Last month I wanted to look closer at this legendary masterpiece of Auguste Rodin’s, and found that it was a Type of Dante’s Poem, gazing at the portals of hell…. am I wrong?
There wasn’t time to dive deeper into that, we’ve all been flung a little further in at a new kind of emo/physical torment with Virus related issues. We’ve never been closer, in this new kind of loneliness, all of us together in a new kind of isolation, we’re like a Shadow of yesterday going into tomorrow, staring at Us all as through a glass, gazing at each other as if we’ve never seen us before, sans all the action. It’s a new kind of day. We’re unafraid of words we used to be afraid of. A friend who never asks for prayer, asked. What are we all thinking as we face another 24 hrs, an extended Lock down, or more news coming in from frontlines, where people are facing way more than emptied food shelves….
I got this ( pl see below Thinking Man). It isnt all gloomy. In fact, in it’s own heart rending way, the following words change me….
Pray for Italy🙏🏻
“From Dr. Julian Urban, a 38 year-old serving in a hospital in Lombardy, Italy:
—LIGHT IN A DOCTOR’S DARKEST NIGHTMARE—
Never in my darkest nightmares did I imagine that I would see and experience what has been going on in Italy in our hospital the past three weeks. The nightmare flows, and the river gets bigger and bigger. At first, a few patients came, then dozens, and then hundreds. Now, we are no longer doctors, but sorters who decide who should live and who should be sent home to die, though all these patients paid Italian health taxes throughout their lives.
Until two weeks ago, my colleagues and I were atheists. It was normal because we are doctors. We learned that science excludes the presence of God. I laughed at my parents going to church.
Nine days ago, a 75-year-old pastor was admitted into the hospital. He was a kind man. He had serious breathing problems. He had a Bible with him and impressed us by how he read it to the dying as he held their hand. We doctors were all tired, discouraged, psychologically and physically finished. When we had time, we listened to him.
We have reached our limits. We can do no more. People are dying every day. We are exhausted. We have two colleagues who have died, and others that have been infected. We realized that we needed to start asking God for help. We do this when we have a few free minutes. When we talk to each other, we cannot believe that, though we were once fierce atheists, we are now daily in search of peace, asking the Lord to help us continue so that we can take care of the sick.
Yesterday, the 75-year-old pastor died. Despite having had over 120 deaths here in 3 weeks, we were destroyed. He had managed, despite his condition and our difficulties, to bring us a PEACE that we no longer had hoped to find. The pastor went to the Lord, and soon we will follow him if matters continue like this.
I haven’t been home for 6 days. I don’t know when I ate last. I realize my worthlessness on this earth. I want to use my last breath to help others. I am happy to have returned to God while I am surrounded by the suffering and death of my fellow men.
Pls pray for Italy”
And may I add, pray for our neighbours, each other, ourselves. For international wisdom and tact as we go forward.
This one is for the loved ones and those who have succumbed, or might, to Covid & other reasons humans and nations do not always thrive,
& too, for those of us who die a thousand deaths in lives that could be be lived out strong,
those for whom Love loses Its Light with eye dulled for fears they needn’t weep: we are freer than we imagine;
for all of us: Tomorrow is that gift we cannot see yet: we do not walk Its fields of harvest, we do not yet inhale Its aroma of rest, we do not hold It in our fingers, but we believe It too will arrive like yesterday,
we know in the hours before dawn that when we peer thru’ grey satin whispers of sunrise, we will walk into Its rays of hope,
Some said it well... ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning‘; so walk, walk on. Brave Heart, walk on, till tomorrow comes…
So, no random wheeling around my city. No touching other Humans, Malls, or Theater, stay in!
I’m basically a hermit, but when asked NOT to go out, ah the urge – the urge to watch sunset from anyplace else but here. And where are we these days: an entire globe @home?
My own window fills ~ with papers, books, younger elbows, easel, plants;
I wonder what life is like for you. We learn new words like Social Distancing, we stall some die hard 9-5 habits, dawn walk, handshake, warm hug, oh do not even whisper words mask & sanitizer to me🤧😷🤒.
All across Italy people are turning to music in an effort to beat boredom, socialise and keep their spirits high as the country battles Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus. Video: David Dunne.
