Loss

There has been so much loss. My wife left me. I lost my church, I lost my apartment, I lost two cars, I lost $1200, I lost my grandmother, I lost my grandfather, I’ve now lost a dearly loved great aunt, and a cousin. I sometimes feel as though Psalm 73.13 has come to light: “All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.”

It has been a struggle. I have nearly lost my sanity, my salvation, and myself. I have been cross, and crass, and lustful, and slothful, and angry, and jealous, and remorseful, and depressed, and jaded, and deject, and disdainful, and impatient, and anxious.

I am here in Seminole. My cousin, Terry, has lost his Mother and Sister, my uncle Sid his wife and daughter, within 5 days of each other. How can one possibly begin to cope with that? It is a sorrow and tragedy of coldest manner. To see emotions raw in the face of kin akin to wounds not fully healed in me is…I’m not sure I know how to process all the complexities at this moment.

I pray, I pray ever so fervently, that they find peace and solace. That people around them may be a bottomless well of encouragement and empathy; that the Spirit would not cease to shower them with unfathomable calm and hope.

It is in the day to day. It is how we all must. We can, and should, have future plans and look ahead, but not at the cost of the day to day. The present is non-refundable and unexchangable. Just as the past culminates in the present, the summation of the present will be the future. If that amounts to, “live to fight another day”, then live. Live, and struggle, and fight to snatch victory from the iron drip of despair.

How does one carry on in the face of such loss? How does my father and aunt and uncle carry on in the wake of losing both parents within five weeks of each other, after watching their father’s mind slowly fade? How will my cousins, and uncle, carry on losing Nel and Stacy within the same week? How have I continued these past two years in the wake of overwhelming loss?

God. Only God. “He knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust.” “Precious in the eyes of the Lord are the deaths of His saints.” Jesus wept at Lazarus’ tomb.

“I don’t know about tomorrow; it may bring me poverty. But the one who feeds the sparrow, is the one who stands by me. And the path that is my portion may be through the fire or flood; but his presence goes before me and I’m covered by his blood. Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”

Advertisements

Snow Laden Bough

It is difficult to explain the depression. It is not unwelcome; contrarily, it is cathartic. The intensity is addictive, and so few feelings of late beset me, of any manner or intensity, that the melancholy is heartily welcome. I am quite sure this state is diagnosible as manic depression, bipolar, or some such; yet, I am not so quick to address the issue, as the state is a euphoric release from the apathy, frustration, and callousness which have haunted me for nigh two years.

This is not to say I desire my situation to continue its decline. I should like few things more than to return to a stable income, surround myself with friends of like faith, and find a woman in whom to confide. But at present, the solace is to be found in silence, sadness, and tragic nostalgia.

Though, like any addiction, there is danger in morose musings. It is a tree branch, heavy laden with snow. The weight strains the branch ’til either the bough breaks, or the snow is shed in a cascade of white. The danger in mounting snow lies in the limberness of the branch, for each successive snowfall weakens the integrity of the tree.

A Walk

Walking with a limp

Cool of September welcomed,

My thoughts are elsewhere.

Twenty-seven, yet complaints:

Journeyed through many autumns.

 

Unsure as to if

I need complete solitude,

Or lost in a crowd.

Such vacillation of late

In the constant autumn rain.

 

A leaf in the wind,

Once fixed firm on mighty oak,

Is tossed on a whim.

Does it resist, or am I

Resigned? We neither yet know.

Knowing

Knowing the need for action, not knowing on what to act.

Knowing the need to change, not knowing what to change.

Knowing desire, not knowing what to desire.

Knowing pressure, not knowing release.

Knowing God, not knowing the world; knowing the world, not knowing God.

Wanting apathy, knowing doubt.

Doubt.

Doubting change, knowing loathing.

Doubting hope, knowing depression.

Doubting good, knowing cynicism.

Doubting, despairing, derelict.

Apathy: known defense and catharsis returns.

