May 01, 2005

Beltane : Excerpts from a Journal.

This will be my last post for approximately two weeks. When I return, I will officially be a college graduate, and I'll be writing to you from my new iMac computer in my new apartment in Pittsburgh! I wanted to leave you with merry May Day wishes and a series of excerpts from my spirit journal that I began writing last summer as part of my creative writing work. I hope you enjoy! Until we meet again...

Intention: to keep a journal of questions and ideas regarding the religious and the spiritual, to focus my meditations and also to fuel my writing. To begin to understand that relationship.

Last night I realized, upon remembering a particular event in my childhood, that I had never recorded it or told it to anyone--just how much of my life is known only to me. Just how many random bits and moments exist only in my mind and nowhere else. And when I die they will cease to exist altogether. Which makes me wonder of what significance they are in the first place. Do things that are unremembered or even unobserved have some spiritual significance, or are things in our lives only important because we are conscious of them? Remembering this question today, I realize that I've forgotten which childhood event it was that spurred it.

What does it mean that the Word became flesh? I'm used to thinking of words as less than the realities they represent--as mere inadequate replacements. True, poems are unique entities of words that are somehow in themselves new and beautiful things; not merely flat replacements for an absent reality, but a new reality itself for which words are the medium just as our normal realities are mediated through touch and sight and sound... But what does it mean to say that the Word became flesh, that some eternal Word became a walking man on earth in historical time? Does that mean the man was somehow less than the Word? Or that there is something which is transcendent and present in both, despite the change in medium? I've read mostly that this means the nature of God, from the beginning, was always self-revelatory and self-communicating, and that is what it means to say "in the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God"... because words are how we communicate with one another, as well as being fundamentally and importantly symbolic the way few other things are. But that seems too simple.

Word became flesh--Jesus was born--so that he would die, I know that much, it would seem. What I don't understand is how I am supposed to be a religious person now. The Word became present so that we would be "saved" by its absence? But then, if it is eternal, not only is it not absent now, but it was never not-present to begin with... Jesus is the self-revelation of God in human form--but he is dead now, and now all we have are words, which is what we had to begin with. Am I supposed to believe that if Jesus had never been born, no amount of words would be enough? How are words enough now? Experience, a relationship with God--is it only possible because of Jesus? What about before he was born? If the Word is eternal, then God has always been self-revelatory, and thus a relationship with God has always been possible...

Mary's yes become flesh.
I realize that to read poetry I open books in bursts, and that when I am reading them, what I am doing is looking for the perfect one--the one that says I am in love with your secret face, I am wondering at the idea of conception, I am wanting to touch the lining along the opening of your body called lips--and that I never find it. And that these are times to put away my eyes, to bring out my breath and fingers. To make my own.

What convinces me that we will die is that we are capable of loving. If we are capable of loving, then what are we incapable of?

There are no flowers trying to leave their impressions on me, to communicate their divinity and little holiness--there are no poets thinking of me in their poems the way I think of this one or that one of the people I love whom I want to tell I love--no, there is only God who is slowly seducing me, here with a stray line of verse, here with a single petal that grew and uncurled itself into sunlight without a thought to my petal-less condition--there is only God in all of these things, molding their thoughtlessness into blessings, ensuring that the life they enfold passes into me--and there is only me, learning to allow myself to seep back into the world--and there is only you, who will come to know my touch or the touch of a flower, the touch of some little holiness.

"Do not be afraid." Because fear is what closes us off from revelation, from the activity of the divine. When we are afraid, we are still relying, at least partially, on our own ability to filter experience, to sort good from bad and keep ourselves clean and pure. To be open means to risk being dirty--to be open to the fading colors of the sunlight and the bits of dead leaves gathering over you, but also to the clean rains and fresh air moving across you. Be not afraid--he will die (we all die) and before he dies he will suffer--it's not up to you to keep him from it--your yes is your consent to being open. Your consent to watch him die. What is your answer?


At 1.5.05, Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

Congratulations on Graduating! I hope that your future is bright and clear.

At 2.5.05, Blogger Ali said...

Thanks! I'm still trying to let it sink in. ;)

At 2.5.05, Blogger Andrew said...

I don't no what to congratulate you for more: the fact that you are graduating, or the fact that you are getting an iMac!

At 2.5.05, Blogger Ali said...

O, I know! My very first computer was a Mac, but for the past ten years I've been cursed with various PCs (usually due to discount bulk purchases through work or school). Getting an iMac feels like finally coming home again!

And yeah, graduating is pretty exciting, too, I guess. ;)


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