LOVE DON’T FAIL

If animals can hug us, we can certainly hug them back, right? But, wait, we don’t hug anymore, do we? Boy, we are missing out on SOOOOO much by not hugging.

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in a ‘Love hug’ today, COVID or no COVID, ’cause I know ‘Love don’t fail'”)

You’ve lost the race time and more time again.

You failed and were denied the winner’s crown.

What are you racing for? Who is your “win?”

All acclaim you chase, still left with a frown.

Did I really fail or was it my glass

to drink from to taste the sweetest defeat?

I wouldn’t know God if I did amass

wins. Disappointment essential. God, I did meet.

Love is patient and kind. It never fails.

The world will hate us. Jesus recovers

what the locust ate. He’ll turn all our wails

into “win some, lose none.” Take heart, lovers.

Sit right back up and listen to this Tale:

Stands a Man Glorified ’cause Love don’t fail.

MODESTY OR “GOD”ESTY?

MAN1: Why don’t you go swim out into that ocean?

MAN2: I can’t. I don’t know how to swim.

OR

MAN1: Why don’t you go swim out into that ocean?

MAN2: I don’t know how to swim, but I’ll go. Why not?

Which MAN2 are you? It can be easy to know our physical limitations, or what I call “physical modesty.” We don’t go swim out into the ocean if we don’t know how to swim, because we will surely drown. But what about our “inner” limitations, our “inner” modesty?

Modesty is defined as, “the quality or state of being unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities.” Taking the example above, if we can’t swim, we don’t swim out into the ocean. But in an “inner” sense, we also can’t control others, but we often try. What this brings up is: Are we practicing modesty or “God”esty?

The Bible is full of stories of men and women who recognized their physical limitations but not their “inner” limitations. I would cite them all here if I knew them all or even just one. And I know I should. But, if I’m being modest, I know pretty well the story of Jesus, and it is quite evident that Jesus recognized that He was BOTH physically and “inner” limited. Jesus practiced not modesty but “God”esty. Jesus would not be Jesus were it not for “God’esty that His Father God brought down to Him God’s Holy Spirit to help Jesus say and do all things according to His Father’s Will. Jesus would not be Jesus were it not for His “God”esty that determined He was not modesty but rather “God”esty. Being put to death is a perfect example of this. Who in their right mind would modestly choose being rejected, abused, and killed if they could stop it? Jesus could have stopped it….but He didn’t. Why? Because Jesus was all about “God”esty. Jesus was about doing God’s Will and not His own. Jesus was all about fulfilling God’s Purpose and Plan for His Life, i.e., to bring God from Heaven down to earth to teach and heal and save us all, then to leave earth and go back to Heaven to be with His Father, only to come back again (sooner than later). Jesus never once said, “I’m Jesus! Don’t you see how great I am?” Jesus never boasted about the fact that He was darn great. Awesome, in fact! Jesus just ‘God”esty pleased God and not man. Jesus felt no need to control others. If they heard His Father’s Message, great….awesome! But if they didn’t, Jesus did not grab them and shake them and say, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know I speak the truth! Why are you so stupid when I am so great?” No, Jesus would never say that because Jesus practiced “God”esty.

I, on the other hand, want to grab and shake people and say, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know how great I am? Awesome, in fact!” That’s because I suffer from a severe case of NOT practicing and implementing “God”esty. And if I tell you how much I suffer for this, that in itself would be modest. Because I suffer greatly. But I listen while I languish. And I learn. And I let God work that out in me. It is a beast of a burden, if I’m being honest, but God reminds me, “Timothy, the least in this world will be the Most in My Kingdom!” That said, I do believe I am a great artist, and I want everyone to know that. But saying this, I am NOT practicing “God”esty because it is ONLY God who gets the Glory for me being a great artist, if in fact that is what I am. I might have gone to college to learn how to write and act and pick up a brush to put some paint on a canvas to “speak,” but it is truly ONLY God who directs me as such. It is ONLY God who says to me, “Timothy, I put a very nice creative spirt in you. Awesome, in fact! I want you to use it to glorify Me!” God didn’t have to do that, but God did it because I fit the job description very well. God knows all about my pain and how I must use that as an artist to heal my wounds while at the same time exposing them. God knew I would heal and expose myself from the inside to go outside to remind others how much God heals and exposes those who desire to glorify Him. The pen is dipped in Jesus’ Blood, my insides bring forth Jesus on the outside to ring truth on the stage, and the brush is also dipped in Jesus’ Blood as it reveals a deeper truth, a deeper meaning, and a deeper purpose. People who know me well would collectively respond, “That Timothy, he sure is deep!” Yes, I know….duh!

