30 Sep 2004

Does it amaze you what the human soul is capable of withstanding? Of overcoming? We are each of us built with a certain capacity to endure suffering, and I think it speaks well enough of mercy that most of us never come to experience half as much as that limit could bear. Somewhere I understand that things could usually be much worse than what we go through. Yes, I know: none of us leads an easy life, and we all feel pain. But I think very few of us (as we have heard in the news) will have to go as drastic as cutting off a limb by our own hand to survive the day. The human being: after creating the sun and moon, God said it was good, but after man and woman, He said it was very good. It is that perhaps He made us not only to survive, but to others who have ears to ear, inspire. It is in our blood to challenge challenge.

Now, I do not know what the grand plan is, why so many of us have to suffer as much as we do. But I believe in a God that will make good for all of it, and then some. Some might think me an idiot for thinking that an all-benevolent deity would allow for such pain, on such a worldwide scale, to happen, but occasionally I get glimpses of why. When I hear of such stories where ordinary people overcome extraordinary difficulties, it awakens something noble in me. That there is so much promise in humankind. It would be easy to lose heart, with all the woes of the world, to lose faith, but we are made better than that. We can believe when there is every reason to doubt. For my part, it is a hope within my heart of hearts that I never let it go, that I will hold the idea in the core of my being: God is love. Let me always confess such a One. This is the God in whose image we are made.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:09 am

29 Sep 2004

Words are how I chisel against the face of the unknown. Sometimes I get exactly what I think to discover underneath the rock, but sometimes, I unearth a thing completely unexpected. The known emerges from the unknown through my motions. Too, at times one chisels against a well grooved surface, and the known becomes the unknown through my hand — the evident becomes the mystery. But it is the same process, it is still discovery: to see what is there, whether something can be made plain where there is question, or to see that there is an enigma hidden in the plain: the same chipping away. Of this process, I find I cannot stay away, stay still for long; something in me drives me on to discover what lies underneath the visages of the known and unknown. And I think that the world I am unearthing is only half the picture, for it is, too, finding myself in what I uncover. It is understanding of how this soul wanders through the day, just how this soul makes it through the night.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:11 am

28 Sep 2004

The secret is love. Tell everyone.

posted by John H. Doe @ 10:11 pm

In the last analysis, the service the Christian does is not his, but Christ’s. Therefore he must not feel too keenly the burden of responsibility, because at the end of the day all he can say is, “We are unprofitable servants”. This knowledge, far from inhibiting action, actually releases the Christian from that appalling feeling of responsibility that has driven so many high-minded humanists to despair, even to suicide… Work done conscientiously by the Christian is his share in Christ’s service; but it is Christ’s service, and therefore the Christian need neither be proud because it has succeeded or overwhelmed because it has failed. The service of Christ is supremely expressed in the apparent failure of the Cross.

– Anthony T. Hanson

posted by John H. Doe @ 7:16 am

All the places we haunt are only stops along the way;
even this world is merely these multitude travelers’ waypoint:
all we, destinations unknown, slouching toward infinity.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

27 Sep 2004

I wonder at the ways of God, for His ways are not like our ways — His ways are above our ways, as heaven is above the earth. [see Isaiah 55:8-9] It is perhaps thus that He spoke in riddles to the prophets, for the understanding of man could perhaps only see things as mystery that are perfectly clear seen from above. And perhaps it is not ours, not in this life, ever to understand some of the things that happen, some of the reasons — reasons above our reasons. I think I wonder at these things as like a child reaching up to the stars, for as a child, they seemed so near, only just beyond my grasp. And like the stars so distant, perhaps it will never be ours, not even in the next life, to understand the grander things of this design. For this child grew and understood just how far, far away those stars were that he reached for. Even in the next life, when we are told why, it may be understanding as we who are below gaze at the stars on high: to watch them twinkle from afar, not ever to feel the fires that burn within them. For such fires, I think, are the ways of God like.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

25 Sep 2004

I cannot say what will do the trick for you if you’ve never had it happen. It is like the whole world opening up for you, a brand new universe that now shows its colors. And you may try to seal yourself up from it, have shut up your soul as if by a lock whose key you have forgotten where it is, but to refuse it from your heart you will find is useless. If it wants to happen, nothing can stop it. How many people have said it is futile, it is useless, and worse: that it is a lie. But it’s just that they have never had it happen to them, and they are merely overcome in the blindness that holds the whole world in darkness. Listen, I am no spokesman. If you never had it happen, you may feel cheated when you hear the word, you may feel it has nothing to do with anything. But maybe, you’ve just heard it wrong, or just weren’t ready to hear its simple message. To believe. There is one name that is above all other names, and it is Jesus.

posted by John H. Doe @ 1:07 am

Daybreak

The curtain of night rises
as if the show were new. The
solemn brightness,
retreat of shadows:
something happens today (it always does):
we forget darkness, we wake
into the fulfillment
of so long ago: “Let there be light,”
and there was light.
Something happens today (it always does):
somewhere a life is
inexorably altered:
most likely, it will not be you….
In the beginning,
the new day was a miracle,
too far back
to remember;
but here at dawn,
it is yet possible
for one fleeting moment
to feel it, comprehend
(the miracle)
it is, still.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:11 am

24 Sep 2004

To stand on one leg and prove God’s existence is a very different thing from going on one’s knees and thanking Him.

