Shelter: A Sermonette

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Blessed be those who against all good judgment, give simple wayfarers like me shelter from the storm. In my life there have been a few and their kindness is never forgotten.
“There is a proverb which Su Shi scribed. Once upon a time, there was a blind man who does not know what the Sun is. So he asks other people to explain.” 
“One man said, ‘The Sun is shaped like a copper plate.’ So the blind man banged on a copper plate, and listened to its clanging. Later when he heard the sound of a temple bell, he thought that must be the Sun.” 
“Another man said to him, ‘The Sun gives out light just like a candle.’ So the blind man held a candle to feel its shape. 
Later when he picked up a flute, he thought that this must be the Sun.”
“Yet we know that the Sun is vastly different from a bell or a flute; but a blind man does not understand the differences, because he has never seen the Sun and only heard it described. Friendship and trust are the same. You can describe it to everyone but it can only be understood by those who somehow experience it.”  —White Powder: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos, p. 109

Time for a little Dylan:

’twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

…Suddenly I turned around and she was standin’ there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns.
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

…Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it’s doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn.
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

I’ve heard newborn babies wailin’ like a mournin’ dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm.”

In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation an’ they gave me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
“Come in,” she said, “I’ll give you shelter from the storm…” — Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm

18 thoughts on “Shelter: A Sermonette

  1. Bob Dylan's lyrics seem to resonate with wisdom. I am still convinced that movie stars, rock stars and celebrities of all kinds should stick to what made them stand out among the Great Unwashed, and not offer us unwashed folk advice on how to live our lives.

    These celebrities got where they got because they looked good in the spot lights, could keep a tune or could hit a 95 mph fastball. That doesn't automatically give them credibility as people of wisdom.

    The jury is out on Bob Dylan, however. Is he the best guitar player ever? Nope. Best voice ever? Not even close. Ever heard him torture a harmonica? Ouch. But his lyrics do resonate with wisdom now and then.

  2. More to the point, Odie, I don't trust air that I can't see. You need to come to Los Angeles to be reassured that there is air that you can see…and taste. Living in the high country as you do is making you insecure. ;^)

  3. Liberals hate nothing more than using their icons against them. Quoting Dylan (Times they are a changin') when discussing the Tea Party rallies against tyrannical government really ticked them off.

    Using the massacre at Wounded Knee as justification for the Second Amendment (because it was a government gun grab) and being better armed really irritates them. Wounded Knee is iconic to the tree-hugging crowd and debasing it by calling it what it is disturbs the progressive mind.

    Calling a spade, a spade…that sort of thing.

  4. I enjoyed that sermon very much, especially the bit about the preacher riding around on a horse.

    And I have to say, I was pretty grateful for some pint/pub shelter during Friday's snowstorm.

  5. Preachers should not be dismounted nor should they be disarmed. Isn't the old axiom, "Bible and sword"?

    The warm pub and pint sounded welcoming in your blog.

  6. Thanks for the preachin'. Dylan is indeed a poet, but I note that old age and a bit of economic comfort has mellowed him enough that he can't produce the poignant poems that he turned out in the 60s.

  7. The edge is a bit dulled. More than age, I think that drugs may have taken their toll as they are want to do. I picked the song because it went with the general theme of today's blog more than the other way around.

    AND–Groot the Guardian wasn't a progressive because he was a loyal team member. I can't equate him to Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare team leader. Could you imagine Barack being loyal to anyone but himself? He'd turn and leave you at the first sign of trouble, as it the hallmark of all liberals.

  8. You've got a point. Drugs and 60s liberalism were enough to dull anyone's brains. The song's still a good sermon, and Dillon had something to say.

    OK, so Groot's not a progressive. I think we loved Groot in the movie because he was a tree of few words and a loyal friend who would sacrifice himself to save others. Plus, he proved to be a snappy dancer in his younger years.

  9. Good one, and a good reminder going into this year… We ALL need shelter… And friends…

  10. I think you should open a new age church, Larry. You can still serve wine, just more of it. And croissants instead of bread and we cold all listen to words of wisdom.
    I am now thinking about how i would describe the sun to a blind man…what a wonderful piece of writing that was.

  11. …Or discribe friendship to one who never knew it.

    I would not mock God by pretending to be a good man or a wise man. Just saying.

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