Images            January 2017

As my eyes blinked away the sleep early this morning, I looked at the unusual calendar on my wall for quite some time.   Printed for the year 1987, it is useless in its original function, but excellent for my purposes. In large format, it has a Frank Lloyd Wright drawing for each month of projects which he didn’t build.   January was originally painted on black illustration board though it looks like it was done on black felt.   After starring at it for some time, I looked away. On the wall where my gaze landed next was a reverse silhouette of the same shape, a ghost of the original image.

As a Marine Corps brat we never lived in one place for very long. However, in one of those homes my bedroom had a light fixture on the ceiling which I could see from my bed. Falling asleep and waking in the morning I would look at it. It had a glass shade and etched upon it was a cowboy on a horse throwing a lasso onto a calf. I can still see it.

In 1965, a Playboy magazine center fold was installed on my dorm room bulletin board at college.   This was a full nude in a Goya-esque pose with red hair; backed by a roaring fire, the playmate had very pale white skin and, of course, a perfect figure.   Back then we would call that pornography; though these days in modern American terms, it would hardly qualify. As you can tell, her personal representation is still in my brain.

My point is this – the images upon which we look are burned into our minds. Sometimes that is an instantaneous capture, and sometimes it happens through long gazing. I can still see the altar wall in the Chapel of Savoy where Cindi and I were married.   The picture of the boy rejecting me for the pickup ball game in the elementary school yard will not go away.   My friend Bill telling me about Jesus in a McDonald’s parking lot is burned in. My first view of Yosemite some sixty years ago after emerging from the Wawona Tunnel will be with me until my dying day.

Most of the time in our lives we DO have a choice about what we are going to see. Today companion images are all around us. The preview of coming attractions on a DVD can be unhealthy to watch. That side bar on the youtube site with the half clad model is designed to draw you away from what you picked to watch. The “wholesome” women’s magazine, in which you turn the page to reveal a photo of a couple in the act, though “tastefully” done. As you consider those images from the past, which still seem fresh in your mind, you will know which of them have been good for your mental and spiritual health and which were not. The movies, magazines, and websites we select are all choices well within our control. So, brothers and sisters, decide well what you cast your eyes upon. As the knight guarding the holy grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade said, “Choose well.” And yes, I can still see the cave filled with the display of all those cups.

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