I have not had
in my most
I have not had
in my most
In this meditation, I consider how Picasso’s cubism represents life and sanctification. Please read and comment on Burnside.
A New Year evokes so many emotions in us. For some a wonder of potential opportunities. Others, the hope of change. Still others, the fear of uncertainty. In each case there lies a moment of suspense. A pause. And yet our resolutions are spoken, written and relayed far before the time has been taken to contemplate what we feel and how we feel.
This year my challenge is to start with the place of inaction and pause to consider what we in fact feel. To each of us we have to slow down after the Christmas season high of purchasing, giving, praying, lighting candles, waiting in Advent, hoping for the Christ Child to know what kind of year we need to encounter.
Resolve to be irresolute until the time of knowing appears.
Resolve to sit silent and listen.
Resolve to move slower until weary legs be refreshed.
Resolve to know loved ones as they are right now.
Resolve to build, to grow, to transform those parts that 2012 has damaged or left broken.
From the inception of time, losing what is most precious has plagued the human imagination. William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s The First Mourning captures the horrific realization Adam and Eve experienced when discovering Abel’s body following his murder by Cain. It is impossible to understand the weight of such a cruel moment unless one is a parent. From the first breath to the last, a parent’s world is consumed with the love and joy, frustration and fear, hope and appreciation for her child. Words cannot properly express. So I shall not try. You parents know what I mean. Losing the one who should bury you ranks among the most hellish moments one can envision. If hell exists, it must include such loss.
This painting has riveted my attention for the past few months since discovering it on Wikimedia. I have one son whose life has wrought upheaval in mine – for the rest of my life. I cannot envision what losing him would mean. I am not going to try.
What captivates me about this moment in time is a much more introspective realization I’m terrified to face. I do not have to bury my son. I have a metaphorical funeral awaiting me or behind me. I’ll let you determine which. Perhaps this confession will be the first step in a proper burial. I can only hope for resurrection or infusion by another.
My loss cuts to the fabric of my being an editor at Burnside Writers. Recently, I shared with Betsy Zabel my Muse is in dire straits. Hell fire awaits, perhaps. Inspiration comes like a dainty, mythical creature, resting ever so gently upon my psyche. And then, she whimsically departs with a residue. I feel used, hollow and desperate. I cannot do this alone. It is her working that has brought me thus far. Could it be?
I need her to do this right now. But this piece is not hers. It is my own. For I have buried her. Or she buried me. I know not which. This is a plea for any other such spirits of revelation to alight upon me — even now.
But I see Bouguereau, and I have known the conclusion to my story. Enlightenment does not always bring light. Sometimes it is a recognition light has departed. Darkness reigns.
My life as a writer — full of its ecstatic delusion of success — lies limp in my lap. Surely this cannot die now? Surely it would accompany me to the grave? Surely there has to be more than this? What about the novels flowing from my finger tips? What about the websites, blogs, articles…? I feel the cold silence.
I gaze upon it with tear stained cheeks. And I am at a loss for words. I, too, grab my chest and look at my Muse. Her head turned down away from me. She has determined to grace her smooth skin upon the forehead of you my peers. She might be gracing you right now.
Upon taking the commission to edit for Burnside, I thought this would be a natural way to revive the Muse. To persuade her to be mine and mine alone. If such a generous, self-sacrificial act would not seduce her, then what am I to do? As I felt her presence less and less, the email came to help. My logic deduced this will win her back to me and I will be hers. She will be mine. Only mine.
Why share my sorrow? Why burden you with this tale of mourning? Because I see her working in your midst. You know my Muse and numerous others. I have been so revived by your work as poets and writers. I am seeing your Muses working ceaselessly. And, every once in a while I see my all to familiar Muse appear on your pieces. I am humbled to promote the many wonderful expressions of inspiration you so unselfishly share with us all. I sit Museless yet contented.
So my Muse has died, or I have died to her, and she has been reincarnated into countless other manifestations. I know the many arms, legs and faces that she takes and I can only say, “Let it be so.”
Burying my selfish ambitions I can see more clearly.
In losing we discover what is most precious.
