THE MEANING OF LIFE

He came with love in his heart for every living thing. His innocence had been untouched and his light force shone so bright that crowds gathered to see him but, more importantly, to feel his warmth. By gazing upon him they were somehow changed. “Was this the Messiah?” they mumbled to each other in hushed tones lest they be deemed blasphemous by some. For some can find darkness in every hope, every wish, every prayer.

And when this man spoke it brought some to their knees, others to tears. It was as if the calmness in his voice could heal every hurt and fear that had weighed them down and they were now somehow lighter.

The taking away of such anguish even brought back sight to the blind. As if all they had needed was to believe in something and were being granted the ability to see the world anew. Men who had walked too many lonely dead end loveless roads and were now crippled, found that they could walk again. And after those first awkward unsure steps they inched closer and closer to him growing more confident and accepted with each one until they were in his arms, and the safety and strength  of unconditional love made them sob for the joy of each precious moment. Time that they had, until now, misinterpreted and cursed for their burdens, and wasted, was now rediscovered and rejoiced over. All things were possible again.

In his face they saw no judgement, no impatience, no pity, only love. And his love became contagious among the people and they sang his praises.

He had not come to destroy the Romans, or hand out weapons, or preach hate. He was here to give meaning to our lives. What was the meaning of life? Love. For love opens the door to joy. And its light extinguishes all shadows.

But there were those, the shadow people, who were angered by us learning the meaning of existence and saw that this teaching could undermine their power over us. For they ruled by fear and threats, both of which were rendered insignificant when the masses walked proudly in the sun again unchained from their own mental limitations.

So they arrested this man, this dangerous man, beat him, whipped him, ridiculed him and his suffering, and sentenced him to an agonising death for the crime of telling us to love and forgive each other.

And in his final conscious moments he forgave those who had plotted his death, and the ignorant who had killed him. To this day it remains the greatest triumph of the human spirit.

Perhaps he was drawing evil into the light so that the world could recognise its face?

 
(C) Frank Howson 2019

Painting by Frank Howson (c) 2019

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TELL ME STORIES ABOUT OUR LIFE

Tell me stories about our life
Did we have fun?
Were you truly happy when you told me you were?
Because, you see, I was happy when I thought that to be so
And if you take that back now my life suddenly means nothing
And the doctors have nothing to give you to treat wasted years
And it breaks so many
To fall so far
So, let us just sit in the sun
On our favourite bench
Surrounded by the trees we named
And chat
Like we used to
When we held hands
Like each other was the most precious thing in the world
And it was
Or so I thought
Please tell me now
Was it true for you?
Or were you just being kind
When you said you were mine?
Were you settling for less
Than you believed the world owed you?
Do you feel that you threw away your life
And beauty
So I could live?
Because if you did
You have killed us both
And our life was just a one-sided
Delusional dream
Perhaps I worry too much
In these September years
But you’re all I have
My only constant
In a world that has lied about everything we’ve been told
For the last 50 years
A governmental plan to confuse us But enough about lies
I surrender
To whatever it was that got us through
Let us take some time out
And sit in this park
And you do the talking
Hold my hand
And tell me stories about our life

(C) Frank Howson 2018

 

painting by Frank Howson

THAT LONG TRAIN RIDE

I was right
About all the little things that didn’t matter.
I was wrong about all the big things that did.
But youth is for foolishness and mistakes.
The concept being that you will eventually learn from mistakes and your heart will grow a harder layer of protection. This can be a lifelong education of regrowth if you don’t pay enough attention to details.
One theory is that we keep falling in love with the same person, over and over, like some weird drunkard’s dance in a Groundhog Day scenario. Even if that person was all wrong for us in the first place. So is it familiarity that attracts? The devil we know is better than the saviour we don’t? Perhaps we just tire from the waiting and settle for what we know. Attracted to those who remind us of ourselves? Or marry for money and security even though that brings in its train a lifetime of boredom and unrequited dreams and hopes? But surely that is not a living, but a dying? For money proves to be a cold companion and takes more than it gives. Doomed to buy all the toys and trinkets to impress others whilst your subsequent depression stemming from your inner knowledge that nothing purchased brings any lasting pleasure. You are a compromised person and although you can lie to your conscience your sub-conscious knows the truth, and forces you to spend most of your days sleeping. Hiding from life. Avoiding waking to the horror of who you really are. A prisoner trapped in a cell of your own making. Spending all your approved allowance on the best drugs to dull yourself to the harsh reality that you are already dead.
I took myself to Disneyland today.
Why?
I wanted to return to a simpler, safer time when I believed in dreams and heroes.
All around me was the sound of the laughter of children and the look of wonderment in their eyes.
They are years from cynicism and reducing the world to something they can understand.
I had a photo taken with Mickey but my idol Donald Duck was nowhere to be seen.
Disneyland was conceived and built by a sad and lonely man who acted childish at times. Because the truth is he was still a child and needed to build a romanticised version of his childhood town – a place where it was always clean, and wholesome and safe. And contained no tyrannical father. Ironic huh? Was he insane? In most people’s terms, yes. But at least his dreams were safer than those of young Adolf Hitler, a failed painter from Austria. Y’know, if young Adolf had’ve sold three or four landscape paintings the whole Second World War may have been avoided. I always say, “Be careful about pissing off creative people. That creative light force once turned back on itself can become very dark and destructive.”
On the other hand, all of the world’s great accepted visionaries were a little looney tunes. Some, very much so. Fortunately their insanities were focused towards something more publicly palatable than the Third Reich or the NWO. They risked everything thinking outside the box. Their own lives became secondary to their dream. And many died in their footsteps upon that lonely highway. They sacrificed romantic relationships, friendships, their dignity (as many were publicly ridiculed), their personal happiness, and a comfortable safe life. Why? And what for? A higher calling? Immortality? If there is no God and no afterlife why do people do this to themselves? If we’re just here marking time until the long darkness, why not just put the tools down and embrace the fairly interesting train ride to nowhere?
It’s the same with love. If it’s not a God-given gift to share then what exactly is it? Why care so much about it? Or anyone else?
I pondered all these things as I sat in my chair looking out the window that was shaped like Mickey’s head on the Disneyland Express on my train ride back to somewhere.

(C) Frank Howson 2018

THANK YOU AND GOODNIGHT.

Somewhere along the way it changed. Were we sleeping? Or merely so preoccupied filling our lives with crap we didn’t notice. Perhaps it took place over a very long period of time, just an inch a day, not enough to see until it was done. But whatever. The result was the same. Oneday we awakened to find the old world gone – that place of unbiased reporting.

I always remember an old editor I met in my youth who’d spent his entire life in the newspaper business. He barked orders while chain smoking several packs a day, a bottle of scotch in his bottom drawer. His gospel was simple – “just give me the facts, not your opinion. Don’t treat the reader like an idiot. If you stick to the facts, and nothing but, they’ll work it out for themselves.”

He probably wouldn’t have much time for an opinion piece such as I am writing now. But there used to be a difference between the news and opinion pieces. Alas, no more. For some time now, especially during my 9 years of living in Los Angeles, I could pick up any newspaper and within reading a few paragraphs tell you which party the reporter voted for. I admire people with strong political beliefs because I, terminally disillusioned and disappointed, have none. Maybe I haven’t believed in anyone since those 3 shots in Dallas. Or perhaps it was Bobby. The sacking of Whitlam? Or the roll call of Prime Ministers and Presidents that have sold us out to get re-elected. Anyway, in the words of Paul Anka’s song made famous by the late, great Buddy Holly, “I guess it doesn’t matter anymore.”

But, as I was saying, somewhere along the line we lost the news and gained the views. Nothing irritates me more than reading what should be an unbiased, unemotional, dry account of the facts and suddenly realising I’m being manipulated. Some reporter is following party lines to slant a story for a specific effect. Forget that there may be real lives caught up in this zealous exercise. Don’t get me wrong. I love reading opinion pieces – especially if I admire the person whose opinion it is – but when it infiltrates into Page One news – or headlines – it becomes something else. Something sinister.

I’ve read headlines that have damned people only to find a convenient about-face in the final paragraph, if you get that far, that covers the writer’s arse against legal action. They rely on us busy people running hatless through life not having enough time to read anything but the headline. And so, at the water cooler or at the coffee shop, or on the iphone, the misinformation becomes fact. “Do you know…?” or “I’ve heard…”

Yes folks, Judas is in the small print. And the Chinese Whispers. We have been betrayed by those who swore an ethical oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. We are now lumbered in two categories – the great misinformed, or those stricken with the disease of indifference.

The latter has swept the world more thoroughly than any disease since we crawled out of the Great Swamp or got kicked out of the Garden of Eden (depending on your view of evolution). Goebbels, the master publicist, believed if you told the Big Lie enough times it became fact. And so it has. Tragically, if Mr. Goebbels was a young man today he’d be working for newspapers, tapping phones and murdering people in print.

Either that or Head of Marketing at Paramount Pictures.

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(c) Frank Howson 2014