18 Sep 2004

I don’t think it is possible to imagine nothing — nothing, as in, the absence of all things. Just like I don’t think you can truly imagine infinity. The closest one might possibly get is a space filled with black, but that’s not it. You’ve still got space, and let’s not forget, you still have time. Nothing would have neither of those, and that’s really what makes it pretty near impossible to imagine. How does one extricate one’s mind from thinking in terms of space-time? Nothing is a mind-boggling concept, if you really consider it. It deserves some respect, I think.

The closest thing I have come to truly comprehending nothing was when I thought about the creation of angels, who in my mind would have been blinked into existence fully formed of mind and body. I imagined that their previous nonexistence would be remembered by them like one may comprehend that which is out of our field of vision. Being created would be like suddenly being able to see. Outside sight, there is no color, there is no space, there is no time — it just isn’t. That, perhaps, might just be very much like nothing….

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:04 am

17 Sep 2004

I like to watch birds drink from fountains, small pools, anywhere there is water after a rain. They drink until they are satisfied, dipping their heads, little shivers to shake off the chill. I find it fascinating. The birds fly off — I never encounter them again. They will probably remember nothing of the drink, not really; I will remember it better than they, hold it closer, for it is not always that I see the birds so sip. Somewhere in me, there is a place I can go where the birds are, dipping their heads in little waters. Somewhere in me, I can believe nothing is wasted, not even the smallest drink of water from the tiniest of birds.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

16 Sep 2004

Some go to the light of nature and the use of “right reason” (that is, their own) as their guides; and some add the additional documents of the philosophers. They think a saying of Epictetus, or Seneca, or Arrianus, being wittily suited to their fancies and affections, to have more life and power in it than any precept of the Gospel. The reason why these things are more pleasing unto them than the commands and instructions of Christ is because, proceeding from the spring of natural light, they are suited to the workings of natural fancy and understanding; but those of Christ, proceeding from the fountain of eternal spiritual light, are not comprehended in their beauty and excellency without a principle of the same light in us, guiding our understanding and influencing our affections. Hence, take any precept, general or particular, about moral duties, that is materially the same in the writings of philosophers and in the doctrine of the Gospel; not a few prefer it as delivered in the first way before the latter.

– John Owen

posted by John H. Doe @ 3:33 am

I seek a key to a lock that has never been opened.
Somehow I know it is somewhere just outside my naive fumbling,
so I reach, and I reach, hoping to pickpocket the beyond.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

14 Sep 2004

I wonder what time will make of us, if it is to be anything at all. Mostly, we live on through our children, and otherwise, we leave very little of ourselves to the generations that come. So few, even of those that are blessed with inordinate talent, are remembered past the setting of their own age…. Were we so young, once, that we so full of vinegar and purpose believed we could challenge the whole of the world, and imagine that we could save it? So when did we become statistics? For what time will make of us: they shall put a label upon those born from this date to that date, and with a swipe of the pen think they know us all. And even this, only a few of such these labels become at all memorable. So much forgotten. But of all that is lost to the void, these ordinary things: what the feeling it is to be alive, and some have been able to express a fraction of it, and been loved: for these ordinary things are a miracle, and time forgets them because we forget first: you have a soul and breath, and you have you: a motion of the universe that knows it is alive…. Or do you?

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:13 am

13 Sep 2004

I sometimes wonder how God stands it: watching all the million tragedies of every hour, all those who suffer, great and small: for not the smallest sparrow falls without that He sees. How does He keep Himself from intervening in so many countless times that He could; how does He show such restraint? O my God: there is an easy voiding of Thy even existing some may recommend to solve such a conundrum, but no, my God, I myself will not capitulate and say that Thou art not, for my heart has need of You. I think to say, instead, to save my salvation, You see what I cannot, for Thine is the infinite eye which sees the end before even the beginning. And I wonder at the secret.

