The National Silk Art Museum, Weston, Missouri

Bob retired several years before he finally convinced me to take early retirement.   He often reminded me that my mother needed more than I could give while I continued to work.  And, besides, we would have so much fun—day-trips, new adventures, visits with the grandchildren, no alarm clocks and just time to be together. My retirement was 11 years ago.

He was right.  Mom did need more.  It was a blessing to have the time to fully share her last years.

And those day-trips?  Well…today we took the second day-trip in those 11 years.   Two day-trips in eleven years!  Funny how time gets away.

We visited The National Silk Art Museum in Weston, Missouri.  The museum shares space in The Saint George Hotel.   Mr. John Pottie gave us a personal tour of the incredible silk tapestries that he has collected for 30 years.

I love museums and galleries and never tire of absorbing the mixture of history, art and the talent of visionaries.  The National Silk Art Museum now ranks at the top of my list of amazing places.  It isn’t possible to describe the depth in those intricate silk masterpieces.  They shimmer with  layers of  impossible beauty.

John Pottie has agreed to bring a large (and rotating) part of his collect to Strawberry Hill Museum in Kansas City, Kansas.  In addition to sharing his treasures, Mr. Pottie will personally greet visitors on most Saturdays and Sundays for the duration of the Strawberry Hill Museum’s Art Event, May through August.

Strawberry Hill Museum has long been a treasure of Kansas City, Kansas and now the museum experience is enriched through the presentation of the amazingly beautiful silk tapestries.

Had I know about The National Silk Art Museum I would have made a point to get there a bit sooner than the 11th year of retirement.

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Newsweek Magazine, March 29, 2010 (ccr)

This is not one of my usual rambles.  Rather it is a way of thanking Lisa Miller for writing a powerful feature on the abuse of children by ordained priests, Catholic representatives of Jesus–Jesus the Son of God in Catholic tradition and belief.

One of Ms. Miller’s most chilling sentences was the last in her piece.  “For an institution that protects itself above its children may not, after all, offer the best Sunday lesson.”

She also quotes historian Garry Wills, “I pay no attention to popes anymore–they have nothing to do with the Gospel.”

Another quote attributed to Rev. Richard McBrien seems to indicate that the church believes that Cardinal Bernard Law’s ‘demotion’ to Archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is justice served.

One final word in the interest of a rather ludicrous concept of fairness.  Virtus is a church initiated program designed for presentations to the laity involved with children under the Catholic Church umbrella.  I hold a Certificate from Virtus training.   I will continue to search for stories of  Catholic lay persons accused of abusing children and then being protected by the Church.

Which Glass Is Truth

Half full.  Half empty.

Often that cliché applauds the half full vision and pities the half empty view.  Half full represents the positive person who doesn’t give up, who sees life as beautiful and full of good.  Half empty deserves an eye roll and a head shake for seeing only the top half of the glass.

Same glass.  Equal parts of the whole.  What creates the response?

Everything?   Everything is an individual’s life looks into that glass and responds, right?  But how does the person’s emotional balance scale sort the experiences, giving weight and forming a life-way of seeing?

At the extremes, there are people who love to hate, who thrive on ‘them vs. us’, who require the negative.  The full side of the glass people might be seen as glossing over, of refusing reality.

Wonder who thought of that glass as a way of sorting.  Interesting concept.

More On Child Abuse (ccr)

Institutional child abuse by any adult is obscene.  Abuse by any person ordained to carry the spiritual and religious message is so beyond obscene that I cannot find a word.

Blaming or excusing the top person in the chain of responsibility is ludicrous.  There is no ‘chain’.  A single accusation, a single incident is enough for investigation and defrocking.  No second chances.  No therapy.  No strategic moves to a new situation.  One time when spiritual or moral authority gives license to harm a child…one time.

For now, the Catholic Church seems singled out as the top perpetrator.  Child abuse is not peculiar to the Catholic Church as any law office able to share statistics can probably attest.  Child abuse can happen in every situation where authority claims dominion.

I do not know of any Christian denomination who does not call the name of Jesus The Shepard, The Sacred Heart, My Refuge and My Strength,  The Man of Green Pastures.

“Suffer The Little Children to come unto me.”

Facing Anger

Head-on.  No detours.  No excuses.  No platitudes. Polly Anna-isms set aside.

