Keep Calm and Carry On

Friday, March 6, 2009

When I started this blog, I saw it, loosely, as a way of recording my thoughts about anything and everything except reading and writing, since that was the topic of my group blog, Novel Matters. I titled this one Ever Mindful, because, while it makes me sound more serene than I actually am, it does represent a way of thinking and seeing things that I try for in my approach to living. I want to pay attention. I want to see beyond and beneath the obvious. I never, ever want to get to the end of my life and realize that I let the whole thing pass by without notice.

I started Ever Mindful before the economic troubles began in earnest. Just before.

Now I think I have found the focus for what I am doing here. My family and I have been affected by the recent turn of events. Not as badly as some, but affected, nonetheless, and I am going to have to work through, over the coming years, what we will do about it. I'll look for practical steps to make things better, and if I find any that aren't obvious, and that might help others, I'll share them here. More than that, though, I will use this space to think through how to live the life I have today with faith, with wisdom and grace.

A few things I have seen and read and thought about lately that all tie together. I think. I'm sure they tie together.

1. Last night I read this in Andy Crouch's book, Culture Making:Recovering the Creative Calling: "'Out of the ground the Lord God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food.' (Gen. 2:9) - notice the emphasis, as in a well-tended garden, on the combination of the beautiful and the useful."

I've always found it inspiring that when Franklin D. Roosevelt set about lifting our country out of The Great Depression, he put people to work creating not only roads and
bridges but also wall murals and music (ever hear of Woodie Guthrie?). Take a tour of Hoover Dam sometime, and you'll see how even a utilitarian project became a magnificent work of architectural art. My point is, we can find ways to be creative in the way we live through this time of our history.

2. This morning I watched a TedTalk by ceramics designer Eva Zeisel, a woman who has lived a long, creative life through the worst of times. I looked from this woman to the things her hands have made, and marveled at the beauty. Listen especially to what she says at the end: "I actually did survive."

3. The poster at the top of my sidebar was put out in 1939 by the United Kingdom Ministry of Information. Picture the Londoners during the blitzkrieg, dodging bombs, brushing rubble from their shoulders, turning to the poster for a little boost while they straightened their tweed coats and neatened their hair. I once found it oh, so charmingly British. Now I just find it ennobling. (This one comes compliments of A.J. Cann.)

Happy Friday, dear readers. Keep Calm. Carry On.