31 Aug 2004

One morning I met a strange, helpful man. He had wild, straggly hair, with a beard and mustache that was graying and unkempt; he was wearing a ragged brown overcoat. He looked as if he could have been homeless, though as he stood there on the sidewalk, he didn’t ask me for my spare change.

He said to me, “The future is here, and soon, it will be past.”

I was on my way to work, and so I hurried on by him, and I paid him no mind. He was not there the next day, nor the next, nor the next after that, and I forgot him by and by. But then, long afterwards, one year to the day, I saw him again — though it would not have registered that it was the same man, except for what he said.

He said to me, “The future is here, and soon, it will be past.”

And then it was like my life flashing before my eyes: the whole year from the last point where we two timelines had intersected came in one blurred, dizzying vision, scene after scene of the pratfalls and victories, the little joys and solemn sadnesses, the routines and the surprises, birthdays, holidays, weddings, funerals, dreams, and realities: all the way back to the last time he had said those same words to me, when all that was of this last year had been the future, and now it all was the past. I stood for a moment, stunned.

I had been on my way to work, but I thought better of that, now. There were things I needed to do, now that I understood this thing that man had said. He was walking away, now, down the street a ways, and I thought it best not to chase him down. He had delivered his message. I knew where I was.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

30 Aug 2004

Not all of us want to know the answers to the BIG QUESTIONS. Some of us do; we make as if we are holy warriors to conquer all the world in the name of TRUTH. These of us, we have wings of our own fashioning, to fly higher in the airs of philosophy, theology, neuromancy: in other words, no, our feet are simply not firmly planted on the ground, and sometimes, a strong enough wind will lose us down pathways of the heavens where there is no logical exit. But like I said, not all of us are like that. Some of us live all of himself with both feet stoutly on terra firma, and don’t even look up to see all those wannabe angels going at it with their paper swords. Now, a lot of those “up there” look down on those who are earth-bound, but there are a few — just a few — who know somewhere in their hearts that though the air up there is full of those BIG QUESTIONS thrown and cast about, it may be that those down there have answered them. Just for themselves, no one else. Just little answers, some daily bread, enough to sustain them for today. And any of those who understand, they know this, too: there is no other day but today.

posted by John H. Doe @ 7:03 am

28 Aug 2004

I suddenly saw that all the time it was not I who had been seeking God, but God who had been seeking me. I had made myself the centre of my own existence and had my back turned to God. All the beauty and truth which I had discovered had come to me as a reflection of his beauty, but I had kept my eyes fixed on the reflection and was always looking at myself. But God had brought me to the point at which I was compelled to turn away from the reflection, both of myself and of the world which could only mirror my own image. During that night the mirror had been broken, and I had felt abandoned because I could no longer gaze upon the image of my own reason and the finite world which it knew. God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.

– Bede Griffiths

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:29 am

Some dreams are small, small enough to etch on a grain of rice.
Some dreams are as huge as two skies, but still are light as a feather.
Some dreams are forgotten, and these take no space, but how they weigh.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:18 am

27 Aug 2004

My Lord says to me, “Do this.”

And I ask, “Why, Lord, why?”

And He does not answer. And then I think of a million reasons why this thing would not be a good idea, a million excuses I might give that such a thing is impossible, a million other things I could do instead. And I think of myself how unfortunate I am that I am given such a burden, how inconvenient all of everything is.

And then I do this one thing, after all that complaining. How simple it is; and the moment I am done, I see how right and good that I did need do it, and as I continue on from after its completion, understanding comes after understanding of its purpose. But yet:

My Lord says again to me, “Do this.”

And still I ask, “Why, Lord, why?”

