30 Jun 2005

Never do anything through strife, or emulation, or vainglory. Never do anything in order to excel other people, but in order to please God, and because it is His will that you should do everything in the best manner that you can.

– William Law

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

I believe that I have burned with the fires of creation,
for I am as newly forged upon the anvil, a brand of light;
but if I make no difference in the world, what is it worth?

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

28 Jun 2005

Never pass up an opportunity to be satisfied with less.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

From the luxury of my perch, I can philosophize that even when it’s bad, it’s still pretty good. For I have not known true suffering, I think; I know not what it means for things to be “that bad”. Armchair martyrs, we — are we actually going to decree unto the world what is right and wrong, in absolute terms, and think that we know what it means when those in true desperation compromise? Shall we ask for laurels of heroic stature for the most petty of deeds we do good? For the most part, we are, I think, completely unaware of the tragedies that exist in the world. We may even hear them on the news, and think for a moment, “How sad,” but we will not think on them one moment more. We can only postulate, as I do now, that they exist. Let me, so, just say this for us, we who live life in padded comfort, to those who do know what adversity really is: I have absolutely no idea what it means, the word pain, and let me never claim I do; I am at a loss to understand how you can go on as you do; forgive me for ever pretending at nobility, as if I could ever compare it with what you withstood; and thank you from this conscience, who knows most probably that none of you will ever read this, for giving me someone — you! — to look up to.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

27 Jun 2005

I am in a quiet little suffering here, and I believe I will have a small pause while I am in it, a bit of patience. I am sure I will learn something, or something. It only hurts when I think about it, a self fulfilling blues, but I know not the philosophical or psychological implications of such a phenomenon. A light aching of the heart, a subconscious consideration of what might have been, and a sad wondering at how the gears of fate may turn…. I am a little lost, and I am a little found, and the pulling between the two is as a slow tear at the fabric of my soul — no, not even a tear, a tautening that plays at being ripped, but doesn’t quite. Now, sometimes I wait for the purpose of things to reveal themselves, but then, otherwhiles, I imagine that the purpose is merely to question things, and to wait, and endure the small, slow pains. Not all is grand, I think, for are there not tiny wheels that work in the machinery of destiny, too?

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

25 Jun 2005

To take up the cross of Christ is no great action done once for all; it consists in the continual practice of small duties which are distasteful to us.

– John Henry Newman

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Pieter Bruegel: The Triumph of Death

Click on the pic for a larger version.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

24 Jun 2005

Seconds’ Passing

Tick tick tick
mark the seconds’ incessant passing,
and I am growing older,
less and less
remembering the vows
I made in childhood,
sacred oaths that I said
I’d never break, if breath was still
in me — that I would
remember how
it had been.
But my eyes have seen
the years, they have
experienced the weathers, not
as I imagined
(if I ever did so), back when:
and I would wish
to explain some things
to the me of back then,
but I know that
when I was choking back tears,
I would have heard
none of it, would
have called myself a propagandist,
if I knew the word,
wonder how I, even I,
could forget those precious things.
But I have new dreams, now,
I say to myself,
and I look sadly
at the child that was me,
and I think, you’ll understand,
one of these days:
growing up
doesn’t hurt as much as all that.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

23 Jun 2005

When I was young, the stars seemed almost close enough to touch. And as I grew older, the farther away they became. But the less I wanted to touch them, too.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

I ponder at the nights of dreamless sleep, overtaken by worthy exhaustion, to rise an honest man. Too often I am trapped in complexities, I make too nimble a decision — that balances too deftly upon the probabilities and possibilities of politics and perception. My sleeping is restless, mundane with nightmares of failure, dreams of escape. I am a sinner who must seek his redemption not by the works he performs, but by desperate prayer when all else fails. I am far too complicated. I know what is right: just the phrase, “God is love,” says it all, that one should simply love, as the One above who is perfect, does: no compromise, no hems and haws, no excuses. But I am only a man, who sometimes half measures are all that he will take in the salvation of himself, if that — so much unfinished, so much not even tried.

