Sunday, 15 March 2015

Imagination

"Reading Gives Life to the Imagination", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015


Today's rather fanciful drawing was inspired by a painting entitled, "The Fairy Tale", by Walter (or Walther) Firle.  His painting shows three young girls sitting on a sofa in what appears to be a living room while reading a book of fairy tales. Since Firle's painting is a serious work, there are no fairies to be found!  

Firle, born in 1859, was the son of a well-to-do German merchant in Wrocław (Breslau, Germany) Poland -- a city located in the Silesian Lowlands of Central Europe. Although he received painting lessons as a child, his father expected him to eventually work with him in his company. As a young man, Walther did briefly work for his father; however, in 1879, against the will of his parents, he became a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. As an artist, Firle became known for portraits and genre works. His portraits of various rulers were used on Bavarian stamps. Firle died in 1929 at the age of 70.


As I worked on this drawing, I kept thinking about the comments I made in my posting for Sunday, March 1, 2015, entitled "Young Girl Reading.  There I spoke, briefly, about the joy of escaping into the world described in the books I read while growing up.  These books gave me real relief from the very difficult and dangerous reality of my home life. Using my imagination, for a few hours I could be somewhere else -- be someone else -- and the world I inhabited in those books, while sometimes filled with fanciful creatures such as fairies or elves, was always a world where people were safe, protected and loved.  I truly do not think I would have made it through the first 18 years of my life, or retained even a semblance of sanity after living through those years, without books which inspired my imagination.

Of course, knowing how this helped me makes me all the more concerned about the many young people I now know who almost never read a book.  It's true that they watch movies, TV shows and play video games, but it seems to me that these require very little imagination in comparison to books.  With pictures, words and actions all supplied for you, you don't need to develop the gift of imagination -- yet, it is imagination that enabled me to have a safe place to which I could run whenever reality became unbearable.  I wonder where these young people run to in their heads when they are confronted by suffering. Is their imagination sufficiently developed so that they can escape for a while but still find their way back to reality when they need to?  

Ah, well... these are just the ramblings of an old lady. Knowing how inventive our minds can be, I am sure that people will find their own way to bear the unbearable.  However, I still can't help but feel a bit saddened each time I meet someone who doesn't seem to have a well-developed imagination.  



Most of the information on Walter Firle was taken from Wikipedia
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THE ANATOMY OF A SMILE
by RONÀN



1.
"Oh, there you are...







    2.
...I'm so glad to see you...
3.

...I feel so much better when I see your face...









   4.
...in fact, you make me very, very happy!"























BRADEN -- NEW PHOTO



Don't be fooled by my angelic, good looks!





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SUKI AND SALLIE


Suki watching a crazy lady (me) 
taking her photo!
Suki has developed a new game.  I am uncertain whether she created this game because she enjoys it or because she knows it annoys me.

The game is very simple and requires only a boot tray and a strip of paper toweling.  [For those of you who do not live in a place where it snows in the winter, let me explain that a "boot tray" is a large, plastic tray where people put there wet boots, shoes, umbrellas, etc. when they come into your home. In this part of the world it is considered a basic courtesy to remove your footwear, even if it hasn't been snowing or raining, when you come into anyone's home and you would especially want to remove your footwear if it was muddy or
Photo of a boot tray taken
from the Internet.

Source unknown.

covered in melting snow and slush.] I have a boot tray near the front door in the wintertime and I like to keep a clean strip of paper toweling on the tray to help soak up the melting snow from visitors' boots.  After the visitors have left, I remove the wet paper toweling and put down a new strip so that the tray is ready for the next set of visitors.


This winter, for some unknown reason, Suki has decided to make a game out of removing the clean strip of paper toweling from the boot tray and moving it elsewhere! She does this in such a way that I have to assume she is playing some sort of game.  I mean, she doesn't just come over and push the toweling off the tray, she attacks it, pushing it first one way and then another with her paws. Next, she pounces and pushes until she has removed the toweling from the tray.  Then she continues this pouncing and pushing until the strip of toweling is on the other side of my apartment's foyer.  

The most interesting part of all of this is the fact that she never destroys the strip of paper toweling!  It may end up folded over on itself several times and even have a few claw marks in it, but she leaves it basically intact. This means that each time I notice what she has done, I am able to place the same strip back onto the boot tray.  There it stays until the next time Suki feels the urge to "play the game".  

Of course, each time I have to pick up the strip and place it on the tray, I yell loudly. At which point, Suki looks at me with that cat look which says: "Are you speaking to me?  I have no idea what you are talking about. Please go yell somewhere else -- I am try to sleep after all!" Sometimes, I even catch her in the act and yell at her while shooing her away from the boot tray, but sooner or later, she sneaks back and plays the game all over again.

So, you can see my dilemma: is this really a game or is it something Suki does because she knows it annoys me?  It is probably a bit of both. It may have started as simply a new way to entertain herself -- I mean, cats do love to pounce on things and push this around -- but then she discovered how aggravating I find the whole business. I think this second aspect inspired Suki to continue her "game" long after she might have become bored with it as she often seems to "play" it soon after she has begged me to feed her and I have sternly replied: "No! No! No!  Now, go on and do something else -- it's still an hour before meal time." Really makes you wonder, doesn't it?  I mean, if cats didn't require 16 hours of sleep a day, they actually might rule the world!

As for me, I continue to manage reasonably well with the help of Joycelyn.  The only appointment I have anytime soon is at the hospital on Sunday, the 22nd, so I will have to make certain that I get my new addition to the blog posted well before time for me to leave.

I will say that I have had some very distressing news this past week about someone very close to me and I find it difficult to focus as I prepare today's posting.  Since it is not my place to identify this person or their problems, I would just ask the following: if you believe in the possible efficacy of prayer, please pray for "someone close to Sallie who has received some very bad news" -- asking that they may "have the strength and courage to change what can be changed and accept what cannot".  Thank you.


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FOURTH SUNDAY IN LENT (LAETARE SUNDAY)




"Icon -- Crucifixion -- God So Loved", by the hand of
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009, rev.2015

Jesus said to Nicodemus: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Jn 3:14-21

This passage contains one of the best known, but, in my opinion, least understood passages in the New Testament: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life." Why do I say "least understood"?  Because I am not sure that the majority of us have ever really comprehended the meaning of the word "believes".

We should really have another English word for the absolute-faith-unto-the-shedding-of-blood-and-even-unto-death kind of believing that I think Christ is talking about in this verse. The promise of eternal life, I think, is made by Him for those with that kind of belief/faith. I don't think this was meant to be a statement to make us feel all warm and fuzzy. 

Remember, Christ was speaking to a man who came to Him in secret because he was afraid for his reputation, afraid of what others would think.  Nicodemus must have been terrified when he learned that to follow the promptings of his heart, he was going to have to give up his reputation, his standing in the community, perhaps his family and friends and, possibly, his very life.

May we accept the grace we need in order to believe with the absolute-faith-unto-the-shedding-of-blood-and-even-unto-death kind of belief.  The kind of belief that will probably lead us to the cross, but will, God willing, eventually lead us to the gift of eternal life -- an eternal life in the embrace of Him who loved us so much that He gave us His only Son.

Amen. 

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