Spending the Week Down South

We are on a trip through the south of Germany, and internet access is limited, so this will be brief.
We’re visiting Bayreuth, home of acclaimed Opera writer, Richard Wagner. Every year, there’s a Wagner festival, and we just happen to be here for 2010 Wagner fest! We’re about to go listen to a lecture on the theological themes in Wagner’s work. Why? Cause I’m a nerd.

But, something I wanted to share real quick:

This is Wagner’s house (better pics to come soon), which, in the tradition of naming your houses, he called “Wahnfried.” My friends were trying to explain what this word means. It means “free from wahn” and “wahn” is translated as “delusion.” However, no one seems to be happy with that translation because there’s a quality to it that means, not just delusion, but also a sense of wandering and searching, trying to get rid of your unsettledness by chasing delusions. Wagner said that it was in this home, here in Beyreuth, that freed him from that condition.

There’s something about this idea that I connect with, and I think a lot of people do. What are we chasing? What do we need to feel content with our lives? Some folks find it in work, some in family, some in location…others never do. I’m just curious (now that people seem to be reading this thing), if you want to have a conversation: have you been freed from your wahn? If so, what did you find that gave you peace?

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6 thoughts on “Spending the Week Down South

  1. I’ve heard that the unsettledness comes from wanting to be back “Home”. For me it’s whenever I’m in the moment as in skiing, playing basketball, family dinners…….. Love the blog! Keep it coming! Have they mentioned Wagner and his influence with “Mad King Ludwig?”

    • Hey! i finally figured out how to respond to people. Exciting! Thanks for the post, and i agree with you! The times that i have been most “wahnfried” is when i am in the moment, and i think that is a big part of shedding the delusions or illusions that can drive us crazy. i am excited to revisit those ideas in the next couple weeks, it is a complicated idea, and i think it is an important one for me to grapple with. Also, i have no idea what Mad King Ludwig is. You can take the boy out of pop-culture, but…

  2. I find Iowa is living in the past a lot. I go to coffee with these other (older) ladies and they say things that amuse me. They expect me to know what they mean and basically I do, but it is like coming upon Brigadoon and then going back out into current time. A person looks “tough” when they are sick or dying. They have veggie burgers which means you get lettuce, tomato, onion etc. on your hamburger. Dinner is noon meal. Lunch is mid afternoon or anytime that isn’t a regular meal. It can be sandwiches (which don’t come with anything but butter on them) or pie or bars or cake or fruit. Bars are another thing I don’t see anywhere but here. You bake cookie dough or something similar in a flat pan and cut into …..wait for it…… bars. There are a lot of people with German heritage here. Many have never traveled out of the state except maybe to Minnesota. I love them all and their great stories. God has blessed me by letting me live with these angels in disguise.

    • i know what you mean, Grandma, even when it takes awhile to get used to the different styles and temperaments, communities that are that tight and…I’m struggling for a way to put it…locally centered(?), can be such a blessing. i am glad you have wonderful friends to connect with. I will have to investigate the cookie thing, this is a good point. Are individual circles an international cookie thing…or are bars more common? Honestly we haven’t had cookies yet, so i will see if i can make this a priority this weekend. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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