Let us practice “God”esty today. Don’t go swimming out into an ocean if you can’t swim. And even if you can swim, ask God if it’s okay and safe for you to swim out there. There are sharks hanging around and unpredictable tides and waves. God will let you know if you can avoid the sharks and ride the tides and waves. You won’t know this but God Will. If you have great talents and gifts, it’s God who gave them to you to use for His Glory. By all means, USE THEM….PLEASE!!!! But give credit where credit is due: It’s God’s talents and gifts freely given to you to give back to Him, to shine the light on how marvelous He is. “Marvelous” beings are ones who love the world so much that they send their only begotten Son to save that same world. God IS That Marvelous Being! And if I’m being modest, the ONLY Marvelous Being that matters!

Blessings always,

Timothy J. Verret

“JUST GOD”

Sean Hayes of WILL & GRACE often stole the show for hilariously playing Jack McFarland….or “Just Jack”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in ‘Just God’ this whole daily leavened bread”)

You are just you. Do you know you’re enough?

Or do you seize things from feeling hollow?

God made you wonderful, link to the cuff,

suit and tie. God suits you. Got ties your bow.

I’m just me, Timothy. No one but me.

I’m just happy, just sad, just take your pick.

Snatch me on any given day and see

how God helps me cope when I’m love and “ick!”

He’s just God, more than enough for your ache.

God’s not hot or cold, just warm to your touch.

God’s not snow or rain, just sun on awake.

On sleep, He’s our eyes closed, just not too much.

When we’re just us, others will wink and nod,

for they’ll see God in us and say, “Just God.”

“JESUS, TAKE OVER”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in the ‘take over’ of my life by Jesus Christ”)

You want to take over, run the whole show,

direct him here, her there, and them nowhere.

How’s that working for you? Are you solo?

You’ve built the wailing wall with none to care.

I take over. The “crash and burn” is shock,

trauma, nothing left in my “thinking tank.”

I’m lobotomy. I need to unlock

my 4-chamber heart to the One I thank:

“Thank you, Jesus” when we’re at our wit’s end.

“For I delight in suffering. When weak,

I’m strong in Him.” When nothing, we’re His friend.

He Directs us to Love when we are meek.

We’re not lucky from a 4-leaf clover.

We’re blessed and brave from “Jesus, take over.”

L’ENFANT (2005)

“L’ENFANT” – a painting by Timothy J. Verret

(another “childish” film review by Timothy J. Verret)

Not sure why God keeps bringing me these “childish” films. First, it was THE MARRIAGE STORY and now it is this 2005 Belgium film, L’ENFANT. Maybe God wants me to understand that all adults are really children and why God said, “and a little child shall lead them” (Isaiah 11:6). But given these two films mentioned with ineffectual child-like parents raising children, if “a little child shall them,” we might be in some serious trouble.

L’ENFANT, which won the 2005 Cannes Palme d’Or, is the story of Bruno and Sonia, parents (and I use that word very loosely) of a child named Jimmy. They are living on the edge between childhood and adolescence; they are nowhere close to crossing over into adulthood. When they are not attending to little Jimmy, which Sonia seems to be the only keen on doing this, they are acting like children themselves. They chase each other around in the park, make silly gestures and poke at each other, giggling and being carefree. But it’s exactly that they are so carefree that they don’t seem to understand the actual care that is involved in raising a child. How could they? They are children themselves.

