Friday, January 30, 2015

things we're all too young to know

people fall in love in mysterious ways
maybe just the touch of a hand

What silly creatures we are; so in love with serendipity, and obsessed with situations that could never possibly transcend coincidence.
We put ourselves at the mercy of circumstance, and figure ourselves too lazy to lift ourselves beyond momentary encounters.
I find myself more willing to let myself wander in mazes of nostalgia and halls of past realities than to muster up the courage to resist the pull of past, and embrace the uncomfortable, inescapable now of the present.
The past is so safe: there is nothing unchanging within it, and there are wells of emotions to wallow in, all unaccompanied by that distressing urge of the present that demands us to take action.

Knit my heart, three-person-God, 

do not batter it down. 
Already, it is in ruins, 
awaiting someone to stitch it back together.

The amount of sacrifice and self-control that love requires is fairly astounding. And I wonder, all too often, if any of us are actually capable of doing complying with love's requirements.
Self-control is such a funny word, Paul cited it just the other day in his letter to Timothy, and it does seem to be very out of place in Paul's eloquent raptures about God's love and power and might and transcending boundaries and faith and blah blah blah.
For self-control suggests dryness, not the vivid activity of love. It suggests a negative, not a positive. It suggests stoic joylessness and denial of who we truly are in order to achieve some heady, detached ideal.

But, really, that thing--designated by the unfortunate and inadequate phrase "self-control"-- is the Good News that we speak so often of, and forget what it means.
That we can shake off those blinders that block out anything else in the world besides "Me." We can truly transcend just our Self. Our entire person does not have to be controlled just by that Something Wrong inside of us that insists: me, me, me.
A deeper, truer way to love has crashed into our world, and ripped it open to expose that Something Wrong in our hearts.
Self-control is a hard word. It is trying to describe an action, which is less controlling our selves, but really, denying them. But, by denying them, allowing the I inside of us to actually become an I, free of the demands that the self places on us. We are free now to encounter a Thou. To encounter another person not just in terms of our own self, but in terms of reality.
There is no longer just one way, there is not just the way that we see written in romantic comedies or in all the different narratives that inculcate our imaginations with the notion that the other person is an avenue to our emotional gratification.
Rather, we have found a deeper, truer way to love. A love that exists deep within the mystery of reality.
We have a new Sabbath; a new model of how to mirror the action of God.
There is now a person whose actions we can model, whose example of love we can imitate.
It is not easy. No one ever said it was. We have been told again and again: that this saying is hard and who can accept it.
And we sit in our Sunday dresses and think: oh indeed yes. How very ancient this text is and how little it is speaking to me, personally. It couldn't possibly be pointing a finger at me, directly, and saying: 'this saying is hard and who can accept it.'
Then, for some strange, irrational reason, I am dismayed when I struggle to accept the hard Truth; and I want the easy Truth instead.
Our dear Thomas Aquinas defines acedia as the sadness that comes realizing that the good is difficult to achieve.
Acedia is my constant companion, no doubt.
Then, I must laugh, breaking the sadness.
What has ever led me to believe that the world is an easy place to live?
What knowledge of history or the human race has ever birthed inside of me the entitled notion that making a life on the face of a stubborn globe is an activity that can occur, absent of blood, sweat, and tears?
Why does the Something Wrong inside of me think that it should be easy for me? 
There is no end to the ridiculous notions that Something Wrong will feed me, and that I will swallow, unquestioningly, like an idiot.
Trapped in the web of falsehood our Something Wrong weaves inside of us, the sharp blade of truth is a welcome savior. Even if it cuts us to the quick, it is that sweet sting that strikes you to the core.
Then, in those moments, you know without a doubt that you are quite weak.
It is tempting to see our own weakness as an argument against the brutal strength of truth itself. But such a line of thought is not even an argument as such.
It would be like asserting love could not exist, because one time our hearts were broken.
Our own emotions are not the activity of love; they are often the symptoms or by-products of situations created sometimes by movements of the will, created sometimes by simply a mis-alignment of stars.
Our emotions can hardly be an argument for anything, much less the wellspring of reality.
Love is something deeper, sterner, and more demanding than we want to believe; and, therefore, sweeter, clearer, and more tender than we could ever conceive.

The book of love is long and boring 
No one can lift the damn thing 
It's full of charts and facts and figures 
And instructions for dancing 
But I, I love it when you read to me 
And you, you can read me anything

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