– Søren Kierkegaard

posted by John H. Doe @ 8:08 am

I pray that I will write and keep writing before I know what’s really going on. For if I were to see the breadth and depth of my ignorance, how small a stone I throw into the waters of the world, I think I would utterly freeze, speechless.

I am afraid, too, that I will become one such that nothing surprises me anymore. How tragic, if the heart ceases ever to race again, falls into an eternal routine of rub-dub, rub-dub.

For what I know still surprises me if I choose to look at it. Though there is pain everywhere, people dying, people killing — even with all that, people still believe in people.

The world is not made without adversity, for instead, we are made strong enough to withstand it. In this realization lies one of the secrets to life.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

23 Sep 2004

[one]

The wind does not dream of us; we are merely ghosts of even more ephemeral material than the breeze, and we pass through this atmosphere quicker than that; the wind dreams of faces of stone to carve, in a strange intelligence, by way of a million years of continual wear.

[two]

No matter what anyone tells you, you have a soul. Even if all things were explained, all the chemical reactions measured as to what causes fear and madness, joy and genius — even if all the molecules that made it up were accounted, to look out from behind these eyes will tell anyone that there will always be something inexplicable, ineffable about life.

[three]

In my seeing, God is a preposterous proposition that happens to be true. To follow that, God is love. Love is another preposterous propositions that happens to be true. Then there comes that love is life. Life is that third preposterous proposition, which of the three is the only one that can be proved to exist — and even that is sketchy. I will say, if you cannot believe in God, at least believe in love. If you cannot believe in love, believe in life: the wind may yet remember you.

[let it be]

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

22 Sep 2004

There needs be a God to make a Heaven, but Hell we can create on our own.

posted by John H. Doe @ 7:11 am

My days are a vain repetition of a purpose I have forgotten, of a sacrament that has lost all flavor. In my moving, there have been dreams I thought I could achieve, but always they crumble into a thousand flakes just when I try and cast off from the shore within them. Why do I keep trusting these imaginary vessels? Or maybe the explanation of me is in something else. I have lost love, somewhere: and perhaps that is the whole tale of my life summed up in five words: they make the why to the rest of it…. But really, don’t mind me, because I have ceased to exist; nowhere in this world will you find me, for I have become one of my own dreams: I thought I could be me, but I was merely an illusion, a prayer that a child spoke every night, kneeling without ever believing in the miracle, so no miracle ever happened.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

21 Sep 2004

Jesus once declared that God is “good to the ungrateful and the wicked” [Luke 6:35], and I remember preaching a sermon on this text to a horrified and even astonished congregation who simply refused to believe (so I gathered afterwards) in this astounding liberality of God. That God should be in a state of constant fury with the wicked seemed to them only right and proper, but that God should be kind towards those who were defying or disobeying His laws seemed to them a monstrous injustice. Yet I was but quoting the Son of God Himself, and I only comment here that the terrifying risks that God takes are part of His Nature. We do not need to explain or modify His unremitting love towards mankind.

– J. B. Phillips

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:12 pm

The gravity of despair catches hold, and I fall, fall.
Why must these emotions weigh so much? So difficult to move on…
Impossibly, I stand, bearing thought as heavy as the world.

posted by John H. Doe @ 10:47 am

The Fisherman

In an old land far off, a salty sea churned beyond the shores. There was a man who fished the waters out in that sea. Every day he woke before dawn, in darkness setting out, out into that broad expanse, casting his nets all day, and when he waited (between the time when he let the nets out and pulled them back in), he dreamed. He dreamed with his eyes wide open, understanding that they were only dreams and nothing but the air of his mind. He dreamed of never having to wake before dawn to set out to the ocean, never to need to cast his nets out and pull them in, that he lived far inland in a great mansion and that every need he had all he needed do was snap his fingers and they were done. He dreamed this every day.

The man had a wife, and he had a son, and he never talked to them about the dream he had. Time passed, he grew older, and his son grew up enough to bring out with him to fish. When he did this, the man had no time to dream his dream, because whenever he looked as if his eyes were drifting off, his son would ask him what he was thinking of. Embarrassed, he would always say that he was thinking of the boy’s mother. Then he would change the subject, and he and the boy would talk of this and that. As the days and weeks passed, the man felt a change come over him. He didn’t mind so much waking before dawn, going out to fish, because he had his son with him, and whenever he was about to float off into his dream, the boy would bring him back down, and they would talk of this thing and that.

One night he had a dream, but not that old one. That old dream had faded away by now. He dreamed he was out in the ocean with his son, and they were fishing. When his eyes started to drift away, his son asked him what he was thinking, and then they talked about this and that. And the fisherman couldn’t tell if he was dreaming or he was awake.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:08 am

20 Sep 2004

Given a random thing, apply love, and you make of what is trivial, priceless.

posted by John H. Doe @ 2:56 am

Pain

We forget how much pain there is in poetry,
lulled, we, into the dreaming
by the undulating words;
images are drawn of roses we forget
are colored by an opened vein,
tears have dripped down
drawn up from bottomless sorrow
by way of the irrigation grooved by the pen.
How sad it is to read of a tragedy
and we saw only how beautiful
were the words, how wise
the metaphors invoked.
We graverobbers: yet, what are we to do?
For a million million words
cannot properly spell
the name of one life lost,
but to say nothing: that is a second death.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:05 am

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