Tuesday, February 26, 2013

sempers in our saeculas

The moving waters at their priestlike task 
 Of pure ablution round earth's human shores 

The difference between the secular and the sacred might be analogous to the difference between kiddie pools and the ocean. 
Oceans (obviously) are not man-made. They are part of the glory and overwhelming majesty of the natural world. They are something so completely beyond human knowledge, skill, or ability to grasp.
Kiddie pools, however, are one of the most very simple, joyful creations of human ingenuity.

I'm talking a classic drive-way kiddie pool like this:
shark bait ooh ha ha
Classic '90s for you-- even the poor plastic shark is neon.
Joyful product of human ingenuity, right there.

There's nothing wrong with a kiddie pool. Absolutely nothing.
Kiddie pools are literally the most wonderful. We should indeed marvel at and enjoy their existence, and goodness sakes, we ought to splash in them, and splash in them often.
But heaven help us if we ever grew foolish enough to confuse kiddie pools with the ocean.
It is as if all you thought music could be was Bye-Bye Birdie or Camelot, and you never once got to hear a Beethoven symphony.

The small little wading pool bears quite a deep resemblance to the ocean. In fact, it does, in a small way, prepare you for the smooth, glassy surface of a calm ocean.
The way the water rolls around your feet reminds you of the way the water laps up around your feet on the sandy beach.
But the kiddie pool is not the ocean, and as beautiful as it is in and of itself, its real wonder and glory is that it reminds you of the ocean.
Its real wonder is that it contains a hint of ocean.
There's something inside of you that longs for the ocean.
And as beautiful as kiddie pools are, they only satisfy our longing for kiddie pools, not our deep desire for the ocean.

Kiddie pools are shadows and images of the ocean.
And the day that you stand on the rocky shore, breathing in the saltiest of air, so salty you find salt grains on your lips; feeling the foamy waves brush against your skin, and losing all perspective in the endless horizon, you know that this is water at its greatest, at its fullest.
And then, when you turn on the tap water, you can't help but laugh, because that simple stream of water that you're using to wash your dishes is, in its natural state, part of that wild, wet, untamed ocean.

Life becomes a lot grander when lived with the perspective of the sea.

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