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Archive for November, 2018

Honing mercy…

“In the noise of hundreds of people, no one understood anything… Oh, how one wants sometimes to go from such…cheerless human wordiness into the seeming silence of nature,…into the wordlessness…of true music, and of a quiet, heartfelt touch grown mute from fullness of soul!” — from Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago

Everyone craves notoriety, it seems. But it’s not true that everyone has something worthwhile to say. (Cruelty and lies from bully-pulpits should never find voice.)

Few things wind me up more than crafting the use of words sparingly, working into concise nuances by carving out meaning from madness, then emerging into the myriads of proliferated mindlessness in the world around me.

If Life be anything, be it tumbled out poetry — or S.T. Coleridge’s “low voice of quiet Change…doing its work by little & little” — versus dropping into the madding crowd, clamorous as a reckless recluse. Rather err on the side of silence and joy than slip-slide into obsequious salivations for fame.

There is delight in living away from the public eye. Charm and dignity when one can hone mercy and kindness without broadcasting goodness when it’s accomplished. Better to learn the rhythms of the “…billion unseen wonders of everyday life”, that Matt Haig — who has a keen eye for the tragedy, humor, and empathy of the human heart — writes about in his Notes on a Nervous Planet, when “…there is just love and kindness and trying, amid the chaos, to make things better where we can…”

Perhaps holding onto simplicity and re-evaluating “the now that forever is made of,” will grant us breath of grace to allow mercy to overshadow the need to be heard, if being heard encompasses an inauspicious clamor.

Practice the art of Mercy in its varied forms:

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God’s
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore,…
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy….”

— Portia, from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”: Act 4, Scene 1

♫ ♪”…be still with me…”♫ ♪

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