Friday, July 3, 2009
Why do we persist, so many through the generations, in straining our souls’ eyes and our flesh to discern a touch from those beyond death? Why a séance, a gasp at a breeze? Why do we imagine that a long-departed loved one--one we perhaps have rosier memories of than do those who knew him better-- cares for us more than do those here with us now? We are all so beleaguered by this world, so buffeted and strained with the business of living, that we haven’t time or capacity to be so all-focused on another, or to believe that anyone else can be so focused on us, not in this world. So we remember the tenderest moments, the closest care, the happiest days with those no longer enduring the storm with us, and we imagine that they have the attention to pay us, the longing to relieve us of our troubles, if only in our confidence.
But how blind we are, such short-sighted children, to reach for those just rescued from our shipwreck, those still trembling on the deck, wrapped in scratchy blankets, clutching tin cups of steaming coffee, having their faces dried by ministering hands. The same strength that has borne them up to safety, to solidity from our wobbly, leaky boat, is even now capably reaching for us, in fact has already grasped us, even before we know it. We are insensible, blinded by tears and rain, numb to the strong arms gathering us in. We look beyond those rescuing arms with feeble longing for those no stronger than ourselves, only rescued. They know they have nothing to offer us that is needful, all their best intentions swallowed up in His greater love.
Inspired by a passage from Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping, quoted here: http://openlettersmonthly.com/issue/december-robinson/
July 3, 2009