Monday, October 11, 2010

Now What?--Become and Apostle!

The Don Hatfield method of relating to the world has always been to volunteer tons of intensity.  This fact arises from an early obtained sense of missionary zeal.  I figgered that since I got serious about Jesus early on--the whole damned (literally) world should get serious about Jesus.  I got "saved" at 8 years of age in the Redondo Beach, California Church of God Independent Holiness in 1955.  My mom and dad were not big on this event, but they did not stand in the way of little Donnie.  My parents had watched my brother Dick sail off to fight the Japs in the Pacific in 1943 and had seen my other brother, Harold, make touchdowns for USC in front of 100,000 screaming fans in the LA Coliseum.  If 8 year old Donnie wanted to hang out with a few weird church people--hell, that was no big deal.

It was April of 1959 when my sweet Dad dropped dead at his job on the corner of Rindge and Artesia in North Redondo, CA.  It was like yesterday.  The phone rang at 7:00 AM and Dad's co-worker Sandy told me that dad had a heart attack and that it was not good.  I dropped the the phone, screamed at mom to get up, and ran down the street in my pajamas to Kenny Goodreau's house.  Mom didn't drive, but Kenny's mother did.  When we pulled into the gas station where dad worked--his lifeless body had been placed into the back of a cop car,  and I began a process of grief that lasts to the present day.  I was introduced to the notion of conditionally at that moment.  That catastrophic change can sweep into your life at any moment became a constant bed  fellow for Don Hatfield.

Only recently has "sweeping change" become a kind of dear friend.  In the last 4 years both of my brothers have left the planet along with my nephew Steve, my aunt Ruth, my cousin Larry and a bunch of friends and acquaintances.  Two of my closest art buddies have just said goodbye to their prostates while a few others have had the big zipper (open heart surgery).  Change is happening aint' it?  Its fun to know that I am in the cue.  My last words to my brother Harold were, "...I'll see you in a little while....I'll be right behind ya..."

I like the ending of Cameron's Titanic where all the passengers who froze to death in the North Atlantic  meet again on the ball room steps to welcome the young lovers to glory.  Even Cameron had to throw in something nice and warm to offset the misery.  Maybe we are all Avatars who will open our eyes someday and be 11 feet tall and have tails and blue feline faces.

Maybe you are a tough guy who knows that when you croak--its lights out.  I think I believe that what you think about something does not necessarily make that something true.  Anyway,  the point is,  I choose to believe that there is something more going on in our lives than getting high,  getting laid,  getting rich, getting smart, passing it all on,  and then kicking the bucket.

The shifting around in our lives, the changes, the interruptions that come at us from within or from without, are confusing as hell.  Change makes you hate God, makes you want to kill people, makes you want to kill yourself sometimes.  You don't have to travel very far from where you sit to see that this is true.

The reason that God is so anxious to bless America, and since I speak for God,--is that our system is designed to mollify change, to ease change, to deny change, and to crap on change in general.  Its hard to picture somebody crapping on change, but Od Nurdrum has done it in paint.

So instead of kissing up to Jesus whose style of absolute love and unique claims got him murdered by the church and state--we suck up to the collective (Jung) and create our own totem of values based roughly on our immediate environment and and fight like crazy to convince ourselves that everything will be alright.  Good luck!

Listen--there are no unbelievers in the world.  Even the most God hating SOB has cut deals with existence and believes that they are smart deals--at least as good as the next guys.  "....I didn't ask to be put on this planet,  so why am I now being fed this line that I had no say in creating.."  What line?--that there is meaning, hope, a future, a saviour.  I hear this all the time--at the gym, coffee shop--everywhere.  Everybody has their own belief system, has cut their own deals, and is working it out in their own way in the brief span called a life time.

Call it getting old, getting sick, getting successful, getting something--its all change.  You can give up, fight back, bitch, take a cruise, or go to Weekend With the Masters--it doesn't matter.  We seem to be stuck here on this spinning ball bumping into one another and saying: "....excuse me, but I am in a hurry, and have things to do...I am on my way to embrace change..."  Yeah right!

What some are doing is creating a legacy that they hope to pass on--noble indeed, but usually confined to the rich.  What are they passing on?--a big fat repository of effort concretized in a will designed to give the next generation a shot at permanence.   Although we all pass on something--some get to hire trustees to get it right--others, myself included, hope to pass on nothing--may it all evaporate when I die.   In other words--may the misery, suffering, treachery, hate, abuse, violence, and indifference that I have let loose in the world disappear when I die.  God, I hope so.  I don't give a rip about the paintings I have done.  I plan to give away most of the art I do from now on, which can be disposed of in anyway collectors see fit.

