30 Nov 2004

The only viable legal strategy to take in the Last Judgment is to throw yourself on the mercy of the court. For we will find we are all guilty, but discover the Judge is willing to forgive us everything.

posted by John H. Doe @ 4:53 am

I am thankful for quiet. Like peace, it is not an elaborate form of nothing. And like peace, it is not anything if it does not pervade what is inside you. Some people fight their entire lives for it, even if they do not name it as such; it is the cousin of contentment, what conceives reflection, the friend of the saint. There are many accoutrements that may go with it, sometimes a cup of tea is all that suffices, sometimes it is all the world that accompanies it. Not the daze of a daydream, not the nullifying high of something artificial inducing, it is to be awake, and it is to know. It is to be as poised as is a moment that solves the crisis of to be or not to be. The quiet flows into me, it flows out. It is the breath of the ephemeral, eternal now, realizing itself through my being merely me.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:08 am

29 Nov 2004

The seconds diligently pass whether you choose to fill them with action or no. The sun and the moon you will never find them lagging in their duties. Gravity will never stop pulling, nor will light fail to light. I speak of these things mixing together two thoughts I have had previously, the first being that all of such activities, happening without fail, speak of the creator, the creation showing in itself the nature of God. The other is of the concept that God’s thoughts are above our thoughts as His ways are above our ways. For we cannot help but think in terms that consciousness is somewhere fallible, somewhere apt to fail: it is from this we obtain the term “only human”. But God is not like this. He is more certain than all the seconds that are diligently passing, a surer pull than gravity, better light than light. Thus we cannot truly comprehend this sort of surety of purpose, steadiness of aim, for we only know of ourselves, of whom we call at best of us only in hyperbole people “to set our watches by”.

Myself, I believe that even God gets tired, at rare moments. And like the nature of love, these times are when I think He does His best work, though we do not prefer that He work under such circumstances. But I will speak little of this sort of situation, for it draws on a third thought, and perhaps that is too much to write two simple paragraphs on. He did create us in His image, I am saying, that there are things about Him we may understand. But in us, the things are relative, and in Him, the things are absolute. In us, the things are finite, and in Him, the things are endless and eternal. And these seconds that pass by, that diligently pass: they will do so, speaking of how certainly God watches over us: it is up to us to choose to be His children, to make of them our own diligences, our own reliabilities, however faltering. To do with our time the good we were made capable of: however faint, His image in us.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:04 am

27 Nov 2004

Faith is better than armor.

posted by John H. Doe @ 4:33 am

Lost

Lost, completely lost:
I recall
the dark night of this soul
where I walked
in the shadows of the city’s alleyways.
I recall
wandering in desperate hope
that I would get
somewhere,
anywhere…. And
there were
angels all around me that I
could not imagine
would follow to where I was.
For I went
where the darkness
peered from the underworld,
where the night
had no end, where time forgot
your identity….
And I know
there were angels:
in quiet moments, there were times
when I knew
without knowing how
that dawn would inevitably
break through
the deepest of all shadow, enter
into the most forsaken
of any world, I,
there in
the city’s alleyway,
peering up at a starless sky,
wondering.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

26 Nov 2004

Flightless I, an earthbound wanderer; and thus is the curse of this modern day: may you be ordinary. My heart is cracked like an egg, poured out of me until I feel nothing at all there, in the vacuum of my desire. I wonder who I truly am, and I wonder where I can search for such identification. But do not think that I am in some kind of mystic pain, for what it is may be called only a kind of numbness. It is an existential yawn, I suppose. Somewhere in me, though, too far down to detect, there is a running undercurrent of faith that I know will sustain me through this drought of inspiration, the lack thereof which forces out this essay paragraph as a tirade of meaningless poetry. Perhaps all I need do is pray, and mighty forces will reengage some bootstrap process, a system restart of the soul. Or perhaps all I really need is a kick in the rear. And maybe growing up is merely how to go about doing that ourselves when someone else’s foot is not conveniently available. Yes, I think that’s all of it: I need only to get over myself.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

25 Nov 2004

I am a sad painting: in my stillness is a certain despair. E. E. Cummings, who was a painter, too, poeticized about a love that who, if she desired to close him, he would end “as when the heart of this flower imagines the snow carefully everywhere descending.” And I wonder, who has loved like this? Anyone? I sense only silence is the answer to that. My colors are all shades of blue, deepening only when the currents of sorrow swim through me. Did I ever truly know the rhythm of the world’s motions? For if I did, I never sensed the trail of music that led me to that love, to whom I would close if she desired, to whom there is imagining transcending the bounds of this earth. I feel I am not alone. Who else has sketched himself a still life awaiting the bold colors of unknown passion? We cannot wait forever. These sad paintings, when the canvas dries, less than the shadow effects remain of what was once rendered there. But for now, patience.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

