Anyway, my apologies, I do have a very long post for you today, consisting entirely of writing. :P
I wrote it in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday, which I guess is still today, lol. I first posted it on Facebook, so for those of you who'd rather comment there, feel free. :) Thank you to everyone who has already commented there. Here goes....
I want to live.
I mean live.
I am so tired of most of my dearest friends being so far away from me, with the only means of contact being chiefly the computer I am currently writing on. Yes, there are physical letters and phone calls, a step in the right direction, to be sure...and perhaps if I were more faithful in my letter-writing (ahem) I would find more solace in their tangibility, as with hearing your sweet voices.
But I am so tired of not living.
I want to love my friends (and family) in the here and now, in flesh and blood, with eyes to look into, hands to hold, voices to hear, presences to surround me.
I want to... get physical. Seriously - I want to get off this accursed machine and live life out in God's glorious Creation, so why does He have to keep blessing me so darn much with the internet? As much as it can be a problem....I have been so, so blessed through it. And even that is an understatement. Words could not even begin to express all that has been given me through this strange thing called the Internet. I have grown by leaps and bounds, I have become more me, I have laughed, loved, cried, learned, pondered...
So much music. So much that I have read, and grown by. So many friends!! And practically all I know (and love) about my Faith. I could go on forever. In so many ways, this truly is a miracle. And yet....
Curse it all, I want to live! I want to get my hands dirty in the wet spring earth, like Mary, Colin, and Dickon in the garden. I want to sew and sew all the clothes I drool over, feeling all the lush fabrics run through my fingers. I want to feel bread dough between my fingers, sticky-soft, while I knead, push, pull. I want to feel grass beneath my feet. Wind in my hair. I want to feel the rain on my skin, snow on my tongue. I want to feel fire's flickering heat. I want to marvel at rainbows and moonbows, to gaze up at the starry night sky. I want to dwell in blessed solitude, I want to dwell in communion with humanity. I want to be flesh and blood, because that is what I am. A flesh-and-blood, heart-and-soul human being. And I want to live. I want to be vibrantly, painfully alive.
I am tired of feeling apathetic and numb to things I should care about. I want to feel deeply. I want to look upon my Lord on the Cross, and weep. I want to be profoundly moved at Holy Mass; I want to be simply graced at Holy Mass. I want to love even when I don't feel.
I want to bless each and every thing.
I want a flesh and blood man to love, a man of God who will cherish me for all his days, and lay down his life for me. I want to be his soulmate and his helpmate, and he mine.
I want to labor in all the earthy physicality of bearing children, of giving birth to new life. I want to scream in agony and then experience the euphoria of holding my baby in my arms for the first time, forgetting any pain.
I want to journey through the precious, most beautiful, most noble task that is teaching Truth to new human beings. Of passing on the beauty of life to my children. Of teaching them to love and serve God.
I want to exult in all that is the messy, beautiful, glorious, painful thing we call Life.
I want to cry. I want to laugh. I want to sing. I want to dance. I want to write. I want to create. I want to pray. I want to love.
I want to live.
How can I divorce myself from all the queer artificiality that is this online world that has nevertheless enriched me so much? I will never be able to bring all my friends together in one place. Sometimes I feel so confused and conflicted....
And yet, for all this longing for Life, I know in my heart I will never receive it fully. Not yet. Not in this life.
And that....that is perhaps the bitterest chalice for me to drink from. For I long for nothing less than to be fully aware of life while I am living it. But as human beings, fallen, broken, imperfect, incomplete -- we cannot yet have this. Only in glimpses, tantalizing flashes, the briefest of tastes.
And I weep.
Essentially, I am longing for Heaven, for complete and utter communion, union, and life with and in God. I long to dwell in the Eternal Present with God.
We cannot be so aware all the time. It is humanly impossible. And I am learning to accept this. That all I long for, all that I have said, and all that I have not said here, is only to be found in its completion in the next life, when at last we will begin to fully live. "I don't belong here..." I am learning to drink to the dregs this bitter cup of Not Yet.