I know that many of you are "concerned" about Don Hatfield--I have lost my house, studio, credit rating, credibility, honor, mojo, authority, and a few pounds--maybe even my mind.  I am smiling big as I write this--I love all of ya.  So......?   Please be relieved to know that I am dying and only have a little while to live, and so is everybody that I love so dearly--including you.  I have no terminal ailment--I am talking about what is going on in me--not to me.   I have cut my own deal with existence like everybody else.  Here is a description of my deal:  The  thing that was planted in me when I got saved back in Redondo was dead right--the pressure cooker of change is the pressure of love absolute.  Suffering, confusion--misery in general is temporary--comfort and joy are real--and the Steelers will win the Super Bowl.  I have lived 64 years and have experienced a thing or two,  and I have this hugh  CONSTANT in my world--my television.  Not really. Let me start over in a new paragraph.

 I am so happy that I have gone crazy--to say nothing about all of the blessings that are being heaped on me--zero debt, zero commissions, zero whatever.  Free at last to practice putting endlessly.  I have  all of my art supplies locked up along with everything else in storage.  I am thinking seriously about quitting painting for a year or so.  I am going to write a how to oil paint book on my new Power Mac and ride my $5000.00 bicycle until I drop my weight to between 164 and 173 lbs--down from 250. 

The above is another way of saying  that I am going to STOP until I get clear direction.   I know that I have the ability to screw everything up,  and I may continue my great enterprise of going to hell in a hand basket--but I doubt it.  I have never been allowed to flop around aimlessly for long.  Whatever or whoever has grabbed me in the past will probably do the same this time.  This is fun.  I am not as filled with as much fear and anxiety as in days past.  My read on life is being confirmed on the left and on the right--yet I feel that I know nothing.  I am seeing Jesus, God, and the Holy Ghost under every rock and stone.  I am even toying with the profound notion of terminating tobacco since it dulls my ability to be  clear headed.

In short I am going to become an Apostle like Robert Duval in his movie by the same title.  He walked around asking  God what to do all day long.  I don't plan to go to jail for murder, however.  There are some old farts down at Peets Coffee who have consented to ordain me--so I am not dodging any religious bureaucracy. 

So there you have it--more pithy  aphorisms, more profundities, and some love for good measure--Don


  1. Don, such depth of thought............if you were not crazy before you wrote this you certainly must be now. I, myself, am waiting for dementia to set in and be blissfully happy letting every one else take care of me. The other scenario is, I've seen the end........and we win!

  2. A walking gift...and a marvel of deoxyribonucleic acid.

  3. Don I finally found a free half hour to read your book! Not just read it, but really try to understand every word you said. I don't think you're crazy at all. I think you're on the right track. Change, yes its inevitable. Do we embrace it? No, not usually. When the rug feels like its pulled out from under us, Jesus is always there to catch us if we want.

    You just might be saner as ever...

  4. I've heard of Peter and also Paul.... so why not the Apostle Don?

    I recently read something that resonated with me in a similar way to what you have said in your post. Maybe I just keep hearing the same message in the challenges, disappointments and spoiled fruit in my own life. Rather than paraphrase, what the author wrote I have quoted it below. Don, for your benefit, please note the repeated use of the word self-donation, but don't let it distract you from the message.

    "At its core, however, the scandal of the cross in a world of violence is not the danger associated with self-donation. Jesus' greatest agony was not that he suffered. Suffering can be endured, even embraced, if it brings the desired fruit, as the experience of giving birth illustrates. What turned the pain of suffering to agony was abandonment; Jesus was abandoned by the people who trusted in him and by the God in whom he trusted. 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' (Mark 15:34). My God, my God, why did my radical obedience to your way lead to the pain and disgrace of the cross? The ultimate scandal of the cross is the all to frequent failure of self-donation to bear positive fruit: you give yourself for the other—and violence does not stop but destroys you; you sacrifice your life—and stabilize the power of the perpetrator. Though self-donation often issues in the joy of reciprocity, it must reckon with the pain of failure and violence. When violence strikes, the very act of self-donation becomes a cry before the dark face of God. This dark face confronting the act of self-donation is a scandal.

    Is the scandal of the cross good enough reason to give up on it? Let me respond by noting that there is no genuinely Christian way around the scandal. In the final analysis, the only available options are either to reject the cross and with it the core of the Christian faith or to take up one's cross, follow the Crucified—and be scandalized ever anew by the challenge. As the Gospel of Mark reports, the first disciples followed, and were scandalized (14:26). Yet they continued to tell the story of the cross, including the account of how they abandoned the Crucified. Why? Because precisely in the scandal, they have discovered a promise. In serving and giving themselves for others (Mark 10:45), in lamenting and protesting before the dark face of God (15:34), they found themselves in the company of the Crucified. In the empty tomb they saw the proof that the cry of desperation will turn into a song of joy and the face of God will eventually ‘shine’ upon a redeemed world."

    (Miroslav Volf, Exclusion & Embrace)

  5. wow, can I have some of what you are on. this was really fun to read. thanks for the share!!!!!!!!!

  6. Great blog, dad. You're not crazy, your just filled to the brim with bullshit. Spew.