Thursday, February 28

Death is the road to awe.

I’m about to go away for the weekend, which will horrify my cat but hopefully be good for my allergies. The area of the country I’ll be travelling in is one of my favourites, and I look forward to the time to pray and think.

Something inside me is not quite right--if I were talking about it in physical terms I would say that my depth perception is failing, or that my heart is beating off-pattern. I’m not motivated to do the things I love--I know it is this time of year, as well; Lent is a season of mourning.

There is a lot of pride in me that I wish God would tear out; once I prayed that he would rip it all out by the roots and so be it if my sanity or intelligence or physical ability went with it. I think he has taken me seriously. I’m happy, in the sense of having been blessed, not emotionally giddy, that he has done this thing even though it has cost me dearly. I don’t regret it, but the continual awareness of just how isolating skin and bones and cartilage and gore can be is exquisitely painful. I find it difficult to communicate with people that I love.

The worst thing about this is that nobody really wants to write back and forth, which is the way I best communicate. In a debate, I have the choice to either let my anger or my vulnerability rule me. Allowing anger to fuel me makes arguments more heated, more articulate, less logical, and provides me with an opportunity for rage. I am the first person to admit I don’t want anger ruling me. Vulnerability, on the other hand, simply leads to tears. This confounds my poor family and annoys them (they don’t seem to have any problem with this type of thing), and I can’t blame them. I hate crying and all the accompanying ills.

This entry is too long, now, and too introspective to be interesting. I have seen a fantastic movie, The Fountain and I’ll post the trailer here if I end up still thinking about it after the weekend, or impulsively buying the soundtrack.

Wednesday, February 20

There was at least 45 minutes of reading before the first chapter of a book about a book about a Word.

“How and why did one person invest so much sustained effort into producing such an encyclopaedic masterpiece? What was the artist-scribe’s life like? What must it have been like to try to claw back enough time and energy to undertake this body-racking, muscle-aching, eye-straining task in a hut somewhere on the seaboard of north-west Europe with the wind and the rain and the distraction of a beauteous Creation all around?

“What other duties filled the day: the monastic round of the divine hours (perhaps as many as eight religious services throughout each day and night); the need to prove humility by manual labour, from milking cows to brewing ale or forging metalwork; the requirements of daily prayer and study (some scope for scribal feats of heroism there); the forty days in the wilderness of physical deprivation and penance for Lent; the joys of high days and holy days; the constant intercessions for living and for dead and against threat of famine, plague and pestilence, and of all-too-frequent military confrontations; apprehension concerning all these dangers to your own and to kindred communities and to the surrounding countryside which harboured your flock, which was in constant need of your pastoral care as well as your ‘physick’ and humanitarian aid? In such an environment the scribe takes up his quill and brush as the armament in his spiritual struggle [...]” (p. 4)

I do love the introduction to this book. I haven’t been very far into chapter one before more tangible pleasantries and duties kept me from it, but I look forward to going further as time allows.

Brown, Michelle P. The Lindisfarne Gospels: Society, Spirituality & the Scribe. British Library, London: 2003.

Tuesday, February 19

Rich and orphaned and beloved.

The only time I’ve ever felt like this I was also feeling poor and powerless and lonely, so it was all very confusing and I’m not sure what it all meant. I tried to write a poem like this one--in form rather than content--but it sounded sallow and surreal: it sounded hinged. The fact that love hopes at all times and also trusts at all times is a difficult thing to understand for those of us who stand with the light behind us.

Anyway, that’s why I love to read stories with happy endings.

Sunday, February 10

A real love poem.

THE ILLITERATE
By William Meredith

Touching your goodness, I am like a man
Who turns a letter over in his hand
And you might think that this was because the hand
Was unfamiliar but, truth is, the man
Has never had a letter from anyone;
And now he is both afraid of what it means
And ashamed because he has no other means
To find out what it says than to ask someone.

His uncle could have left the farm to him,
Or his parents died before he sent them word,
Or the dark girl changed and want him for beloved.
Afraid and letter-proud, he keeps it with him.
What would you call his feeling for the words
that keep him rich and orphaned and beloved?

1958

(lauds)

Friday, February 8

Gloria Dei vivens homo. Slowly and surely.

I don’t quite get why people get warm fuzzy realisations or dramatic revelations from their fathers in movies. Probably because I have a healthy relationship with my father . . . but having a conversation in which we talked about Arian and Pelagian heresies, grad school papers and mutual neighbourhood ogres brought up the subject of my career, which is depressing and left me very downcast.

So now I have a headache AND no money. No, it wasn’t anything my dad said--he is always very encouraging about that sort of thing. It’s just the prospects. We changed the subject to the upcoming elections.

. . . And I was just getting into the whole idea of being okay with being this odd. The work of Merton, Aristotle, Irenaus, and all my well-meaning friends has been found to be shaky and fragile. All it takes is trust that I’m doing the right thing. I know I can’t trust myself to do the right thing--it is God that does the right thing. So does that make it my relationship with God that needs the support.

Hey, at least I have something to work on, now. This I can do something about.