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Michelangelo’s Lent

February 21, 2018

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It is a weirdness.

Lent is a place of listening. Mostly to what is heard when you make less noise.

Michelangelo deeply believed in God, not as a Patron or inspiration, but as a central fact of Faith in his life. He talked, wrote, drew his faith, even sung it, one might presume. He lived a long life when most died at half his age. He had no spouse or children. He never stopped writing, thinking, doing: What was Lent like for him?

But I just wrote 3 things, and now this: and the rigid of daily, silent, writing is, well, a good thing – for me. But when I write for others, for the editors, it’s not listening, it’s performing. It is fulfilling expectations, and I, at least, cannot listen while I do that. And I do that every day. Most all the time.

For years it was the children: if we did anything for then, it was unquestionably justified, nay, required. When you are brought up in a place of survival, gifts are, well just surviving. So absent perspective stuff gets done. And those you parent know a different life.

Now I have my other offspring: the tasks and measures and accesses of daily living. In achievement aspiration you need Lent. Michelangelo had a beloved friend he spent endless hours communicating with, a lot about God – he was infested in the creative life, first with mentors then mentees, and he never, ever seemed satisfied – with anything.

His nose that was flattened in a raging fight was the memory of a passion that gets violent when outside the mind: it was exquisitely human. He was, like you, and me, a human. Like Jesus.

I find that hard. The inability to rest absent pre-emptive exhaustion. Not knowing much, I assume Michelangelo had the same affliction because we all do, to some extent. I may not have hobbies, binge watch, or game, but I did watch 2 hours of Chopped last night – knowing I had been up at 5, and needed to be up early the next day.

Maybe exhaustion is not this kind of Lent, this morning. Or any morning. Faith could make effort pretty silly, except the extreme faith and ultimate terminal exhaustion of that 33 year old guy 2,000 years ago kinda revealed the impossibility of that aspiration.

I wish, even on my half birthday on the way to 63, that I knew more. I know Michelangelo did too.

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