Saturday, June 27, 2015

June 26: Glass of Whiskey, My Plan, Louise Gluck, "Utopia," New Cartoon

Walking back from the park the day he had been told of his son's decision about the priesthood, he [Ives] went upstairs to his apartment.  His head aching, he drank a glass of whiskey with water and took a couple of aspirins, a twisting feeling shooting through his stomach when he realized his son was serious about his vocation.  Two whiskeys and Ives almost started to feel better.  Then he decided to watch some television, with its unpleasant war news, and--just like that--a quickly consuming bout of stomach cramps came over him.  Washing up, he decided to visit with Ramirez.

Ives' life is not turning out the way he imagined.  His son, Robert, has just told him he's planning to enter the priesthood.  His artistic ambitions have been sidelined by the responsibilities of family.  His work isn't gracing the walls of MoMA.  Instead, it's selling furniture polish in magazines.  Like most people, Ives had dreams, and those dreams have given way to reality.  And that reality is by no means utopian.

Life rarely turns out the way you expect.   I never saw myself working in the health care profession.  I hate being around hospitals and nursing homes and sick people.  Yes, a few dreams have come true for me.  I am a published author.  I teach at a university.  In my spare time, I play in a church praise band.  Music and poetry are a big part of my life.  All those things were a part of my plan.

However, God had other plans for my life.  I have two beautiful kids.  Didn't plan that.  I have a wonderful wife who happens to have bipolar disorder.  Didn't plan that.  My house is small and in need of a lot of repairs currently.  Didn't plan that, either.  Yet, like Ives, I've learned that God's plans for me are bigger and better than anything I could have imagined.

For instance, if it weren't for my daughter's wanting to study ballet, I never would have realized how much I love the art of dance.  If it weren't for my wife, I never would have developed my passion for educating people about mental illness.  If it weren't for my son, I wouldn't know my capacity for love is so bottomless.  Better plans.

So, the upshot of my post today is that perfect lives don't exist.  Movie stars die of drug overdoses.  Siblings get seriously ill.  Presidents start wars.  Parents come down with Alzheimer's.  Terrorists behead humanitarian workers.  Utopia is a fallacy.  But God can take any pile of manure and make daffodils grow.

Saint Marty tries to keep his eyes on the flowers instead of the shit.


by:  Louise Gluck

When the train stops, the woman said, you must get on it.  But how will I know, the child asked, it is the right train?  It will be the right train, said the woman, because it is the right time.  A train approached the station; clouds of grayish smoke streamed from the chimney.  How terrified I am, the child thinks, clutching the yellow tulips she will give to her grandmother.  Her hair has been tightly braided to withstand the journey.  Then, without a word, she gets on the train, from which a strange sound comes, not in a language like the one she speaks, something more like a moan or a cry.

Confessions of Saint Marty

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