DEEP WATERS CALL OUT TO DEEPER WATERS STILL

“When we see an iceberg, we see only about 10% of the iceberg above the water. The other 90% of the iceberg is underneath the water. Yes, we have to go THAT deep to get the coolness and refreshment our souls so desperately need.” – Timothy J. Verret

Deep waters call out to what is deeper still…
– Psalm 42:7

I’ve always wanted to be a fly on the wall so I can hear what others are saying about me, if they are saying anything at all. As that fly, I would probably hear things like, “Oh, Timothy, a little bit nuts, I would say,” or “Timothy is awesome! He cares so much about animals and he speaks up for them every chance he gets.” But I think the one I would most often get from others as a fly is, “Dang, that Timothy is SOOOO deep.” Thanks for the compliment! That said, it’s not easy being a “deep person,” I can tell you that much. No one likes to go too deep or that deep, right? But what if the quote above about the iceberg is really about us? What if we do have to go that 90% deep for the “good stuff?” I had sent this iceberg quote to a dear friend, and his response was, “But how deep do I have to go?” My reply was, “As deep as is necessary and comfortable for you to get the healing you need.” Yes, that sounds about right, and that is why I would like to expound upon all this, i.e., go THAT deep.

What are you afraid of by going THAT deep? THAT you might not come back from THAT deep? THAT you might lose your mind in the process? THAT what you find will be so painful, you won’t be able to go on? Yep, been there, still do THAT. But what if THAT deep is where THAT gold is (sorry, iceberg, I know you’re not made of gold, not really)? THAT gold that (I am NOT going to capitalize that “THAT!”) shines for all to see, including you? Don’t you wanna take that chance to get THAT gold? I know I’m willing (and often, that is all it takes) to get THAT gold.

Speaking of “willing,” I am currently working the Celebrate Recovery Program, which is basically a 12-step program that incorporates Jesus Christ as that Higher Power the steps talk about. I am at step 8 and 9, which is about asking for forgiveness from those who hurt me and making amends to those I hurt. We’re talking about some serious deep here that is not going to be that easy, but I AM willing and that kind of deep is all it takes. ‘That deep” I’m referring to here is going to be me showing up to tell those who hurt me, “I forgive you,” and showing up to tell those who I hurt, “Please forgive me.” It’s that simple….and THAT deep.

I wonder if the Psalm verse I listed above was written for those who seek “THAT deeper still?” Those who are in some kind of recovery program (aren’t we all?) who are seeking to live life free of anger, resentment, shame, guilt, all those things that keep us down and keep us in cages of our own making? When we hear the word, “recovery,” we probably think of addiction and going to meetings and maybe even selling one’s soul, and there is some truth to that to an extent. But don’t we ALL have an addiction or two that deserves a meeting or selling a soul? Mine might look like alcohol and codependency and suicidal thoughts, but yours might look like overeating, “married to your phone and/or computer,” escaping that deep iceberg pain. Don’t we ALL fall into categories of addictions, whether they be little ones, medium ones, and big ones? If this is true, and I think it is, then, yes, indeed, we must ALL go THAT deep.

I have no earthly idea nor earthly expectations what it will be like to forgive those who hurt me and make amends to those who I hurt. The whole, “how is this going to go?” is God’s Work. It’s Holy Spirit Help. It’s Jesus having already paid in full the ransom for the forgiveness that God has already afforded me and that I can afford others. I can tell you one thing: The forgiveness sought of others will be way easier than the forgiveness I must give myself. That one, right there, is the kicker and will undoubtedly be the one that comes with the most pain and prayerfully the most healing. I am also praying that I can forgive myself FIRST before I go the route of forgiving others NEXT. The reason I say this is because I don’t want to go asking for forgiveness of others to find that it is going to be superficial, “hollow,” simply because I have not forgiven myself FIRST. How on God’s Green Earth am I going to forgive myself? Once again, God’s Work, Holy Spirit Help, Jesus’ Sacrifice. That’s how.

As always, I invite you to go THAT deep with me. You don’t have to be in a recovery program of any kind to go THAT deep. You can just say to yourself, “Hey, that Timothy is willing to go THAT deep to get him some healing. Maybe I’ll try it, too?” That is that kind of THAT deep that is all it takes to get you some healing, too.

I pray for you just like I pray for me. I want to love you just like I want you to love me. I ask you to join me just like I want to join you. And dare I say with climate change, how much longer do we really have before the icebergs melt away and there won’t be no more THAT deep to get to? No time like now, right? Now is often enough all we really got!

Love and blessings and forgiveness and amends always, dear friends!

-Timothy J. Verret

THAT ONE LOVING ACT

“Cross or stake, it’s the Love that we must make.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in THAT ONE LOVING ACT being a model for my one loving act [or many loving acts] this daily bread”)

You can love NOW, now that you know The Truth.

You can act NOW, now that you’ve made your peace.

You headed backwards to when you were youth.

You forgave them. These acts proved hurt decease.

It’s always been okay for me to act

the part of love. Might I have changed “fall flat”

if I had known that sooner than distract?

I got it when I got it. God did that.

“God is patient with us so none perish.”

2 Peter 3:Nine – Love comes to Call.

No time like NOW to love, act and cherish.

We are all forgiven for it all. ALL!!!!

That one I dare not speak that name got hurled.

THAT ONE LOVING ACT transformed the whole world.

NOT BETWEEN THE LINES

“Caged animals are the only ‘between the lines’ I desire to read….and rescue.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in not reading between the lines when it comes to God’s Word….and you”)

You see the 12 steps up there on the wall.

You read between the lines. Gotta be more?

You overcomplicate it, overhaul.

“Keep it simple” is the slogan you snore.

He said to me, “Nothing more I can say.”

I said to him, “Everything more I need.”

I craved the subtext: What’s beneath that “nay?”

He declined. So did I like a nosebleed.

“What IS….there’s nothing new under the sun.”

Ecclesiastes One:9 – No between

the lines of God’s Word; there is just The Son,

who took 12-plus steps for God’s Love foreseen.

God promises to show all of us Signs.

Look and feel around, not between the lines.

FREE/FRESH START

“Every person and animal deserves a Free/Fresh Start.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in a joint Free/Fresh Start with….anyone interested????’)

You can start a new life fresh as a friend.

You can do it now; no time like urgent.

You’ll have to bend you. You can’t apprehend.

Talking about disposing of pride’s bent.

I get a fresh start when I wake; reprieve.

I throw caution to the wind and I kneel.

I ask God to hold me. Rest of me? Leave

in His Held Hands. I rise up high and feel.

“God’s Mercies never end; new every day.”

2 Timothy One:7 – Free/Fresh.

Jesus won’t turn away. “Why forsake they?”

“Never!” His Love is Free/Fresh through His Flesh.

“Another sonnet?” Did I Flesh your heart?

I pray we’re now flesh-free; we Free/Fresh Start.

“I am THAT sheep.”

“We are THAT sheep and we are His reflection when we go THAT deep.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in going THAT deep with Jesus, for it is only when I go THAT deep with Jesus THAT I can rise”)

Go deep with me,” you implore. You’re a shell

needing the return to the sea’s expanse.

You feel not seen. Ghosts know this feeling well.

You hold what you need inside you….by chance?

It’s no accident that I go deep need.

Jesus went that deep and then God’s Appeal.

He rose. I “knows” I’m to rise, too. First, bleed.

Deep wounds must bleed, then bandaged, now they heal.

“He was pierced for us; by His Stripes, we’re healed.”

Isaiah 53:Five – It’s THAT deep!

We’ll go THAT deep when we’re bloodied from kneeled.

We’ll rise when we’ve declared, “I am THAT sheep.”

Let us cut to the chase: We need Him deep.

Let us run the Sheep Race: We’ll need UPkeep.

