Thursday, August 20, 2015

even ha'ezer scrooge

Let thy goodness, like a fetter/ bind my wandering heart to thee.

For several years, I have listened to my friend wonder how she can ever be both a doctor and a mother. The problem of how a woman can get through medical school and start a family was a conundrum she pondered daily. I would listen sympathetically, offer my discernment two cents, and generally regard her concerns as unique to her vocation of being a doctor.

Then, I found myself very stupidly deciding to self-produce a show while also teaching, while also traveling with friends, and hosting family. And I found my energies pulled in a million different directions, and I wondered: will there ever be a time in my life when I'm not bobbing and weaving back and forth to a million different passions like a crazy person?

And then I thought: perhaps not. Perhaps this is what she means about the pull between being a mother and a doctor. Perhaps it is possible to have two different vocations tug at your heart.

And now I think I love it. I think I have grown overly accustomed to being torn in two. I love being torn between staying and going; between poetry and prose. I love longing for adventure and longing for home. The longing for home is not actually a longing for anything that truly exists. Homesickness is a longing for the past, or a longing for the future. It's a longing that pulls you out of the present moment, towards something that has existed, or exists in the future.

I have always missed the country when I am in the city, and enjoyed doing so. But now I have developed a perverse love of missing the city when I am in the country. I love wishing that I could be always on an airplane, and always laughing with my sister on her bed. I would be always gone, taking in every inch of the world; I would be eternally in my kitchen, taking in every movement on my mother's face. I love having dear friends peppered across the globe and a handful of homes tugging at my heart.

I have grown to love being dissatisfied, because, in the confusion and the longing, and the desires that swell and dissipate through the course of each day, there is one--only one--desire that remains constant. The dissatisfaction is truly clarifying. It has cleared the roiling, stormy cloud banks from the horizon. From the rays of this new sun that emerges, the landscape of the world is illuminated with light, and it has become so obvious it breaks my heart. There is one joy that stands uncontested. Nothing else can match it. Everything else is balanced by a pull in another direction. There is only one lodestone drawing my adamant will, only one triumphant Yes, and telos, one clear goal that beckons. There is but one place, and in one heart only, where at the very zenith of complexity, complexity was eaten up and faded, as a thin white cloud fades into the hard blue burning of the sky, and a simplicity beyond all comprehension, ancient and young as spring, illimitable, pellucid, drew him with cords of infinite desire into its own stillness. 

Cords of infinite desire bind a wandering heart such as mine or yours or Ransom's to the Great Dance, whose center is eternally unfolding, whose motion is both sweet and still, and whose rhythm is the only resting place our feet desire.

"Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do."
--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

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