A beautiful life is a planted life, attached but dynamic. A good life is a symbiotic life – serving others wholeheartedly and being served wholeheartedly in return. It is daily acts of loving-kindness, gentleness in reproach, forbearance after insult.*
Not at the objects surrounding you, but the people those objects represent.
Even posting this blog depends on so many who have made their expertise available to me.
It’s a kind of partnership and a day is full of them.
Corita Kent suggests for a drawing exercise to draw the spaces around a chair rather than the hard elements of the object itself.** From these there appears a chair. So, too, for us: as we notice those who are “partnering” with us through the day, we see something of our day and its activities emerging.
More in the foreground, we notice the partnerships we seek to forge through service, through servanthood, servants of one another.
Here are three words that move us deeper into providing others with the valuable imagination and creativity we bring: service, servanthood, servants.
Life is about seeking how far we are prepared to go: offering service, seeing ourselves being involved in servanthood, being most essentially servants.
It was a human face in my oblivion
A human being and a human voice
That cried to me, Come back, come back, come back.
But I would not. I said I would not come back.
It was so sweet in my oblivion
There was a sweet mist wrapped me round about
And I trod in a sweet and milky sea, knee deep,
That was so pretty and so beautiful, growing deeper.
But still the voice cried out, Come back, come back,
Come back to me from sweet oblivion!
It was a human and related voice
That cried to me in pain. So I turned back.
I cannot help but like Oblivion better
Than being a human heart and human creature,
But I can wait for her, her gentle mist
And those sweet seas that deepen are my destiny
And must come even if not soon.^
*From David Brooks’ The Second Mountain;
**See Corita Kent and Jan Steward’s Learning by Heart;
^Stevie Smith‘s Oblivion, quoted in Nick Cave’s Red Hand Files: Issue 157.