I haven’t written in a while because working from home is almost completely absorbing. I’ve worked from home to supplement what I can get done in the office for years, but in recent weeks it work has required more and more of my time although I’m very happy, indeed grateful, to be working. Kathy and I and Mittens are well and in reasonably good cheer, venturing out as little as we can.
My study projects continue. I’ve completed an in-depth study through N. T. Wright and Michael Bird’s collaborative The New Testament in its times, followed by Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and the accompanying interpretive essay, followed by Aristotle’s Art of Rhetoric the interpretive essay upon which I’m still reading. Next up is Aristotle’s Metaphysics.
I’m spending more time at the Piano than usual, more time than I’ve given this enjoyment for two decades or more. Kathy tolerates it; a piano does fill the house with wall to wall sound, and mine is a baby-grand. Of late, I’ve finally understood the methods of using the piano to convey more gentle and somber emotions, seeking to improve my performance with soft playing as much or more than getting all keys hit in technical mastery. I like music all around, and I’m not much of a performer being unable (or unwilling) to memorize but being an excellent sight reader and having very good muscle memory. So, I like to play through the piano/vocal scores for musicals such as The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man, The King and I, The Man of La Mancha, Godspell, and selected tunes from movies and shows throughout my many books. I’ve also been recapitulating my young adult practice through Debussy, especially Clair de Lune, just about everything Gershwin wrote with words (by Ira), Queen (who doesn’t like Bohemian Rhapsody?), The Carpenters, The Beatles, Disney tunes, and old time favorites like Puttin’ on the Ritz and Ain’t She Sweet. Of course I took time to play from the hymnal for Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
I do reasonably well, even quite well, with this music as well as arrangements by Hal Leonard LLC, Tom Rhodes, Reader’s Digest, and New Age particularly David Lanz. I’m working from time to time on Strauss Waltzes, more difficult arrangements, and a wee bit of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Oh and Peter and the Wolf – Prokofiev.
Music is my first love. I’m no professional, but she treats me well nonetheless. My mother forced me to do two things that I disliked: (1) learn to type (long before computers, folks) and (2) learn to play the piano. Thanks, mom. What a great gift you gave me. It was still better when you played and dad and I sang. Perhaps we’ll do that again in the resurrection.
As for the hunt for wisdom, I should tell you that now is hunting season and it is also the season to deploy what we’ve learned. It is a time to speak up, to write your representatives, to insist that we take care of those whose lives have been interrupted due to no fault of their own and that we do so with gifts and not loans. My small personal example is paying the house cleaners double while not allowing them to work. If you can, do this. If you cannot, and you need help, have no shame in asking, even demanding. We must freely help each other and not depend entirely on an inefficient government to do so. After all, in pre-resurrection eschatological thinking, asking God to save now because The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any that go down into silence. (Psalm 115:17 NRS) – so, too with the landlord – he who ousts good tenants at this time will have empty space and risks his future; the wise work it out.
Our isolation brings frustration and a yearning for things often neither possible nor, if possible, wise. We wish for magic solutions, we spend lots of time with each other, too much time with little to distract and few chances to remove ourselves from each other’s presence. Too much intimacy can turn from the comfort of a warm bed to the gasp of the Iron Maiden. We’re in shock, we’re in pain, we’re worried, we’re afraid.
I read, and sometimes reply to, posts from friends on Facebook. People have every right to vent their frustration and concern, however, when people advocate things that endanger others, or even themselves, something must be said. The wisdom seeker understands that simple solutions are usually a thin veil for those seeking rhetorical persuasion of others on the basis of “common sense” and emotion rather than fact and technical expertise. We must all understand that the art of rhetoric employs things that are true as well as things that appear to be true or appear to make sense.
You see, it is the credibility and position of the speaker (or post writer) that adds credibility to utter nonsense, just as something appearing on television (or the internet or an e-mail that seems to come from someone you know or respect) leads people to the believe things and fall for scams and perpetuate incorrect information. Don’t lend your good name to harmful things.
That’s about it for a quick post.