Thursday, June 9, 2011

Never Interrupt Poetry with Talk about Money

Getting in touch with some poetry in Colorado early last month
Yesterday morning my friend Linda asked me to sing a few songs at a memorial service for a friend of hers who passed away over in Winter Haven. His name was “Sarge”. Sarge was a WWII tank commander who served, was decorated, swore he’d move somewhere warm after the wintry Battle of the Bulge, stayed in as a career soldier, and then lived out the balance of his life, simply, around the lakes of Central Florida like he had dreamed.
The reason I’m mentioning this today is a cryptic aphorism attributed to Sarge during the eulogy. “Never interrupt poetry with talk about money,” he said.
Never interrupt poetry with talk about money.
I think Sarge was very wise. While some of his peers were pursuing high-powered business careers, putting on their suits and being so very important, Sarge moved to Florida, lived simply, and devoted his time to things like fishing and visiting with his friends. Sarge evidently understood that a life that matters has to involve poetry.
So I’ve been thinking about what counts as poetry in my life. Here are just a few of the ideas that came to mind, not necessarily listed in any preferential order:
  • Relationships
  • Love
  • Faith
  • Music
  • The sound of the ocean
  • Reading
  • Contemplation
  • Church
  • Walking the dog
  • Prayer
  • Fresh air
  • Holding hands with Rebekah
  • Great conversation
  • Art
  • Learning something new
  • Children…
This is all poetry. Obviously we need to talk about money sometimes because there are bills to be paid and responsibilities to address. But if the money isn’t going – ultimately – to support your poetry… then why?
I have always understood the concept of “sin” as anything that gets in the way of our relationship with God. Sin separates us from God. I think that everything I’ve thought of in response to the word poetry serves to bring me closer.
So much of the way that we order our lives here in this culture seems to be dedicated to the advancement of sin. Satisfaction seems to dance, just out of reach, for so many people. “If I could only acquire this… or this… or this…” When the answer, all along, resides in poetry.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also – Jesus, talking about the Kingdom of God, Matthew 6

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