Day 95

My partner just asked how many days behind I was. Turns out it’s three. Doops.

Pulled my pipe out so I could feel distinguished. Now I might have to have a quick smoke tonight. Don’t know how my partner will feel about that, but we’ll see. It’s like having a glass of red wine in my hand as I write: it makes me feel thoughtful and classy.

I just watched the movie Saved! tonight. If you’ve never seen it, go watch it. I forgot how good it is. It’s different to see movies that involve God now that I’ve grown closer to (but still infinitely distant from) Him. My favorite part of movies like Saved! and Dogma is that they involve a character (or two) doubting, questioning, and at some points even denying God, but later they come to know and love God again, and usually their eyes are opened by an unlikely source: in Saved!, the cynical, rebellious Jewish girl comes to the main character’s aid when no one else will help or pay attention to her, and in Dogma, two irreverent stoners, a stripper (who happens to be Serendipity, a muse), and the never-mentioned thirteenth apostle of Jesus Christ (all who have very non-traditional views on God) are the ones who help the main character (who works at an abortion clinic) save the world.

I think the hard part for me is that in both of the above movies, the hard-headed religious zealot is the bad guy/girl. I don’t want to be like that; I don’t want to turn into something I hate. I can see how it must be easy for people to get incredibly evangelical and feel like if they’re not talking about God all the time then they’re doing it wrong. I have to remember that sometimes (often?) in our modern world that people do not want to hear this message. People do not want to hear that they are wrong, that who they are is not good enough. I don’t blame them.

For those of us living in this strange world, caught as we are within the so-called “Great Mystery,” travel down the road comes slowly; at least for me it did. It still does. And it’s hard for me to remember that there are people with different interpretations of the Bible. I feel as though I’m missing something. Perhaps by the time I have finished the Bible I will have a better understanding. Perhaps I will have a sense of how to interpret it and still remain myself. Right now I feel like I’m going to be lost in all this.

A Christian who is a sculptor might make statues that glorify God, a painter might make a painting. I know how to write and speak; perhaps this is how I will glorify Him. But I also have empathy and compassion… perhaps by demonstrating and teaching the truth of Love, I can bring people to the truth of Light.

1 John 4:8 would be appropriately quoted here,

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

but I prefer, having now read it, 1 John 4:7, which reads

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

I like it because the negative is absent; 1 John 4:8 clarifies that God is love (but as C. S. Lewis writes, love in itself is not God or a god to be worshiped) but 1 John 4:7 is a positive command, a blessing, if you will, a wish that we will love one another as dear friends. If I were to die right now, I would want 1 John 4:7 to be my last words to the world.

I’m going to catch up on my other two chapters. This is good enough for this one.

Peace be upon you.

Day 34

Art and Culture

Today was wonderful. I went out and helped paint designs on a previously-tagged bridge out on a reservation. Got to meet some really cool people and artists. Here’s my painting:


I call it: Desert Sunset. (Spray paint on concrete, freehand.)

Looking good, looking fresh, right? Oh, yeah. It’s maybe three feet wide, at best. Now here is the mural that a gentleman named Paul painted:

To get an idea of the scale, you can see a water bottle and a spray can on top of the wall. He wasn’t even done.

Someday in the future when I’m financially set, I’m just going to buy a bunch of paint cans and go to town. The kind of work that people can do! Just blows my mind, man.

The Pow Wow

After all that, I went to a big pow wow full of artists and vendors and dancers and drummers. In case you haven’t noticed, most of my job is spent working on an Indian reservation. The pow wow had lots of interesting stuff: great turquoise and silver jewelry, lots of cool paintings and woodcarvings, turkey wings and fox tails, all kinds of things. The best part, though, was watching the dancers. We finally sat down and watched some of the performances, between the costumes and the drumming and the singing, the whole thing was wild. Makes me want to get my hand drum and sit around a campfire and just go nuts.

The most interesting part was when one of the dancers dropped his eagle feather. Now I didn’t realize this was such a big deal, but he literally stopped dancing right in the middle of his group’s performance and an event organizer/emcee came out and talked to him. It was some kind of rod/scepter thing with the feather and they just left it on the ground. Nobody touched it. I didn’t know what was going on at all until they made an announcement after the dance concluded. As it turns out, if an eagle feather touches the ground, it has to be “cleansed” or “charged” or something before it can be picked back up. From what one native woman told me, eagle feathers touching the ground is a major taboo, not unlike traditions surrounding flags.

Four older dancers came out, each sprinkling something on the staff (and presumably the feather) in turn. Then the announcer told everyone to please refrain from taking pictures or video, and the song began. The four men, called “honor dancers” danced around the fallen feather, dancing, then moving inward toward it, then dancing outward and rotating clockwise around it. Everyone was standing in silence during this sacred ceremonial performance, and they rotated until they had completed a full circle, I believe. Finally, when the song was completed, one of the dancers lifted the staff off the ground and brought it back to the younger dancer and his family. They talked with him for quite some time before returning it.

What blew my mind about this whole thing, is that the whole afternoon had been sunny and hot… until this happened. I was sitting in the stands, shading my eyes as I watched these dances, but when that song ended after the man had dropped his feather, a cloud passed in front of the sun, blanketing everything in soft, uniform shadow. The shadow persisted while the older men danced, and it was not until they had talked to the young man and given him back his feather that the sun shone once again. It really is the little things…

As a funny aside, when I told this story to the native woman I mentioned above, her eyes got as big as dinner plates and you could almost see the goosebumps on her arms. She remarked how funny it was that even in modern day, with all our technology… strange things still happen. There are still little miracles to be found. I wholeheartedly agree, and I love it.

I know I said yesterday that I would go over Genesis 33, and now as far as scripture goes, I’m behind when it comes to the writing and summarizing. But today was busy, tomorrow is Easter, and I want to go see my partner.

I did my reading and writing and I still feel that I got some good work done. Our best is all we can give, and today, this is my best. I’m fine with that. Oh! And for anyone who is curious (I just know you are!), my Medicine Card for the day was Contrary Fox. It seems that in some way, I may have forgotten that I am worth noticing, and I think I can see the cause. I will address this down the road.

Enjoy your Easter tomorrow, everybody. Have a wonderful night, and peace be upon you.