the comfort of his just being there.

Then there was Christmas. Dad had left just in time for Christmas celebrations and instead of our tinsel and lights, he'd gone to see the real thing! Meanwhile we, here had to "celebrate"! His passing kind of muted all of that. Us trying to celebrate the "joy" of Christmas while your heart was so heavy. A truly conflicting experience.

Anther sign of grief, was the various troubling things that happened. Like suddenly my mind was not quite in gear. Probably, pre-occupied. So, things we commonly used went weirdly missing. Here are some things we heard ourselves say during this time, like "Where are my keys?" "I can't find my shoes, have you seen my shoes?" When I started up the car to leave for Saskatoon and the funeral, I inadvertently locked my keys into the car while it was running! I had no idea that was even possible, yet, inexplicably I had put it into neutral and the doors locked as I left the vehicle to warm up. (I'd just read somewhere that the car would warm up faster idling in neutral!) Had to call CAA and we left one hour later!

After we returned from Saskatoon, the funeral and family visiting, I felt absolutely listless and uninterested in doing much of anything. I just found myself unmotivated! For a few days there I was out of commission. I felt cold in a warm house wearing a sweater to stay warm. Once I even closed the living room curtains. Why? I don't know, probably ashamed, guilty, just wanting to shut out the world maybe. I began to wonder if I was simply depressed. Probably. 

Also, this certainly brought my own mortality to the for-front. One day I would living in a nursing home, eating institutional food etc. I went about calculating how many years I might have left and so on. Normal I guess, but depressing for sure. 

Alongside all of this, I was amazed at my father's legacy. I had the privilege and Honor to be asked by my family to do the "meditation" at the funeral. This certainly accelerated my working out his passing. It was a godsend actually as I tried to back up a bit and see the big picture of his life. What a message.

He was a "salt of the earth" kind of man. A simple farmer who was chosen by his father to forgo his education and work on the farm. So he went into life with a grade 6 education. Here's the thing, he never griped about that! Can you imagine what most of us would think if the education option was taken from our lives? Dad let it go, forgave, and gave his life to his Lord, allowing Him to guide and direct his life. As a result he lived a humble basic life of faithfulness to his God. He was not a theologian but he was faithful with the gifts he had and the disciplines of his faith. Bible reading, prayer, church fellowship, giving with joy both financially of of himself to help other in need. He was a "happy man" known as smiling Ernest in the community. His whole life was a lesson on how God's favour smiles on a person who loves his God to the best of his humble ability. Were all the wise and amazing decisions he made in the farming business and life accidental? Maybe innocent accidents? No way. The Bible says that the knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom, and with his learning due to his disciplines plus the providential favour of God on his life, these were so obviously not accidental. So amazing. What a lesson for all of us.

Thanks Dad for the consistent and amazing message of a "Faithful life" well lived.

"Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."  (CEB)
Proverbs 1:7