Tuesday, March 31, 2015

How and where to follow next

How come when I bitch and moan on Facebook about a hot, local topic, I get 40 comments, but when I post a blog with some deep soul secrets, I get one?

I really do have a love/hate relationship with Facebook and it stems from my always-egging desire to go deeper. I seem to want to force Facebook to, sometimes, be something it's not: contemplative. I'll continue nevertheless in the hopes that whomever is suppose to read it will. Just like vocal ministry in Quaker worship. Sometimes you're given a message that makes no sense, but, if you've really discerned that it's yours to give, you do so anyway and detach from any reaction.

This romance I have with depth can drive me crazy. I seek it everywhere, not jut on Sundays in worship. It very well may be why I am so perplexed over the closing of this fabulous school building I have inhabited for almost three years. The e-mail came the week before last that we all had to be out June 1 as the district can no longer afford to keep it running. They always said that's would happen if  a solution did not step forward. It hasn't.

One artist was moving his canvases out today and this place feels more abandoned with each loss. And, yet I remain. As my art friend was returning for another load, I was talking to Susan, the custodian who so lovingly cares for the place. Sometimes I feel as if she and I are the only ones who still tend this space. We welcomed the other artist into our conversation,which soon became a tour of Susan showing us the vault, the former gym and pointing out where walls had been opened and closed, the hidden locker room trapped between floors, the high ceilings in some rooms, molding and lone, real slate blackboard.

We crossed over the Maginot Line from the artist's side and into the autistic school, after hours. I can't tell you how many times I have resisted for the sake of protecting the school and observing their boundary. Today, as we all know we will be leaving soon, was different. It seemed a parting rite of some passage.

Today, I could really see the building, its bones and history, the generations who have enlivened its halls, the modernizations and attempts to keep up with the times and demands.

In what I had thought was a dreary cafeteria, pristine sunlight was streaming in. The lower-level bricks were cleanly white-washed and the former gym floor well oiled and heeled. Susan does a very good job over there. She was told months ago not to clean this side ... so I had forgotten how everything can look when polished.

Not many can envision this building polished. They can't look that deep, into its soul. They see the peeling paint, 1970s renovations and the holes left when building icons – such as plaques, murals and the Rookwood fountain –  have been removed.

I still see life, not dollar signs I wonder how far the $900,000 cost of tearing it down could go toward upkeep. Unfortunately, this building was written off years ago with no exit plan. That's been the problem. Is locking the doors and closing it up a good solution? I know, I know the school board continues to say it can't afford to keep it open and what a burden it is on taxpayers.

I still can not understand how the city and school district missed the opportunity to look down the road at this building TOGETHER and create a plan that would put the sturdy bricks and mortar to a new use. Of course, I missed that opportunity as well.

It's been a wonderful three years here breathing creative life into a former math room, bathing it in color, gaining inspiration out its windows, watching young artists bloom and small groups go deep the way I like. I really don't know how I will say goodbye.

• Where do I crave depth in my life?
• How does modern culture and technology thwart that?
• Where can I devise a happy medium?
• How can I challenge our throw-away society?
• Where do I find Spirit in the patina of the past?

I entered this
side alone

just me, a
desk, rug,
some books
and a prayer

here to begin
something new,
something unknown
something of Spirit

soon I'll
be here alone
how and
where to follow

Listen to this post:


  1. I, too, continually try to force contemplation into Facebook (every chance I get!) Each time I read one of your posts or a blog entry, I wish I could hear what you're saying in a conversation- I think because I feel so starved for deep conversations. That's why I don't comment- because I don't think I can accurately express how deeply your writing and thoughts touch my soul. (But I get equally, probably much more frustrated when people don't respond to the meaningful things, jumping quickly to make opinions about things I didn't mean to discuss.) Not sure if any of that makes sense, but there it is! :)

  2. Yes, you are VERY deep and I am so grateful ...and I love conversation as well ... and that you do force this on Facebook. Quakers believe that all business should be done face-to-face and not online. I agree ... so much different live. Thank you for being who you are in the world and for paying attention!