April 16, 2010

Today I went out for an afternoon walk. It was breezy, and the wind nipped at my face, not strongly enough to be vicious, not gently enough to be caressing. I was thankful for chilliness again. I don't usually think of myself as one who likes to be cold, but it was a pleasant change from the rather sunny days we've had lately. And there is a certain appeal of going out by oneself in chilly weather. It seems raw and open, adventurous and independent. To some degree, every walk by myself is independent, but sometimes I feel more connected to the other people around me than others.

There was much to think about, thoughts that swirled around me and mostly into me. It's easy to be introspective and self-indulgent when by myself. I can let myself feel however I feel, sing as loudly as I want, skip or trudge or swing for as long as I see fit. Being by myself makes me think about God. It seems almost a shame to not think of Him when there is time and ability, and my mind isn't focused on people or something else. I wonder if this is right.

When I went out today, I had read half of "A Grief Observed." Which is strange, because I chose not to ask for "Of Mice and Men" because I wouldn't have time to read it. But my mother brought "A Grief Observed" home from the library for me because it was by CS Lewis, and thought I would be interested in it. And so I ended up reading that, instead of the book I said I was going to try and read before Regionals. How things do turn out...

In any event, the reason I mentioned the book was because it colored my thoughts on my walk. I don't know if I can exactly articulate what it changed, (besides the general thought of wanting to believe in God, not my idea of God) but perhaps the book is the reason I was thinking about life, and where life goes, and mostly about sanctification. By now the thoughts have become misty and intangible. This may capture it: life seems to be about making us more righteous, and God shaping us and teaching us. I also wonder what more there can be to learn, if we already have the cross and the knowledge of the gospel. Then I thought that God may not give us more ... fact, or even more knowledge, but more life. That we know what is and should be more deeply, more meaningfully as God shows us and tests our feeble faith, shatters our icons of what we paint reality to be. And that this learning, and experience, trains us more closely in the way of the spirit. So that our lives accord with God not just in conformance to rules, but that our feelings and desires and existence is righteous, real.

This is reminding me of my wonder at realizing (from 2 Peter 1) that we partake in God's nature. I almost think that when we die, we become wholly united with God, like a rivulet joining an infinite ocean. And so perhaps it makes sense to have faith in people when they die. I wonder if they can impress on us a realignment of themselves, as God I suppose does. I do wonder how to ever trust ourselves or our interpretations on our concepts of God. How are we to know when we hear God and when we're only hearing our own voice's echo?

It's strange, trying to relive today, more broadly, trying to go back to the past. I feel obligated to explain that I had to leave this for a while, and so have forgotten if there was something else I was trying to say. An observation is that after I finished reading "A Grief Observed" later in the day, I was very peaceful and joyful, inspired I suppose. It corresponded to, or flavored, or flooded into my perception of my entire today. I see today as one of interesting thoughts that are pleasure to consider, and don't beg for answers.

Everything carries with it a tinge of not quite regret but imperfection. I wonder if I should feel guilty that I wrote this instead of my negative case. I wonder sometimes if I hold myself to too lax standards. Other times I feel that I'm being ridiculous, and finding things to pick about instead of living by grace. "Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin." That gives me something more to think about. I also think about the everyday drama and small unexpected convictions that come from living in a family. I think of the minuscule sacrifices every day involves. I think of feeling not-spiritual-enough. I think of the conflicting beauty and tragedy of life, and how they can both seem to misunderstand and misrepresent one another. I think of carrying a song in your heart without trying too hard to remember the words you've already sung, and traveling on.


Michael said...

I really enjoyed reading this.

". . .shatters our icons of what we paint reality to be."
Ah! I think life is about grafting us into reality, and from being "real" we better see what is real.

Echoes in Ink said...

I am reminded of a quote [how I miss you to be quoting]
"A friend knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you've forgotten the words."

I'm not sure of the relevance, but it's beautiful. As is this post.

I'm heading into my second day of Flood the Five [how I love BPS!] and I think of you very often. We sang the Au song today, and I think of you yet more.

In memory and joy and anticipation,