Saturday, March 8, 2014

sillagistic kairos

I say nothing to Him; I love Him.

I ran past a clump of trees, and heard a rustling in the branches.
I turned and looked and there was a hawk, swooping down on a tiny little squirrel.
That poor squirrel tried to cling to the branch of the tree, and made the most pitiful chirrup of panic as the hawk flew away, clutching the little furry creature that would become its meal.
Intellectually, I understand the premise of the food chain, and I truly do grasp with how it is necessary for life, since all creatures, even the hawk, has to eat.

But it was shocking to see an animal I nearly consider a pet being lifted off into the air to be torn and devoured by this bird.
It would have been an easier sight to see if the hawk had been eating a snake or a mole.
A squirrel was just too much for me to handle.

And, it did make me think of how the world is sort of senselessly awful.
The world could be best described, I think, as dancing the line between immeasurable beauty, and inescapably appalling bullshit.
Our senses of humor were created to help us dance that fine, fine line with the world.
They say that religion was created to help human beings cope with the reality of death, but I'd say our senses of humor help us do that on the daily.

Yesterday, I sat in a sunny café with my dearest friend, and we ate breakfast together.
I nibbled gingerly on toast and tea, for woe, I am pigeon-livered, and the title of Beer Pong Champions is dearly bought.
We spoke a lot about the imperfections of the world, our own imperfections, and the glaring imperfections of basically everything.
Which, I suppose, is to be expected when two cynics gather to break bread together.
But, even when lamenting the fundamental wretchedness of the world, we found that the appropriate reaction was not to love the world less, but to love it more.
More real than pessimism, deeper than optimism, we were finding that underneath our layers of warranted cynicism was a firm foundation of hope.

We don't escape the misery of the world by retreating to fairytales, or by ignoring the intolerable evil, only seeking to see what we deem is beautiful.
Beauty is not safety.
That which makes us comfortable should make us wary.
There is nothing: not what we see in the beauty of Michelangelo's paintings, in the power of Niagara Falls, in the Nicean Creed, in Grimm's fairytales that should make us comfortable.
There is nothing in the beauties we surround ourselves by that should make us look at ourselves and say: well, this is very affirming. Guess there's no need to strive for more virtue or correctness for me. I've pretty much made it!
If there's one thing that the beauty of the world does to us is it issue to us a bold and demanding challenge:
why are you, it demands, settling for dabbling around in mud pies when you were made to join in the beauty of the ultimate reality? Of a love that breathed into being the stars and the sun?
Are you going to dabble in your petty, childish desires, content yourself with your tame version of life, or will you seek maybe to be stretched beyond the limits of your own heart?

And then, the misery of the world, its wounds, its hurts make it more beloved to us.
When we ditch the rosy-colored spectacles, we find that the world painted in its natural colors is a sight far greater than we could conceive.
We find that the narrative that is constructed answers our longings, our needs, is a response to our brokenness more fully than any other version we attempt to create.
It is dark in some patches, much darker than we would like.
But our task lies in that darkness: to slowly turn that darkness into light.
That is the task of hope.

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