The Written LAB-Oratory

Presenting Truth disguised as Fiction. And exposing Fiction disguised as Truth.

Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter. The Reason for the Seasons.

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There is a time for everything.  I love the concept of “keeping the reason for the season all year long,” but it’s really impossible.  We can’t stay up or down for too long without burning out.  We all know those who are in a perpetual state of anger or hate.  These are the most tiring people to be around.  Even those who are in an eternal state of happiness without regard to circumstances are beyond the emotional or mental patience of most people.  Both bounds of the pendulum come across as fake or immature.

Without the up time, the down time seems pointless and without the down time, the uptime is unbearable. But that is only half the story.  A few days ago I was almost in a pretty bad accident. A car decided that his nice calm 30 mile an hour lane was just too slow and that my lane cursing along at 60 was much nicer.  The problem was that he executed his lane change only about 30 yards in front of me. Time slowed.  My vision narrowed.  My muscles took over.  I didn’t have to think about looking for more roadway to extend the distance between us.  I never had to tell myself to scan for other cars.  My foot never received an urgent message from my cortex, “HEY!  BREAK!  BUT DON’T LOCK ‘EM!”

The crisis only lasted a split second, but because I’d thought about this and worked on it before, I avoided the pile up with only a post adrenaline dump to deal with.

There’s a saying, “Train like you fight.  Fight like you train.”   Sonny Puzikas, former Spetsnaz, says you will only rise to the level of your training.  Training isn’t reality, it’s realistic.  The brain doesn’t care if the bullets are real or fake, as long as the scenario is realistic your brain will wire itself to respond a certain way to certain stimuli.  I was never in an accident like that before, but I’d thought about it, pretended it would happen, and trained my brain to react a certain way.  And the training didn’t really take all that much time.

So you don’t have to train 24/7?  But you do find time to train and to work on that training.  We know this in other areas of our life and it’s why we take courses relevant to our state in life so we know what to do in our vocation or avocation.  We also take refresher courses or “continuing education” to remind us of the things we should already know.

The religious seasons are our training sessions.  Each time they come around we can focus on various aspects of our spiritual training. Why?  Because you never know when life is going to deploy you into a theater of spiritual warfare.  Just like soldiers never know when they may be called up, we never know when we will be called upon to do spiritual battle.  These times are our continuing education to remind us (when we get hit with a huge amount of ugly) not only what to do and how to do it, but WHO we should be calling on for help.  Those who don’t take advantage of these times find themselves floating on a sea of uncertainty just like a green civilian handed a rifle and thrown on a barricade.

That’s why it’s so important to focus on Advent when it’s Advent and Christmas when it’s Christmas.  Forgetting Advent and taking a month of consumer driven “Christmas” with only one day of actual Christmas, leaves you without this year’s continuing ed.  When January rolls around and the news piles up with evil and work piles up with troubles and family piles up with needs, if you didn’t take the time to reflect and learn, you will be rolled over by life.

So, this Lent, take the time to really reflect.  Give yourself the chance get ready for the Easter Season so that when it’s over you will be ready for the machinations of life come the summer months.  Then when Advent and Christmas comes aging, you can gear up for that year’s training.  Train like you fight…

We are creatures of dynamism.  We grow and change and we can’t evolve in life without taking time out to reflect and train ourselves and meld the old to the new.  Each season can give us, if we chose to learn, new insights to ourselves and our relationship to God.  Don’t be fooled by Madison Ave. into giving up the time appointed by God to continue your education of Him. Without it, you will fight like you train, which means, not well at all.

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Written by lablount

January 7, 2013 at 1:08 am

A Christmas Gift: The Sheer Madness of Love.

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The great problem I would have with being an atheist, let alone, an antitheist, is my intense lack of faith in accidents on such an immense scale.  I play poker (poorly) and know the odds of hitting a simple inside straight or making a royal flush on the river.  Of course if you do suck out, the odds on that hand are 1 in 1.  But to believe that your hand’s success invalidates the shear reality of math is a kind of willful hubris that I just don’t have the imagination to trust.

I look out on the night sky and see a vast universe that may be one of many.  I live on a planet that is one of many in a solar system that is one many in a galaxy that is one of many.  I am a man, one of many in a species that trundles along throughout history with other species of flora and fauna.  To the atheist, this is proof that we are nothing special.  They have an abundance of faith in utility, matter, blind luck.

But in my lack of faith I don’t see evidence of the mundane.  I see the efforts of a mad lover trying to express Himself through his art.  Each life a sonnet.  Each star a symphony.  …every opus littering the work shop of an obsessed artist struggling to be understood through, and by, his children.

It’s a condition every small “c” creator understands.  Half-finished poems.  Long ago penned notes strung uneasily on treble and base. Sculpture mocking from beneath the stone.  Great bends of metal that refuse to conform to image of the mind.  All scattered about as his uneasy mind hurriedly tries to capture the latest inspiration, trying to get this one right, only to find, it too, has a mind of its own.

Writer or welder, thespian or terpsichorean… We all search for that elusive place where inspiration intersects with reality.  And even when the work is done as best we can complete it… When we put pen or torch down.  When scene has cut and coda done…  The ache begins.  What is next?

A creator creates because he has no choice.  To stifle that impulse, is to induce despair in a mind diseased by love of creation itself.  That is the universe(s) I see; madness reaching out to its creations, begging to be understood.  For only when the creations understand the creator does the creator find that bliss of perfection.  Which may well be why all artists are just a bit off center.  We will never have a story say, “thank you,” or an expertly performed pirouette look back at its dancer in awe.

I can’t be an atheist for, at my heart’s core, I am an artist and I recognize the sketches and sheet music that a mind, undone by its need to make real its passions, has strewn across math, science, and matter. I see the love notes in the vast cosmos and smile while at the same time cursing my pitiful craft… The ache is always there.

I understand God.   I don’t fathom it.  I will never comprehend it. But I understand.  So this Christmas, I will give you the only gift I can think apropos and the one gift I will almost surely never receive:

Thank you.

Written by lablount

December 25, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Posted in Catholic, Christmas, Religious

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