I guess I'll close this year with a few last stray thoughts, which might begin with a thought toward chapels, like the kind you find on college campuses, or old New England towns, some, a strange vacancy about them. What happened to the spiritual life that the eye still sees, somehow tangible? The place of a higher purpose now seemingly ignored holds offices of an academic department, the large chapel meeting hall itself a place where the presidents and trustees of the college speak a state of affairs. Fine and well there might be the offices of higher thought and learning within, no doubt, but the ghost, the remainder, is left ignored.
In old New England towns they often lay vacant, rising above old cemeteries with stones few heed or remember, beautiful architecture, sometimes converted now for touristy things, candle or antique shop. Spiritually, many have use still, but obviously toned down from the original lay out of the town and the pioneer spirits that wrought shape. Many are, it seems, abandoned, like stranded ships amidst real estate markets.
A certain kind of spirituality invigorated such towns that dotted the map and connected the darkness of the hills and marshes and stretches. It filtered down and touched most everything it seems, and even departing from the Bible itself, the spirituality informed the poetry and the thoughts of a town's inhabitants.
Young people crave wisdom, maybe too much, the wisdom found in falling in with bad types and the drunken. I deserve damnation to hell fire and a millstone about the neck as much as anyone, for I have sinned. I sinned and trespassed and acted like a fool. I let chances for a good Old Testament kind of a life pass by, and I am sorry for it. It was as if I met all the elements of an upright and decent life and failed to recognize them, letting neglect blast them away, leaving me to wander and find greater irresponsibility. And I sometimes wonder if a stronger presence of a more directly spiritual life would have helped me find the proper way, brought me to more self-control and self-discipline.
But, still, one is left with wisdom, while trying afresh to be spiritual and spiritually upright, as hard as that is. One is left with the wisdom of observing gluttons and wine-bibbers, publicans and sinners at close quarters. One is left with the wisdom coming of his own mistakes.
I'd rather stay and read Proverbs than go in and tend bar one more night of this year, New Years Eve.
Au fond, at the bottom of it all, we all face the same spiritual problem. Which is why we read the stories and texts of the religious canon. The ego, the money changers, the illusioned, have integrated themselves into the temple, the personality; it becomes necessary to purify, to get back to the wisdom of spiritual words. And I suppose--lesson for the new year--as there is sufficient evil to the day, every day we can, we need to attempt the job we can to muster the spiritual.