Photo by Boghosian
FRESNO/NEW YORK — On Monday, May 18, 2020, a community gathered — at a distance, on-line — to reflect upon the “delight & mystery of life” as expressed in the artistic objectives of William Saroyan’s literary work and through distinctive features of the Armenian faith tradition. Upon invitation from parish priest Rev. Stepanos Doudoukjian, Megan A. Jendian prepared a multi-media presentation for nearly 50 participants in the Capital District of Upstate New York’s St. Peter Armenian Church – Adult Education series hosted by co-coordinators Rhonda Boyajian and Elsie Vozzy.
Resource materials included publications from St. Nersess Armenian Seminary (Sacred Music Lab – NY, 2006) and research by Saroyan scholars David S. Calonne (Saroyan: My Real Work Is Being, 1983) and Prof. Micah Jendian (Falling from the Trapeze: Saroyan’s Challenge to the Culture Industry, 1999).
In the midst of global suffering and the current malady of despair, Jendian anchored her message in the miraculous messenger: the Way, Truth, and Life with Whom the source of grace lives and breathes within and among us. Noted as wisdom literature in the scriptural Book of Job, “The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty teaches me.” In the preface to Saroyan’s first collection of short stories, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze (1934), he states simply: “Try to learn to breathe deeply…; try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might.” At all times in all places, along with the perpetual yet oft-times passive practice of breathing, and through active engagement with both literary art and sacred prayers, readings, and hymns, there is the revelation of an ever-present message of life and hope.