THE SILENCE (1963)

(a film review by Timothy J. Verret)

I referred to Ingmar Bergman’s THE SILENCE yesterday in my blog post about the nondramatic music of his films. I was able to somewhat finish watching the film this morning, though I have seen the film in its entirety before. Like any viewing of a Bergman film, I get so much more out of it after multiple viewings. Since life is always changing, Bergman’s films change, too, in my perceptions and need to understand always more about myself and more about the human condition and how we as humans relate….or not, as is the case with this film.

THE SILENCE is about NOT relating, hence the title of the film. It is about miscommunication, about how two people can speak the same language (Swedish, in this case) and yet be unable to grasp the full complexity of their thoughts beneath their speech; two people who have their emotions firing at all cylinders but the interception also firing to cause huge blocks in honest relating, thus creating a strange and new and different language that is at the center of this film.

Bergman’s films have stories that are so simple and yet so profound. In rare instances has Bergman made films with a large cast (FANNY AND ALEXANDER and SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT are the only ones that come to my mind), instead opting for two or three or four (at the most) main characters in his films. This is probably so the film viewer can focus in greater detail on the depth of human development Bergman always uncovers. THE SILENCE has three characters: Anna and Ester who are sisters, and the third being Johan, who is the 9- or 10-year-old child of Anna’s. They have all taken a train to a town (seemingly, “no man’s land”) where the language spoken there is unable to be deciphered by any of them (which is strange since Ester is a translator). We, as the viewers, can’t understand it either. This choice by Bergman brings the characters and the viewers back to ground zero, to complete confusion, for we need to rebuild a whole new way of seeing and hearing things. We are forced to start over, start from scratch.

One can easily take the stance that THE SILENCE is only about two characters, for the sisters are both sides of one person, i.e., Ester is the intellectual, the rigid side while Anna is the sexual, the sensual side. We all have both of these sides in us. How we choose to process and balance them in relating to others depends on us. By adding Johan to this mix, we get male innocence that is untouched and undeveloped in terms of intellectualism and sexuality. The child actor who plays Johan is a strangely-developed lad; he has a very lanky body and his arms are very long and he seems stooped over all the time. Now, this might be in my imagination but Johan strikes me as a “walking penis.” I might be on to something, as there is a scene where the hotel manager offers Johan a wiener in a disgusting gesture. This would make sense as both Ester and Anna represent devoid and deviant sexual-practicing, respectively, and Johan represents the innocent sexual connection to a “man” which is so intensely desired by the two sisters.

A very large hotel is the setting of the film, and it becomes an over-looming presence for Ester, Anna and Johan. It appears there is no one staying at the hotel except them and a troop of dwarfs who befriend Johan, yet the sisters seem oblivious to these little people (that’s a whole other story to critique for this film). When watching THE SILENCE this time around, I wondered if Stanley Kubrick’s THE SHINING was influenced by this Bergman film. The reason I say this is because very much like in THE SHINING, the hotel in THE SILENCE seems to be another character in the film. Sven Nykvist, who is Bergman’s always dependable and always daringly brilliant cinematographer, shoots scenes with a gliding motion down the long, long hotel corridors, and this lends to the distance and claustrophobic loneliness (“the silence”) of the characters in the film.

Ester is dying, possibly from cancer (I don’t know, but she smokes and drinks alcohol A LOT). Her sister, Anna, hates that she has to take care of her and wishes she would die. Johan is very close to Ester which clearly infuriates Anna. As typically goes for sexually promiscuous individuals, Anna is very lonely, very afraid, and very sad; she has this in common with her sister, though she would never admit that. Her meaningless sexual excursions are vain attempts at connection and, in fact, they further disconnect her from herself. Ester, on the other hand, takes to masturbating in a chair and yet seems somehow way more in touch with her body, literally and figuratively, than Anna. No attempts at physical and sexual connection work for either of the sisters. It’s particularly disparaging for Anna, who finds real eroticism when her son, Johan, baths her. Anna might feel pleased by this act, but we find it disgusting and quite inappropriate.

