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it’s a strangely narcissistic world. [merely-a-thought monday]

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when i was in perhaps fourth grade i went to sleepaway camp.  camp koinonia was upstate ny and my bestfriendintheworld susan went as well.  we slept in bunkbeds in cabins that had screens as windows, ate in the big cabin that was the cafeteria, took hikes, swam in the lake, did craft projects and played kickball.  on one of our hikes in the woods we passed a tepee.  i wanted a full picture of this tepee so i stepped behind a big pine tree and parted the branches so i could take an artsy picture.  one more step back and i would be able to capture the whole thing in the frame of my pocket instamatic camera.  one more step….

i fell backwards off the side of the 30′ cliff that was behind that pine tree.  i was intensely lucky though, for at the bottom of my fall was a very large pile of pine boughs.  they softened my plummet down.

it is lately that we have seen more and more accidents that happen when people are not photographing a thing but, instead, are photographing themselves.  selfies are the preferred modus operandi for instagram, snapchat, facebook, your own camera stream of memories.  but people are falling and, tragically, they are perishing in their fall.  just to get a photograph.  the ever-important picture-of-self-to-post is heart-wrenchingly disastrous. maybe there is another way?  maybe it’s not that important?  or perhaps, if it really is that important, you could have eye contact with another person and ask that person to please take a picture?

there was a story recently that made me shake my head in utter amazement.  residents of a town in russia were flocking to a toxic artificial lake which had turned turquoise because of chemicals from a coal-generated power station.  they are hiring photographers, staging photo shoots, getting IN this water that is – knowingly- ridiculously harmful to the skin, all because it and its turquoise hue will make a good picture.  it’s a dumping ground!  what are they thinking??  i stood there, after reading the story aloud to d, shook my head and said, “it’s a strangely narcissistic world, isn’t it?”

i worry.  and, beyond a selfie-craze, i hope that there is a sharp turn away from the dominant narcissism that seems widely accepted these days.  if the point of all this – the world – was about any single one of us, i suspect there would be only ONE of us.  instead, i believe that the point of all this – the world – is about ALL of us.  it’s not just one, at any cost.  it’s all.  i’m hoping the cost of that – ALL of us remembering that it IS – indeed – all of us – doesn’t destroy us.  it’s a toxic lake.  we need to see it for what it is.

read DAVID’S thoughts this MERELY-A-THOUGHT MONDAY

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two artists tuesday

it is well with my soul FRAMED ART PRINT copythe hymn “it is well with my soul” makes me think of the hymn “be still, my soul” which makes me think of mama dear, my grandmother (my sweet momma’s momma.)  (are you still keeping up?)  these two strong women, so alike and yet so different – were both anchors in my world, quietly (and sometimes not-so-quietly) shaping my ability to walk in this world and have faith.  my sweet momma, for my growing-up years, went to church most every sunday.  she and my poppo got dressed up and we would go to christ lutheran church on burr road in east northport.  i got to hang with my best friend sue and we went to youth group and sleepaway camp (cool as it was, those days i was never a really big fan of sleepaway camp) and, together, we memorized the books of the bible in order (i still have no idea what the purpose of this was.)  i can’t remember mama dear going to church as much; she went on some weekends, on holidays with us or to special events.  mama dear had bright red hair, taught me how to sew and adored going to las vegas to play the slot machines.  she was obstinate and somewhat opinionated and one of the loves of my early life.

during the time i went to suffolk county community college, mama dear’s house was within reach and i would go there for lunch or tea.  we’d eat rye-bread-toasted-with-melted-butter and i’d tell her everything that was going on in my life.  she’d listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.

i’d come home from school during junior high and high school and my sweet momma and i would sit on the couch and have tea and chips ahoy chocolate chip cookies, my way-back-then favorite store-bought cookies.  we’d talk about my day, the challenges that face girls in high school, cute boys who might have said a word or two, the kids smoking on the bus.  she would listen and, every now and again, she’d say a few words of wisdom.  i could tell her anything.  she let my soul breathe.  matter of fact, she let my soul breathe the whole time i had the privilege of having her physically in my life.  she still does.

we need that.  a place for our souls to breathe.  people with whom we can let our souls breathe.  a faith in this universe that opens us and simultaneously holds us gently and anchors us.  then – we can say:  it is well with my soul.

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IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL ©️ 2018 kerri sherwood & david robinson