Monday, April 29, 2013

no one wants to hear your stomach


You and I, little magpie, are just hopping along the verge.
Instead of tapes of our failures playing in our heads,
you squawk scratchy, hoarse cries, 
and I sing hallelujah, in a whisper that matches.


Paying attention is so vitally important. 
 If you've lived for twenty summers, then you have the technical advantage of having seen twenty different kinds of summers. 
You know twenty different ways that summer can be. 
If a man has lived through fifty summers, then he has a great advantage over you, because he has experienced fifty different kinds of summer. 
But if he's only been paying attention for ten of them, then he perhaps hasn't learned as much as your older sister, who has lived through thirty summers and thirty winters, and was paying very rapt attention to all of them.
Age is immaterial, I think.
Attentiveness isn't, I'm sure.

Yesterday, in Church, a stout little elderly man turned his head to whisper something to his wife.
Unfortunately, he failed to pay attention to the priest, who was currently processing up and down the aisle, sprinkling holy water liberally on his flock.
As he turned his head away from the aisle, the priest flicked a holy water towards the side of the church where the man and his wife were standing.
Entranced, I watched as a large gloop of water flew off towards the man, and hit him squarely in the back of his head.
Surprised (by joy, I have no doubt), the man started and turned to see where exactly the source of the water was.
(And I thought, as I cackled schemingly to myself: you played right into my hands, Lord. That's essentially a pre-packaged blogpost right there.)
Grace tends to work that way.
Sneak attacks and surprising you into paying attention to it.

And then, of course, like all good ideas, it disappeared in the middle of the Consecration.
If an idea disappears in the middle of the Consecration, you just have to let it go.
You know it's good, of course, that's why it left. 
It wasn't yours to begin with.
Just leave it on the altar, and it'll come back to you one hundred-fold.

If you just pay attention, you'll find that it comes back to you.
A little word reminds you of the conversation you had with yourself rushing down Victoria Street, trying to tease out the mysteries of the world, and then you remember the shocked face of the man who wasn't paying attention to the grace that was flying straight towards him.
We are such stubborn things, and would rather drift off into daydreams than pay attention to the grace inundating the reality of now.

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