Bruno is more interested in stealing and camping out in homeless shelters and lying in cardboard boxes as bedding for him, Sonia and Jimmy. Bruno even says, “only fuckers have jobs.” Bruno is so irresponsible that one day, he takes the baby carriage with Jimmy, calls a black-market adoption arranger, and sells Jimmy for money. When he returns back to Sonia with the baby carriage but WITHOUT Jimmy, he tells Sonia, “I sold him. We can have another one.” Sonia looks at him in sheer and shocked disbelief and faints from the unbelievable news. Bruno just doesn’t understand why Sonia is so upset, yet he contacts the adoption people and buys Jimmy back and returns him to Sonia. Yet, that is not the end to the beginning of this nightmare of a film setup.

Real-life brothers Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne are the directors of L’ENFANT. They direct the film as though it’s a documentary, what with an erratic camera tilting and “breathing” and very stilted yet cut-to-the-chase dialogue. That adds to the realism of the story and certainly lends to us feeling as though the story is unfolding in real-time. I guess real-life brothers would know all about real-time. For us, we are transported to a different time and locale and introduced to two people, Bruno and Sonia, who really exist beyond the screen, in that their parental instincts, or lack thereof, put them in the majority and not the minority. They, like so many, are really and totally unprepared for child-raising, really and totally too young to know what being a parent really means, and really and totally too much children themselves to take on such a hefty responsibility of being a parent.

Images that stuck with me were Bruno pushing around an empty baby carriage, only later in the film seen pushing around an empty scooter. This solidified that not only was Bruno incapable of pushing around an actual baby or person but also Bruno had nothing to push around for he felt empty in his own skin. How else could one explain a father selling his baby and not telling the mother he was doing that? We can ask, “Bruno, dude, what were you thinking?” But the better question is, “Bruno, do you even know you exist?” I can relate to that; not the selling of a baby but the selling of my soul because sometimes I feel so empty as to not have one.

When all is said and done, L’ENFANT is about adult children having children and how impossible it is for adult children to properly raise children. It’s a story that is THE story of now. We no longer live in a time of the “norm” of mother and father and child in union. We live in a time of mother with child but no father and father with child but no mother and, God forbid, child with neither mother or father. There are those who say the family can only be defined as a mother and a father but, in this time of mother going one way and father going the other (or vice versa), we should be celebrating two adult mothers or two adult fathers wanting to raise a child. It shouldn’t matter the sex of the parents; all that should matter is that adult children don’t raise actual children. It’s no one’s fault when it comes to this. It’s not about blame but rather about knowing who you are inside and out before you bring a child into the world. There is no law or rule book, though, that says this has to be so. There is only the aftermath of adult children raising actual children, i.e., the adult children destroying what hope there is for their children to find their way to a happy adulthood with someday, possibly, children of their own.

I, at first, found the two leads, Jérémie Renier as Bruno and Déborah François as Sonia, unexceptional and unconvincing. But, on hindsight, I now see that they were simply giving understated performances. This has a lot to do with them playing raw and “real” characters without much color and without much flamboyance. The leads are indeed exceptional and convincing, as they stay in the realm of realistic performances without a lot of fanfare or heightened dramatic flare. They make themselves more accessible this way to us; we would be turned off if they acted “over the top.” This way, we feel them more intensely because they have shied away from “intense acting” (something, I’m afraid, as an actor, I know very little about). 😁

NOTE: When I sat down at the easel today to do the painting above from the inspiration of L’ENFANT, I drew a “stick baby,” but it seemed unreal somehow. Then, I found this yellow spiral thing and when I pasted it to the baby’s head, it made the baby three-dimensional. That seemed to work. The baby is NOT a “stick,” i.e., flat, but an actual living and breathing baby. And the baby needed to “come out” of the painting.

ACCEPT, NOT EXPECT

In a perfect world, a duck could be a cow or a cow could be a duck. But this is an imperfect world, so let a duck go “quack” and a cow go “moo.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in accepting you ‘as is,’ so you can accept me ‘as is,’ and not expect anyone but Jesus ‘as is’ Lord”)

You expect them to modify their ways.

It’s like asking them to be who they’re not.

A duck is a duck, not a cow to graze.

Accept them “fall short.” Otherwise, long shot!