Facing up is hard to do.

I have a new belief.  Or at least a reevaluated belief.

Depression is anger turned inward after efforts to hide or cover the anger with false hope.  Hope is good.  False hope is stupid.  Hope comes from looking at a situation and finding reason to believe.   False hope comes from looking at a situation slathered with reality while faking a belief that reality is a shadow, not substance.

Anger gets swallowed, pushed down into the darkness to fester.  Guilt probably plays a part as guilt is often too painful.  When the pain gets bad enough, anger takes the place of guilt.  When we continue to deny the anger, depression is the result.

We make choices.  We feel anger and rattle the cage we built.  Swallow the anger and a new cage surrounds the anger so we can pretend again.

Some blogs ago, I wrote about situational depression and possible ways to work through the heaviness.  Now I question all of that.  What if the situation is the chain to depression, a life reality, an unchangeable fact,  then what?

Is this one of those lemons to lemonade moments?  Spare me.  Those posters come from Polly Anna and she seems to be moving on.

Caregivers

My former colleague, Rita, was amazing.  ‘Caregiver’ did not begin to describe her life of dedication.  Each time I think of how she handled so many years of her life, I am more convinced that she was part angel.

If you know someone who cares for a loved one, please reach out to that caregiver with whatever support you can offer.  Maybe a phone call with words of encouragement or cards to let the caregiver know you are thinking of her/him.

Many caregivers are in the last years of this life, years that they hoped would be different.  Comfort and ease are no longer possible.  All that is gone and the final chapters are heartbreaking on many levels.

There are support groups for caregivers, but each of us can reach out to those we know living that role of sacrifice.   God bless each of them.

Health Care

Disclaimers come at the end, but this one needs clarity from the beginning.  This isn’t Republican or Democrat.  It isn’t pro or con the current bill.  I am not protesting or supporting this huge document of a bill that few people have read and even fewer people understand.    Vitriol and condescension blanket both sides with enough spin to alter the planet on the axis.  Any attempt at that illusive ‘civil discourse’ is instantly muddied by name calling, innuendo and partisan leaps to conclusions that cannot possibly be reasoned and civil.

I have my opinions about health care, about our President, and about our system of government.    Those opinions are not the issue in this blog.

We live in a country without equal in terms of freedom and opportunity.  The National Anthem brings me to honest attention and appreciation.   Speaking with men and women who have served our country in the military is my privilege.  I honor them and their sacrifices.

We are in economic crises mode and I have tried to understand  how ‘trickle-down’ became this cruel joke creating greater and greater pain as the trickle has dried.  Those who have plenty can never understand those who never  experience adequate.

All the above disclaimers to set-up my comments on the Sunday session (March 21, 2010) where men and women voted to decide to vote… where the man pounding the gavel looked as confused as I felt… where questions  asked went unanswered… where condescension reeked on both sides of the aisle…where a variations of civil discourse were not worth the pretense…where pork politics was alive and well…where an electronic vote for a simple one word yea or nay took 15 minutes so absent members could return to the chamber and push a button.

Yesterday, I told my friend and fellow blogger, Patti, that I was not going to write about the Sunday Session, that I might fail my own constant plea for civil discourse.   I could find little about which to be positive or hopeful.  I was worn out by watching, by listening and by the negative atmosphere that prevailed.  Absolutely could not find my Polly Anna self.

And then another opinion weighed.  Another opinion adjusted the light just enough to help me see this from a different perspective.  How often have I run-on about how important it is to look at the perspective of those with differing opinions.

Today, a family member talked about the Sunday session, commenting on what an amazing system we have in this country.  He said that the gavel at the end of 15 seconds of released time is not laughable.  “It works,” he said.  He even did a bit of a scoff session about my ‘civil discourse’ stuff, saying that civil dis-obedience was a major part of this country’s beginning.  He reminded me of the grease that quiets the squeak.

The framers were awesome men who set the course of the rules.   Appeals will come.  Pork will trim.  Political soul-selling often gets paid with Dorian Gray coinage.   Changes will happen.

Once again, I find wisdom in the perspective of another person, perspective that allows me to  look at my own views through the eyes and experiences of others.  Granted, I may not always  change my views, but I learn.

“My country ’tis of thee…”