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  • ivanildotrindade 10:42 pm on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Book of Proverbs, farm house, Farmhouse, , hanging things, History, hooks, horse barn, hustler, new things, Norman Rockwell, , old farm house, old houses, old things, World War III   

    Unmovable Hooks 

    I am living temporarily in an old farm house. The house is 150 years old and though everything works pretty well, it is still 150 years old — no amount of make up can hide. At night, because the house is heated by oil, you hear noises coming out of the metal plates on the floor – and there is no pattern, no logic, and no apparent rhythm to the cacophony of sounds.

    The house sits behind a cluster of newer homes, not on the street, but back about one-tenth of a mile, as you follow a gravel road. The GPS lady can never find us. It has an old basement that looks like a dungeon and a red barn that used to house animals. The barn may be as old as the house, I am not sure, but it has the character of a well-built structure that might survive World War III. With enough hard work and artistry, it could be converted into a quaint little house where the occupants might live happily hereafter.

    Down to the east there is a farm, which is part of the property. It is an 8-acre parcel of land, I am told. A beautiful descending field takes you to the other, where a dog is always barking and I am told that people go hunting for deer and walking on Sunday afternoons when the weather is nice. I can’t wait to go there some time in the future, but I will stay away from the dog’s path.

    Though the house is small and we are not even totally moved in yet — our stuff is not coming until 1/25; Though we have no garage and the sink in the bathroom has only one basin, we love the element of simplicity our lives gained since we moved there. We love the quietness and the fact that our neighbors are far enough they will not complain about our two dogs. We love the beautiful mornings when the sun comes up against the fields. And we love not having to pay mortgage, most of all (it will be better once our house in Ohio is sold!).

    But by far the most peculiar thing about this house is none of the things I mentioned. It is rather the unusual number of hooks and hanging gadgets of all sorts and ages I have found around the house. There are original metal hooks painted over multiple times in years past. There are some shiny new metal strips, old nails of all sizes and shapes, hung at different heights over walls, doors, on the sides of cabinets and the showers.

    This interesting phenomenon has made me ask the question: Why do we have so many of these objects in our homes? Obviously, to hang things. We hang pictures, calendars, dish towers, coats, hats, charts, boards, bags, belts, etc. But why do we hang thing? I guess we do it because we love to hang things because the stuff we hang gives us a sense of permanence in a place. They help us build a history, make memories, leave a trace. The proximity to things give us more of a sense of home, I guess.

    The things we hang say a lot about the kind of person we are. Whose picture goes on the wall of the living room? What type of calendar — Norman Rockwell paintings or Hustler magazine’s? Clean or dirty towels? Expensive or cheap china? Diplomas or Birth certificates?

    But we also hang things to try to make our lives easy. If I hang my coat by the door, I don’t have to look for it deep within the house if I have to go somewhere in a hurry. We are too busy to waste even a couple of minutes looking for something that is not obviously in front of us, so we transform what could be a beautiful, plain, empty wall into a utilitarian space always at my service.

    But life is so transitory and things pass away. No amount of hanging will prevent you from having to part with things. And your organizational scheme will some day fail you. We have all experienced the pain associated with a relocation and the feeling of empty walls that had for long been occupied with stuff. The pristine, bright paint in the space where the picture once was serves as a vivid reminder of how new things used to be.

    I can’t help but think that the only secure place to “hang” things is the wall around your heart. If you have hooks there, they will remain with you no matter how far you go. So I encourage you to cultivate your heart with wisdom and love. Wisdom is the application of solid principles to daily living. The Book of Proverbs says that a healthy reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom. I couldn’t agree more. And love is the irresistible force to accept even when logic pushes you the other way. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

    Wisdom and love will never need to be unhooked from your soul. Happy travels.

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
    • lionjudah 12:49 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Pastor, Ivanildo, what a illustrive musing about hooks in the “Farm Camp!!” You are in Pennsylvania now, one of the 13 original colonies! One connects to yesteryear in an old Pennsylvania farm homestead, which I have affectionatly dubbed, your “Farm Camp!”

      Sylvia and I have spent a number of years of our lives in fasinating old houses. With these, you have rodents, flying things and creeping things. Not always pleasant, but it goes with the teritory. As do dungeon like basements which harbor all of the above mentioned residents.

      At the funeral of Ammon Stoltzfus, one of Sylvia’s many cousins, it was mentioned that he wished to build a house of all doors, because then there would be enough room for everyone to drop their shoes and other items that folks wanted to leave by the doorways. I suppose that goes for hooks as well. When we move into a house I am always grateful for ever waiting hooks for my wraps–that is coats, handbags, etc. In new houses one always hesitates to make a new hole in the wall or your landlord wraps your knucles if you do!