I expect them to stroke my huge ego.

When they don’t, I push them away. They go.

That is why “go” is in “ego.” I know

they “go” because I am a handful. So?

“God, grant us serenity to accept,

not expect.” We must let them be themselves,

so that we can be ourselves. We “go” wept

for those we’ve lost. We place “let down” on shelves.

Jesus is Who we need. The rest is swept.

He’s NO e”go.” We accept, not expect.

JESUS FOR CONNECTION

LEFT AMERICAN PIG: “Do you think Jesus is coming back soon?” RIGHT FRENCH PIG: “Oh, yeah. And that will be some kind of Connection, some kind of Reunion, and we have been invited.” LEFT AMERICAN PIG: “Did we RSVP, ‘please respond?'” RIGHT FRENCH PIG: “Oui, nous avons ‘répondez s’il vous plaît!'”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in Jesus for Connection this daily leavened bread”)

You have your connection; ducks in a row.

Husband, wife, children, job accounted for.

What counts is connection to “afterglow,”

who and what is permanent bliss. Explore

with me a connection everlasting,

a friend to the end, a yang to my yin.

His Name is Jesus, and He’s forecasting

I’m “enough connection,” always have been.

Jesus said, “I and the Father are One.”

Earth Son to Heaven Dad, a Love Union,

a Bond that won’t break no matter what’s done,

Connection Forever. Us? Reunion!

When our relationships lack affection,

let us go to Jesus for Connection.

GONE THE GROANS THAT WORDS CAN’T EXPRESS

In this humane talk, Dr. Deepa Katyal, a veterinarian expert in pain management, appeals to not only be sensitive to animal “groans” but also to respect their existence as their right.

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in hearing their groans and loving them ‘Free’ so ‘gone the groans'”)

You have groans that no words can dare express.

You have the world Upright; that’s why you groan.

Take the world and “down it” from your obsess.

It brings you nothing but grief, moan by moan.

I have groans beyond words. I can’t write them

in this sonnet, though I indeed will try:

“Uugh….Aghh….Uh-uhh….Mmmm….Oohh….” I wasted phlegm

groaning. Author God writes for me on High.

“We know the whole creation is groaning

as in the pains of childbirth.” Can we hear?

Are we attuned? We reply, “I’m droning

out their groans!” God says, “Hear! My Son is near!”

We awaken. We can’t “afford” digress.

“Free” Love. Gone the groans that words can’t express.

RESCUES INSIDE

“There is nothing inside that God won’t sail toward to rescue, especially one of Jesus’ Donkeys”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in the ‘rescues inside’ by God this daily leavened bread”)

You can’t take just one second for heard prayers?

Hiding tears is like hiding a five-toed

pachyderm. All can hear and see for theirs

is yours. You and them carry the same load.

I prayed this morning and my hurts were heard.

I cried an ocean. The boat found me soaked.

The passengers hoisted up aboard. Stirred

my insides to know they cared. Then, we joked.

God hears, sees, and rescues. God is that boat

with Jesus and God’s Angels as The Crew.

There is nothing inside us too remote

that God won’t sail toward us to rescue.

We carry each other through the flood tide.

God hears prayers, sees tears, and rescues inside.

“FORGIVE IT, RENEW IT, RESTORE IT”

“It’s not MY animal! Forget it!” God gave us dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26). So, we “forgive, restore and renew” ALL animals, because they are all OUR animals.

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in forgetting the former things, being forgiven, renewed, and restored by God through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior and Redeemer”)

You would “forgive it” but you don’t know how.

You would “renew it” but has it expired?

You would “restore it” but that takes avow.

What is this “it?” Your past that’s guilt-attired.

I would “forgive it” but it’s caged in me.

I would “renew it” but do I deserve?

I would “restore it” but not “1-2-3.”

“It” is “4.” My past haunts my every nerve.

“Forget the former things. Don’t love the past.

I, your God, forgive, renew, and restore.”

Maybe it’s more about “forget” at last.

God blots “it” out for us. Jesus IS 4

us. We leave behind what God had us quit.

HIRED! “Forgive it, renew it, restore it.”