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Monday, August 23, 2010

Edmond Burke: “Never despair, but if you do, work in despair”

Over 140 years ago a French sculptor created a masterpiece that today sits sadly in the Paris Musée d'Orsay.

Jean-Joseph Perraud simply called his statue, "Despair."

It's no mystery.  Look carefully at the picture.  The thousand words are clear, with all the power and pain that could possibly be spoken.

Tribulation.  Dejection.  Anguish.  Was it one of these themes perhaps haunting Perraud's soul, moving him to create this?

I don't know.  What I'm sure of is how we experience varying temperatures of despair in our lives.  Sometimes it's brief, attacking early on.  Maybe it's later, where it can stay longer and sink its burning hooks right through your heart.

Tonight the summer cricket symphony outside my window is louder than usual.  I'm sinking deeper into some contemplative space, lots of churning reflections, things and places and people, some right here, and some very far away.

My mind runs all through it, a roller coaster car navigating every twist, turn, rise, and fall.  Even upside down.  And the ride sometimes ends with me sitting there, feeling just like Perraud's morose friend.

It all starts, I know, with just that one root thought, germinating instantly into The Feeling.  Feeling then wraps around and tosses me into mood.  Enough mood will ensure the newly created--or repeated--disposition.

The thought is key, at least that's what CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) gospel says.  I'm more and more becoming a true believer, though.  I think.

After some painful rumination, I received a wonderful thought from a Facebook friend that changed my direction.  He had posted a clip, a very special one.  Made me cry like crazy.  But it was one those good cathartic cries, the kind where you are deeply reminded about what some of the important things really are.

Immediately afterwards I visited my father who was working quietly in his office.  Went over and embraced him, saying softly, "Thank you for all you do, Dad."  The look in my teary eyes had him wondering out loud if "all was alright," which he always says.

I couldn't speak so I just nodded, and walked away.

Tonight, faith restored.

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