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“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” Michelangelo

April 4, 2019

30 of 40

A friend lost his job. His friend says “God has a plan for you.”


Making design out of chaos seems to comfort. Like finding a nose in a sapling that I found on Instagram this morning. There is a plan. There is a reason. If I could just see thru the bark.

I design every day, all the time. Design is virtually execution. The buildings, concerts, writings, events, organizations that I work on, every day, offer infinite opportunities and risks are great with me.

If I thought there was a plan to the planning I would stop planning, and try to plan the plan.

If there was a plan.

But I cannot know it. If there is an overarching arc to anything then it means that my life has two paths: obtaining the arc or simply not.

No pressure.

I never played baseball. Pretty sure I couldn’t If I wanted to. The throwing, batting and hand-eye capacities seem, to me, unlearnable. But the mindset, of react/respond/execute to a ball that comes from a line drive, a dribbler, a fly ball, the first baseman, any source, anywhere, at any speed, reminds me of something I did do, play linebacker. Every play different, every response based on a million previous responses, but set to the bodies hurtling, sprinting to, at, away – each play a flow of reactions.

Were these things part of a plan?

If so, quite a design.

Michelangelo responded to the stone he carved, and created angels. I think he responded to the trillions of cells of his body. They saw, felt, reacted, responded. The design of those cells is either the happiest accident that our feeble minds can imagine, or there was a design so complicated we cannot even begin to understand it.

Can a design understand itself? Is there a reality beyond the moment of its existence? Humans, or rather, some humans, believe so.

Does it matter? I think faith matters. A sense, belief, understanding that there is no script, but that there is Mission. A direction that is worth devotion. No score. No win or loss. Just effort. And faith that it matters, without really knowing why.

A sculpture will be made, but is it the one that is of you? Of who you know is you? Or is the sculpture the embodiment of assumptions, fears and dogma? It is pretty hard to have faith beyond getting the money, love and health to maintain existence.

My guess is that money, love and a paycheck meant less to Michelangelo than the angel.

I think the angel is in each of us, and we are the sculpture. Not a crafted design, but an opportunity to be what we value.

We all value beauty. I have come to think it is why humans are alive. It’s reality is at the core of the angel in us. It is the concerted implementation of each of our trillions of cells that can make beauty beyond sculpture.

For that beauty, in me, is effort. It is the shortstop or linebacker reacting, responding, executing. Not following a plan, if there is one.

The plan, if there is one, is the reality of infinite moments of beauty that are constant in their ephemeral power.

It is the essence of Lent for me. In lives so full of reacting/responding/executing that finding the angel in the stone is a mission, not a sculpture. If we can know that there is a mission beyond the din of survival. For me, that is what Lent is for.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 4, 2019 9:54 am

    Thank you Duo, this is exactly what we are going to talk about today in the Nature of Order class. To quote from the end of the chapter (NoO, Book IV, pp. 142):
    “It means that the world constructed in the most personal and individual fashion, made by people who are searching deeply to follow the nature of their own true I, their own true selves, will be – in the most public, objective and universal sense – a world which is functional, adequate and harmonious.”

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