A remembrance, a memoir and a collection of eulogies have kept me company on the porch while I paint, reminding me to stay teachable.
In a remembrance, David Brooks wrote on Frederick Buechner’s life:
Buechner’s books tell stories, let you experience another person’s experience, let you get involved with the deep parts of one person’s life to see where it rhymes with and differs from your own. ( Buechner: The Man Who Found His Inner Depths)
Writing about aging and recovery has taught me to appreciate writers who make poetry with words; creating pictures so that I can understand my own journey, and appreciate the paths others have traveled.
Frederick Buechner seems to understand how unbelief could coexist with my hope that there really is a power greater than I. He seemed to know: That power is infinite, personal and . . . a mystery; even after almost fifty years of believing.
When I read Buechner, I believe he understood the unsettledness that doubt can be. I feel he understood what can be around the corners of our daily life, through his experiences with trouble, had found God faithful, and His word reliable.
I am glad for the books of his that I have, and for the links to more of his Frederick Buechner’s observations.
I recently finished listening to Viola Davis’ Finding Me: A Memoir. Her words are like gut punches . . .
The memoir is raw; a recollection of poverty, racism, on-going family dysfunction exploding with F-bombs and startling epithets.
The invisibility of the one-two punch that is Blackness and poverty is brutal. Mix that with being hungry all the damn time and it becomes combustible. (Viola Davis: A Memoir)
It was like looking into a noxious swamp —but also seeing the path that she chose to follow that led her through and to her successful life today.
For all that is devastating in her story, Ms Davis describes how she pulled herself up by the straps of boots that she didn’t own. It’s a timely message for the up and coming generation.
She also describes small kindnesses that [providentially] made big differences.
In a roundabout way, her memoir closes with an understanding of how God answered her prayers, prayed while a small, scared child. Again, her memoir helped me understand what seems so incomprehensible in these uncertain times.
However, more important is the conviction her explicit candor underscored: There was an ugly side to mid-century America. Maybe you and I didn’t live in it. But when some think back reverentially to the good-old days . . . they weren’t.
But then Scripture says they never were, right?
A Collection of Eulogies
Now I am listening to A Torch Kept Lit: Great Lives of the Twentieth Century by William F. Buckley Jr. (Author), James Rosen (Editor) It is a collection of eulogies W.F.B. wrote of family, friends and public figures who lived through those “good old days.”
Whatever you thought of his worldview, the man’s use of the same 26 letters of the alphabet Ms Davis used, is eloquent — to say the least.
Talk about literary whiplash!
But, how I have enjoyed spending time with these folks. Grateful I am their books hold open the door to refreshing our conversations. And grateful to have time and peace to keep painting. Here’s link to more products: Paintings from the Porch