Friday, July 22, 2016

When God Made Time......

 "When God made time He made plenty of it." I heard that so often growing up it took root between my ears. I don't like to rush. I don't like to race from A to B with blinders on, focused solely on getting there. I like to smell the flowers along the way, pause to admire a gnarled tree, gaze at the moon, spy on lizards and frogs, chase butterflies with my camera.

This relaxed attitude towards time has gotten me in plenty of trouble. My dad was a patient man. On Sundays he'd issue the five minute warning, calling it up the stairs to me. Then he'd give me a bonus of another five. But when I still did not appear, he'd slowly start driving up the hill so, when I did emerge, I'd have to run to catch up, hair and coat flying. Not the best way to prepare for church. The OC is not so patient. "Same day rules," he cautions when we're preparing to go anywhere. "But wait!" I say. "I just saw a lizard eating his lunch, I'll be there just as soon as I take a picture...." He sighs. I'll train him yet.

 I'm trying to be a more consistent blogger and to post at least once a week, but time got away from me last week. I'm thinking that, for this life at any rate, there might not be as much of it as there used to be!

While I was busy chewing the end of my pen, Riseoutofme surfaced after her three year sabbatical. We have an agreement. We'll each post once a week. And I'm sure the world will not screech to a halt if we're off by a day or two. She has informed me it's my turn,  no pressure of course.

It's been quiet around here. No shootings to report. If you want to read about that sort of horror you know where to find it, plenty of it, sad to say.

But not here. This is a horror free zone.

We watched an interesting film at our creativity workshop at the library recently --- Being In The World, a philosophical guide to a meaningful life.

We'd all like a lead a meaningful life, but I've always considered philosophy the business of intellectuals. Since I don't belong to that club, I was a tad apprehensive. Not being one for pondering the mysteries of the universe at great length, I expected it would be a struggle for the old brain cells. And I did have to pay close attention and stretch cerebral muscles that don't often get a workout. We didn't solve the riddle of who we are, or why we are here, but, I was delighted to find that the film was about real people, not just academics spouting incomprehensible theories.

I'm not about to climb on a butter box and expound on the nature of knowledge, and quite likely make a fool of myself, but, as we watched and listened to people who live fuller and more interesting lives as a result of their "mastery of physical, intellectual and creative skills," I wondered if most of us travel through life only half living.

There was the chef from a New Orleans restaurant of whom those who knew her said "she doesn't use recipes, she is the recipe!" My mother-in-law was like that - a smidgeon of this, a soupcon of that, more or less if you think it's needed. I used to follow her around the kitchen, frantically trying to measure her smidgeons and soupcons. It made going out to eat something of a let-down as nothing ever tasted as delicious as what she made at home.

 Then there was the Japanese master carpenter who reminded me of my brother who can "talk" to wood and make it "talk" back, both of them so in tune with their tools and materials. Just by the grain of the wood, its texture and its smell, they can tell how old it is, where it came from and, most importantly, if it will work for the project at hand. When they use a tool, the tool seems less a tool than an extension of their body.

Likewise with the musicians, their music a love affair between player and instrument. And once again, regret that, even though I grew up in Ireland, for heaven's sake, I never learned to play the harp, the flute or the fiddle. Something to do with my mother being tortured with piano lessons as a child......I have mastered one instrument though --- my voice. And while I'm not much in demand for singing engagements, I will happily talk to anyone.  Instead of applauding and encouraging me though, there are those who believe I talk too much. Imagine!

 I feel their pain, but not enough to be silent.

When we lived in Belgium a man at our church played the tin whistle. I would sit and listen, spellbound. You could not tell where the whistle ended and he began --- they were one. He was world class, even on such a humble instrument, and hidden away in a small Irish church in Belgium. Excited at the prospect of producing such heavenly sounds, I bought a tin whistle, but, alas, the only sounds I've ever coaxed from it are those of a crow being strangled.

Watching the musicians reminded me of a little six year old Japanese girl who was a first grade classmate of my oldest son. She had learned to play the piano by the Suzuki method, and at the school's end of year concert you could hear a pin drop as she played. She had the advantage of lessons, true, but she was six! There was something more at work - genius perhaps? I wonder how many Mozarts are wandering around out there, oblivious to the the talent buried within them? How many Fontyns? Hemmingways? Picassos? How many Flatleys? YoYo Mas?

We didn't watch the entire film. We paused frequently for discussion. One thing impressed me and it was that to be an artist, or master of any craft, after the study and the apprenticeship and the practice, practice, practice, the really great ones take an extra leap. My mother-in-law took that leap - off the pages of cookbooks, into an understanding of the nature of food. I'm a better cook now than early days but I still need those pages!

My brother was apprenticed for years to master cabinet makers. He soaked in everything they had to teach him and became an expert craftsman, but he had such a passion for his work, and was so electrically alive when absorbed in it that he too made that leap. People came to him from miles around, dragging their dilapidated antiques, and he restored them to their original splendor.

And so with writing. We're not all as disciplined or as talented as the Shakespeares and the Hemingways who write for hours, every single day, no excuses. They carry notebooks everywhere so when inspiration strikes they can capture it, cage it and take it back to their desk. They practice, practice, practice and, for every hundred pages they write, ninety nine go in the rubbish bin. Maybe it's that constant practice, that striving for perfection, that finally makes them soar above the rest of the scribbling world into the rarefied reaches of masters of their craft.

