Thursday, May 16, 2019

when your voice comes back

It happens in quiet waves, but unmistakable.

I walk down our hallway, to the mirror, to the bathroom, hike up my jeansI need to buy a beltand I look at my yellow shirt above the dark indigo jeans in the mirror. The hair on my arms stands out darkly for some reason in this light, and I examine it for a bit, turning my freckled, phosphorescent-pale arms around in the mirror, inspecting the dark, interrupting lines of hair against the smooth skin.


Oh this is my body, I realize, with shock that this is me staring at myself in the mirror. I look... permanent? It's hard to recognize yourself all the time.

But here I am, and for this moment all of my attention is resting here, at my reflection in this glass.
What's the point of this, if there's nowhere else I'm going?
There's something in my eye, maybe a stray eyelash, so I pull away my eyelid, trying to see it, all the while thinking: there's something sacred in discomfort. It really does open you up to the divine.


But discomfort and peace are not enemies, they are, perhaps kinsfolk.


If crying is exercise, then my saline glands should be made of steel right now, toned from a winter’s worth of work.


If you could loose weight with each tear you shed, then I would be (conservatively estimated) fifteen pounds lighter. Tears, unfortunately for my waistline, don’t cost much physical weight in flesh. They are heavy, and make their own weight.


Sadness is a pool, when you are submerged in it, it's hard (if not impossible) to believe there is anything else, yet, time and time again, I feel myself missing the God I met under that water. It seems morbid and macabre to say that God is most clearly met in our suffering—and I believe that I have seen God in the man I love and held him on spring nights and kissed his face enough so that I do not believe God is most clearly found in our desolation—but, there’s something about the desolation, of having nothing else, of having found the small consolation of our own self so unsatisfactory that renders God highly visible in our despair.


From this submersion, this theophany of God in the dark, the spaces of Joy are baptized. Our joy slowly, slowly evokes less of a satisfaction the world can explain and becomes rooted in something more holy and more joyful. The joy becomes imbued with the lessons of the sorrow—when we didn’t have anything, when we clung to the God who was with us when no one else was, who was by our side even when our own self worth, sense of self-composure, sense of self had abandoned us. This God makes the quiet, makes the peace, makes the eucharistic monotony of climaxes and resolutions of living Good. This is the God who we held onto in our pain, the light that shone in the midst of our winter. This God, who was the only solace in our sorrow, is actually and truly, really our only joy.


I stare at my permanent self in the mirror. Without a God, what joy is there in this reflection? But what does this reflection sing of if not a God who made it?


However my senses need to be sharpened so that I can pick this God, who shines so clearly in the dark, out in the sunshine, I will take it.

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