HAve we sold our souls?

Bird Droppings March 18, 2011
Have we sold our souls?

Morning is a special time for me a beginning is an easy way to say it. Today I went out a bit early from the house to gas up my wives car. As I drove back to the house an owl was sitting on the road and flew away as I drove up giving me an interesting start today. But for me several aspects of that start to the day almost are routine like taking our dog out, then sitting down for writing and reading each has become a significant part of my day. I walked out this morning and felt the coldness of perhaps hopefully the end of our winter as we close in on spring. Across the sky stars literally alive and constellations everywhere, the stars were crystal clear in the morning darkness and the moon nearing fullness and the super moon of the next few days.

“Life is raw material. We are artisans. We can sculpt our existence into something beautiful, or debase it into ugliness. It’s in our hands.” Cathy Better

Yesterday I got into a discussion about a Bird Dropping from a day or two ago dealing with sacredness. In the course of the discussion I began to realize how much we have in our hedonism given away. I wrote a paper on the stripping of soul from students as we demand and seek higher test scores as a means of showing learning. I listened last night to update on the years ago shootings at Virginia Tech and history of a young man and his anguish and angst that lead to it. They pointed to his observations and experiences with the hedonism of our society he in his questioning and counseling was mentioning over and over in his rants. I began seriously thinking have we sold our souls for a few mere trinkets?

“It is not how many years we live, but rather what we do with them.” Evangeline Cory Booth

“Your life and my life flow into each other as wave flows into wave, and unless there is peace and joy and freedom for you, there can be no real peace or joy or freedom for me. To see reality–not as we expect it to be but as it is–is to see that unless we live for each other and in and through each other, we do not really live very satisfactorily; that there can really be life only where there really is, in just this sense, love.” Frederick Buechner

Last night I sat down thinking and trying to put down words perhaps meaningful written pictures that may have significance. I emailed several people last night just touching base opening discussion about this idea of sacredness. But as I thought the interactions and intertwining of life that occur daily those we seemingly miss and ignore. I was talking with several high school students about how life is much like a puzzle interlocked one piece to the next and we tend too often miss seeing the tiny yet needed interconnections. Watching the news and each new report bits and pieces of how and why the events of the past few days have spilled out in Japan and in Libya. I recall many years back when I suggested psychiatric treatment for a student and was told not my call. Six years later he is sentenced to three life sentences for killing a mother and nearly killing two children he baby sat for. Sometimes those at the top may need to listen.

“If, after all, men cannot always make history have meaning, they can always act so that their own lives have one.” Albert Camus

“The tragedy of life is not so much what men suffer, but rather what they miss.” Thomas Carlyle

As I moved through the day yesterday sensing something was amiss and even after knowing it is difficult to offer from a distance any sort of comfort to those in need other than keeping them on our minds and in our hearts. Most people as the day finished never missed a stride I am sure in Japan there were tears from family, friends and those that know the victims of the earth quake and tsunami. But as I tried to explain even in tragedy there is purpose and meaning. That concept is difficult to explain to people who live in a materialistic universe.

“What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset.” Crowfoot

I have used this quote several times and each time it seems appropriate. I remember as a child chasing fireflies across a meadow gathering those life forces in a jar to light my room and then releasing into the night watching them float away in the darkness. Life is seeing beyond the tangibles and foibles of our existence. Life is not the shirt, shoes or coat we wear. Life is about what is in your heart. Life is about your soul.

“It’s not how long life is but the quality of our life that is important.” Roger Dawson

“Life is made of ever so many partings welded together.” Charles Dickens

In 1996 my brother passed away and my family was faced with a new beginning. We all had built our lives around my brother. He was severely disabled and our being in Georgia was directly related to him. As we celebrated his life reviewing the intricate webs that were laid each moment and the many people touched and lives affected what seemingly had been was now an enormous out pouring of life. Every day a new piece of that puzzle falls into place. It may be another teacher of special needs children, another person recalling the time spent helping with John’s rehab and how it impacted their life. Within our difficulties and disasters always there is hope.

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really merely commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the planning, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chain of events, working through generations and leading to the most outer results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

We each approach the morning in a different way I embrace the day and begin with my writing seeing each moment then unfold trying to understand each tiny piece. Since 1996 I have taken many different roads and journeys and as I look back each has had meaning and direction and led me to now. I told a dear friend while I am always wondering where I am to be next it is not because I do not enjoy what I am doing but because I may be needed elsewhere. It is about taking and experiencing the journey.