 

 

 

Ticking and Talking

Ticking. The incessant ticking of the clock, and steady murmur of the HVAC. An insufferable weight of contemplation growing denser with each tick. Tick, unavoidable loss. Tick, unsure future. Tick, diverging paths. Tick, financial pressures. Tick, relational anxiety. Tick, doctrinal wrestling. Tick, questioning calling. Tick, duking depression. Tick, emotional whirlwind. Tick, existential echoes. Tick, tick, tick…

…silence.

The clock still ticking without sound. The HVAC still blowing without whisper. The web of thought has muted exterior distraction. Suffocating, paralyzing, inescapable. Then, one enters the room. Talking, the clock tocks its ticking. Talking, the HVAC gently resumes whooshing. Talking, the coffee pot gurgles. Talking, the birds sing. Talking. Talking about nothing, talking about news, talking about life, talking about Scriptures.

Peace. Peace from the sun shining. Peace from sipping coffee. Peace in sharing experience and pain. Peace in discussing, peace in the Scriptures, peace in God. Peace: weight lifting, fear lifting, existence lifting in the ticking and the talking.

Illumination from Illumination

At the Nelson today, I lingered in the Asian Art wing. One of my favorite forms is calligraphy, and they have quite the display. A piece which especially resonated with me was a copy of the four Gospels in Armenian in an illuminated book format. Mesrop of Xizan is responsible for this masterpiece, created over the span of 1618-1622. Such intricate detail, diversity of precious materials, flawless scripting and penmanship, not to mention the artistry befitting of the words and message the text illuminated.

I am reminded, upon reflection, of the movie The Secret of Kells (2009), a fictional work about the creation of the Book of Kells (800-820), which is perhaps the best known illuminated manuscript of the Gospels in existence. In the movie, Brendan, an apprentice at the Scriptorium in Kells, bucks the sternness of his uncle in order to pursue the art of calligraphy and illuminating texts. He goes through trial after trial in order to assist Brother Aidan in the completion of the Book of Iona (which becomes the book of Kells).

The dedication, mastery, and persistence of Mesrop of Xizan, and the fictional Brendan (the real artist of the book was probably St. Columba), challenged me. These people were so dedicated to their work, the transcription of the Holy Scriptures, and used every ounce of their supernatural, God-given talent to produce these masterful works. It really made me question whether I am pouring as much energy, time, and care into the talents given to me for His kingdom. Not that I have the insane talent of St. Columba or Mesrop of Xizan, but I do have inherent talents given by the same God. Am I as diligent and faithful to the execution/creation of things the Lord has given me? I feel we all can be illuminated by these illuminations.

 

The Paradox of Snow

There is a paradox in the allurement of snow.

No other display of nature can arouse so wide a swath of emotion. When joy is at charge, the snow is ascribed as glittering, merry, sparkling, dazzling, and the crown of winter’s beauty. When rushed, the snow is cursed as inconvenient, a nuisance, a hazard. When sorrowful, it is oppressive, insufferable, deafening in its silent assault. It buries familiarity, yet also that which may wish to be forgotten. It amplifies light, yet limits mobility. It is the glistening, gilding of winter’s mantle, and the opaque curtain that ceases vision.

The duration of descent, the intensity of the fall, accompanied by its surrounding elemental force, and the quantity hoarded by the earth all contribute to which facade the snow dons.

When it is gentle, with but a breath or so of wind, and light cloud cover, it is peaceful. A serenity and joy well up as the docile, taciturn crystals flitter to earth. When patches of sunlight slip through, they enchant the flakes, igniting them into iridescent glitter against the backdrop of dormant trees. The modest cache retained by the earth serves as a glistening blanket, gilding the barren land. The hearts of children, and those who never lost what is important in life, are kindled with glee, wonder, and mirth

But if the clouds wax more somber, or the flitter flurries into an assault, or the wind rages, or the earth’s apatite becomes insatiable, then the silent flecks don an ominous mask. The air itself seems to soak up joy like a sponge. The horizon becomes closer as sight is squelched by the maelstrom of white. Fear like concrete sets as mobility becomes infeasible. The laughter of children is absent, and those who lost important things in life loose mournful sighs.