Monday, December 17, 2012

unclench my fists

 "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
--Fellowship of the Ring

I don't want to own an ipod.
I love ipods.
In fact, I often browse my siblings ipods, and I love DJ-ing cars with others' ipods. I love what different sorts of music collections each person holds on their ipods. You are delighted to find embarrassing songs by the Duff Sisters that you both have secretly loved since middle school, you are amazed when you find your five favorite songs on the ipod of someone you couldn't be more opposite of, you are intrigued when you find a rap song on the demure peasant-skirted girl's ipod, or a Disney ballad on the bro's ipod. People are full of surprises, and the music they love can be an exciting gateway into that surprise.

But I would never own an ipod. It has just never occurred to me that owning an ipod would be something that I would like to do. 
I like ipods. I like sunsets. I also like trees and swans. And I love the sight of the Grotto at night.
Some of the things I love best are the things it's impossible to own. Impossible to grasp. You just have to open your hands to receive them.

I think that the primary human sin is grasping what we would receive anyway.
The tragedy of the Original Fall of our First Parents is that they grasped at the fruit, the gifts, they would have received as a gift anyways.

I think it's C.S. Lewis who says something to the effect of (a pox upon me for not being able to find the direct quote, but to paraphrase): things that are truly beautiful are those things that men do not desire to own. It is not our ownership of it that gives it value--its beauty allows us to see that there is value in the thing itself.

I botched that quote, but to get to the point: it is the Beautiful that saves us from our Original Sin. 
If we can learn to appreciate something, to love it, apart from our ownership, our own grasping of it, then we have, in a small way, been saved.

I think of the love of my friends that I constantly grasp as though it is mine to hold onto. I think of the memories, conversations, and moments that I've shared with those I love, that I grasp and try to own as if they are somehow something I have earned, and not beautiful gifts I have been given.

In a heart-to-heart yesterday with my best friend, she shared a quote from one of her dear friends on poverty in friendship:
"I have held my many past friendships within a trophy case in my heart. They have become prideful accomplishments, rather than avenues of grace. [...] And so I've stopped trying to hold everyone's hand at once, and have started simply trying to hold His." 

Poverty is a scary word: it brings to mind destitution, starvation, discomfort, all the things our soft human selves despise. But spiritual poverty means precisely this: non-grasping. Letting go and simply receiving.

We realized with delight it all comes back to this picture:

If we are too busy trying to hold onto friendships, loves, gifts, memories, conversations, moments, the various beauties and gifts of life, grasping them with both hands, how are we going to receive all the graces and beauties and joys of which they are avenues?

Though He was in the form of God, He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.
(Words: Paul, Emphasis: Mine.)


  1.'re very introspective. I love this blog and would love to become a follower if I may?

    1. Thank you so much! Please do follow, and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog :)

  2. I most definitely will! Feel free to follow mine as well if you wish. I look forward to reading your future posts :)