GNL number 84

from the Church of Skippy
the GOOD NEWS lately
a report of doings at meeting #84, Sunday, June 8, 2014
including liturgical items, major themes, and other odds and ends

INVOCATION

To a brave man, good and bad luck are like his right and left hand. He uses both.
—–St. Catherine of Siena

As for what you’re calling hard luck—well, we made New England out of it, that and codfish.
—–Stephen Vincent Benet

So unlucky that he runs into accidents which started out to happen to somebody else.
—–Don Marquis


THEME

Today’s meeting was held out in Sue‘s beautiful garden, and she opened the discussion of LUCK/FATE/? with a number of wise quotes from speakers of recent times and very long ago, and then spoke of her life, and family. She said she so often feels extremely lucky in her life with Jay and their home together, but also admitted choosing this life, and in spite of fear. And she spoke of her mentally ill brother, as one who sees in terms of bad luck, or more precisely, bad acts by people against him. See AFTERWORDS for her quotes.

Gail, who was raised by parents that keep open, trying new things, was inclined to feel lucky, but also that we can choose how we respond to what happens. One of the reasons she wanted to talk about this topic was concern about someone in the family who had had a lot of hard things happen and feels like a victim of bad luck. Gail’s Mom, Ginny, who has been a lifelong learner, came with Gail today, and she spoke of what a hard worker that family member has been. She also noted how it helps to have a regular discussion circle like this, which Ginny has recently found where she lives.

Ann added a different element to the discussion. She said she believed less in luck than in choice-making, based on logic/risk assessment or on animal instinct. A longtime school bus driver and observer of kids, she spoke of today’s children as ill-equipped for making healthy choices, with much of parenting and education hurried or superficial, giving little experience of consequence for deeds, and little preparation for risk-assessment.

Anna, seeming to take a cue from Ann’s risk-assessment idea, recalled the story of the surprising choice she made as a young woman to do her long trip across the country alone; this, in spite of what she characterized as a lack of self-confidence, and many, many risks. We suggested that in this case, she must have let her more adventurous (wild dancer?) alter-ego down deep inside make the choice. (And it must be said, no “bad luck” befell her on her momentous trip.)

Louise spoke of herself as neither optimist nor pessimist, but realist; and she told of a recent episode with one of her interns, whose lack of care and risk-assessing in farm chores had set up potentially serious issues about which realities she then enlightened him. This, it occurred to her, turned probable “bad luck” into good, into growth for both farm and intern. (She later also added an admiring note on Helen Keller, that community-minded heroine and good communist.)

Nancy first read a wonderful card to us all from Cynthia, who was at Camp with Ron. (Check AW.) Then she read several quotes, from such voices as Friedrich Nietzsche, Herman Hesse, Helen Keller, JRR Tolkien, that reflect her feelings on fate and choice, which she summed up as the sense we’re subject to the fates, but there’s always something we can do in response, for Life. (See AW for her quotes and notes.)

We decided to send our offering to the People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE), who among other things have been working on the “Bomb Train” issue.


BENEDICTION

Submit to fate of your own free will.
—–Marcus Aurelius

Depend on a rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit.
—–R.E. Shay


NEXT TIME

Sunday, July 13, 2014 (1030), out in Vijaya’s backyard garden. The topic is GROWING UP (When/How/?)


AFTERWORDS

from Sue:

Here’s my quotations–and at the end the information about PAUSE–People of Albany United for Safe Energy http://www.pausenergy.org/ where we sent our offering and where there’s a link to sign a petition.

LUCK

  • “The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.” ~Wilson Mizner
  • “Luck is when opportunity knocks and you answer.” ~Author Unknown
  • “Luck never made a man wise.” ~Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
  • “Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.” ~Harry Golden

FATE

  • Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. ~Jawaharlal Nehru
  • “Failure and success seem to have been allotted to men by their stars. But they retain the power of wriggling, of fighting with their star or against it, and in the whole universe the only really interesting movement is this wriggle.” ~E.M. Forester
  • “A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.” ~Jean de La Fontaine
  • “Life calls the tune, we dance.” ~ John Galsworthy
  • “When an inner situation is not made conscious it appears outside as fate. ~Carl Jung
  • When an inner situation is not made conscious it appears outside as fate.” ~Carl Jung

ACCIDENT/CHANCE

  • “There are no greater treasures than the highest human qualities such as compassion, courage and hope. Not even tragic accident or disaster can destroy such treasures of the heart.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
  • “Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.” ~Mark Twain
  • “So much of life, it seems to me, is determined by pure randomness.” ~Sidney Poitier
  • “From where we stand the rain seems random. If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it.” ~ Tony Hillerman, Coyote Waits
  • “Western man has tried for too many centuries to fool himself that he lives in a rational world. No. There’s a story about a man who, while walking along the street, was almost hit on the head and killed by an enormous falling beam. This was his moment of realization that he did not live in a rational world but a world in which men’s lives can be cut off by a random blow on the head, and the discovery shook him so deeply that he was impelled to leave his wife and children, who were the major part of his old, rational world. My own response to the wild unpredictability of the universe has been to write stories, to play the piano, to read, listen to music, look at paintings – not that the world may become explainable and reasonable but that I may rejoice in the freedom which unaccountability gives us.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet

OUR OFFERING: I mailed a check for $75 in the name of Church of Skippy to People of Albany United for Safe Energy (PAUSE). Visit their informative website to sign up for their postings, to sign a petition to stop Bomb Trains, or to make donations.

from Cynthia:

to COS, June 2014—

You make me laugh when I’m blue
You make me smile when I’m sad
You bring me up when I’m down…

You’re not just great friends,
You’re a prescription for happy!

I feel very LUCKY that FATE brought us all together!

Love to All Skippies,
Cynthia

from Nancy:

  • “Amor Fati”—“Love your Fate”, which is in fact your life.
    —Friedrich Nietzsche
  • I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way, we can always give it meaning, and transform it into something of value.
    —Herman Hesse, Siddhartha
  • Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellowmen. It then appears that we are among the privileged.
    —Helen Keller
  • Fate does not jest, and events are not a matter of chance—there is no existence out of nothing.
    —Gamal Abdel Nasser, The Philosophy of Revolution, 1954
  • For nothing is evil in the beginning.
    —JRR Tolkien

And I was reminded, especially by the Nietzsche quote, of the lines in Arthur Miller’s play, After the Fall, which I excerpt below:

  • ……I tried to die near the end of the war. The same dream returned each night until I dared not go to sleep and grew quite ill. I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought, if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible….. but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one’s life in one’s arms.
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