Thursday, October 11, 2012

pumpkin ice cream for our marys & marthas

This post has sat here in my drafts folder and in my heart, just stewing and simmering but never coming quite to a full boil. It was only today I realized what it was missing. 
It was missing my other half.

If you've ever tasted pumpkin ice cream, you understand how exquisitely bizarre it is. 
Pumpkin ice cream is the product of a brilliant juxtaposition.
Juxtapositions are the unique creations of our senses of order and proper placement. Pumpkin is not a flavor our sense expect to find in ice cream. Pumpkin taste belongs in toasty warm pumpkin pie (I'm so ready for Thanksgiving right now).
Order exists so that the startling beauty of juxtaposition can burst forth, and juxtaposition exists to allow us to see a beauty of each individual element. Each has a unique beauty which can only be brought out through setting it next to an unrelated element. 

Pumpkin ice cream should never cease to be surprising and slightly upsetting. Pumpkin ice cream should never cease to startle us with its bold eschewing of order and rich embrace of juxtaposition. There's an artistry in pumpkin ice cream. A delicate combination
It's the artistry of the sisters Martha and Mary. It's the artistry of friendship.
Any friendship at it's finest, is in a way a mirroring of Mary and Martha. When one is calm, the other busy, when one is caught up in the tasks of the world, the other is sitting at the feet of Christ in place of the other. My best friend is in Spain right now, and there's a part of me that, in the absence of her beauty, without the juxtaposition of her vibrant spirit, is impoverished.
When I run around like a crazy person, she is the one to calm me down. And in those rare moments her unflappable spirit is in distress, I have found myself filled with unexpected calm and equanimity. If you were to draw my portrait it wouldn't be complete without including those like Neesie who have wormed their way into my heart in so unique a manner.
Without the juxtaposition of the fountain of Mary's love and devotion, our Martha-ish activity leaves us wilted. And without the Marthas of the world, dinner never gets made. Mary and Martha are meant to be understood together.
The other night, my friend took me to the best spot on campus.
Maybe not my favorite, or the prettiest, or the most perfect spot, but the best spot.
It's a very Mary-ish spot. You can see right into the heart of Notre Dame: you see only the best things.
And it's so refreshing to only see the best things. To be a Mary for a day, and sit at the foot of the Teacher and just allow yourself to be caught up in rapt adoration of the One Thing. As we sat looking at the Grotto, the basilica, and golden Mama Mary all lit up, shining brightly against the dark background of the night sky,  I almost said: "this doesn't feel quite real." False. That sight was ten times more Real than the paper-pushing and number-crunching that goes on in Main building, or the frustrating advisors or drunk Alumni bros that populate campus.
That spot is a glimpse into Reality; it's that glimpse, that light which can lead you through the murky daily grind of campus and keep you from getting lost in the Shadowlands.

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