In dying we can possibly discover new life.
On the death of my Muse, I anticipate.
I’m beside myself at her grave.
Let it be so.
This about says it for me today…
I’m delighted to join the editing team at Burnside Writers as the Poetry Editor. I’m not going to be posting here as frequently, but I’d welcome you all to visit Burnside Writers Collective and read along as I promote Christian poetry there. Thanks for reading, liking and sharing together the beauty of art and joy of great thoughts.
“I Write Because” is an edited version of a series I did on this blog about what makes me write. Please read and comment on Burnside if you feel compelled. This is a very personal piece since it touches on the primal urges I feel when I take up the keyboard and write. I am self-conscious of it, but I believe it might strike a chord with some of my readers who also write.
I hate the fact that it is less loving, less pure, less appropriate. My passion for seeing, loving, and hating propels me forward as a nameless, faceless hater of all that is indecent. I consider the world – its virtual trappings – and I hate that a phone call, or God forbid, a face to face conversation takes so much work.
I hate that I am who I am – part of the problem writing for solutions. How do we escape these virtual walls that shelter our virtual selves trapped inside of virtual profiles? Multiple personality disorders are rife in the postmodern, Internet mania in which we struggle to survive.
I hate these things and so much more. I write because I hate, and maybe I hate because I write. But my hope remains possibly one thing will motivate someone(s) somewhere(s) to change. Until it does, don’t expect to see me shut up.
Love is one of the most precious and perplexing phenomena. Words often seem paltry when expressing the thoughts, feelings and passions rooted in a loving moment. I struggle with this. Maybe it’s my gender. Maybe it’s fear of rejection.
Despite my almost eight years of marriage, I struggle. I tell my wife I love her. But that sounds hollow. Words are inadequate, but they are our best tools to express the depth of appreciation. Writing is a vehicle to transport those closest to us to see what we really have going on inside of our complex vessels. I find that I can write what I feel better than what I can say in those many moments of tenderness.
Michael D. Bobo: A Life
Employers: Quakes’ Stadium, Richard Nixon Library, TextMart, Saving Grace World Missions, American Chinese Institute, Korea Nazarene University, Arbor Education and Training, Altfillisch Contractors, Examiner.com, Citrus College
Jobs: hot dog cook, store clerk, missionary, pastor, teacher, administrator, executive assistant, freelance writer, college professor
Educational Benchmarks: B.A. Vanguard University, M.A. CSU Dominguez Hills
Educational Goals unmet: Ph.D., thesis published, academic book published
Countries lived in: U.S., Uganda, South Korea
Countries visited: Mexico, U.K., Israel, Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, China, Thailand
Countries I wished I could have visited: Canada, Australia, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Zimbabwe, Morocco, Egypt, India, Indonesia
Books written: 0
Books attempted: 4
Blogs started: 5
Blogs envisioned: 10
Movies watched: unknown, numbers in the 1000s
photo © 2010 Sarah | more info (via: Wylio)
The first thing I consider is whether I write for God’s glory or mine? Honestly, I must confess that this is unclear even to me. My motivation for writing stems from a catharsis that it produces. So in the purest sense my initial motivation is selfish. I write because I need to express my heart’s passion, longing, frustration… I write because I am able. It is unclear who will read, in what state of mind, in what state of belief/doubt. So blogging is ironically selfless and selfish all at once. I see God in this process. So I write. I envision what, when, where and why. Faith got me interested in writing. And faith propels me. I want to write for God’s glory, but at the end of the day I write for me. If this makes me a villain, a narcissist or a bad guy, then I’ll wear those labels.
I have my first paid writing job on Examiner.com! My title is the Claremont Christianity Examiner. I would appreciate if you subscribe and comment on my personal page at Examiner. I get compensated for each article and for the number of clicks and subscribers per month.
As the first year of my blogging venture comes to a close, I wanted to show my gratitude for all of the warm comments, emails and social network shout-outs I have received. This has been an unbelievable journey that is just beginning. I intend to make the upcoming year an even better showing of work and a broader representation of my work.
I am a newbie in the Internet world of religious blogging, and I humbly and apprehensively plan to venture in the next year into publishing what I hope to be my first book. I am late to the party, but at least I am able to get my foot in the door.
Burnside has been a true God send for me. I want to thank Jordan, Penny, Sara, Kim and the gang for letting me have a chance.
I have wanted to add a flag counter to my site for a long time, but I felt ashamed to start over on my stats. I figured now is as good a time as any. I look forward to seeing where my readers are from in addition to interacting with you on any of the outlets I’m on.
Grace and Peace to you.Michael
My wife and I have discovered a jewel in our community that is worthy of mention. The local library near my home has become a staple element of my family’s entertainment. For some time I have mulled over the idea to post a promo for local libraries, so here’s my take on them. They are essential to building strong, healthy communities.
Since the beginning of 2010, I have made it a point to reconnect with old friends and pull my head out of my shell to revisit life as I knew it five or more years ago. It has been an enriching experience, and I can only say to all of my friends from various stages of my life, “My heart is full.”
Full of joy at the spouses and children you have. Full of awe at how quickly time passes. Full of regret for not being in contact sooner. Full of sorrow to hear of hard news, of losses, of suffering that some of my friends have faced.
I have met my dark night of the soul through a very tough five-year period. Leaving the pastorate in 2005 brought some of the most challenging times that I could ever have imagined. Most of the trials and suffering I endured spiritually, psychologically, emotionally, and physically have empowered me today to write to you now. Most of what I have endured has been for my growth as a man and for the maturation needed to embrace my role as a husband and as a father.
My heart is full.
To those who knew me from High School, I apologize for letting life slip away for so long. I moved to Yorba Linda, went to college, lived overseas for a while, got married, lived overseas again, had a son, and now I realize how much of life I have not shared with you. For that I am sorry.
To those who knew me from Saving Grace, I have taken these past five years to regroup as a leader, as a Christian man, and to continue my education. Shannon and I left silently from the church because we felt it was the best way to let God control the situation. We did not feel the need to defend ourselves or to broadcast the differences we had with other leaders. We have not become Catholic, but I am sure you have figured that out if you have read my blog. We embrace Christianity from a broader perspective that includes people from all walks of life, from all nations, from all denominations. We long for a global expression of our collective faith that will be best seen in heaven when every tongue, tribe and nation will rejoice.
To those who knew me from missions in Uganda, Sudan, Kenya, England, Mexico and Belize I apologize for losing touch with you all. I still remember many fond times of conversation, prayer, sharing meals, laughing, crying, wishing, dreaming in various countries about various communities. I believe my departure from the mission field was for the greater preservation of my life. I had open heart surgery in 2008 and I am so grateful to have had the medical care that only the States can offer. This was very trying for Shannon and me, but we see this life after surgery as a chance to live life to the fullest. To appreciate each day as a new blessing.
My heart is full.
Thank you for sharing your lives with me. Thank you for graciously greeting me and receiving me back as a friend. Thank you for not casting judgment on my silence.
My heart is full.
~Health, when we are fortunate enough to experience it daily.
~Fresh, clean drinking water.
~Food so plentiful our homeless are well fed by global standards.
~Plumbed, sanitary dwellings.~Warm places to rest our heads.
~Clothes, ample enough to cover ourselves a month or more.
~Peace on a national, state and local level.
~Family. Friends. Neighbors. Community.~Vehicles – one per adult driver is common.
~Paved roads. Public parks. Ample, reliable utilities.
~Music, movies, books galore.
~Computer technology which makes time and space easily manipulated.
~Information so ample that no human brain could fathom its depths.
This Christmas let’s reflect upon what gifts we have and share these joys with those we love. One of the greatest gifts around is inner peace. Without these gifts it would be difficult to remain tranquil and focused. The irony is that we as Americans can be more unsettled than our developing world neighbors. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas season. With all of these gifts which we normally take for granted, let’s give freely, knowing that we have more as Americans than the multitudes in slums scattered throughout South America, Africa, and Asia. The least we could do is extend our extra resources this Christmas, remembering what we already have been given, and make a difference in someone else’s life who may live without one or more of these luxuries.