Dostoevsky once said that he would not have created the world if one innocent were to suffer needlessly — You, however, obviously have done so. But I think You know something. The secret has even been known to a scant few mortals, those who prayed for the ones that murdered them (clue), and of course, to Your Son, who said, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do,” while on the cross (clue). Further, preceding that event, Christ said, “Turn the other cheek,” and He went on to do just that (clue). And then the secret comes to me, so simple to say, though I know myself I would forget it under duress: to love. For in the hereafter, where there is nothing but, there is no question why. The innocent who suffer, they are raised up with Christ our Lord upon the cross. They know a little what it means to conquer the world through surrender, and not by force of arms; they know a little of what it means to conquer death itself.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:07 am

11 Sep 2004


I breathed of the wild man’s air,
and I knew a little more than I should:
somewhere above they kept folding a fire
until all that remained was a rose,
poured the sky into the ears of dreamers
and they saw the unutterable depths
that love hides behind its poetry of light,
and time was a withering storm,
and time was a mist giving birth
to the tree of forgetting of good and evil.
I had not desired to go so far, past
forgetting where I had begun, but this
river flowed so quietly, as if time
were turning backwards, as if wondering
were logic, and I always thought
I would return, I would return,
did not understand that home, too,
traveled through the years you were away,
and returning was to desire a place
that never had been as you envisioned.
Why had I ever believed I knew
where all these roads go? I made myself
an oracle of my thousand defeats
when I sat in silence, and let
the wind decide where I would journey.
And now, in this familiar wilderness,
I wondered at the wild man:
I knew that he was such a one not
ever to forget where his treasure was,
for he kept nothing but wisdom.

posted by John H. Doe @ 10:51 am

10 Sep 2004

We would fain be humble; but not despised. To be despised and rejected is the heritage of virtue. We would be poor, too; but without privation. And doubtless we are patient; except with hardships and with disagreeables. And so with all the virtues.

– Meister Eckhart

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:11 am

...and love, I think, does not so much forget as let go, as much as it trusts its own gravity.

...and love is not a dreaming, not mostly, but an inconvenience that happens to work out well.

...and love, I think, is imaginary to many people, as they believe that it is more real than life.

...and love cannot do all that people say it can do, and breaks more hearts than it ever heals.

...and love, I think, wanders far, but desires to make of everywhere it goes a new home.

...and love is best understood by those who ask of it the least, and do the work themselves.

...and love, I think, is simpler than what you’re thinking — no, simpler than that, and that…

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

9 Sep 2004

On amber wings I have glided past the hills of my wondering, and I have broken through the horizon more than once, to come back hoary from the freeze of the void. I have stood still while the seasons traveled over me, while the years slipped quietly by, until this child’s shadow shrank into the nothingness of yesterday. By the river of time I have skipped stones across the waters: I named each of them before they sunk into the depths of all passing, slipped from my knowing beneath the Flow into time’s river bed, until they, too, forgot that they had ever been so free. But all of it: one day, I think, I must relearn to dream, for these myths that I concoct are too strong a brew for just one night’s sleep. I must climb down from the roof of the world, and watch the sunset from the shores of the imaginable — as heaven and earth meet for one solemn kiss.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

7 Sep 2004

The Jews would not willingly tread upon the smallest piece of paper in their way, but took it up; for possibly, they say, the name of God may be on it. Though there was a little superstition in this, yet truly there is nothing but good religion in it, if we apply it to men. Trample not on any; there may be some work of grace there, that thou knowest not of. The name of God may be written upon that soul thou treadest on; it may be a soul that Christ thought so much of, as to give His precious blood for it; therefore despise it not.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:08 am

Like all ordinary people, miracles have made me….
There is much magic we will never be without, never notice;
we need not wonder what God dreams about, but look: this is it.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

6 Sep 2004

When I emerged from the hazy days of my youth, it was as if out of the cocoon of a dream, never to return to the convenient illusions of ideals not thought through, into this now world of genuine consequence. In my youth, I spoke much, thinking I had a message to say; but however I try, I cannot for the life of me remember what was quite so important. I find there are times I have trouble believing any of it happened, the actions of back then, for I cared so little what I did, burned all that energy spinning disconnected wheels. And I never did find out why, though that was never my question, merely an excuse to shout out of turn. (Too, I thought I knew why, already.) And I recall I believed I’d never regret anything, but now, I find at times I regret everything….

