01 November 2010

150 (100-102)

100.  "Serve the Eternal with joy."  Serve with joy.  A teacher in college said, "Choose the work that makes you happy; you'll be working more than anything else for the rest of your life."  The irony here is that there is, on a certain level, an eradication of one definition of the self, sublimated to one's work, which is then meant to bring "joy." 

"It is He that hath made us, and we are His."  Again, the obedience.  The fidelity to that which is greater than us.  Losing oneself in work isn't the point; serving with joy is.  This yields an insight into Eternity.  Goodness.  Mercy.  Faith.   Seamlessly one gives thanks in the gates of the city.  Seamlessly one gives praise in the courts of righteousness.  There is equilibrium.  Balance.

101.  It's rough all over.  "When will You come to me?"  Beneath the polite pleading, the songs of mercy and justice, there is urgency.  One does one's work, day after day.  And the end result seems to be the same.  Working for justice is not unlike cleaning out the barn.  In reality there is no end to the endeavor.  The way I read the poet here, he's imagining an end to purging Jerusalem of evil but knowing there is no end.  "When will You come to me?"  Enough already.  That sort of thing.

102.  The sad psalms are the best.  The deeper the anguish, the better.  The more pain, the greater the experience of hearing the words and feeling their impact.  Hammering away, the plaintive heart.  Hear my prayer.  Let my cry reach you.  Hide not your face.  Give me your ear.  When I call--answer.  My days are smoke.  My bones burn.  My heart, like grass, withers.  I am so distracted I cannot eat my bread.  My bones cleave to my flesh.  (Cleaving is never really very good.)  I am like a pelican, on sliver of sand, awash at sea.  I am an owl among the wasted places.  A sparrow, alone on a rooftop.  Taunts from enemies, consuming ashes, I drink my tears.  And I'm not even half way through with this dirge. 

The irony of suffering's insight:  it opens a window onto the Beyond, the knowledge of which provides unlimited comfort for seemingly unlimited pain.  There is more to life than what we see or think we know.  Terminal patients know this.  And when they can see beyond the horizon of their own anguish and put it into words, they become our teachers, revealing truths we too often turn away from knowing. 

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