Friday, March 9, 2007

a pattern of late nights

my man came home early and scared the bejiminies out of me this evening, which was sufficient to wake me up and good. he, of course, could not remain awake to entertain me because he was completely exhausted from manning a leadership retreat-thingy at rockdale, which left (leaves) me roaming our palatial manse. after traipsing down the east wing in search of diversion, getting lost in one of the secret passage-ways and discovering a long lost and very valuable john singer sargent in a hallway closet (where i thought only the picassos and kahlos were being stored-- i can see those two together, but who would include sargent in that collection?), i settled in the main office, where i sip licorice root tea and harken to the echo of my typing against the marble walls and floors. it's cold here, but i have my mink for warmth.

and i stumbled upon the most enchanting quote while looking at my friend liz's (ott) page:
"When a girl feels that she's perfectly groomed and dressed she can forget that part of her. That's charm. The more parts of yourself you can afford to forget the more charm you have." from "Bernice Bobs Her Hair", F.Scott Fitzgerald.

i had completely forgotten about this line.

now, i don't know about the charm part... i have to think about that. but i have lately been thinking about what it means to be utterly un-selfconscious. and when i say that, i don't mean anything grand-- and i don't mean careless. rather, i'm speaking to that quality that makes really great public speakers so compelling. this sense that they are so sunk in their topic, so sold on their message, that they are unaware of their physical bodies-- not distracted by them, and not hoping to distract with them. being so settled, and perhaps satisfied, with what they look like, the listener is transfixed with the power of their message, and often with the personal charisma of the message-bearer. it seems unclouded.

"...the more parts of yourself you can afford to forget the more charm you have."

i wonder what we can substitute for the word "charm".

i mean, it's not that i don't like the word charm, but what did fitzgerald mean by that, which would translate to something we could relate to today? presence? grace? charisma?

there's something about coming to a place where you can forget about yourself and let that something else-- fitz's charm, perhaps, or maybe your message, your passion-- shine through unhindered by the glare of self-consciousness. i wish i could have watched Jesus teach. it wasn't likely his perfect grooming or flawless taste in tunics which backlit his zeal, but i'm sure that there had to be a real sense of forgetting about Himself because His focus was so mightily set upon His inspiration: His Abba.