"God is at home," says Meister Eckhart, "We are in the far country."
From Thornton Wilder's play 'Our Town':
Emily: Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it -- every, every minute?
Stage Manager: No.
Saints and poets, maybe -- they do some.
My mother says it is the poet in me - the artist - that experiences those moments where I feel removed from whatever is happening, almost as if I were "watching" it, but not quite...I am still there, in the moment, but my awareness is elsewhere....it is my human limitations that prevent me from being both in that elsewhere, observing and seeing it in the context of Time, etc, but also being fully in the moment, living it...
I have encountered confusion from some people when I say things like "Every joyful moment is bittersweet."
But it is. Every joy, every beauty, is bittersweet.
Sweet, for obvious reasons.
Bitter, because it will end, and not return. Time, that horrid Thief, the clock keeps ticking...yet it is that same Time that gives the urgency to our lives. It will not last. "Life is short. Like a gunshot, and it's over. Live it well."
I am reminded specifically of choir concerts in high school -- how it was thrilling and wondrous to be in the moment, singing those glorious songs, to be "one" -- if but for a little while. Yet, once that concert was over, that moment could never come back. That time had passed. It was gone. It cannot be repeated. Bitter, and sweet, at the same time.
That is how I experience every joy. With the confounded awareness of how fleeting it all is.
And then, just as quickly as I enter that stream of awareness, I slip back into taking it all for granted again.
"They do some."
Sometimes I really hate it, as it prevents me from ever feeling just in the moment without going off into Elsewhere Awareness of the moment. It is a gift, but I must learn how to "wield" it. I need to learn how to channel it properly, so that it does not take away from life's dear moments, but only enriches my life. Oh, God, how can I temper this??
Ahhhh, life is truly bittersweet! I rejoice to know that "Nothing of what is is lost. It is not lost to God, nor to us."
And so, part of being gifted with this poet's soul are these little glimpses into truly living, of being truly aware. Of all the pain, and all the beauty, of all the terrible brevity of life on earth. I have moments where I feel connected to all that lives, to God within and without...and then, it is gone. Oh, must You torment me so? What a cross to bear.
And not just to bear, but to be crucified with.
More and more, I am seeing that God is guiding me to trust in Him, to release my attachments to the earthly things I love, that while good and worthy, are not the Ultimate Good, and will not last, nor could they ever be my Anchor in such a chaotic world. And so He wrests from my embrace dear friends, beloved animal family members, beloved teachers.....and not without kicking and screaming and crying on my part. What will it take for me to trust in You, and You alone? Oh, how far I have to go...
I can't. I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another.
I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back---up the hill---to my grave. But first: Wait! One more look.
Good-bye, Good-bye world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners ... Mama and Papa. Good-bye to clocks ticking ... and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new-ironed dresses and hot baths ... and sleeping and waking up. Oh, Earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you!
Oh, God, that just hurts for me to read, and makes me want to cry. An exquisite sort of pain that both wounds and heals.
I have already written about this before, using these same Our Town quotes. I keep coming back to this in my heart. Over and over again. Will it always be so?
I am still learning. I am still growing. I am still fighting - both against all that keeps me from God, and even, in my sinfulness, against God Himself. I am a mixture of light and dark. I am a seed in the dark earth fighting her way to the light, yearning to unfurl her leaves and blossom. I am a caterpillar stuck in her chrysalis, waiting, waiting, waiting for when she will be ready to burst forth with wet wings, ready to fly. I am a baby in darkened womb, growing, becoming, totally unaware of how, when I get too big for that space, I will have to go through a painful birth into the light...
In spite of the fact that I will never attain to all that I long for in this life, no matter that it will always come intermittently, and has to be learned, cultivated: I will live. With baby steps, unsure and wobbly, I will learn to walk into my Father's arms. I will learn to let Him carry me, and not have to "do it all myself." I will trust - and not worry myself to literal death. I will bury my face in my Mother's sweet, starry Mantle, and hear her Heart beat the rhythm of love to me...the same melody that sounds from my Beloved's Sacred Heart, the Song of salvation. I will learn to let Him kiss me, to let Him love me, and not run away like some frightened creature. No - He is Love itself, what have I to fear? The utter assimilation of all that I am into Himself? Of being nailed to the Cross with Him, dying? -- but then rising with Him to all life and light? Oh, fickle heart of mine, when will you learn to love?!
