Orange & Yellow: Excesses

Do not be excessively righteous [like those given to self-conceit], and do not be overly wise (pretentious)–why should you bring yourself to ruin? 

Do not be excessively or willfully wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 

Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 [AMP]

Once upon a time, in what seems two lifetimes, twenty odd jobs, and fifteen minutes ago, I lived in a house built of cedar planks. Gorgeous, orange, cedar-planked walls that dripped like honey; straight, knotty, planked cedar ceilings suspended in a sunset; pretty planked stairs of cedar ascended like a sunrise. It was a temporary residence, between residences, when I lived with my pastor and his wife – his wife being a popular traveling evangelist who was often gone weeks and weekends at a time.

The tall ceilings made the house feel huge, though I think that was part illusion. It had the perfect acoustics for letting a song drift from my upstairs bedroom down throughout the whole house, which is exactly what I decided to do on this particular day – taking the encouragement to make their home my home, perhaps, too liberally.

I played the Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington album. Their version of Yellow Days from the above album was climbing and crawling all around the cedar walls and ceiling, trellising down the stairway railing, when the pastor’s wife returned from a long weekend one Tuesday morning. Her eyes lit as she opened the door.

“Oh, that sounds so good,” she said, setting her suitcase down and stopping as she walked in to close her eyes and listen for a moment. Her smile immediately tripled my own enjoyment of the song.

Because, sometimes, when all you ever see and hear are churched people and sanitized things, one just needs a bit of Sinatra (or any lure that pokes at our humanness and reminds us that we are real boys and girls) to dislodge the plank called ‘excessively’ (proud or careless) from the eye…

And that’s all I’ll say about that and these favorite verses…

Do not be excessively righteous [like those given to self-conceit], and do not be overly wise (pretentious)–why should you bring yourself to ruin? 

Do not be excessively or willfully wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? 

Ecclesiastes 7:16-17 [AMP]

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