The ending of THE SILENCE is stunningly magical and, as I find with most of Bergman’s film endings, hopeful. Ester is abandoned by her sister to die alone in the hotel. Before Anna and Johan leave, though, Ester gives Johan a piece of paper and tells him to read it. She says to Johan, “I will not die alone….do not be afraid.” When Anna and Johan are in the train going home, Johan pulls out the piece of paper. Anna takes it from him and when she reads it, she can’t understand it. Johan, however, starts to read it out loud. He says, “WORDS IN A FOREIGN LANGUAGE….” And then he begins to read it silently and his face suggests he understands. Meanwhile, Anna opens a window in the train to let the falling rain was her clean (now that she is free of Ester) but when she looks back at Johan, she is clearly heartbroken not only because she failed in taking care of her dying sister but also, and most importantly, because she has no hope, as she cannot understand Ester’s note to Johan. Johan is our hope for the future, one in which true communication in relationships can take place.

FUNNY SIDE NOTE: I looked back at the blog post I did yesterday about Ingmar and I took to noticing how handsome he was in the picture I posted. I posted on FB that I think I would have liked to have dated Ingmar if I had only knew him. Ingmar Bergman has passed on but if he were here and we knew each other, I know we would be the best of friends (I doubt dating would take place, as Bergman was not gay). But I would have better than dating privileges with Ingmar; I would have someone in my life who seeks emotional depth and human understanding, both professionally and personally. Yes, I would have someone like me.

Timothy J. Verret

THE UNTRUTHS OF OUR YOUTH

“In my youth, I would have joined this organization for sure!”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in the good riddance of the untruths of my youth and the acceptance of God’s Word that I MATTER!!!!”)

You were told untruths of your youth: “Don’t! Stop!”

Came “I am wrong” with that, guilty as charged.

You did nothing wrong to deserve “chop-chop.”

You should have heard, “Do! Go!” That’s truth enlarged.

The untruths of my youth were “not enough,

be afraid, earn your keep.” Didn’t deserve

what I got good; with bad, I got shame stuff.

I’ve left the shame of my youth. Now, I serve

God’s Truth. “You’ll know The Truth; you’ll be set free.”

John Eight:32 – The Truth is we matter,

we always did, despite their untruths. He

saw to it we’d speak God’s Love, end chatter.

I’m sorry we had to hear their uncouth.

God dispels all the untruths of our youth.

THE NONDRAMATIC MUSIC OF INGMAR BERGMAN’S FILMS

“Yeah, I’m a pretty good director and writer, aren’t I?” Uh….yeah….duh….THE BEST!!!!

Anyone who knows me knows I love drama. And anyone who knows me knows I love Ingmar Bergman. And no one does drama and love, outside of me, quite like Swedish director, Ingmar Bergman. But where the master filmmaker Bergman differs from so many other directors is his choice NOT to include dramatic music in his film’s most intense scenes.

I was watching Ingmar Bergman’s THE SILENCE today, and there was a scene where the two sisters confronted one another, one sister in a bed no doubt, and all that took place during this scene was human anger and screams of frustration of not being able to truly connect, but NO dramatic music played at all! Any other novice (or established) director would have wanted to produce a dramatic soundtrack to a scene like that, but not Bergman. Bergman instead chose to direct this scene, as well as so many other scenes like this, barren of foreboding music, because he wants to let the actors and their craft convey all the drama that is necessary. That’s the mark of the genius of this man!

Other Bergman films that testify to this observance of mine are:

  • THE VIRGIN SPRING: In the pivotal rape scene of the virgin Karin by goatherds, Bergman uses no music; all we can hear is Karin’s fated whimpering that sounds like “NO!” and the goatherds pushing away twigs and branches to encroach Karin. Any other director would have included tense and scorching chords to build climax, but Bergman instead lets the human and nature sounds (there are some goats bleating in the background) do the trick. As a viewer, we are left in more horror by Bergman’s choice to NOT have music here; Bergman instead lets us experience the terror as if we are, like the goats, eavesdropping.
  • WINTER LIGHT: When Priest Tomas finds the dead body of one of his parishioners, it would be expected that the discovery would have included a soundtrack of bombarding cacophony to suggest the dread of the priest’s finding, but not with Bergman. Rather, Bergman allows the priest to find the suicidal outcome with only the rushing water in the background without any music, so that these sounds communicate that the parishioner’s life has ended but his spirit is still gushing.
  • SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE: When Marianne and Johan, the couple in the film, show up to sign the divorce papers, they get into a fistfight. Bergman could have easily scored that in high dramatic style via background music, but there is nothing we hear in that scene but the grunts and the moans of the couple. When the fight is finished, the couple are obviously “worn out,” and then they each disheveled take a pen to sign the papers. With no music to build all this up, we, like Marianne and Johan, are exhausted, something dramatic music would have taken away from the viewer’s experience.

I could go on and on and on with more scenes like the above. And let me say that Ingmar Bergman doesn’t always leave out music in his frank films but when he uses it, it is usually not a dramatic film soundtrack but rather a solid piece of brooding Bach or confessing Chopin. It has been well-reported that Bergman was often inspired by music from one of these composers before he even got his brilliant film-making ideas. Here are a list of films where Bergman does use music, and it proves most effective:

  • PERSONA: This #3 film on my list of all-time favorite films has that most infamous scene of Alma and Elisabeth staring at a mirror and sensually and seemingly blurring into one another (heads are tilted toward one another and hair is intertwined). I am not sure who did that atmospherically haunting music for that scene, but it tingles with eroticism and unbridled passion. We find it so alluring and enticing, and it is truly the perfection of Bergman to keep it so basic!
  • CRIES AND WHISPERS: This film, also on my list of all-time favorite films (#5), contains a highly dramatic scene where Karin and Maria finally speak to one another with hurried words of endearment and devotion. We don’t hear these words, but the Bach music in the background shapes their connection. It’s so eloquently and precisely done. Karin later confronts Maria about this encounter, but Maria denies it ever took place. We know it did for the Bach music is still playing in our heads and, more importantly, in our hearts.
  • AUTUMN SONATA: Who can forget that scene when Eva plays a Chopin piece on the piano and her mother looks on her technique disapprovingly, appearing to say with her expression, “Why is my daughter not talented like I am?” When Eva invites her mother, Charlotte, to play the same Chopin piece, we get that film image of her mother playing in profile while Eva looks at her (us), appearing to say with her expression, “Why does my mother have to be so talented and yet so cold?” The perfectly-played piano notes stab Eva and they stab us.

When it comes to talking about Ingmar Bergman and his films, music or not, I could go on and on and on….and rightfully do and should. Many books have been written about this incredibly sensitive and yet so intense man, director, and writer, but I wouldn’t mind adding my own book about him to the many others. Ingmar Bergman is an Enneagram 4 with a 5 wing, like me, and maybe that’s a subject matter for a book in and of itself. Ingmar Bergman, with his many human and professional layers, is most definitely that interesting, that intriguing, and that incomparable.

-Timothy J. Verret

GOD’S GRAIL IS CHRIST’S SALE

“Bible and Bread are all we need this day to stay.”

(God’s Sonnet by Timothy J. Verret; “it’s how I cope to hope in Bible and Bread this day to stay in ‘God’s Grail is Christ’s Sale'”)

You got too much invested in your past.

Your yesterday is no longer a “yes”

but a “no.” Tomorrow, too. This day? Cast

your cares now to Him. Count it all day’s bless.

I often pray in yesterday’s wrongs, “oops.”

I often pray in tomorrow’s “what’s next?”

I stop myself now. I’m one who regroups,

leads myself to stay present for Love checks.

“Give us this day our daily bread (not stale).”

Matthew Six:11 – There’s fresh bread now.

We cannot live by bread alone. God’s Grail

is Christ’s Sale: Breathe in Me, just Be, Avow.

We can reflect on our life’s journey. Yay!

NOW is how we pray for this day to stay.