That One Memory

"Memory"  Colored Pencils  4x6 inches ©1987

“Memory”   Colored Pencils    4×6 inches    ©1986

A little throw back Thursday art from my college days.I believe this was drawn sometime in 1985 or 1986, hence the sunglasses. The above portrait drawing was a quick colored pencil drawing of a girl I used to know. 🙂  She still is that one memory that I cannot seem to shake.  I will leave it to you to wonder about the rest of the story.

So, what is your one memory that you cannot shake? 

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Dealing With Death

Saturday Night Thoughts – Death

I have been thinking about death a lot recently.  But, not in any sort of morbid or evil way.  At least I don’t think so, just considering the ramifications of death as it is generally accepted that the bodies of each of us will die physically at some point and cease to function.  From a cultural and societal point of view, my mind has been pondering.  I speak from experience of being close to the dying process and death.  As a young man in my mid-twenties I watched someone very close to me, and the same age,  go through the process of dying with a terminal illness, eventually succumbing to the disease.  I was there  through the diagnosis and holding her hand as I stood beside her bedside when death finally came.

There is an interesting article detailing some cultures rituals regarding death found on PBS.org entitled Death: Cultural Traditions by Judy Huang. Another article on the TED Blog entitled, 11 fascinating funeral traditions from around the globe by Kate Torgovnick May based on the TED talk from Kelli Swazey: Life that doesn’t end with deathAll these different rituals and customs from different cultures are fascinating in and of themselves.  It has gotten me to thinking about our American society and our view and rituals towards death.

American culture seems to me to be more of one that often says, the best thing you can do with death is to ride off from it.  (P.S. – I borrowed that line from the book, and movie, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.)  Is this an American societal acceptance that you (basically I am speaking about men, here) never let others know the impact of death?  We attend a funeral, dressed in black, speak reverently of the dead and then we go back to our normal lives.

As is observed in other cultures there are no rituals in America that lasts from days to months allowing those grieving to celebrate the life of the deceased and come to terms with the death of a loved one.  We put on a solemn appearance for a couple of hours one afternoon to attend a funeral and/or memorial service and that seems to be it.  We applaud and congratulate those who go back to work the next day and appear to get on with their lives immediately after the loss.  We say they have an inner strength and are impressed with how well they are dealing with the dying part of life.

In MemoryI am not saying we should wallow or stay in our grief, but the fact that others often simply chose to ignore what has happened seems absurd.  We are not allowed to grieve, or celebrate the life and death, of a loved one unless it is done in private or as part of a larger scheduled and manipulated public event.  Again, not that these are bad things, they offer a community of support.  But the individual grieving process is not to be shared publicly, especially by men, just move on.  Is that because we are uncomfortable with others grief and pain?  It takes a strong person to face their own mortality, and that of the ones they love, not shying away from the reality. I believe there are worse things than dying. 

I understand this is a rambling post and I thank you for sticking me with to the end.  But hey, that is what my posts, Saturday Night Thoughts, are all about.  A complete willingness to go wherever my thoughts might take me even when I may not want to go there.  Thanks for going along on the ride with me.  Now what are your thoughts?

A Moment of Confusion

Life is found…

life is found;

in the moments,

tender & tragic;

in the moments,

mundane & magic! 

~M ©2014
"Cherry Blossoms at Dusk"  Mark Schutter ©2014 (Taken with Samsung Galaxy S4)

“Cherry Blossoms at Dusk”                             Mark Schutter ©2014           (Taken with a Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone camera)

Where do you find life?

When Jesus asks, how will you answer?

As they were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed Him. And two blind men sitting by the road, hearing that Jesus was passing by, cried out, “Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David !”  The crowd sternly told them to be quiet, but they cried out all the more, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!” And Jesus stopped and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.” Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him.  ~Matthew 20:29-34 (NASB)

After reading the verse above, it occurred to me that the bible records that wherever Jesus went people cried out Him.  Especially those that had been shunned by society, the outcasts, and the rejects, those who had lost all hope the things of this world, in others and in any ability to save themselves.  

"La Conner, WA"           Mark Schutter ©2013

“La Conner, WA”               Mark Schutter ©2013

Isn’t this still true today?  Even after 2000 years, when we are hurt, lost and without hope it is then that we cry out to God.  I wonder if in those moments those who profess no belief in God also find themselves calling out to ‘God’.

Throughout life we cry out when in distress, often more silently as we ages so as not be seen as weak.  But what really struck me was the response of Jesus, he stopped, called to them, then simply and directly asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 

The God of the universe did not indicate that He already knew what they wanted.  He asked and waited for them to answer. In those moments, as they stared into the eyes of Jesus, what thoughts were running through their minds as He simply waited for them to respond?

Could it be true that Jesus, often in a still small voice, is asking this very same question even today, to you and to me?   

“What do you want Me to do for you?”

I leave you with this –

  • Are you able to answer this question clearly? 
  • What specifically is your heart, your soul yearning for?
  • Do you know what it is that you want Jesus to do for you?

So often we want for lack of asking, fearful of the response. The blind men knew exactly what they wanted Jesus to do for them, “Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.”  Clear and straight to the point was their answer. 

This question may come in the midst of the busyness of your day or the quiet moments deep in the night.  I encourage you to spend some time thinking about how will respond when Jesus asks you, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

Please post your thoughts in the comments, I would love to hear them.  I plan to respond with my answer to this question in a later post.  For now, my answer evades and puzzles me greatly. ~M

Saturday Night Thoughts

Is it strange that through social media you can sometimes feel closer to people you’ve never met and family you rarely see than the individuals you physically interact with everyday? And the sad truth is we all long to be known but does anyone truly know us? We so often hide behind the images we so carefully cultivate and that is only what we allow others to see.

I would be interested in what you think, please leave a comment if you so desire.  Thanks! ~M

"The Sun"  Mark Schutter ©2013

“The Sun”      Mark Schutter ©2013

A Manifesto of Grace and Mercy

Knowing that the world and all people desire and crave grace
Knowing sometimes there is no justice in this world only mercy
  • I will strive to be kind to myself and family
  • I will strive to see the hurt and offer comfort
  • I will strive to forgive those who have hurt me
  • I will strive to seek forgiveness from others and God
  • I will strive to always trust in the grace and mercy of God

Unafraid