Local Lifestyle

Tuesday, Apr 02 2013 03:55 PM

VALERIE SCHULTZ: Lonely chair a metaphor for faith during Easter

  1. 1 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Alva Alba stands in the middle of Valley Bible Fellowship's Joe's Field west of Bakersfield where she, her husband, brother and sons where among the 100 people who showed up plant gardens. There were 144 plots available, each 12'x22', so families could tend their gardens and sell their their produce later at a farmers market. The colorful flags marked the boundries of the plots.

    click to expand click to collapse
  2. 2 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian A jogger comes down a hill in the dry, brown grass on the east side of town Saturday morning.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Future whitewater rafting river guides train with Kern River Outfitters, Wednesday, on the upper Kern River, north of Kernville. They were practicing their skills on advanced rapids during the 5th day of the 6 day training course, just in time for the upcoming rafting season in the Kern River Valley where several whitwater outfitters will be hiring guides.

    click to expand click to collapse
  4. 4 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Bakesfield is being invaded by moths such as this one found downtown.

    click to expand click to collapse
  5. 5 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Moths invade Bakersfield.

    click to expand click to collapse
  6. 6 of 31

    handout photograph of Mike Zulfa, the principal of South High effective March 31, 2009

    click to expand click to collapse
  7. 7 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian This home at 33 Solecita Way sold for $192,500 on March 2. The 1,923-square-foot home in the 93314 ZIP code has four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

    click to expand click to collapse
  8. 8 of 31

    Henry A. Barrios / The Californian Stockdale Music is closed.

    click to expand click to collapse
  9. 9 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Julissa Rodriguez, right, waits patiently until Kaitlyn Rodriguez( no relation)finisheds her jump off Lego blocks before adding more at the Claude Richardson Center. The school will be having their annual carnival with proceeds going towards a new playground

    click to expand click to collapse
  10. 10 of 31

    K.M. CANNON / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Bakersfield goalie Yutaka Fukufuji blocks a Las Vegas shot on goal in the first period of the seventh and decisive game of the Pacific Division semifinals at the Orleans Arena Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

    click to expand click to collapse
  11. 11 of 31

    K.M. CANNON / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Bakersfield goalie Yutaka Fukufuji blocks a shot from Las Vegas right wing J.D. Watt in the first period of the seventh and decisive game of the Pacific Division semifinals at the Orleans Arena Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

    click to expand click to collapse
  12. 12 of 31

    K.M. CANNON / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Bakersfield goalie Yutaka Fukufuji blocks a shot by center/forward Chris Neiszner in the first period of the seventh and decisive game of the Pacific Division semifinals at the Orleans Arena Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

    click to expand click to collapse
  13. 13 of 31

    K.M. CANNON / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL Bakersfield players watch from the bench in the final seconds of the seventh and decisive game of the Pacific Division semifinals at the Orleans Arena Wednesday, April 22, 2009.

    click to expand click to collapse
  14. 14 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian A row of ravens line the fence line in the marshy area in the middle of town in Lake Isabella. They were seen coming and going in the afternoon, but mostly staying together in a flock.

    click to expand click to collapse
  15. 15 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian A row of ravens are seen squawking while perched along the fence line in a marshy field in the middle of Lake Isabella.

    click to expand click to collapse
  16. 16 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian NEW FREEWAY GROUNDBREAKING/FOOD BANK POSTAL TOUR

    click to expand click to collapse
  17. 17 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian Gary Romriell, Partnership Food Bank manager, gives U.S. Postal Service employees the tour of the food bank facility Thursday on Feliz Drive. This will allows the postal service workers and supervisors to see the need for food in Kern County first hand. The Postal Service hosts a national food drive called "Stamp Out Hunger," where letter carriers collect food at mailboxes.

    click to expand click to collapse
  18. 18 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian People go through bins of food, Thursday, at the Partnership Food Bank, a program of Community Action Partnership of Kern.

    click to expand click to collapse
  19. 19 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian In between workshops, women packed the aisles in the vendors areas at the Bakersfield Women's Business Conference.

    click to expand click to collapse
  20. 20 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Despite the hundreds of women at the Bakersfield Women's Business Conference, Judy Hurt managed to find a quiet area to fill out an application for small business counseling for her business, Bakersfield Radiographic Center.

    click to expand click to collapse
  21. 21 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Despite the hundreds of women at the Bakersfield Women's Business Conference, Judy Hurt managed to find a quite area to fill out an application to get small business counseling for her business, Bakersfield Radiographic Center.

    click to expand click to collapse
  22. 22 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Two thumbs up from banana Marissa Perez. Things must be going well at the Jamba Juice booth at the Bakersfield Women's Business Conference.

    click to expand click to collapse
  23. 23 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian A truck travels east on Highway 178 towards the Kern River Canyon parallel to the citrus orchards while a few clouds in the background highlight the sky above the already brown hillside.

    click to expand click to collapse
  24. 24 of 31

    By Louis Medina

    These dogs are among about 46 canine and 14 feline Fresno-bound passengers that left from the Bakersfield SPCA on the HOPE Animal Foundation truck Monday morning. After alteration and an overnight stay, they will be reunited with their owners around noon today.

    click to expand click to collapse
  25. 25 of 31

    By Alex Horvath

    handout photograph Iva L. Craig

    click to expand click to collapse
  26. 26 of 31

    By Casey Christie

    Casey Christie / The Californian Helen Baldwin Rurup, center, shakes hands with old friends, Saturday, at Woolgrowers during their 72nd high school reunion from the Kern County Union High School. At left is R.J. Mitchell, also a reunion participant.

    click to expand click to collapse
  27. 27 of 31

    By Henry A. Barrios

    Henry A. Barrios / The Californian Ashley Ortiz and Brandon McCormick look over the flowers displayed at the Green Thumb Garden Club Flower Show held at the East Hills Mall in Bakersfield Saturday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  28. 28 of 31

    By Henry A. Barrios

    Henry A. Barrios / The Californian Joyce Darrow, left, and Beverly Switzer discuss the flowers displayed at the Green Thumb Garden Club Flower Show held at the East Hills Mall. A steady stream of people walked through the show Saturday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  29. 29 of 31

    By Henry A. Barrios

    Henry A. Barrios / The Californian Gail Clark, right, points out an interesting aspect of a plant to her mother, Louise Hutchison, as they walk through the Flower Show sponsored by the Green Thumb Garden Club. The show was held at the East Hills Mall Saturday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  30. 30 of 31

    By Henry A. Barrios

    Henry A. Barrios / The Californian Condors' No. 12 Brett Pilkington and Las Vegas' Scott McCulloch watch the puck get out of their reach in a playoff game in April in Bakersfield.

    click to expand click to collapse
  31. 31 of 31

    By Felix Adamo

    Felix Adamo / The Californian Auctioneer Ed Rodgers auctions off another piece of Stockdale Music's inventory during Sunday's auction. About 500 people showed up for the sale with over 300 of those signing up to bid.

    click to expand click to collapse
By The Bakersfield Californian

A discarded chair has given me the thought that every ordinary day has Easter potential, that Easter can be a welcoming embrace after a long and wearying day.

We commuters have been treated to an unusual sight on the drive from Tehachapi to Bakersfield and back every day: just east of the exit for Tower Line Road, a dark red, somewhat shabby, lone wingback armchair sits in the median of Highway 58. All alone, the chair faces out across the eastbound lanes, and invites the imagination to rest in it for a while, to gaze out over the land that stretches to the horizon.

It's a startling sight, this genteel piece of furniture in the great outdoors. That area of the drive is such that, if you squint your eyes past the power lines and the orderly rows of orange trees, you can imagine the California that its earliest residents inhabited, before the missionaries came looking for souls and the miners came looking for gold.

The obvious questions are: How did the armchair get there? Did it fall from a pickup truck that was moving a family's belongings? Was it a treasured heirloom, or recently bought from a thrift store? Was it deliberately thrown away? Is someone ever coming back for it? Just what is the deal with that chair?

The red armchair has been there for at least a week. In a romantic way, the chair has become part of the scenery. Driving home one day, I watched two young men stop and take a photo of it. I imagine it's on a Facebook page somewhere. The incongruity of a formal sitting room chair in the middle of pretty much nowhere begs for whimsy. It's an aberration, a surrealistic setting in which to curl up and relax, but with absolutely no privacy. It's tranquility in the midst of rush hour. I feel like if I were to sit in the red wingback chair, I would be transported to a place beyond my commute, a place of magical, unimaginable peace. I'm finding it hard to explain, but that chair has come to symbolize Easter for me this year.

Easter each year reminds us why our Christian faith makes any sense at all. Its message of hope for salvation for all of us resonates in the deep recesses of our souls. Its light penetrates the darkness of our doubt, and we recognize the divine in us and around us. We accept our helplessness, our need for God to love us, to grace us, to sustain us and gather us and focus us on what really matters in this life. But for Easter ultimately to mean something, it has to be a daily event, much as conversion is a daily decision and love is a daily effort. Something has to jog us out of our own small thoughts, our own narrow vision, our own confines, our own worries. Something has to move us to see the miracle of Easter and appreciate God's plan in the mundane, everyday now. Something, maybe, like a red chair sitting on green grass, near wild purple lupine and orange wildflowers, beneath a blue sky.

Some people think of Easter as a salvific vision, a Resurrection, a spiritual rebirth, a holy redemption, an empty tomb, a springtime awakening, a celebratory Mass, a bonnet, a parade, or even a benevolent bunny. And Easter is all of those things. But for me this year, Easter is also a moment waiting in the wingback chair, an invitation to pause and fill our hearts with love for this beautiful world, the people who make it so, the God who created us, and those intangible things we can't even name. Easter suffuses the ordinary with its light and grace, one day at a time. And that, for us, is enough.

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

Sweet Cheeks Waxing & Spa

Daily Deal

$40 Brazilian Wax for $20

Value
$40
% Off
50%
You Save
$20
0 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals