Thursday, August 25, 2016

Both Sides Now

There are two places guys can go and be assured we will one of the very few males within the walls. One is Bath And Body Works; the other is Hobby Lobby. My estimate is their clienteles are 97% female. The only time I enter a Bath And Body Works is Christmas when I buy gift cards for family members of the gentler persuasion. On the other hand, I frequently find myself in summer months at Hobby Lobby.... but of course, never on Sunday. Everything I spend at Hobby Lobby is related to one part of my life- Vietnam. I give gifts to people who have helped me on my mission. If they live outside of Houston, I mail them a thank you note with some trinkets and pictures. If they live where I do, I place my tokens in small bags from Hobby Lobby but that's not my major purchase. The majority of my cash is spent on picture frames to display the shots from Can Tho. But not just any frames. These are solid glass- and heavy- that show two pictures, one on each side. It's so simple, it's brilliant. Why use a frame for only one photo when you can share two memories concurrently? I don't know if Hobby Lobby invented these two sided frames but I haven't seen them anywhere else. I do know that everyone receiving these frames from yours truly love them and HL policy is all frames are 50% off, so two for $10. Great use of my limited resources!

One of my favorite songs from long ago is Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now, made more famous by her contemporary, Judy Collins. Ms. Mitchell said the inspiration came from a sentence she read in Saul Bellow's Henderson The Rain King. Bellow made an allusion to clouds, she looked out the window of a plane as she read that line, and began writing what would be one of her best compositions. It's about life and love and her lyrics leave me wistfully sad, like nothing of consequence can quite be figured out. But I disagree, at least as it applies to her words. I think looking at two sides can give clarity. That's why I love these picture frames. Traditional frames limit vision but with the ones I buy, more of the story/memory becomes evident! We lock ourselves into one translation of the truth, aka The Steve Standard Version, without considering other options. I'm not saying we should be wafflers on matters of faith or morality but traveling has opened my eyes to view points I had never contemplated. James 3:17 teaches that if have heavenly wisdom, we will be, 
pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Often, my mind has been locked like a vault and not open to any revision. It's like David Allen Coe said: "One thing is certain. You can't shake hands with a fist."  Likewise, we can't see the whole landscape from just one piece of the puzzle. With the double sided frame, we become at least a little more than one dimensional in our interpretation of one slice of a very big world, or at least I do when I recall the kids of southern Vietnam. And you thought Hobby Lobby was just about ambiance!

Applicable quote of the day:
'I've looked at love from both sides now,
from give and take, and still somehow
it's love's illusions that I recall.
I really don't know love at all.'

Joni Mitchell

To listen to Judy Collins' version of Both Side Now, click or copy/paste link below:

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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