“Life is about the journey not the destination” Steven Tyler

Several years ago I received a call from my nephew that a close friend had been in a car accident and as the night proceeded I spent the night in the Athens Hospital holding a young man’s hand as monitors beeped and droned and he lay unmoving. We were all hoping that the numbers on the dials would change, they did not. When I arrived home on my computer was a sticky yellow note from my oldest son, the Steven Tyler quote from an Aerosmith song. As I think even farther back and as I was discussing sacred yesterday with a student, in 1968 as I left for Texas for college I received a book from my parents on page 596.

“To everything there is season, and a time, To every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Many years ago Pete Seeger a folk singer and environmentalist wrote music and borrowed the words, a song was born “Turn Turn Turn” soon to be released by how appropriate “The Byrd’s”. “To every season turn turn turn there is a reason turn turn turn and a time for every purpose under heaven” the song became a hit.

“Nothing is beneath you if it is in the direction of your life.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.” Robert Frost

So often a poets words offer comfort or give direction back to a journey set off course one moment. There is no filling of a void yet when looking at life and all that has been, when looking at the journey to now there truly is no void. There is a turn in the road a new direction all that has lead to this point has not changed and is there behind us lifting us guiding us strengthening us as we continue our experiences. I remember back to a photo of my son crossing a stream in north Georgia all ready sopping wet from falling in but still intent on making it across. He clambered stone by stone crossing the stream and a favorite Zen saying I often attach to the photo.

“You can never cross a stream the same way twice.” Zen Saying

We all can cross in our own time and there times when a hand is welcome. Years ago I set up a website for a youth group and today I will close with the starting line from that website “Friends are never alone”. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and today keep those friends who may need extra support close at hand.
namaste
bird

Philosophy

PROCESSIONAL
ALL guests are seated.
SONG: When I’m 64
Grandmothers seated
Mothers seated
SONG: Today I Met the Boy I’m Going to Marry
Frank Bird, Matt Bird and Kathleen Snyder enter from right

Trae Veal
Skyla Morris
Gill Arquisola
Tiffany Morris
Jacob Baird
Katie Sumner
John Bird
Paige Sforzo
Frankie Bird
Morgan Robey

Jonathan Hiers
Gabby Salter
Jordan Veal

SONG: Baby I’m Amazed by Paul McCartney

MaCayla Veal meets Roy Veal at the end of the isle

Music stops

WELCOME

THE GIVING IN MARRIAGE

AN OPENING READING

“To My Dear and Loving Husband” by Anne Bradstreet
If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me ye women if you can.
I prize thy love more that whole mines of gold,
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold I pray.
Then while we live, in love let’s so persever,
That when we live no more, we may live ever.

DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE

WEDDING VOWS
WRITING OWN

READING

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

SAND CEREMONY

“To symbolize the importance of the individuals within the marriage and the joining of two lives into one entity, three colors of sand will now be layered into a vase.”

(Frank gives MaCayla clear jar of green sand, then gives Matt a clear jar of blue sand. Frank has one small clear jar filled with light orange sand and a large empty jar).

“We begin with a layer of neutral sand which symbolizes that the marriage is grounded.”

(Frank pours a little of the orange sand into the jar)

“Then we layer the individual colors. This symbolizes that the marriage is based on the strength of the individuals.”

(Matt pours a little of the blue sand in first, followed by a little more of the neutral sand by Frank. MaCayla then adds a little green sand, followed by some additional green sand from Frank)

“And now we combine the colors, which symbolizes two lives joined as one together forever.”

(Matt and MaCayla simultaneously pour their remaining sand into the large jar until their jars are empty. Frank caps off the sand with the last of the neutral sand. Frank then holds the large jar up as if presenting to the wedding audience and places the jar to the side).

CLOSING

DECLARATION OF MARRIAGE

INTRODUCTION OF NEWLYWEDS

SONG: Living on a Prayer Bon Jovi

RECESSIONAL

MaCayla & Matt
Jordan Veal
Kathleen Snyder
Gabby Salter & Jonathan Hiers
Morgan Robey & Frankie Bird
Paige Sforzo & John Bird
Katie Sumner & Jacob Baird
Tiffany Morris & Gill Arquisola
Skyla Morris & Trae Veal
Frank Bird