I will do all I can to live. I will live in graced moments. I will praise God in times of sorrow and times of joy. I will adore Him in each season. I will take baby steps to living out the theology of the body in my each and every day - in relation to other human beings, to the Earth, and to my God. To live and love in my body and in my soul.
I will learn to unite my eros with God's agape, and thus love with a fuller love than either alone could be for me, to love with a love akin to God's passionate selfless love.
First, there is a certain relationship between love and the Divine: love promises infinity, eternity—a reality far greater and totally other than our everyday existence. Yet we have also seen that the way to attain this goal is not simply by submitting to instinct. Purification and growth in maturity are called for; and these also pass through the path of renunciation. Far from rejecting or “poisoning” eros, they heal it and restore its true grandeur.
This is due first and foremost to the fact that man is a being made up of body and soul. Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united; the challenge of eros can be said to be truly overcome when this unification is achieved. Should he aspire to be pure spirit and to reject the flesh as pertaining to his animal nature alone, then spirit and body would both lose their dignity. On the other hand, should he deny the spirit and consider matter, the body, as the only reality, he would likewise lose his greatness. The epicure Gassendi used to offer Descartes the humorous greeting: “O Soul!” And Descartes would reply: “O Flesh!”. Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves. Only when both dimensions are truly united, does man attain his full stature. Only thus is love —eros—able to mature and attain its authentic grandeur.
-- from Pope Benedict's encyclical, Deus Caritas Est
I will learn to let go ("Daisy, let it go..." ) all of the passing things of this life, no matter how lovely. And then I will finally be able to truly appreciate them.
And so, too, as regards this world, with all its enjoyments, yet disappointments. Let us not trust it; let us not give our hearts to it; let us not begin with it. Let us begin with faith; let us begin with Christ; let us begin with His Cross and the humiliation to which it leads. Let us first be drawn to Him who is lifted up, that so He may, with Himself, freely give us all things. Let us “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,” and then all those things of this world “will be added to us.” They alone are able truly to enjoy this world, who begin with the world unseen. They alone enjoy it, who have first abstained from it. They alone can truly feast, who have first fasted; they alone are able to use the world, who have learned not to abuse it; they alone inherit it, who take it as a shadow of the world to come, and who for that world to come relinquish it.
--- Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman
I will learn to not loathe myself for all my shortcomings, to not look upon myself with hatred for all my failings, sins, and weaknesses. I will learn to rush to the fount of God's mercy. I will learn to pick myself up off the floor, or at least start to and let Him lift me. I will learn to let the fire of His love burn away all the dross from my soul. I will learn to let Him rip my dragon-scales off me. I will learn to let Him, Lion of Judah, lick me clean.
My task is learning how to live. And learning how to die. If we learn how to die, we learn how to live.
I want to burn out bright. I want to suck all the marrow out of life. I want to reach my deathbed with every drop of life and love poured out of me. Oh, God, I want to love! I want to live. And so teach me to die with You. Hide me in Your wounds.
Guide me on the way of love. Let me not run from love any longer, and all it asks of me - self-denial, temperance, trust, courage, sacrifice, self-donation.
I want to love. I want to live.
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken," said C.S. Lewis.
And so I set about preparing the ground of my soul to be (not so easily) broken, that love may grow and take root there.
Life is so short, live it well. I ask you to join me, as we step into the great Unknown and live life, as much as we can, in all our flesh-and-blood-and-heart-and-soul-ness. I refuse to be swept away by the floods of Nothingness and No-thing. I will dare to dwell in the mystery and the darkness and the pain and light-haunted shadows, and dare to dance all aflame with God's love in the vibrant and colorful, mere shadows-of-the-world-to-come, exhilarating, aching, weary, quiet, loud, everyday, ordinary, extraordinary Life.