In the minutes before six o’clock, Jessica Phelan climbed the stairs to the roof of her building to look out over her Rome neighbourhood. All day on social media, a hashtag had been trending: “sonic flashmob”, spreading the word that something would happen when the clock struck six.
Phelan saw neighbours emerge at balconies and windows, from apartments where they have been living in isolation under government orders to curb Europe’s worst outbreak of coronavirus, which has been killing more than 200 citizens a day in Italy’s overwhelmed hospitals.
“People started waving to each other, calling ‘ciao, ciao’,” Phelan recalled. “A bunch of people started whacking tamborines, people had maracas. It was just noise at first. But then somebody started singing Bella Ciao.”
The “sonic flashmob” or “flashmob sonoro” began in Rome with the 18-member street music band Fanfaroma …
“We were saying on our chat group, what will we do? How can we play?” said the band’s saxophonist Luciano Belvilacqua. “Then someone said, ‘let’s go out and play on our balconies’.”
“It was madness, it was like New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Similar initiatives flowered spontaneously in other cities. Clips of apartment buildings producing impromptu choirs lit up social media over the weekend.
Songs of resilience that recall difficult times of the past are finding a special resonance. At noon on Saturday, one Bologna neighbourhood filled the with sound of applause after a resident broadcast from their window the Evening of Miracles, a song that recalls the town squares filling with people again after the second World War.
Comedian and musician Francesco Cicchella changed the lyrics of the traditional Neapolitian song Luna Rossa, or Red Moon, to tell the tale of the masks, disinfectant, and solitude of life under quarantine.
“Let’s make this go more viral than the virus!”he wrote on Facebook…
“We are trying to make this period of quarantine less sad, a bit more fun,” said Cicchella.
Children can call a telephone number to be told a story. Theatres stream drama. Opera house the Teatro Regio di Torino, founded in 1740, began broadcasting performances of Verdiover YouTube. The Museum of Modern Art in Bologna is publishing videos from artists showing their work….botanic gardens launched virtual tours…..
“The theme is ‘what you see from your window’. Perhaps we have more time to take notice of things, now that we are all shut in our homes,” Sanzo said.
“You need to respond in some way because otherwise people will feel too alone. Going onto the balcony to sing with other people gives you courage,”Belvilacqua, the saxophonist says.
Windows locking in on our lives, and perhaps more than windows..
I’ve read this somewhere: that we each have a Stairwell running from the roots of us to a zone above our present time, our present tense…… routing us to Things we cannot know exist even just moments ahead.
My Ma had a song about that. “There’s a stairway that winds up to heaven, and it takes but a moment to climb. It’s a stairway of prayer and you’ll find it, anywhere you may be, any time.Whenever I pray I climb a Stairway….“
Don’t you wonder what the past few weeks may be preparing us for: how a Season like this one could re-route you, me, all of us through to healthier or otherwise, co-existence in our respective communities?
Who knows how this will all pan out, but let’s please not let one Window stay shut, not miss one Step if we can. Tough call, but we are a Tougher Generation than we dare suspect. Did I just say that?
That Impossible thing you do relying on your 'nth sense alone.
I’ve been fascinated long enough with Michelangelo’s 15 ft marble masterpiece David, to take a good read on material I could get, and look what I found: along with some Questions, some Answers & an impossibly naked prayer….“**
Michelangelo sculpts his David as before his battle with Goliath: quiet tense, with ‘pebble’ hidden in right palm, his slingshot seemingly at rest on his shoulder. He is left handed? He catches his giant by surprise.
At 26 years old in 1501, Michelangelo accepted the challenge to sculpt a large scale David, from an unfinished project flawed with ‘taroli‘ or imperfections: it was in the Vestry’s courtyard for 25 years. No one expected such a revolutionary translation of a biblical hero.
What was this young Italian Sculptor thinking those 4 years working a discarded humongous white rock of ‘flawed’ marble? Why the heart shaped pupils and ‘one eye looking at a closer object, the other at a more distant one…?’ What does this Teenage Shepherd boy symbolize, not just as the most famous naked statute in the world….?
Traditionally, David had been portrayed post- victory over the slain Goliath. But Michelangelo chooses a David poised, before all of the action – leaning his focus on the power of a God who had already delivered him from a lion and a bear, bare handed.
