Being Truly Clothed

While I was doing my devotional reading a few weeks ago, my thoughts snagged on this particular passage:

“Within truth however no life is present, only within good. Truth is merely the recipient of life, that is, of good. Truth is like the clothing or a garment worn by good. In the Word too therefore truths are called clothes, and also garments. But when good composes the rational, truth passes out of sight and becomes as though it was good; for good is now shining through the truth, in the same way as when angels are seen clothed they appear in brightness that looks like a garment, as also was the case when angels appeared before the prophets.” Arcana Coelestia 2189.3

It might be quite worldly, but reading this brought to mind all of the clothes in my closet that I don’t wear. What might they represent when looked at through a more spiritual lens?

If we think of garments as truths, then what does it mean to invest in clothing items that we wind up rarely or never wearing? For me, there is an appeal in having things “just in case” I need it. There is a refreshing sense of possibility in buying something that could serve a purpose. But that possibility stagnates quickly when I fail to give the garment said purpose by never putting it on. It doesn’t matter how much I insist that I like the color or the style or how it looked in a dressing room. It doesn’t matter if the clothes are especially pretty or comfortable. Clothes left hanging in my closet or taking up space in my admittedly stuffed dresser drawers are utterly useless. 

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Languages of Love

An appraisal of ‘The Five Love Languages’ by Gary Chapman

Does your beloved really love you? How do you know?  Because he says so?  But do his actions match his ardent avowal, or does he merely provide the financial wherewithal and dispense knowledge like the household oracle? Nothing more?

As good New Church women we value the wisdom of our husbands, but sometimes despair when our unaided Martha chores overwhelm us.  If our menfolk persist in remaining oblivious they should learn ‘the five languages of love’ advocated by Gary Chapman. And what is more, all of them are endorsed by the Marriage Love teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg.

Chapman explains that after thirty years of marital counselling he has come to the conclusion that each one of us has one or more love languages which delight us when we encounter them. He identified them as:

Words of Affirmation:  complimentary words of appreciation.

Quality Time: giving undivided time and attention, and doing things together.

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Growing Into Letting Go

I’m always wishing to know others and be known by others.

Now I have an article to write and I don’t want to waste the opportunity.

But also, at the moment I feel empty.  I feel like my brain, my body and my heart have thought through, processed, held, and felt so much in the last two years that they’re kind of on sabbatical at the moment.  They’ve tapped out.

Every time I thought “well that was hard, glad that’s over so we can move on and get back to normal” in the last few years, it was just a few short days or weeks or months until something happened which completely threw “normal” way out of reach all over again.

I know, categorically, that the repercussions of COVID have seeped into all areas of life making normality actually impossible – but that hasn’t kept me from aiming at normal.  But so much has happened and changed that I’m really questioning just what I get to assume is in fact normal.  I’m starting to think that, as an adult and parent in 2022, “normal,” for the foreseeable future, actually means holding every thing and every plan very loosely because it’s likely everything will be constantly changing.

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Art For Easter

This year, I started Holy Week feeling unsettled instead of reflective, so I went hunting for art to celebrate the season. I reached out to friends for recommendations of songs, poems, and visual art. Below are some highlights which made Easter more meaningful for me and my family this year. 

Not all of these are appropriate for young children. When offering the stories of Easter to my kids, I try to keep in mind the gentle way angel children learn of the Lord’s crucifixion–with only an “idea of a tomb” and other gentle images offered with “incomparable care and reverence” (Heaven and Hell 335). 

Visual Art

I love the disciples’ varied expressions in “Jesus Washing the Feet of his Disciples” by Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt: thoughtful, uncomfortable, annoyed, touched. 

With vibrant colors and strong lines, Rose Datoc Dall captures the breathless joy of the three women in “First News of the Resurrection.”

Henry Ossawa Tanner painted many scenes from the Lord’s life, and it’s hard to find them separately, so happy scrolling.

Peter and John Running to the Tomb of Christ” by Eugene Bernand gets me every time. The expressions on the disciples’ faces, the light, the moment–all wonderful.

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