A “however” of modest size does come to mind, I must say, when I think along these lines: interestingly, the sum of whatever I did or didn’t do, it all did lead me here. Somehow, I began understanding things along the way. Perhaps it is all accidental, the little wisdom I have, but I know enough to hold onto what is worth something in this life — especially the serendipity. This sight I have, I think I have come by honest enough means: I learned to respect the fire by getting burned over and over. Sometimes, such is the only way you ever learn. Remember, now: I’m not saying that the fire is bad, or even to be feared, it’s just that growing up is more and more learning how small you are. And just how big that fire out there really is. Wakes you up.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:05 am

4 Sep 2004

When you fail, with no recourse: there you will find God. Wisdom is in the house of mourning, not of mirth [see Ecclesiastes 7:4]. It is doing the thing you least want to do, and to do it over and over: in that is the good that comes from above, as one might have when one loves his enemies. For true faith is known in suffering, in the road you would not prefer to take; Jesus Christ proved that Himself when He took up the cross. If it is convenient to you, where then can you say you have been tested? If there is no risk to take, where then is faith? If you do not know pain, how can you understand the cross? Jesus Christ came not to conquer the world, but to be betrayed, tortured, and killed. We must, if we are to be followers of Him, expect similar treatment.

One might see that if things are going one’s way, that is when to be aware that perhaps the rug will then be pulled from under one’s feet. For just before He was crucified, Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem amid the exultation of the masses. But how God works: as Paul said, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.” [Romans 8:18] And that goes for whatever the world can muster up. Such the ultimate failure for a messiah — death in humiliation — in this way, the whole of the Earth was saved. When Jesus Christ loved His enemies enough to give himself into their hands, when His fate was sealed: this was when God took the greatest of action. Look, and see: this was when we all won.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:04 am

3 Sep 2004

In my troubled soul, I have wondered why. I have doubted, I have thought sometimes that salvation was very far away, or I have forgotten altogether that there be any light that shines. I slept in dreamless sleeps, and been thankful only that no visions came to haunt me, that there was only the nullity of a pretend oblivion where I lay. But there was nothing to do but continue, nothing to do but to be what I was, to live as I live. And there was a certain understanding there, in the pain — no amount of glee would impart the smallest part of this wisdom, insight only pain has to give. For in joy you may feel that life is worth living, but all those in such light do not truly know why, however one may think that this is life’s ultimate purpose. It is in sorrow where the meaning of life ultimately lies. This meaning, though it may stay unspoken, this is the thing that makes you keep on, even though all reasons why have flown away. This is the thing that pulls you through, though the distance may be long, and the future seems full of despair. Pain can reveal strength that otherwise might be unknown. Purpose is a deeper thing.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

2 Sep 2004

The nature of love is not to prefer error, but to make of mistakes the better than if all had stayed perfect.

posted by John H. Doe @ 2:05 am

I can tell you for an eternal truth that troubled souls are always safe. It is the untroubled that are in danger. Trouble in itself is always a claim on love, and God is love. He must deny Himself if He does not come to help the helpless. It is the prisoners, and the blind, and the leper, and the possessed, and the hungry, and the tempest-tossed, who are His special care. Therefore if you are lost and sick and bound, you are just in the place where He can meet you. Blessed are the mourners. They shall be comforted.

– Andrew Jukes

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:07 am


I exist to tear down the scaffolding
I erected yesterday,
and to work on something else.
I have no respect
for the me of then, whom sleep has killed;
when I was born this morning,
I forgot who he was,
and I knew only
I had better get busy with the day
before o, I am slain, too.
Then, by the end,
I am so rapt in it all,
so thoroughly saturated
with all my perturbations,
I forget: planning
and framing, calculating
and projecting all I will need do: that
tomorrow, I awake
and see how much the fool I was
to dream my florid dreams,
and I will dream of else, dream otherwise:
for when I am that fool,
it all seems so vigorously important,
what I dare conceive,
and I cannot imagine
tomorrow comes like a stranger,
with no memory
of how all of it mattered so,
no desire to see
what might have been, only if, only if.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

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