Why no one can say what love is, is that it is a deeply personal thing, and one can give you a thousand examples from one’s own life, which may or may not have meaning in yours. And the one telling you is telling you exactly what love is, something that cannot be explained in the abstract, in the dictionary way, in the philosophy way, in the soundbite way, because it’s a bigger thing than will fit in some set of pithy words, an action of a heart in movement with such purpose that is incomprehensible if one does not already have in their own experience what it is like to be so moved. It is the meaning of life, and anyone who has truly known it will wonder for a moment why the deep thinkers have tried in vain to derive that meaning from anything else. What is love? You fool — try it, try it for real, and you’ll know in a nanosecond.
27 Feb 2011
23 Feb 2011
22 Feb 2011
Then [the criminal] said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
How unfair! Shouldn’t the thief have been asked to repent, to make amends, to at least declare he was sorry? No lectures, no sermons, no teaching or demands for repentance, Jesus just ushers the man into the kingdom of God. Shouldn’t we be more careful with the requirements for receiving grace? Apparently not.
19 Feb 2011
Rapid I have moved along the byways of the world, for my time was not yet. Not so much like King David in the wilderness, before he was king, but not someone either who will come to nothing in the end, I think. I can hope. More than hope, for he who makes his future can best foretell what is to come: these the paths I blaze I know not if anyone has ever passed this way before, the road is rough and unkept. Sometimes to rest, look around me, just where I might be, not really to know until later that I had been in famous places, at times. This is the life I have chosen for myself, and I lament not that it takes me any length to achieve my destination. The journey may not be the reward at the end itself, ’tis true, but one must make delight of even a hard voyage. What else can we do? This is what life is, after all. Count it all joy.
16 Feb 2011
I read in the book A History of God mention of a mystic text called Shiur Qomah (The Measurement of the Height), and the image that was invoked by the few pages in which it is described left quite an impression on me. In the measurement of God, the basic unit is the parasang, which equivalent to 180 trillion “fingers”, and each of those “fingers” stretches from one end of the earth to the other. Of course, it isn’t supposed to be taken literally, but it puts into perspective the kind of scale we should be thinking in when we conceive of the Divine. And I had this image yesterday of the garment of Him, each thread the diameter of the world, and each thread composed down to nanometer scales, with images in the cross section one could only view if one cut it open — which no one would ever do. And these threads sewn together in such infinite elaborations to make the cloth as the raiment of the “I AM”.... Heady. And we wonder why we do not understand the purposes of such a being.
13 Feb 2011
Love is letting go, faith is holding on, hope is a little of both.
Is it true, that the more we discover about the universe at large, that God more and more resembles the smile on a fading cheshire cat? We put the label of divine intervention on what we do not as yet understand, correct? And we understand more and more, so what is still incomprehensible are more and more arcane, enigmatic twists, thus the analogy. But what if thus we are actually discovering the true nature of God, as well? That He has always been thus, and we are in discovering the mysteries of what is not God, what He has always been? That He has been waiting for us, and yet waits for us beyond the understanding we have now? Perhaps the lesson is summed up in three words: “God is love.” And love is so simple, we may never understand it. So waits that smile, showing us more than we could have imagined possible.
11 Feb 2011
7 Feb 2011
Every once in a while, a little of someone else’s world opens up, enough to take a peek in. You can see for a second a glimpse of that person’s problems, his worries, get a sense for what is important in his life, what’s pressing on his horizon, even what things he pays no attention to. You may not know this person at all, but for that little while where you look in, whether through some phrase that slips out in an email or a mention in a phone call, that person is a person, just like you. You relate. You two may be living different lives — completely different lives — but you are both living lives; you both are fully human beings. The window doesn’t stay open forever, and perhaps that’s a good thing, because I think we do not have room to live more that one life at a time.
I sometimes think about such windows when I hear about death on the news. When I hear of some number of people being killed in some sort of horrible occurrence, man-made or otherwise, I think about how all these windows have closed for good. The numbers do so little to convey that for each one of these within the statistics, there was a life there. There were years of experience, good and bad, that that person went through, digested, handled, folded and stapled. And there are years, now, that such a person would have gone through, but have no chance of doing so now. But here, too, such thinking is fleeting. We have none of us hearts large enough to handle the true total of tragedy in this world, or even that we hear about. We move on, thankful for the glimpses.
5 Feb 2011
From the crude cry which we have so often heard during the war years: “If there is a God, why doesn’t He stop Hitler?,” to the unspoken questioning in many a Christian heart when a devoted servant of Christ dies from accident or disease at what seems to us a most inopportune moment, there is this universal longing for God to intervene, to show His hand, to vindicate His purpose. I do not pretend to understand the ways of God any more than the next man; but it is surely more fitting as well as more sensible for us to study what God does do and what He does not do as He works in and through the complex fabric of this disintegrated world, than to postulate what we think God ought to do and then feel demoralized and bitterly disappointed because He fails to fulfill what we expect of Him.
3 Feb 2011
she lights a hope while yet her heart is drowning in despair
because doom will not get any last word by her
to stop time as she wills by a choice, rapt kiss
and forgets all dreaming the motion of a heart towards her
eyes, the solemn promise that her lover is not defeated
where has she been while not the angel on my shoulder?
too long apart from the song within my soul
she drifts through daydream and leaves roses in hindsight
as the electricity of her skin blinds me with delight