For the flesh so easily forgets.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:04 am

26 Aug 2004

What is the Christian? Everywhere the man who, so far as he comprehends Jesus Christ, so far as he can get any knowledge of Him, is His servant — the man who makes Christ a teacher of his intelligence and the guide of his soul — the man who obeys Christ as far as he has been able to understand him… I would know any man as a Christian, would rejoice to know any man as a Christian, whom Jesus would recognize as a Christian; and Jesus Christ, I am sure, in these old days recognized His followers even if they came after Him with the blindest sight, with the most imperfect recognition and acknowledgment of what He was and of what He could do.

– Phillips Brooks

posted by John H. Doe @ 3:22 am

I have dreamed, and if you stripped me of everything else, I could clothe myself in my memories.

I have dreamed, but these are nothing compared to the glimmer of dawn when you have thought night has won.

I have dreamed, and these dreams are strange, as if someone else had scripted them, and cast me as the star.

I have dreamed, but so has everyone else, I think — though not all of us will confess just what.

I have dreamed, and when I awake, I wonder where I have been: such a wonderful place is this nowhere.

I have dreamed, but this life is full of things I could never have imagined, that dreams never dreamed.

I have dreamed, and dreams have all spit me back out, back into this world, for I have never belonged there.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

24 Aug 2004

Moment

The moment is vibrating,
breath halts,
but the undertakings of great
purpose and velocity
cease to move
anyone…. I have become
gelatin, who shivers
based upon
the knocking of the world,
that will not fill
the deeper hunger
I have seen in your eyes….
We have now
made ourselves disposable,
from grandfather
to toy soldier,
and we have no idea
why it all seemed to matter so
when we were so young
and the taste
of all that was sweet
filled our whole world,
if only for a second….
I think I will
pray tonight, and ask
Jesus why He made why,
when we really
don’t want to know,
when all we
really dream about
is to be loved
without anyone asking
who, exactly, we think we are….

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

23 Aug 2004

The evidence for Christian truth is not exhaustive, but it is sufficient. Too often, Christianity has not been tried and found wanting — it has been found demanding, and not tried.

– John Baillie

posted by John H. Doe @ 8:36 am

Ramble on.

Quiet. Then thinking turns on without me noticing…. There is perhaps just this and that to understand. This: I have become the name that everyone forgets, that there is nothing there, really, to me at all. I have become worse than invisible, at least in this day and age — I am ordinary…. That: we who are ordinary believe that greatness comes by luck, by fate, by subsidies of some greater wind. We don’t believe that one can ever choose to be great, that enough hard work and determination will ever win out verses blind chance…. Further: like that guy in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book 2? 3?) who was immortal without the ability to handle it, so it is perhaps with a few of those who are esteemed in the world. And there’s the other side of the bucket, those who are all too ready to be favored without being in any way outstanding…. And then there’s: what else?

What am I missing? Yes, there’s that, and that, and that… and… stop. Too much. I don’t want to know, do I? Makes me think of the fact that normal human beings only use 10% of their brains; and do you know who use 30%? Schizophrenics. Makes me think that no, I don’t need to know that you could make a pattern between a random someone winking at you and why the newspaper boy is waiting to kill you one of these mornings and the huge conspiracy behind all things everywhere. Makes me think, you know, there’s a lot to be said about merely being ordinary in this world of twisted extremes…. And what does it mean, to be ordinary? I think perhaps we need to raise the bar on the word. I am ordinary, but that does not mean I will not care, and that does not mean I will do nothing. I am ordinary, and I matter…. Maybe that’s what I’m missing.

Ramble off.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

21 Aug 2004

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”

[Mark 12:10 quoting Psalms 118:22]

Has this ever happened to you? That which you are about to throw away — something in you hesitates to get rid of it, and somehow, it becomes of the most precious of your things. Not disturbing to me is just what we are thinking when we are about to discard such things, for man is a fallible creature, but what exactly it is that makes us relent to dispose of them. That little voice, sometimes not even that, just a little half-hunch: destiny is made of such tiny intuitions. Such is often all there is to the calling of that which is meant to be. Look not to all the shouting, I think, when looking for great things: it is in the quiet where much of any genius works, not to be noticed until it finds a way to change the world.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:07 am

20 Aug 2004

For all the darkness in the world, how undying is light.
How powerful can be a single candle glowing at midnight,
that in the world, hope is still is kindled, meaning yet promises.

posted by John H. Doe @ 1:22 am

Grünewald: The Crucifixion

Click on pic for larger version.

