NaPoWriMo Day 14

puddle janrae on pixabay haiga

Today’s NaPoWriMo challenge is to contemplate our “inspirations and forebears.” In the art of haiku, the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho is widely viewed as the original master, inspiration and forebear.

In 1686, he wrote a haiku that became instantly famous, and remains so to this day. It has been variously translated, but this seems to be an accepted version:

the old pond
a frog jumps in
the sound of water

Some translations have the last line as “the splash of water” or even “plop!” which I actually like best, because it makes me smile.

Basho’s ability to capture a single moment was brilliant and distinctive. His twin talents of writing and teaching drew people in. At his cottage, he hosted contests and renga gatherings–poetry parties (yes, poetry parties!) held for the purpose of writing collaborative, linked poems.

He took long journeys, walking hundreds of miles on four separate trips over the last ten years of his life, either alone or with a student/apprentice. In one of his travel journals, “The Records of a Travel-Worn Satchel,” he wrote that his mind “knows no other art than the art of writing poetry, and therefore, hangs on to it more or less blindly.”

As he grew older he grew more frail and reclusive. (I can relate to that.) After his last journey, he wrote:

falling sick on a journey
my dream goes wandering
over a field of dried grass

My photo haiga is intended to reflect the spirit of these two haiku of the master Basho, albeit updated, in my own voice and reflecting on my own life. I hope I have succeeded in paying homage.

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Image by janrye from Pixabay

This artist has many photographs and masterful artistic manipulations posted on Pixabay. Click on his name to see them all.

The Way of Love – Turn

david painnt haiga

When we turn toward the Lord, we turn away from sin.

King David committed the most heinous of sins against one of his army commanders, Uriah. While Uriah was away fighting battles for King David, David slept with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, and got her pregnant. David was a creative sinner; he devised a scheme to hide his adultery from Uriah. He gave him a break from the battles to come home to his wife. But Uriah refused, instead camping with his troops. He couldn’t in good conscience relax in the comfort of his home and his wife’s bed, when his troops were still camped and battle-ready.

David had assumed that if Uriah slept with Bathsheba, his sin would go unnoticed and Uriah would think the child his own. Failing in this deception, David then had Uriah sent to the front line to battle a powerful enemy–a suicide mission, or in this case, a homicide mission. Finally, David took Uriah’s widow to be his wife.

Later, the prophet Nathan visited King David and admonished him for his sin, warning that he had foreseen the child’s death. David begged the Lord’s forgiveness in Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  –Psalms‬ ‭51:1-2

Sadly, the child died. But God ultimately forgave David and, despite his sins, God promised that our Messiah would descend from David’s lineage.  We can take heart in this and be confident of God’s promise of forgiveness in our lives, too.

 

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St. Francis of Assisi – Community

st-francis-of-assisi haiga

How do we live in community while we are in isolation?

The prayer of St. Francis of Assisi says in part, “Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.”

Can we still do this from the confines of our own house or apartment? The short answer is yes. The more difficult answer depends on circumstances, but we all use some form of assisted communication: Facebook,  Zoom, Skype, Facetime, email, snail mail, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, etc.  Some churches record their services from the empty sanctuary. TV talk show hosts and their guests still broadcast, albeit from their own homes. Musicians record their individual parts remotely, to be remixed and broadcast via YouTube or other means–with some lovely results.

For each of us, “community” may have a different connotation. It might include family, friends, social media friends and followers. Living in community requires love, whether accomplished in person or remotely. I admit, I need to work on this much more than I have in the past. I hope God will help me change.

A lesser known writing of St. Francis is hopeful in that regard:

Jesus is happy to come with us, as truth is happy to be spoken, as life to be lived, as light to be lit, as love is to be loved, as joy to be given, as peace to be spread. – Saint Francis of Assisi

Much love to you and your community.

The Way of Love – (Un)Rest

to sleep without dreaming

wake without sleeping

stress without ceasing

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my faith feels brittle

in the sleepless wee hours

stretched and inelastic

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my ever open eyes–

why am I not confident

like St. Paul?

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“…God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?‘”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭13:5-6

The Way of Love – Going

With coronavirus precautions in place, schools, libraries, museums, sports events, churches and synagogues are closed. People aren’t going anywhere, except to the grocery store to panic-buy all the toilet paper, cleaning supplies and shelf-stable food.

People may not be going to church, but churches are going to the people–via the internet. Recent articles in USA today, NY Times, Mercury News, CNN.com and others have reported numerous churches that are making worship available via live streaming on a variety of platforms. On Sunday, I plan to listen to Bishop Michael Curry’s sermon, which he will preach from the temporarily shuttered Washington National Cathedral.

So much is possible through online communication. Schools can teach classes. Students can get assignments and meet with study partners. Families, clubs and church groups can chat. Events can be live streamed and/or posted to a web site. Scatterbrained bloggers like me can post random musings on WordPress.com. Technology’s a beautiful thing!

If you would like to hear Bishop Curry preach at 11:15 EDT Sunday, March 15, go to the Washington National Cathedral website and click “Watch Live” under the March 15 event.