Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rhapsody in Blue

In the 1945 movie "Rhapsody in Blue", a screen story of George Gershwin, Gershwin is portrayed as a driven man, driven to write and play his music as though there were no tomorrow. Just before the Gershwin in the movie dies, he says to his brother Ira, "It's only through my music that I can prove I have a right to live."

Is that what we are trying to do with our lives - prove we have a right to live? Unpacking that for myself is best left to my private journal. But I confess, I admire most those people who appear to be lazy, but who are enjoying just being alive, whether they make a dime or not, whether or not they are successful, whether or not they are productive. There is a rebel in me that wants to live that way and there is in me an assertion that priesthood is about being, not about doing.

I don't know how I can make that shift to being and not doing in a culture, both church and secular, that expects a product in exchange for the money spent, a day's work and then some in exchange for wages paid. Yesterday I thought, the only way I can do this is to retire, live on what little I will receive and serve the church for free in exchange for housing and Sunday supply, on the proviso that housing is not wages for which work is expected and Sunday supply is so the people understand they have responsibilities.

The movie "Rhapsody in Blue" came out in the year I was born. There is that in me which I admit is trying to prove my right to live. Being a priest, instead of doing priesthood, appears to me to give others who admit the same about themselves and their lives the freedom to live for no other reason than that they were born and that, in God's good creation, that is enough.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

O.K. I've read this through three times now and I am still not sure what it says. So I'll mull it a while.