Martha, Martha, you are anxious and distraught over many things. Ony one thing matters. Mary has chosen that good portion, and it will not be taken from her.
Jesus (Luke 10:41-42)
-You city folk worry about a lotta shit. . . . Y’all come up here about the same age. Same problems. Spend about fifty weeks a year gettin’ knots in your rope. Then you think two weeks up here’ll untie ‘em for you. None of you get it. Do you know what the secret of life is?
- No. What?
- Your finger?
-One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.
-That’s great, but… what’s the one thing?
-That’s what you gotta figure out.
Dialogue between Curly and Mitch, (City Slickers)
This morning, as I sought to untie a few knots, I looked up the passage about Jesus visiting in the home of Mary and Martha, and then read a fine Paul Tillich sermon on the text, titled “Our Ultimate Concern.” As I wrote in my journal and pondered on the one thing that matters, I recalled the scene from the motion picture City Slickers that made me laugh many years ago. Yesterday’s thoughts about Captain Ahab’s challenge to “strke through the mask” was still fresh on my heart, and I began to write about the values that matter to me now at this age, and how much they have been challenged over the decades. It seems that much of our hitting against that mask is an attempt to clarify what it is exactly that matters to each of us.
At this point, I’m not going to address what matters in my life, but encourage anyone who reads to consider what matters most in his or her life, and try to keep it in perspective when other distractions demand attention to the diminishment of that one thing which matters. What Martha did in the gospel story was important, but so was that which Mary chose. I feel that readers of the story too often try to take sides between the two. Jesus didn’t do that–he only admonished the one criticizing that the source of her angst lay in the reality that she was responding to too many stimuli; only one thing matters. Emerson addressed this problem as well, saying that oftentimes we try to answer to everything around us that demands our attention, and that action only manages to “scatter our force.”
The painting posted above appears as though not much has happend to it in the past twenty-four hours. Actually there has been substantial work added. I spent a good portion of the afternoon layering transparent wash on about fifty percent of the surface (right-hand side) and then salting, spritzing and drawing into the wet surface. It will take awhile for me to get these brick textures to do what I want them to do. But I’m feeling confident and in control of this one, though I’m still aware of how much slower it’s going, due to the overall size of the composition.
Thanks for reading.
I paint in order to remember.
I journal when I feel alone.
I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.