I wonder about those unknown saints, who grace the world and the world knows them not, or truly, what they have done, who must sleep so soundly the Devil’s own thunder would not rouse them. I envy them, and compound my sin — for I do little else in considering such souls, nothing like the emulation my Lord would surely recommend. Exhaustion I have had only little tastes of, yet nights where I slept in deepest null I recall not fondly, for I think instead of what had such cause as to render me so exceedingly tired. But perhaps that is righteousness, and I recognized it not: to be harried and hectic, to be busy without cease, and so to think not of oneself, but the (too) many tasks at hand: it would seem my envy is without basis. Or as most envy is, misinformed. And dreamless sleep — perhaps that is a myth, merely that we are too exhausted to remember, but have them we do.

Thus is my lot, to ponder foolish things, returning to the beginning having gone nowhere — the long way round. I know not what I desire. But sometimes, on those trips, how lovely is the scenery.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

21 Jun 2005

Night sends dreams to lift me to the stars, but I am nowhere nearer to God. It is not their point, I think. I have heard, instead, that the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, but I understood it not, whatever it may mean — but neither, truly, do I know anything of love, and I imagine that has something or two to do with it. So I go on my way, and I have stopped waiting for destiny to strike, for I have prayed for guidance… and no, no angel came to show me the way, but I have found things to fill the hours, purpose enough at present to keep me on through this day — what else is there, after all? For I imagine that which is above measures greatness not in the way of men: heroes, I imagine, for the most part are never known in this world, not even in their own hearts, those who humbly move mountains to save a blind man, and move them back, and no one gives it a thought at all…. Of myself, I say, I will do what I can: I think that not everyone does, and perhaps that it is not so easy as the phrase implies — but it may be that I speak the truth in spite of myself. Or so the story goes.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

20 Jun 2005

Outside the street’s on fire in a real death waltz
Between what’s flesh and what’s fantasy
And the poets down here don’t write nothing at all
They just stand back and let it all be

– Bruce Springsteen, “Jungleland”

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Rainfall: the association with teardrops is not lost.
The air is washed of its sins, clean as the fourth day of creation.
I step out to face the rhythmless percussion, life to drink.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

18 Jun 2005

The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.

– St. Augustine

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:02 am

Gustave Doré: Paradiso (34)

Click on the pic for a larger version.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

17 Jun 2005

Quiet night, and I wonder at the world. I have thought that I knew my purpose, and that no mystery was beyond me — that I had been given sight — but what was truly mine but vanity, and chasing after wind? If there is an underlying Reason, I think perhaps it is too deep to ponder, too obscure to scry, and if any says he knows the mind of God, what he sees is merely his own reflection made into a graven image. We must do what we can, it is true, but let it be known that we have only faith to guide us. However well we know the ways of this world, we have only the barest premises to make choices that are half random. But it is also true that we may desire to do right. We may believe there is right and wrong in this world, and strive to do what in our eyes is the good. Knowing that our compass will never point to true north, we can do what is in our ability: to put our hearts in the right place, and know that we tried. To be able to look ourselves in the eye. To be able to sleep the sleep of the righteous.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

16 Jun 2005

In memory, I was a perfect child, but it explains little how I came to be such a flawed man.

In memory, some edges soften, but there are words that feel even more pointed.

In memory, what we see, we cannot imagine how anyone else remembers differently.

In memory, we excuse ourselves for all the crimes we ever commit, but others must pay.

In memory, our love — how was it that they felt none of it, when our heart was about to burst?

In memory, time plays tricks on the mind’s eye, and some moments last all day long.

In memory, we had so much time to kill, and then now, we wonder where it all went.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:01 am

14 Jun 2005

What a world this is that shrugs away into nothingness the things of which we are so certain, and makes of trivial details the brunt of our destinies.

posted by John H. Doe @ 12:07 am

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