Friday, March 30, 2007

The term "God" is a bit generic

The term "God" is a bit generic and evokes little emotion in me. But as I worked through the meditations in Joyce Rupp's book this morning, the term "Eternal Parent" sprung to mind. Now this is an evocative image for me - the one who, just before my life began, said, "OK, live"; the one who watched over me during my childhood, was present as I discovered my likes and dislikes, watched my interests deepening, my path becoming more certain. This "Eternal Parent" watches over me still, though I am rarely conscious of it these days.

I suppose "Heavenly Father" is an equivalent term, but I hear it so often that it doesn't carry as much of an emotional punch.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Interpretive dance

Trying out interpretive dance as prayer sometimes, for variety. Now I don't know anything about dance, and even less about interpretive dance. And I was careful to lock my door and close the curtains before I tried this today. And the only music was that in my mind. But despite my clumsiness, it was an interesting art form and form of prayer that I've never explored: the kinetic and kinesthetic.

TODO: See a performance of *real* interpretive dance.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Replacing the last two points of my Mission Statement

I'm adjusting my Mission Statement again today. It used to have four statements, and now will have three. I always thought four was one too many. Three's a good number, a small quantity of information to keep in the mind.

Edit thusly:

KEEP: Engineering beautiful software.
KEEP: Cherishing my family.
DELETE: The corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
DELETE: Being conscious of my human journey.
ADD: Brewing spiritual coffee.

Alas, the new addition is annoyingly imprecise. But I cannot think of anything more precise at present, so "Brewing spiritual coffee" it is.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some things I would like

- more time to read my books
- new amazing free software
- inspiration for new amazing free software to create
- a light-coloured jacket (for safety)
- renewed interest in spiritual things
- books / articles on improving myself (organization, time management, programming, social, psychological, etc.)
- visiting my university and high school
- rss alerts for significant people from my past
- toys and books from my childhood

The time is short.

The time is short. As it dwindles away, it accelerates. As it sees the finish line, it begins to sprint; though we plead with it to slow down, to enjoy the landscape, it does not hear us - its head is down, it is running now. And we, borne on its shoulders, can only resign ourselves to the increasing speed of our carrier; we crane our necks to enjoy the scenery around us, but it is becoming a blur, streaks of color, with intensity gently fading, and the tolling of the bell in the distance ahead of us.

What awaits us at the end? A wreath of laurels, or the embrace of friends?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I am currently sitting in the upper balcony

I am currently sitting in the upper balcony of St. Andrew's Cathedral in Victoria, front bench on the right. Mom is beside me saying her rosary. The tower bell begins its ringing ten minutes before mass. Taped to the railing is a notice that "Recently, a child threw a toy over the balcony railing." The bell has stopped ringing.

To my right I see the top of a 4-metre-high stained glass window. It is a sea of green and gold - a backdrop of grass green, lime green, forest green; a cross of pale gold and iridescent gold.

* * *

For my "Artist's Date" [Vein of Gold], I visited the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria for the first time in 20 years. The first exhibit had baroque paintings; the second had modern works (horror embroidery, if you can imagine that); the third had paintings combining Christian themes and Japanese style; the fourth, paintings by our province's best known artist, Emily Carr. Only four rooms of material; nevertheless, I was tired at the end of it. But I'm glad to have gone - I came away with ideas for my own art and work.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who use Sacred Scripture for spiritual reading

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful who use Sacred Scripture for spiritual reading with the veneration due the word of God. A plenary indulgence is granted if the reading continues for at least one half hour.

– Enchiridion Indulgentiarum

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Suppose I had the opportunity to take a 2-week vacation. How would I spend it?

Suppose I had the opportunity to take a 2-week vacation. How would I spend it?

I would almost certainly spend most of it reading. I have some fantastic books that need finishing: The Italic Guide to Beautiful Handwriting, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide, The Little Schemer, Rapid Development, CSS Mastery, Object Modelling, Refactoring to Patterns, PHP Cookbook, Vein of Gold.

And of course my nightly hour of reading my various RSS feeds: popular websites of the day, the HTTP 1.1 spec, the Rule of St. Benedict, Lifehacker and TechCrunch, the USCCB document on the Eucharist, links from the CSS Handbook, etc.

Walks with my mother, and some meals at restaurants.

But the whole day cannot be spent reading. What of the remaining hours? Something introspective, some spiritual refreshment, but engaging, not boring - but what? Writing perhaps? Reading poetry? Visiting old classmates, or writing them, or visiting the places of my youth, reviewing old photographs, reviewing what I've written, ...

When I consider that in 50 years I will no longer be here

When I consider that in 50 years I will no longer be here, that I will likely be absent in the year 2050, I'm saddened. This marvelous thing, the Internet, will continue to grow and develop without me; I will not be present to see its marvelous developments over the next 100 - 200 years and beyond. The programming of computers - by turns, taxing struggle and exhilarating experience - the expertise which I am building daily - gone.

Yet all is not sad - we will be in a different place. I hope to enjoy the vision of my Creator; may I practice being in his presence, even in this place.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Personal post-mortems

In software engineering and other disciplines, a "post-mortem" is conducted after various milestones - that is, a meeting to review what worked, what didn't work, and what action to take to improve for next time.

This Sunday, in addition to catching up on my various books, I plan to take an hour out to conduct a post-mortem of my last year: what worked, what didn't work, and what action to take to improve for the year ahead. That will be a Sunday well spent.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Starting the hour-long walk home from the Cursillo meeting

Starting the hour-long walk home from the Cursillo meeting at St. Joseph's church (my first in two years). I'm tapping into my PDA as I walk along the highway - must be careful.

In this evening's reflection, we each chose a cup or mug, and reflected on how one's life is like such a vessel - filled and emptied, some whole, one of them broken at the handle.

I chose a miniature, misshapen milk jug. It pours itself out in service of others, and is refilled by its master. But my milk jug is too full. Filled to the brim, it is never poured. If the milk in it sours, it must be emptied, scourged, and washed. Perhaps then will it be fit for use again.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Reading aloud a few pages of poetry

Reading aloud a few pages of poetry seems to be a reliable way to shift my mind into a contemplative mode, ideal for prayer.

I like the New Penguin Book of English Verse - especially its novel arrangement of poems by date rather than by author. It's a time machine.

Sunday, 2 PM. A third of the day has elapsed.

Sunday, 2 PM. A third of the day has elapsed. I sit in the living room, pondering how I will spend it. The edges of my eyeglasses and of my PDA sparkle with sunlight. My foot presses against the cold grill of the in-floor radiator.

May today be for remembering. Not for enjoying necessarily, nor for planning, nor for doing. But for remembering: childhood and youth, where I've come from, where I've been, who I am, what I love, creed, country, and God.