Paint Schoodic

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Friday, September 12, 2014

A personal aside

Selbstbildnis, mit der Hand an der Stirn (Self-portrait, hand at the forehead), etching, 1910, by K├Ąthe Kollwitz,  
Forty-five years ago, I was at a school pool in Niagara County, New York, when my sister had a brain bleed. She died. With us were my friend S. and her mom, although at the time they seemed tangential to the tragedy that engulfed my family.

It was compounded four years later when my brother—who happened to be S.’s classmate—was killed by a drunk driver.

Sorrowful old man, pencil, black lithographic crayon, wash, white opaque watercolor, on watercolor paper, by Vincent Van Gogh, 1882
We move on. Our flock tends to be made of birds of the same coloration. And I think I’m probably an unmotivated intellectual. Why, just yesterday, I was discussing Steiner and Kandinsky and their daft color theories with three dear friends. This is fun, it’s fluff, and no more or less meaningful than talking football is for other people.

I haven’t seen S. in years, but through the miracle of Facebook, we’re in loose contact.

Last evening, my mom died. I refuse to discuss my grief with anyone, but it is substantial.

And then S. posted this video:


For the first time I understand what it meant to praise God from the depths of grief. That’s wisdom, and it’s a far greater thing than knowledge.


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