GNL number 23


a report of doings at meeting # 23, Sunday, June 14, 2009
including liturgical notes, major themes, and other odds and ends


How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not for more than 60 years got enough to eat and escaped being eaten?
—essayist Logan Pearsall Smith


We had planned a conversation on SUCCESS/FAILURE, but since we’d so enjoyed the last month’s prelude of photos of us and our moms, we figured we’d do the same with dads this week before Fathers’ Day. So perhaps no surprise, we had such a good show and tell that while we certainly touched on the S/F topic, we never got squarely into it as intended. And further so, since our church law decrees that we make this up as we go along, we decided we’ll try S/F again next time. (You know, if at first you don’t….)

A few notes then on the Fathers’ Day photos: We had nine fathers represented in pictures at Ann and Elliott’s, with Anna, Chris, Cynthia, Vijaya, Adair, Nancy, Ann and Ell present. (So nice to have Elliott sitting in, and though Jack couldn’t come, he sent his photo with the comment that his dad was an independent thinker who would have highly approved of CoS).

The photos themselves were in many ways remarkable—many black and white beauties from long ago, a lovely wedding picture, vivid larger portraits (one we thought “presidential”, and another by the famed Cartier-Bresson), several charming family groups.

And these led us into many stories. A variety of life-with-father stories, and relationships, where he was respected and admired, adored, revered as mentor figure, or some where he was absent, either physically or from alcoholism/depression. There were some deeply affecting stories that brought us emotions we weren’t expecting, like the surprised laughter at the scene described by one of us who in Switzerland with her 86-year-old dad, suddenly had found herself leaping like a wildcat onto a stranger who was about to pick his pocket. Othertimes, a quiet near tears, when someone else told of her dad’s turnaround from alcoholism not long after she left home at 14, and another whose dad had also lapsed into alcoholism and died young, and another who spoke of her painful experience as an adult discovering her dad might not be her biological father. We heard about dads who were businessmen, writers, bankers, teachers, journalists, as well as fathers to us. Apparent “successes”, though not all held that sense of success, and some struggled with a sense of disappointment in oneself. We’ll continue to look at ideas of success and failure next time at CoS.


It is provided in the essence of things that from any fruition of success, no matter what, shall come forth something to make a greater struggle necessary.
—Walt Whitman

NEXT TIME: Sunday, July 12 (1030), at Jack’s place. The topic—SUCCESS/FAILURE, Part II.


Among IDEAS that surfaced post meeting—

  • for a future TOPIC (from Ann): Teachers
  • for future LOCATION of CoS (from Nancy’s son Jim): Roseboom, where there’s a beautifully restored 1840’s schoolhouse and CHURCH, with intact stained glass windows and steeple with iron bell, for $99,000. This just in case Adair won’t take the offer we make on her house with our cookbook sales and Chris’ husband Paul’s grant money.

And NEWS you can use—

Phil has made nice changes to the blogsite, adding an INDEX PAGE of Topics we’ve visited these 2 years, and an IDEAS PAGE for future topics and field trips, etc. Please check these out.

SOME S/F QUOTES to stir the pot for next time:

You can generally get success if you do not want victory.
—-William Ralph Inge

The danger of success is that it makes us forget the world’s dreadful injustice.
—Jules Renard

I dread success. To have succeeded is to have finished one’s business on earth, like the male spider, who is killed by the female the moment he has succeeded in his courtship.
—-George Bernard Shaw

(and then there’s William James, who refers to)
….the moral flabbiness born of the exclusive worship of the bitch-goddess success.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: