Monday, August 6, 2018

les étoiles rient

How do you discern the voice of God? the news anchor asks Jeremiah. The prophet of Israel is silent. There is not much good speaking to a stiff neck or closed ear, both conditions that run emphatically rampant in the Kingdom of David these days. It’s a pandemic spiritual malaise which is crippling the population physically.

But one can bet, sure as—well nothing’s sure as that bet—thinks Jeremiah, that the voice of God is not in the hand of fear that grips your heart at night. The voice of God is not in the rat on your shoulder, that whispers its poison in your ear: you’re just not good enough, you never were, and odds are you never will be. Dreams of good are pipe dreams, what’s real is simply isolation. Hell is the ultimate reality—the darkness which swallows the sun each evening will one day never break, you’ll see. You are living in the fantasy of sunrise, but one day that will end, poor child. And you will see that the world is all those nightmares you have been fortunate enough to awake from.

The voice of God is not that, he knows. It is not the fear that everything good is gloss over some malheureuse reality. Will one day everything break? And reveal underneath the lie you have been running from since the beginning?

The voice of God is not that. The voice of God is the honest love one senses in another. It is the kindness in their eyes. It is in the surprise of what they offer. It is in their remembering your letter at the last second. The voice of God is the truth you maybe do not dare to believe. 

Lying on his bed at night, Jeremiah remembers his youthful bouts of prophecy. Perhaps they are for him, now. Perhaps wisdom he has recorded publicly is not for his audience, but for him: to remind him of what God sounds like amidst the dismal cacophony of decision and small cataclysmic dins of despair.

Jeremiah’s people are incurable enthusiasts, who press for signs when there are only weather patterns. The voice of God is not the natural beauty of two souls meeting, or the silence of love or the wealth of good conversation. Or is it?

Where else will we find it? Other than in the holy which rises up from the everyday, intimately woven into it, offering a joy far beyond our own creation. Is not the voice of God that which calls us to be better, that exposes our own darkness, scattering our inner cockroaches with its light? Is not the voice of God located in that which in creation is good? If nothing is good than God alone, then any glimpse of golden wheat hidden in our tares is vocally the Lord. Perhaps that is the primordial miracle—that there can be wheat even in the most weed-ridden field.

Jeremiah opens his mouth to speak, but he thinks better of it. The media runs its own operation of theosis, and it tends to canonize his voice, utterly fallible, into a misplaced divine.

Who can say where the voice of God lies? It is not something certain, to be grasped, but a certainty that grasps us.

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