Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You Meet Your People Where You Can

Yesterday while a storm raged outside, I managed to get to yoga class where the instructor put on a storm cd, one of those new age deals where you listen to the sounds of nature and whatnot. I had to admit that it beat the usual massage table, new-age fare that haunts most of these settings and the irony of being protected from a storm while listening to one recorded in order to soothe was not lost on me. I suppose that's what writers do -- in addition to weathering the actual bullshit, the wretched love affairs, poverty, violent depressions, the betrayals, we force ourselves to create versions of these events on the page in order to give people experiences without the damage. The yoga class about put me in the home -- lots of balancing poses like the crow which I could not manage. I watched other people do their crows and fall out of them and felt an odd affection for all these strangers, so determined to transform themselves.

Before Berean Baptist Church shut down, I listened to the sermons of Brother Buddy, a reformed alcoholic turned preacher. He'd been bad to drink and loved to talk about being made a new person. The concept of being born again was not empty rhetoric. Unfortunately, he couldn't pull up enough of the old life to make the sermons anything more than the rote following of scripture. We lost our lease on the storefront we had given that there wasn't enough money being taken up every week in the collection plate to stay current on the rent. So the owner of the Stop and Go convenience store let us meet in the storage room in the back on Sunday mornings. The room reeked of Lysol and nicotine and instead of beautiful stained-glass windows, there was one dirty window so smudged and high up you couldn't see out of it. Determined to make the best of it, Brother Buddy said, You meet your people where you can. The other thing he'd say was, God is refuge in the storm. The abstractions meant nothing to me. But I could sense his loneliness, his desperate attempts to change the energy no matter how meager the setting. He never quite made it into the crow position or any other pose for that matter, but as they say in the practice, the effort is all.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't never follow you first mind, cause that's the one that's wrong. 'Cause the Devil beats God to you every time." Son House

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: 501 Minutes To Christ Poe Ballantine

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!


Herman Northrop Frye said...

Re Poe Ballantine: As we used to say in the 60's, "Far out, man!" Of course this translates as "Awesome!" today.

Emperor Ropi said...

Yoga is the new trend nowadays but I wouldn't refuse a good massage. My bones are always cracking.

Charles Gramlich said...

The effort is all." I tend to agree with that, but I don't think the world does. I don't think the world cares much about effort, only about results. Maybe that's why we writers have to keep caring.

the walking man said...

Someone has to suffer so why not the tender hearted, them that put the effort forth to pose for the sake of sanity. We all try to reach out but most times the sermon can't be anything but rote repetition of the scripture of life.

Has there ever been a society that respected effort over results, now if you don't make a hundred grand a year you are not worth less but worthless.

No I suppose the effort doesn't count if the results aren't a grand display for all the world to look at the end result and smirk at everyone foolish enough to not own stock in the company that always reports profit.

If I was brother buddy I'd go back to drinking at least then his experiences were real and good fodder for original sermons which could have kept the plate full and the leased doors open.

But it is true you meet your people wherever you do.



eric1313 said...

Some vices miss what is right because they are deficient, others because they are excessive, in feelings or in actions, while virtue finds and chooses the mean.
--Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Some of us do appreciate effort over results. That's why we toil away at an often thankless art. That's why some visit those who could care less about ever seeing them. It's because the effort provides it's own reward, tangibility be damned.

Peace out, Michelle.

Take care.

eric1313 said...

And Brother Buddy stories always bring a smile with them They are their own intangible rewards coalesced onto your page.

I have a poem called Birds that's one under my current post that you would really love. It's about someone who has to seek their own reward, because life itself won't reward her.

paul said...


Tim said...

You have to admire people like Brother Buddy, who keep plugging away despite all the frustrations and setbacks.