Having Decided To Stay

The official website of Bryana Joy Johnson

Category: Pieces of Today

Pieces of Today, January 22nd

#1. Con Que Pagaremos — because oh! How shall we get out of our debt to Love So Immense? And do we even want to? For if one must be in debt, (and we must, musn’t we, if we are to be alive?) well then, isn’t it best to be indebted to Love?

#2. New books of white paper to fill up with colors and inks — because in spite of work and weariness we must hunger after the beautiful and the good.

January Sketches
#3. This, from G.K.C, buried in his delightful musings on Charles Dickens,

Comradeship and serious joy are not interludes in our travel, but rather our travels are interludes in comradeship and joy, which through God shall endure forever. The inn does not point to the road; the road points to the inn. And all roads point at last to an ultimate inn.

Which is the Inn at the End of the World. Not long, now.

Pieces of Today, March 27th

#1. From the beautiful Starkindler album, this glad celebration of Psalm 23, in light of the good things that have come.

#2. The opening Spring. Like this: ChestertonExile

#3. Recuerdo, testifying to the way that love makes everything an adventure after all….

[by Edna St. Vincent Millay]

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

Pieces of Today, October 29th

#1. Matthew Perryman-Jones singing O Theo, slow and soulful — the song is based on Van Gogh’s letters to his brother and it strikes me as a far more honest and more meaningful take on Vincent’s legacy than Don McLean’s more well-known Vincent (Starry Starry Night).

#2. Fast watercolor sketches:

Having Decided To Stay, Bryana Johnson, 1 Tim 6:11, Bamboo
#3. W.S. Merwin’s grandiose hymn to gratitude:


with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

(W.S. Merwin)

Pieces of Thursday, July 12th

#1. Calon Lan as piped so triumphantly by Cerys Matthews and the Fron Male Voice Choir.

#2. This from So Brave, So Young and Handsome:

Love is a strange fact — it hopes all things, believes all things, endures all things. It makes no sense at all. (Leif Enger)

#3. Ripening pears tinged scarlet and time to paint them

The Best Kind of Letter

“Dearest Friend,” wrote Abigail Adams on sheet after sheet of stationery in letters to a husband long-absent, too-often away on decks of swaying ships or in stifling Parisian apartments. “Dearest Friend ,” to a man too-much away to be well-known to her. Or was he? Do words perhaps say more sometimes than the expressions of the face and the gestures of the animated hands?

I have a friend coming to see me this week whom I’ve never met before. We’ve exchanged photographs but never seen one another’s real faces in real life and real time in six years of talking. In a whole lot of ways, though, I know her better than so many of the people I more literally live among. Because we have a camaraderie based on words. And so those mighty things, those earth-shattering thoughts, those holy and fragile things that must be said in words and which most of us can’t bring ourselves to say — we’ve said. Words were all we had.

We who are Christ-followers have been called a people of the book. More significantly though, we are the people of the Word. For the Word was words on pages for so many ages. Then the Word became flesh. And we got the best of everything.

I write a kind of letter to One who is all-seeing and Who already knows. And I call Him Dearest Friend because despite the distance and the silence and the waiting, He is.


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