It would take 4 days x 40 men to move the statue the half mile from Michelangelo’s workshop by Santa Maria del Fiore Cathedral to the Piazza della Signoria. Luca Landucci, diarist, recounts:
“…midnight, May 14th, and the ‘Giant’ was taken out of the workshop. They even had to tear down the archway… 40 men were pushing the large wooden cart where ‘David’ stood protected by ropes, sliding it through the town on trunks. The Giant eventually got to Signoria Square on June 8th 1504…”
Michelangelo worked at the statue in secrecy … he worked in the open courtyard, in the rain: this inspired him? It’s been said he submerged a wax model of his design in water. As the water level dropped he’d chisel what emerged. He slept in at work, ate when he could….
his craftsmanship is ‘flesh- soft’, frozen palpable restful caution, reflected in a classic pose (contrapposto); one leg bearing full weight, while the other leans forward allowing hip and shoulder to recline at opposing angles, lending the entire torso it’s now legendary S- curve : the stance of a confident, focused watchful warrior.
**Why the heart shaped pupil under furrowed brows? You’d furrow, burrow, …….owwww anything if you were faced with a bloodthirsty monster’s 7ft sword going at your jugular… I can’t say. I wasn’t there,
though I’ve seen a few monster cyclones, a semi tidal wave, a few insane river crossings, one deadly mountain route; sat in at a Mumbai eatery while a 10,000 strong mob rioted past looking for petrol and match; I even been in the 200 km No man’s Land between India and Karachi: with quiet (back then) Border Security and long sweet smelling grass:
you were not just staring at danger, you were gazing at Something else you couldn’t define. Your brain had registered earlier Goodness. You remembered how the ocean looked before the storm, you perhaps even thought this too- would pass. You chose not to think the cyclone would sweep your roof away. You looked on life with ‘heart-shaped pupils’ waiting for the morning sun, waiting in a way that knew storms and rough places were not eternal situations. In that moment you chose not to rely on mere senses; if you prayed, you didn’t have time to format words. There were no words. You forgot formality, you were stripped of human comfort, you didn’t care. But you remembered somethings no one could have told you to remember, none but another Power could whisper that secret, in ways beyond aural, they were metaphysical? Maybe, maybe there’s more adjectives than we know.
D’you remember a time you thought you were alone in a place no one else could reach, but Something held you? That Fever you thought could never leave, that Accident that took your leg but gave you wings, you now remember all that and it pushes you up the rungs of a Thing like a stair case made of gold, gold because it’s like nothing else you’ve known…. resilient after a fire rinse, beautiful in the refining….
You’re looking at all that now with eyes of a love you never thought existed …
A love for divine intervention, interpretation…
a love for the impossible.
You cannot find words to pray, but your mental Sling is working:
there’s a giant, a Goliath in your face. You’re looking at It, but also at the Possibility of an impossible solution. You’ve got to take the very thing you been good at, those proverbial ‘5 pebbles from little stream at home’, your well worn sling>these kiddie weapons, but it’s all you got, stripped of other armour too much for you to fit into!
But all you got is enough.
You surprise yourself, and your giant.
You become the giant….. 15 feet tall, pure gleaming material now, from something you thought was flawed:
if anything is a Prayer/ an Asking – it’s this one:
when the human spirit asks its Creator, what they can collaborate on together: “..what d’You want me to do next?”
What is that one stance that is most opposed to human nature?
It’s what made a Michelangelo, and the original David. (Michelangelo surprised even Leonardo Da Vinciin that broad room meeting they had, deciding where to stall David). It is Job sitting in the market place in ashes and sackcloth saying,”Never mind the nasty things my besties say about me, bless them God, I know my Redeemer lives…for me.” It is Daniel flung in the lion’s den, unafraid, “..even if He slays me, I trust Him.” It is Esther and Ruth, Hannah and Sara. Or Gideon and Moses. It is you and me, every so often, walking through everyday miracles of existence and healing and we mightn’t even notice some times but we prayed these impossible prayers, naked of all garb/pretence/fear/doubt/lack of gut;
we might be there today, and we look around and find these little or large, old and new mammoth Illustrations of how humans can pray, or perhaps it’s possible we have done it, and haven’t realised it….
Not possible to gaze beyond our Goliath and look askance at ……..an Invisible God?
But this got me here, @ the kind of prayer Stance that defies visible support….*