Wednesday, March 19, 2014

high time for moonset

 Lord Jesus, stay with us, for evening is at hand and the day is past.
--Book of Common Prayer, Evensong

I walked across a bridge, a large stone bridge, when suddenly the plane trees, which grew silently in their melancholy line along the river banks loomed large in front of me, rimmed with silver in the moonlight.
As I walked, each step took me deeper into the vision of déjà vu that confronted me--I felt that I was back on the familiar bridge, with Westminster looming in front of me, and the trees seemed to be direct relations of the trees that grew on Southbank right in front of the National.
This city seemed to be carved out in the shape of my heart, and I knew the contours of every stone on that bridge. My nostrils picked up on that same warm, sweet scent filling the air--the cozy perfume of waffles and Nutella, and Nutella slathered on crepes--filling the windy air by la tour Eiffel.

In the midst of the cynical, hope.
In the midst of imperfection, love.

Love is not a feeling.
No, indeed it is not.
Love is biting your tongue instead of letting it lash out in a stream of comments more clever than charitable.
Love is explaining yourself when you would rather just tell a white lie, wave your hand, and stay cozily inside your happy cocoon of lonely self-knowledge.
Love is washing the dishes when you would rather be lounging on the couch, reading your book.
These things, of course, are the stuff of love.
That daily saying: "Not my will, but yours be done."
No, indeed, love is not a feeling.
But love begets a feeling.
Not every day--just like not every day do you see a rainbow painted on the floor by the stained glass, nor every day do you see two swans float side by side in harmony, nor is it every day that the sun shines through the rain-clouds in the morning, and the sunrise appears, virile, brilliant, and rejoicing.
But there are seasons for all things: crocuses, snow forts, Christmas trees, waterlilies, summer tempests, and Nutella crepes.
And there are seasons of sweetness, where love begets a feeling unlike any other.
We call this falling "in love," as if "love" was a tiger trap that you tumbled into, which is not a highly inaccurate metaphor, since sometimes love does feel like so many punji sticks.
Or it makes it sound like "love" is some altered state of consciousness, a state of being you find yourself caught in, as if love was simply a more potent form of LSD.
But perhaps we might think of love less like LSD or tiger traps, and more like a force of supernatural reality.
Perhaps, when you orient yourself towards that reality, when you turn your heart into a space where love can flourish, where grace can carve out a home in that stony cavern for the Other Person, then it only seems to make sense that grace's dramatic and drastic undertaking of opening up your Self to make room for another Self would make you feel something.
Unless, of course, our bodies and souls are not at all related, and what happens in our minds, brains, hearts, and souls are not connected at all.
But that is an idea so boring and dull--soporific, even-- that my eyelids begin to droop with drowsy boredom as my mind seeks to contemplate it.
To be a human means to be an intricate mess of stony caverns where grace is laying down soil, and emotions that are related to bodily functions and movements of the heart, and ideas that make us feel sick to our stomach, and imaginary fears that cause our palms to sweat, and thoughts that make our diaphragm contract into strange movements we call laughter.
To be a human means to be a space where that supernatural reality kisses the crude matter of earth.
It is an electric, exciting, and utterly baffling thing to be.

So when we, an electric, monumental creature, truly begin to know, and see, and love another magnificent and incandescent person, the rumblings of change in our soul, the new shape our will begins to take creates rumblings of new things within our heart, and all throughout our bodies.

The birdsong that sharply cuts through the spring fog sounds different, changed, transposed into a key more sweet.
The air tastes different on our tongue. It tastes like the first whispers of summer.
The wind that blows persistently through the trees feels softer, like gentle caresses from the zephyr.
The world feels mysteriously different, it has been transfigured, and in all the cracks that grace has eroded on its rocky surface have let some of its shrouded glory shine through.
The full moon enchants us as it sets over the lights of the small, quiet city.
The stars pierce through the night sky, and they seem to sing.

The world has changed, it has shifted every so slightly on its axis.
Because you have shifted on yours.
The change is not one from without, but within.

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