Grünewald: The Resurrection

Click on pic for larger version.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

19 Aug 2004

I am not one who has ever traveled the straight course, always to the road. I am a wanderer. I am often carried by the wind to places I did not know were there. I think sometimes that I am very little responsible for much of my life’s courses; it is like I am a feather blown by the breezes. I am thankful that I have come this far, blind as I am to where my foot will land the next step I take — I am fortune’s meager pawn. And the sum of the good in myself, any of the good I have done, somehow I think it is an accident — that if I were to have tried to do the right thing, it would have turned afoul. Accidental virtue, I recognize, is perhaps very little credit to a soul.

Has control always been an illusion? I would like to believe that, I think, seeing as I seem to have so little command of my life. We take whatever situation presented us and make do — we wander astray unaware that the road we travel is not the one we believe we’re on. We are each of us only human; we are small and the world is large; the universe is little changed if we exist or are not. I find I must put my trust in a higher voice — that I must acknowledge my smallness and my frailty. I cannot be left to myself; I have faltered and fallen before, and I will always find some way to fail if I go it alone.

I remember, now, what it was to lie on my back and face the sky midnight blue, myriad stars scattered throughout the canopy of night — to face it alone. How much the larger I was, back then, the whole world at my grasp. But however great I thought I was, those salad days when I was yet strong and unbroken, it was much the lesser treasure than what I have now: the courage to be as small as I am, in a world so much larger.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:07 am

17 Aug 2004

Albert Einstein

In one page of his mind, the ink
runs deep, equations worn
by constant rewriting are
cut by the creases of them
folded away and tucked in
one of the desk drawers of his
imagination. Some dreams
you carry, some carry you.
One corner, one corner of
this page no one knows about,
the ink is blurred — in some
moment, quiet and alone,
Albert Einstein cried, strangely
mortal — we don’t know why.

posted by John H. Doe @ 3:58 am

Where, then, does happiness lie? In forgetfulness, not indulgence, of the self. In escape from sensual appetites, not in their satisfaction. We live in a dark, self-enclosed prison, which is all we see or know if our glance is fixed ever downward. To lift it upward, becoming aware of the wide, luminous universe outside — this alone is happiness. At its highest level, such happiness is the ecstasy that mystics have inadequately described. At more humdrum levels, it is human love; the delights and beauties of our dear earth, its colors and shapes and sounds; the enchantment of understanding and laughing, and all other exercise of such faculties as we possess; the marvel of the meaning of everything, fitfully glimpsed, inadequately expounded, but ever present.

– Malcolm Muggeridge

posted by John H. Doe @ 1:33 am

We feel something. We are caught in the moment, and we cannot conceive that we would feel any other way about it, this tremendous thing. When we are young, we believe that each love, as it happens, will last forever. And when it is over, we think we will never love again, that the heartbreak is the world coming to its pitiful end. We learn however, it is not so, that these things we experience — we learn otherwise about these things that seem to mean so much. One might be tempted, as these things rise and fall, to believe the opposite. That there is nothing that lasts, and there is nothing that matters (much). Yet perhaps there are things in the world that though we let go of them, they do not let go of us, elements of the eternal that infiltrate our finity — and we become part of something so much larger than we can conceive. It is up to us each to wonder what these might be, but perhaps you know of what I speak: the things we imagine that on our dying day, lying with our energies expiring: the things, then, that we do not regret.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:50 am

16 Aug 2004

It is better to feel than not to feel.

posted by John H. Doe @ 1:56 am

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