Wednesday, February 28, 2018

it wouldn't have been so among us

When we first read this Gospel, this chapel was a mess: brown paper, glass panes, dust everywhere. We sat on two chairs in front of an empty tabernacle, and began, there to learn to pray side-by-side. We built a common rhythm of quiet and speech, of heart-silences and soul-greetings. There were no candles here then, no sanctuary lamp announcing the emptiness of the tabernacle. Darkness covered the chaos. I sat next to you, so tense, so untrusting, but wanting so desperately to trust you, to find you trustworthy, to believe that I could trust you like a holy book.

The gelato-sweet simplicity of those first few summer weeks evaporated then. The common pleasure of our innocent activity—watching Spirited Away on separate couches, your gentle hospitality—conscientiousness and berries—smiling accompanying texting—it faced a watershed and had to grow.

Would I trust you or run away?

So used to running, I wanted to try something new. What would happen, I wondered, if I stayed past my instinct reversion to flight? Maybe it was the wrong choice. Maybe it was foolhardy, unhealthy, or immature.

Or maybe it was just a waste of time.

Holy books are not all that they would seem. The simple beauty we receive them with is challenged by our reason, by our budding intellects, our questions and our doubts.

I suppose what is holy is what stays to challenge us, even in the very process of our deconstruction. What is human is sheared away by our harsh hermeneutics of distrust. But the divine is what remains, even when we have dismantled what is contingent, human, and corruptible.

In that chapel, I was sheared. Something stony inside my heart decided to open. Perhaps for the wrong person. What does it mean to love the wrong person and is it ever a waste of time?

What would happen, I thought, if I stayed, if I listened to the promise in those words? In the crepuscular calm of that summer-night-time chapel, in this beautiful, empty, half-finished home, I believed—so fully in that moment—that it would not have been so among us.

But it was.

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