Funeral Music

Schubert at the Piano, Gustav Klimt, circa 1896
Schubert at the Piano, Gustav Klimt, circa 1896

I attended my Aunt Janice’s funeral today. The service included memories, a moment of reflection, the pastor’s words of hope, and special music by a husband and wife. A nice service, but it was the music that remains with me. The strong, clear notes of How Great Thou Art rise above the piano accompaniment and combine with thoughts of eternity and heaven. I think I might know where Klimt gets his combination of authority, brilliance, and emotion glowing out from beneath the surface.

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Two Lines from Tennyson

Our wills are ours, we know not how;

Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

— from “In Memorium” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1849

When I call myself “strong-willed,” I think I mean stubborn. But from Tennyson’s humble wisdom, I am willing to change my definition. A strong will is a will that looks to God and His Word and asks, “Is this right?” A strong will is one that tucks away all the snippy comments I want to vent, and instead prays for wisdom. A strong will is weak in other people’s eyes, but it doesn’t care because it is more interested in what God will think.

Book Giveaway on Goodreads

You’ve read my posts about A Flower in the Heart of the Painting. Now you could win a copy of the book!

Click here to enter the Goodreads Giveaway contest, ending December 14. You’ll have to click the Enter to Win button.

I hope you win! But if you don’t, you can still buy it:) It’s not very expensive, as far as books go. See my Publications page for purchase links.

The Name of the Rose

“We stopped to browse in the cases, and now that William – with his new glasses on his nose – could linger and read the books, at every title he discovered he let out exclamations of happiness, either because he knew the work, or because he had been seeking it for a long time, or finally because he had never heard it mentioned and was highly excited and titillated. In short, for him every book was like a fabulous animal that he was meeting in a strange land.”

— from The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, 1980

When I found this book at a used book sale, I had read nothing by Umberto Eco. I only knew it was a thick book, it was about a mystery at a medieval abbey, and my quick glance inside told me I would need a dictionary nearby. I couldn’t wait to read it! While reading it, I had to concentrate uncommonly hard, and that pleased me. A good challenge was just what I needed inbetween changing diapers and reading There’s a Wocket in my Pocket. I enjoyed the intellectualism, the immersion in a monk’s culture, the importance placed on books, even the strange (although sometimes bloody and weird) mystery. When finished, I still didn’t understand everything, and that left me something to ponder, and I liked that. Now, about three years after I read the book, it strikes me that I’m a lot like William in the above quote. This book on my lap is like a fabulous animal from a strange land. And it belongs in my menagerie of marvelously different books, all from strange and wonderful places.

I’ve just ordered my first ebook reader (I told my husband it was his Christmas gift to me), and I wonder what it will be like to have an electronic library. Will it decrease my fascination with the books I read, or will it simply modernize that fascination?

Red Hills with Flowers

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Red Hills with Flowers, Georgia O’Keeffe, 1937

I encountered an O’Keeffe coffee table book years ago, when my knowledge of art was young. I did not know much about Georgia O’Keeffe except that she was female, American, and liked big flowers. As I paged through the colorful, glossy book, I felt slightly embarrassed, as if I was looking at something too private or too explicit. Yet, I knew there could be nothing morally wrong with her art because I completely trusted and respected the owner of the book. Since then, I’ve never seriously studied O’Keeffe’s art, or even taken a serious interest in it, but my appreciation of her art has changed from slightly embarrassed to mostly sympathetic. Here is a woman painting flowers, scenes from the landscapes she is familiar with, and she is doing this with boldness, unashamed. I don’t know what her own personality was like, but I’m guessing her art spoke louder than the rest of her. I can sympathize with that.