Sunday, December 15, 2013

ompheleskepsis

My friend told a story of her summer in Uganda, spent teaching at a school.
Her first weeks, she attempted to get to know the students.
To her confusion and dismay, the students gave her a wide berth.
One day, as she approached one of them, the girl said to her:
I fear you.
Which is probably the number one reasons that humans give other humans a wide berth.
It is a fearful thing to encounter another human being.

~

I watched a fly on the chapel wall.
As I watched it, I discovered, to my complete surprise, that the fly was beautiful.
Unlooked for beauty is like a sweet little bit of sunlight piercing through snowy storm clouds.
It sparkles on the blanket of white, allowing you to temporarily forget the mundane dirty slush you're wading through.
The fly had minuscule, delicate gossamer wings, translucent and transparent, with hard black lines drawing out small patterns on its little wings.
Encrusting his gossamer, silky little flying flaps was a hard, shield-layer of chitin.
This little fly buzzed around the chapel, hardly making what I would call a "beautiful" sound.
It's grating sound was comparable to the noise of a miniature motorcycle revving.
But, in that moment of stillness, I saw the fly not just as this annoying, buzzing insect, but as a beautiful little mystery of a creature.
If I had been too focused on how annoying the fly was, then I would have never had discovered the immense beauty he offered as a part of the crazy, zany may-pole dance that we call the Universe.

~
I sat in the dark chapel, and listened to words from the past fill the quiet room.
One of the beautiful things about repetition is that when you revisit old words, you find that they carve out a different corner of your heart.
The words seem to have remained the same; but have been transformed into something completely different.
And as you sit, reading old words, you remember the first time you read them. You remember when they were new words.
By looking back, you can remember what sort of corner of your heart they carved out when they were first read.
And you marvel at yourself, for having such imperfect vision and reading those words so unclearly.

They say that only kind of perfect vision is hindsight, which is 20/20.
But sometimes little glimpses of the eternal arms that support the world will surface.
In those moments, you can see the present, past, or future with equal ease, piercing through the cloud across our vision with their dazzling radiance.

Our gaze is submarine, our eyes look upward 
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water. 
We see the light but see not whence it comes. 
In our rhythm of earthly life we tire of light. 
 We are glad when the day ends, when the play ends; 
 and ecstasy is too much pain. 
--From T.S. Eliot's The Rock

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