This evening the power went off as I was listening to an obscure but moving rendition of Kyrie Elieson. Instead of the haunting harmonies of the Coptic version of this prayer, which translated means “Lord have mercy,” I got to relax in my bed in the dark to the lightning fitfully lighting up the sky. Of course, I may have napped a little bit, but there’s nothing wrong with that, since I was jarred awake when the lights came back on anyway.
Now that classes are done here for the year at Legacy, I have some time to do some writing–I have the messages for the Spring Holy Days to finish up with and there are other bits of writing I would like to get to (I’m hoping to finish my Sons of Korah project as well in the near future, as that is almost done except for the psalms and the second half of Samuel’s life in the Bible). As is my habit, though, I like to ponder and muse on what is going on in my life.
For example, for the last few days WordPress has added a new set of statistics (as if I didn’t have enough) that looks at what countries are viewing my blog. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of my blog views are from the United States. Canada and the United Kingdom are also popular. The Philippines is surprisingly popular also, but Latin America is not as popular as I thought it would be, and neither is Thailand. I check the stats fairly frequently and find them amusing, especially when I get a view from a quirky place like Uganda, as happened earlier today.
A lot of times one sees patterns from one’s reading, and pondering the self-destructive tendencies of artists leads one into fertile ground for connections. It is a tragic irony that artists frequently self-medicate, have co-dependent relationships with a variety of personal and professional enablers who are looking to profit from them without rocking the boat, thus serving them poorly in terms of providing honest criticism and advice, and have such obvious gifts that millions of people feel intimately connected to artists who are often deeply private, ferociously hostile toward those close to them, and deeply aloof and shy. This is something I ponder and reflect upon often, because though I am an obscure person nowhere near famous, the same basic makeup that is present in these stars of creating intimate works of art while remaining deeply private and diffident in general society and rather ambivalent about intimacy in general are within me as much as they are in the famous stars whose endlessly tragic lives fill our world. I know my kindred souls when I hear them and when I see them, and I mourn for them, and for myself as well.
And yet there is something worth celebrating as well. This life is all too short. We are but a candle that is snuffed out by the breeze just as easily as the lights go down on a blustery night. But if we are fortunate we leave something behind that connects with the heart and experiences of someone else, and our life takes on a meaning beyond our own private existence. Let us hope the mark we leave behind us is a good one. The Lord knows we all need mercy for ourselves.