Tuesday, October 4, 2016

the force of something lovely

 a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.
--Luke 10:38

Theology is not for the faint of spirit (although it's ideal for the faint of body. No hard labor here). Staring down with mystery day in and day out is a recipe for a vertigo of the soul. Especially in studying something like systematics or the scriptures. The precariousness of history smacks you upside the face, and I can feel my mind drag my soul down rabbit holes of deconstruction. Each meal is flavored with bitter, salty doubt.

As I listen to the daily readings at mass I think: well, was this even true? True, as in, historically accurate. True, as in cold, hard facts. The sort of true that you don't find in your mother's love or a conversation with a friend. The sort of true that is available nowhere in life, outside of math.
There's no reason why it shouldn't be, but there are no compelling reasons that I can see for it to be.

I glance up from my words, and the morning sun shines across the backboard of my desk. Slats of light, elegantly cut from my blinds shimmer across the pictures of friends, my Hamilton playbill, and old birthday cards fixed on my pinboard. The sun creeps her way through the green light of the trees and scatters my kitchen table with warm light.

Something about that light is so magnificent, I have to write about it. I don't know what strange and sudden instinct it is inside of me that demands that beauty be praised by caging it in monochrome and one-dimensional lines on a page. But it is not a choice. It is an impulse beyond my control.

As I read of Mary sitting at the feet of the master, I think: this story is beautiful. And I believe. I believe that this story is the product of the force of beauty. Compelled by a beauty they can barely articulate, someone saw something quite beautiful, and they had to capture it in words. Perhaps everything else is muddled in the historical record, perhaps everything is garbled in the oral tradition. But the beauty of their original vision endures.

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