Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Holy Sufficiency

Merton again, as if my plate wasn't already full. Yet at last this longstanding confusion between eros and agape clarifies a little, and a way in which the artificial division between them might be bridged appears, albeit dimly, albeit distantly. You know? That which is complex is essentially illusory, yet there's no harm in what is not real, and anyway, as Saint Thomas said (here paraphrased), the limit of our knowledge is to know that we don't know God. The swallows at dusk, their graceful swoops above the garden.

In some respects the work is one of translation - this belief system into that or rather the language of this belief system into the language of that. But one grows tired of it, and of the deepening uncertainty for which wordiness is only sometimes a salve. If only I'd taken up woodworking! The birds come closer to me - chickadees especially - and it is hard now to be unhappy, even when I'm unhappy, but loneliness - in the ontological sense - retains its teacherly prerogative. It's okay, it's how it goes, but still.

The second floor is a blessing but the stairwell is forever a reminder that the world is full of gallows and somebody somewhere is always being made to ascend. You can easily go mad on the trail of justice. One studies a pile of dense theological texts, mostly Christian, and thinks, not again. Chicory by the highway, daisies surrounding Dad's tiny raised bed garden, and the frail pink blossoms of the stubbornly abundant thimbleberry, all tickling the interior conviction that one is loved, held, grace-gifted, et cetera. Deeply, foreverly.

What we wait on is the everyday - the ordinary - returned to us is in its unadorned uncomplicated and thus clarifying simplifying essence. The narrative is nondramatic, and stillness - the seamless whole, the center-that-is-everywhere &c - precedes (by incorporation, by creation) perception. Bread calls on us to bake it, as poems call on us to write them, and we sing when we drive and insist on the heart as a metaphor, and none of it is a metaphysical problem, none of it needs to be solved or amended or repeated or undone because it's just what is, it's the holy sufficiency perfectly sufficing. How sweet and clear and satisfying when attention at last sinks into itself, not unlike the way when we trace our reflection in the water with a finger, the reflection disappears, transforms, is replaced by other, equally lovelily, patterns. Just this.

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