Thursday, April 03, 2014

Modern Art

Maggie and I are watching the Sister Wendy videos about art history and art appreciation.  Neither one of us likes it much, but it's one of those things I make the kids do for school.  Cultural literacy and all that. 

In the Christian-homeschooling world, I had heard that Impressionism was bad.  It was the first step in a break-from-reality in paintings, the beginning of a slippery slope.  So, does that make me bad?  You see, I like the Impressionists.  Now I know that the Impressionists cared about beauty.  Even if they were painting impressions instead of realistic depictions, it was still about beauty.

Today as we watched the show about modern art, Sister Wendy told us that an important contribution that Picasso made to the world of art: breaking from the notion that art would be about beauty.  With modern art came the choice to paint what was beautiful or not.  Ugliness and violence was worthy of art too.  (Oh, yeah?  That's one doozy of a "contribution" to art.)

We also learned about a modern artist who believed in the big bang theory.  His art therefore showed a mess, a big ugly mess.  Because, you see, disorder and disarray are where new life and fresh things are created.  (Uh huh....)

Sister Wendy kept telling us that modern art is about freedom -- "freedom from the constraints of reality."  Yes.  Freedom from being bound to the rules.  Yes.  Freedom to think and dream without limitation.  Yes, that sounds to me like "nightmares." 

And that would be why I don't like modern art.
It's not just my silly little preference.
It's about God and reality and beauty and truth.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Reading the Blessing

Maybe the young, new pastor is shy and thus unsure of himself.
Maybe the pastor had been immersed in "contemporary worship" and is now discovering the blessings of the liturgy, although he's not yet grounded in the pattern of those words.
Maybe the pastor is having health problems so that his memory (or speech) is uncharacteristically jumbled.

There are times when it's important that the book be opened and be read, so that the words are right.  Obviously, nobody is expecting the pastor to go through the entire service, including the Prayer of the Church, including all the seasonal variations in the preface and the collects, with all of it memorized.  It's important to read the book.

But aren't there sections that we learn by heart?  "The Lord bless you and keep you.  The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace."   Isn't that something we hear often enough that we learn it without even trying to memorize it?  It always surprises me when I see an experienced pastor looking at the book instead of at the people as he blesses them.

But, hey, definitely better to be reading it
than to be making up your own thing!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

What Do Patients Know, Anyway?

So I'm visiting my mom in the hospital.  She's tired and needs an uninterrupted nap.  I sit out in the hallway, blocking her door, to make sure she has 15-20 minutes without anybody disturbing her.  I work on my Sudoku and tune out the conversations in the hallway.

Then a voice breaks through.  An unidentified nurse is exasperated.  "She keeps insisting that I check her blood sugar levels.  It's like she thinks I don't know how to do my job!  Why does she keep reminding me?  I am the professional here.  I've been trained.  She's just a patient."  Another nurse commiserates. 

I understand they have quite a few people to care for.  I realize not every patient can have the attention they want, exactly when they want it.  (That's one of the reasons I think it's important for patients to have someone there with them, someone to fix the pillow, to get a glass of water, to help get out of bed for a trip to the bathroom, etc.)   BUT ...

medical care is not just about science.  It's about people.  Different people have different needs.  A medicine that works for Joe may not work for Bob, even if they have the same illness.  Patients who live with chronic conditions know what's necessary.  They know what pills work better at what time of day.  They know what routines their bodies need.  They often know these things [gasp] better than the professionals do.

And then ... there is an ugly truth.

Sometimes nurses DO forget.
Sometimes they DO need to be reminded.
Maybe it's because they're truly busy and overworked.
Maybe there was an emergency in another room.
Or maybe they got too busy talking with co-workers about cute new Easter dresses.

Then add in that a patient endures the fall-out of a few doozy screw-ups, or a patient struggles to explain why something that's a minor problem for most people is a huge problem for her.  The doctor had told the patient to insist on proper care and to ask and to be pro-active and to remind the nurses.  A nurse protests that she "doesn't need to be reminded."  And somehow, we aren't so sure about that.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Reading Challenge

Back in December, when everybody else was making their challenge lists for 2014, I didn't.  Maybe I can't plan for such pleasures right now.  But for now, here are some ideas I had early in the year, and how far I've come:

finish proofreading New Testament Catechist  [done Feb 11]

Light from Heaven (the last Mitford book) [done March 6]
the Father Tim series, by Jan Karon

the Kristin Lavransdatter series, by Sigrid Undset
Bridal Wreath [done March 27]
Mistress of Husaby
The Cross

Hammer of God (again)

The Complete Guide to Creating a Special Needs Life Plan, by Hal Wright

Anne of the Island
Anne of Windy Poplars
and maybe a few more in the series
(with Maggie)

likely some proofreading on Bible Stories for Daily Prayer

a Luther biography with Maggie
Narnia again
a book or two by Jillian Bradshaw
maybe try out an Elizabeth Gaskill book
something by Beverly Engel or Robin Stern
Quiet by Susan Cain