And way below in "the misty flats" us bloggers slog sluggishly along, hoping to, once in a while, evoke a smile of recognition at a shared thought or experience. Considering ourselves lucky if we can scratch out a few words at least once a week, give or take a day or two.

 We're not all destined for greatness but, as they say in Ireland when God made time He wasn't stingy. Everyone can live a more meaningful life. We all have the option to use the time we have, while we have it ( it might be gone tomorrow,) to pursue what we love, be it painting or writing or chasing butterflies, and become great at it. The trick is discipline, and practice, practice, practice. A trick I'm still struggling to learn..

It was a thought provoking film, great discussions, everyone went home happy

Even if we still don't know why we're here!


riseoutofme said...

You are becoming a wise old bird Mollybawn ... I guess when we stop grasping at straws and give up on the what ifs we get a true picture of the immensity of time ...Carpe Diem nice and easy ... We are doing well aren't we??

gz said...

There are so many things I want to write about, to record, so many images to show...but then life gets over busy and the urge is left behind, albeit sitting there grumbling....

Elephant's Child said...

Love this post. And so admire people with the passion and the dedication to live their passion.
I am pretty certain that most of us DO only half live. Me included.

ganching said...

The desire to create is very strong in us. A good thought-provoking post.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

"We're here because we're here because we're here because we're here " , I feel.
I'm an appreciative audience , though , and don't cough at concerts .

Thimbleanna said...

Wow -- it sounds like a wonderful workshop Molly. I definitely agree that most of us only half live -- it's hard not to, when caught up in the day-to-day activities of making a living/surviving. Thanks for another interesting post!

Secret Agent Woman said...

I tend to be a very prompt and scheduled person, in part because I have to be for my work. If I tell someone their appointment is at 9:45, I mean 9:45 is when the clock starts ticking, whether they are on time or not. And because of that, I have an obligation to be on time myself. And I extend that to other obligations - if I'm meeting a friend, say.

But otherwise, I am much more free form. I travel in a leisurely way, lose myself in gardening or cooking or cuddling on the couch. I like to be fully in whatever I'm doing. (Just an aside, when I do use recipes, I consider them to be only suggestions. I go off recipe all the time, rarely measure anything, substitute or add ingredients on a whim. It's more fun that way and gives you a better sense of the food.)

Molly Bon said...

Rise - Or maybe we're deluding ourselves? A bird, yes. Not so sure about "wise."
I believe it's your turn!

gz - Carpe that urge. We're waiting!

EC - Me too. I'm very brave in my head, not so much in reality!

ganching - But you know how the self doubt thing goes. It could be that I'm merely spouting rubbish, in a word - ganching....though Merriam- Webster does not agree with you on that definition.

S&S - Very polite of you. The world today could use a few more people who were well brought up!

Anna-banana - Ah but, half living covers a wide spectrum. Some half "livers" accomplish amazing things in their half lived lives.....You know who you are!

SAS - Good point. I was referring to casual times though, not work. Even I managed to always be on time for that. And I am glad to say that at this late point I have developed my own arsenal of pinches and soupcons, regardless of recipe. But I don't think I'm as free about it as you are!

dianne said...

you know what would be even better than reading what you write? HEARING what you write - if you practice talking as much as you say, you have mastered it by now ... i would love to hear you speak your written words...

i must confess, i do sometimes cough at concerts ... and sermons ... and the movies ... but i seem to never cough when i'm reading...

Molly Bon said...

Dianne - Be careful what you wish for! I read at night before falling asleep, even if I fell asleep earlier on the couch, so I have to admit I do fall asleep sometimes while reading. But I can go back to where I remember the next night, no harm done!

aubirdwoman said...

There must be something in the water ..... yesterday I felt the urge to blog again and look up old friends. I can see I need to update my Reading List. I set myself the target of 100 books this year, up until a few months ago I had read about 50. So its good to find your bedside reading. Hugs and fuzzies (these are like prayers for those who don't pray) from a long lost friend downunder.
Life is too short ... enjoy it as much as possible, if not more.

Lee said...

Time does get away on us...and some times, too often, if flies by all too fast. I wouldn't mind hitching a harness to it!

No matter how much time passes between your posts, is always a pleasure to read your posts. :)

Molly Bon said...

Birdy - Welcome back! I've slowed up on my reading list myself but always think of you when I finish a good one and add it to the list for you!

Lee - Thank you Lee! I'm trying to be more consistent but life keeps interrupting....

Barb said...

Your writing comes from the heart and from experience, and I find it very meaningful. To live a mindful, creative life requires time and patience and hard work (practice). I guess that's why many of us struggle. I've enjoyed my visit here.

Molly Bon said...

As I enjoyed my visit to your blog Barb....Thanks for stopping by.

Susan Kane said...

We're not all destined for greatness but, as they say in Ireland when God made time He wasn't stingy--

So much insight exists in those words, as well in your post. You are so wise, even if you deny it.

On Sunday mornings, my father would sit in the car, honking the horn with a big smile. There were 5 kids to get ready in one bathroom. When we tumbled into the car, we were full of grumble. He always wanted to be the first one to church, at least 30 minutes early.

Molly Bon said...

Susan K - Aren't you sweet to go back a full year and comment on this post. As you can see, traffic has fallen off considerably though it might have something to do with fewer and less inspiring posts. Seems like when life was so busy I hardly had time to blog I had lots of inspiration. Now I have lots of time and less of the other. Thank you for your encouraging words. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and comment here.