Streets Full of Splendid Strangers

"How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny sefishness and their virile indifference! You would begin to be interested in them, because they are not interested in you. You would break out of this tiny and tawdry theatre in which your own little plot is always played, and you would find yourself under a freer sky, in a street full of splendid strangers."
-G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

A scribe came to Jesus and asked Him which of the commandments were most important. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself," Jesus replied.

I'd never considered before how these commandments take the focus off me. And I'd never considered before that having something else to focus on besides me and all my junk could be such a blessed relief.

My amazing sister, Jessica, this past year made a new decision: to love God with all her heart, and to try to love her neighbor as herself. I remember talking to her after she came to one of the our church worship gatherings-where we were asked to describe some of the benefits we had found while following Jesus. She said a big one for her was realizing that it's not all about her, that there's a bigger story going on than her own little life saga, and I totally agree.

I've long felt now that one of the reasons that God tells us to love Him, to focus on Him and give Him worship is so that we can have some relief from all the wretched self-absorbtion that has plagued us since Eden. Just to focus on Someone pure and just, right and good, the Person in Whom all wholeness and beauty find their source, has been such a balm. Finally, a few minutes off from the round-the-clock scrutiny of my so-called life, the 'tiny and tawdry theatre where my little plot is played out' ad nauseum. I used to think it was some sort of divine egotism for God to demand that his followers worship him, but now I see it as an act of a mercy-like water to someone lost in the desert, our worship should be tinged with, "boy-are You a sight for sore eyes!"
(and props go out to miss f. glasses for the pic. i looked up ole gilbert keith chesterton on flickr, and ta-dah! i found a real live person that i actually know. so thank you, franny! and everyone go and read her blog.)


Susan Harwood said...

Dear Rosa

I'm getting behind with everything!

Thanks for the script. I'll soon send a few remarks by email.

Thanks too for the comment on the Advent Calendar. Really glad you liked it. (I'll try and fill in some of the gaps for next year!)

I'm not expecting Charlie and Simon to make another appearance for at least eighteen months but I will let you know when they do!

However, I am working on several other fronts.

Within the next two weeks, I will be starting a blog called TIMES RHYMES. This is a set of forty-five illustrated nursery rhymes designed to help small children effortlessly absorb the times-table 'facts' from 2 - 10 in the same way as they learn that Humpty Dumpty fell off a wall!

Once that is set up, I'll let you know.

And, as from today, there is another, embryonic, blog which is more social and political. Time and children and husband guests and other people's children etc. permitting, this too will be illustrated . . .



Hope your new year is starting well.


Susan Harwood said...


I'm not sure how far our British preocupations with housing issues and energy comsumtion will be of interest on your side of the Atlantic . . . but this comment will make an easy route to it, should you decide to take a look!


Susan Harwood said...


That didn't work.

Hope the right picture comes up this time!

rosa said...

Hey! There you are! Can't wait to read more on your new blog!

I came up with some more caveats for reading our script: the social context: we performed it in Santa Cruz, CA which puts the expression "post-Christian society" in a new light. We tried to be more accessble than the usual church play.

Read Your Way Through the Garden: Choice Tomes From Garden Literature

  • A Book of Salvias by Betsy Clebsch
  • Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon
  • Making Bentwood Trellises by Jim Long
  • RHS Encyclopedia of Plants & Flowers
  • Rose Primer: An Organic Approach to Rose Selection & Care by Orin Martin
  • Start With the Soil by Grace Gershuny
  • Sunset Western Garden Book
  • Sunset Western Landscaping Book
  • The Book of Garden Secrets by Patent & Bilderback
  • The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Botany
  • the Gardener's Table: A Guide to Natural Vegetable Growing and Cooking by Richard Merrill & Joe Ortiz
  • The Gardener's Year by Karel Capek
  • The Hutchinson Dictionary of Plant Names: Common & Botanical
  • We Made A Garden by Margaret Fish

lotsa latin: rosa's botanical & etymological ruminations

  • vespertinus: flowers in the evening
  • vernalis:spring
  • veni vidi nates calcalvi: we came, we saw, we kicked butt. This was printed on a T shirt I bought at Abbot's Thrift many years ago. It encircled the NEA symbol. I wish I knew why.
  • superciliaris: shaped like an eyebrow ex: sturnella superciliaris, the White-browed Blackbird
  • rosa-sinensis: species of Hibiscus: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis. Lit. Rosa of China, so named by British plant hunters.
  • placentiformis: shaped like a cake ex: discocactus placentiformis
  • nudiflorus: flowers before leaves show ex: flowering quince, magnolia
  • nivalis: growing in or near snow ex: galanthus nivalis (common snowdrop)
  • muralis: growing on walls
  • mirabilis: marvellous, wonderful
  • formosa: beautiful ex: dicentra formosa, a.k.a.western bleeding heart/dutchman's breeches/lady in a bath
  • carpe vitam: get a life
  • Carolus Linnaeus: Latinized name of Carl von Linne (1707-1778), Swedish naturalist considered the father of plant taxonomy. Whatta guy.