23 Nov 2004

The Partisan Review, a journal of literary opinion representing a section of advanced secular thought, recently published a series of papers answering the question, “Why has there been a turn toward religion among intellectuals?” The asking of the question is significant. Few writers dispute the fact implied by it. Most of the contributors, whether they count themselves among those who have “turned to religion” or not, find the principal reason for it in the collapse of the optimistic hope that modern science and human good will would bring the world into an era of peace and justice. The confidence in that outcome has been so violently shaken that men must ask whether there are not higher resources than man’s to sustain courage and hope. The faith of the Bible points to such sources. God works within the tragic destiny of human efforts with a healing power, and a reconciling spirit. Even those who have felt completely superior to all “outworn” religious notions, must look today at least wistfully to the possibility that such a God lives and works.

– D. D. Williams

posted by John H. Doe @ 7:22 am

I dream of hills drawn in crayon, of watercolor skies.
I dream of forests colored in oils, deer sketched in magic marker.
I dream of a sun streaming down ink, and a whole world to paint.

posted by John H. Doe @ 7:19 am

22 Nov 2004

Why is it so difficult for us to try and understand each other? For once, at least, it seems that all of us have picked a side to be on, but on either side of the fence do we each feel that ours is the morality, that we each only see the clearer truth. Why cannot we — just for kicks — stop and listen to what the other side is trying to say? For we are all imperfect conveyers of the information our hearts attempt to relay, and it seems to me that a lot of all of us our actions are based on what our hearts are telling us is right. It seems, however, that we are afraid of this one thing: that we may see what they are talking about. And that perhaps, we will become the thing we hate. In our spirits, though, we may find we have more things in common than not. If we fear to understand, we are no more than upright beasts, brute intelligences made only for conflict. What do you think is behind the words the other side is saying? It is the same no matter which side you are on: a human being.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

20 Nov 2004

Try to desire well, for that is a virtue in and of itself.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:05 am

The meanings of the symbols have been lost, and we speak a language whose words are defined by things no one understands. Good and evil once had specific intonations, specific justifications and juxtapositions, specific depths. They are now for us cartoon characters, grossly caricaturized words, comic book philosophies that have no bearing to genuine flesh and blood. And what is this thing, faith? Many equate it with foolishness, now, not the sacred sensation it once represented. Then there is love… it is three lines of poetry written by someone else, to be sent in envelopes on holidays. It is perhaps high time to look in the last place any of us do: to look inside ourselves, for it is the only place where we can answer this: what meaning is left?

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

19 Nov 2004

Ashes, Dust

We are the epitome
of what may be
created from ashes.
Remember that all things
have their end;
the engine continues on
because other things
begin. Do not despair
if all that is left you
is the dust of the
former generation.
For we recall
that it was from dust
that we were made,
the moisture
of the breath of God
which turned it
into the clay
of our flesh. And even in
rot are creeping things
thereby fed.
The world is strange
with what survives,
and what is
resigned to oblivion.
Do not give up
so easily, for it may be
that treasures
are sometimes discarded
among the ashes,
even words
no one thought
could spell the name
of the divine,
from the voice of the gutter.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:09 am

18 Nov 2004

These are just rearrangements of words, all of them you have read before; verily, there is nothing new under the sun. But Romeo spoke to Juliet in such words, and we beheld magic, for some reason; politicians spoke in such words and we sensed the disingenuous. We have been hammered by terms and terminology all through our lives, and yet there are still phrases that move us, that shake us, that surprise us — even though they are all only words, and we have heard them all before. It is why the writer still bothers to write, even knowing all stories have already been told, why we will do the work to finish our craft. There are still tales to weave whose patterns rhyme with the infinite, who draw light from the inexhaustible fires of creation. So I say, quick, before the candle goes out: tell me what the everyman does next.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

16 Nov 2004

Make some noise: death can only speak when life is silent.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:12 am

White wind, tell me why we are as we are.

For I have traveled these two thousand roads and found only division, one from another, squandering these precious hours on argument alone.

Did I dream that you ever were, the voice of the deepness of the world, the genius that all who save anyone call upon, you that flies to the ends of the earth at the merest hint of grace faltering, at truth falling one footfall too short of these, we children of the light?

For I have traveled within myself most of all, and wondered at the places you brushed against my soul, indelible invisible your signature upon me.

White wind, tell me I may dream once more.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:08 am

15 Nov 2004

A man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be, understood… Doubt must precede every deeper assurance; for uncertainties are what we first see when we look into a region hitherto unknown, unexplored, unannexed.

– George Macdonald

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:33 am

We all, at times, want a vacation away from ourselves,
somehow to crawl out of our skin and to emerge a butterfly.
But truth is that this life is not a prison, but our freedom.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:03 am

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