      • ivanildotrindade 3:14 pm on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        we, thankfully, have great landlords. a house of all doors — i love that concept. and with as few pieces of furniture inside as possible. open spaces fascinate me, even if it is indoors. and considering how much time we spent indoors, we should find the most comfortable and amiable environment possible inside our homes. i have a friend who calls himself “an indoor enthusiast.” i would’t go that far…

  • ivanildotrindade 7:56 pm on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Book of Proverbs, Cremation, , , Funeral home, mount zion baptist, my funeral jazz funeral, planning your funeral, rev. e. v. hill, weird funerals   

    "Don't Surprise Me At My Funeral" 

    Do you ever think about your own funeral? Maybe I am weird, but I do sometimes.

    I once went to the funeral of an acquaintance, a man in his mid-sixties who died of a heart attack. As I entered the church, to my surprise, I was greeted by a jazz band playing loud music. The tone was festive, the people were wearing brightly colored clothes, and the air was almost celebratory. More than once we were told “this is how he wanted it,” almost as a veiled admission that something was amiss. I mean, blame it on the deceased. Even the dead are entitled to bad taste.

    Ever since that experience, I have given much thought to how I want my funeral to be. So if you attend it one day, and somebody says “that’s how he wanted it,” bring these notes and feel free to cross-reference them with the funeral. Feel free to protest too, if things don’t go as I asked. I don’t want my funeral to surprise me. So here are some notes to my funeral:

    First of all, while the “jazz funeral” is at one end of the spectrum, at the other end are the uncontrollably sobbing and screaming that goes on in some other funerals. I want neither. Sometimes in Christian funerals people are so quick to play the “absent from the body, present with the Lord” note that they end up suppressing what is a natural, genuine human feeling — the pain of losing a loved one. So at my funeral, I don’t want people to put on an artificial face of comfort but neither do I desire for them to “lose it.” If you are sad, show sadness; if you are happy, show happiness. Just don’t embarrass me at my funeral.

    Secondly, don’t go looking for highlighted texts in my Bible. First of all, while I own many Bibles, most of my Bible reading is done online these days. Also, I am not one who likes to mark books — I am still old-fashioned about approaching books with a certain reverence, whether sacred or not. And when it comes to the Bible, I have never been a “highlighter” because when I used to read more from the printed text I never liked to condition my mind to only look at passages I had previously highlighted. I always want to discover the hidden treasures in this precious Word.

    Don’t look for favorite verses. For all my adult life I have tried to read three chapters of the Bible every day plus one chapter of Proverbs, corresponding to the day of the month. So I like them all, but you could say that if I have a favorite it is a book and not a verse. The most practical and true to life lessons you can find in the Bible are in the Book of Proverbs. Just like the Geico commercial, five minutes of Proverbs can save you from ruining your life — a slightly better advantage over saving 15% in car insurance…

    Thirdly, I have seen a lot of dead people in my life and no matter the expertise of the funeral home, none of those people looked as good dead as they did alive. And I haven’t seen anyone who was already bad turning out to be prince (stiff) charming in the casket… So by all means, no open casket for me. I would rather prefer that the last image people have of me is one of the time I was still alive.

    Fourthly, cremate my body. Some Christians are afraid of cremation because they know that God is going to do something with the body in the resurrection. So if my start-up kit is nowhere to be found, how will they be able to rise again? Silly. Don’t you think that the same God who created you might just have an idea of what your DNA is? God doesn’t have to be a grave-digger to revive your fine constitution. Plus, Paul said that this will be a spiritual body not a physical one. I don’t care where you spread my ashes, all I care about is that I reduce the costs for those left behind.

    Finally, a program note. No long sermon. Music is okay, but no favorite hymns. No exaggerated eulogies. I don’t want people to make me a saint when they talk about what I did. If anybody talks, my preference would be for them to talk about who I was and not what I did. Look for people who can say that felt my  heartbeat. Find someone who cried with me at a long intersection in their lives, someone who saw me when tragedy struck and when life was good. Let them talk about how I handled those situations.

    Then, if you have a moment to spare, show this video by Rev. E. V. Hill, part 3 of the sermon “If I Only Had One Message to Preach” (don’t play parts 1 and 2, only part 3). You may wait until the funeral or you may chose to watch it now. It’s about 8 minutes long.

    How about you? Which notes will you leave for your funeral?

    Ivanildo C. Trindade

     
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