Saturday, November 15, 2008

Silver Threads

Oh, and in regard to community and chore checklists -- a post by Leonie at Living without School on Social Capital.

I also think that each individual in a group, a homeschool or church or other group, plays a role. If social capital can be an evolving, grassroots kind of thing, then changing a negative into a positive is best done on an individual basis. One person making a change, then another and another. To promote the Good Things of social capital.
A few more posts that I didn't want to drop off my "shared items" list without noting:

The Story's Loose Ends -- reflection on hope and the mystery of life, by author Regina Doman.

Putting myself in His hands day by day is the only thing that makes sense. I don’t understand the mystery of the present moment. The future doesn’t exist. Only by looking at the past can we sometimes see a pattern. But I believe, as a writer and as a Catholic, that if I seek to tie up each loose end at the end of a story, then God must plan to do the same. And when we reach “The End,” there will be not only a cessation of tears, but a deep sense of satisfaction in the readers of the Great Story.

A few random thoughts about blogging, by Dawn at By Sun and Candlight.

I like to focus on the good things - these are the things I like to pass on. To me, they're like sunshine and fresh air: they help me grow. My newly neatened learning room is a good thing; my overgrown laundry pile is, decidely, not.

While I might love and respect Martha Stewart, I wouldn't want to be her. I'd really rather be me, even though I'm far from perfect. But I don't think any of us are meant to be so. I do think we can try to be our best. (Operative word try.) But remember, my best is not yours and vice versa.

Studeo's Building a Culture of Life series, and more about hope:

To have Christian hope means to know about evil and yet to go to meet the future with confidence. The core of faith rests upon accepting being loved by God, and therefore to believe is to say Yes, not only to him, but to creation, to creatures, above all, to men, to try to see the image of God in each person and thereby to become a lover. That’s not easy, but the basic Yes, the conviction that God has created men, that he stands behind them, that they aren’t simply negative, gives love a reference point that enables it to ground hope on the basis of faith (Cardinal Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth).
The Joy of Learning, from Quiddity. This excerpt is long, but it is really worth it. The whole post is even better.

Of course, we only have that joy of learning if we ask questions. It follows that if we want our students/children to continue to grow in their own joy of learning we have to listen more to their questions and spend less time giving them information they aren’t ready for. The latter will not only fail to promote the joy of learning, it will confuse the child into thinking that learning (which he hasn’t experienced, though he may have been told he has) is boring. Which it is, by definition, because he just learned something he didn’t want to know.

Sometimes the moments are quite glorious, the result of days, weeks, years, even decades of inquiry and contemplation - the resolution of an ongoing mystery, the settling of an unending issue, the discovery of a vital piece of information that completes the puzzle, the connection between ideas that seemed to contradict each other.

When that happens, the joy can be overwhelming.

I just had one of those moments, and its particularly compelling to me because the epiphany I’ve just experienced explains why epiphanies bring so much joy.

The reason is because the soul of man in its intellectual function (which doesn’t mean that part of us that goes to college to unlearn how to relate to people; it refers to that part of us that seeks understanding, which is the energizing force of the two year old’s mind) is impelled to move in the first place by a need (not a mere desire) for harmony.

......The quest for harmony is, quite literally, the thing that makes us think in the first place. Survival may make us act, but survival is a practical application of harmony. We want to be in harmony with the world we live in. If it trips us or runs us over, our harmony is broken. While the pain bothers our body, the sense of a broken relationship bothers our souls even more.

The quest for harmony moves the mind. When we see it in a person, we call it integrity and we admire it. When we see it in a painting, we call it beauty and we love it. When we hear it in music, we call it beauty, and we weep. When we see it in the government, we call it justice and we rejoice. When we see it in math, we call it equality and we exult. When we feel it with another person, we call it love and we live.

Is there a theme here? Something about connections?

Sometimes I think, like Einstein, that there is One Answer to every question. Only he thought of it as a mathematical equation and I feel like there is one Word or phrase, that is to be known -- not just read or heard, but understood and contemplated upon and acted upon.

Yesterday, Brendan finished taping the windows (Kevin is going to be spraying and sealing the exterior logs, hopefully before the real cold weather strikes) -- I had been helping by holding the ladder. Brendan came in and asked me to look -- not at the blinded windows, but up towards the sun above the roof ("look indirectly, Mom, so you don't hurt your eyes").

When I looked, I saw what he saw. ..... an amazing trail of delicate silvery strands falling away in perspective as high as the eye could see. It was hundreds of spider threads, I suppose, but just figuring out what it was does not convey WHAT it was . It looked like a fragile tunnel of gleaming filaments reaching to the sun. ... or perhaps, gently descending down from the sun. ...a subtle, mysterious message.

I think Brendan tends to see that One Reply as something not so much spoken in a beautiful word or written in mathematical language, but as an aspect of nature, by the way. ... something visually and inexplicably there, something that you could not have predicted or imagined until you saw it. When he shares the way he sees the world with me, it enriches the way I see things; and that has been true of all my children.

Sorry, two meandering posts in a row -- I meant to be brief today! Oh well... now the house is waking up around me and I am off to make hot chocolate for a teenager, help a 9 year old make a fire (his Answer seems to be service to others) and make some coffee for myself and my husband (coffee is a great form of Social Capital, and so is hot chocolate, and so are hearth-fires : )).


Leonie said...

I found it interesting to read thse connections,l these seemingly different yet also alike blog posts and links..There is often a thread weaving people and lives, and therefore blogs, together...

Mama Monkey said...

How beautiful! You are quite a writer. I love the image of all those glistening strands along with your thoughts on the One Answer.

Laura A said...

I do think there is a common thread here. I liked the part about not knowing WHAT it is even when you know the explanation. Very important.

This has got me pondering other things, but I'll have to give it some time.