Sunday, January 5, 2014

If you are a scientist, you look for patterns.  You notice wave and muscle, the rings on a tree, the power of the sea.  Light itself, coming from the sun, has a pattern, a wave, like sound, perhaps like gravity, like time.  We too.

I come at this with the religious background of a child of the Sixties.  I learned good stuff, but was not raised in any church tradition.

But life is life, and we, who have ears and eyes, are able to learn.

Private matters feel embarrassing to share, but, here we are, human beings, and so, we give it a go.

As a reader, with a particular taste, with a particular digestive system, I found a basic need, for that I will not call bread here, as bread does not work for me, but meat, as meat, protein, fish, the main substance, the main nourishment, is what works for me.  This takes a lot of admitting, a lot of acts of recognition in a bread culture, a sandwich culture, and I wish it were otherwise.

I found I needed the Gospels, I needed the Bible.  I found other kinds of literature leaving me with the feeling of watching a joke set-up that I already knew.  Yes, exceptions, but then, to me anyway they would count as great literature, like Chekhov's tales of losers, Dostoevsky's tales of outcastes finding a way.

I found there was a pattern in the Judeo-Christian story, as I read it as literature, a pattern that I could not escape from observing.  Perhaps it was like Einstein looking out the window when he was a clerk and seeing workmen on the roof, falling into a day dream exercise considering if they fell.  But, anyway, a pattern that can not be avoided.

It would be difficult to outline, but for the familiarity of the story, still mysterious as it applies to our condition.  Part of it was the coming forward of the exemplary human being in touch with divine nature of deep reality to be amongst the regular, the rank and file, the publicans, the drinkers, the sinners.  A strange detail, perhaps, and yet a great coincidence.  And why, in such a world as we live in, would our spiritual salvation come from someone not materialistic at all?  someone who would grant himself only a few basics, letting his words stand, calm about everything.  Would this personally or otherwise mean anything to me?  Would it make intuitive sense to me, or to you?  Well, yes it would.

The realization could have made me sad.  Why wasn't I a participant in all this?  Why had I not before found a church to belong to?  Why had I acted in ways that were a little excitable, not calm enough for such undertakings?  Why had I been confused and bad of certain habit?  Why had I been a skeptic?

I had endeavored, like many of younger generations, to be that vague and amorphous thing, a writer.  Why do young people think of that, I wonder sometimes.  What to write?  Who will read?  Who will listen?  And, more importantly, what does one have to say, even anyway?  The world does not seem to need another book of semi-autobiographical self-discovery coming of age, but that such as it is, a human habit to write words when thinking of what to do and where to go.  I might offer that the desire to write comes out of a spiritual need, perhaps unfulfilled in modern secular education, in the absence of the chapel's presence.  So such efforts can be misdirected, a portrait of a life without the substantive guidance of higher belief, of God and divine love even for sinners.  (Was Hemingway one of the stone masons of such?)

So we go through stages, through great periods of being misguided, even if, to our credit, basically we do the right thing, offering kindness, even, or should I say albeit, professionally, to neighbors and strangers.

But there is, finally, the gem, the meat, the basis of literature, of the story itself.  Indirectly, but still, it comes up, embarrassing as it might be.  Something to share.

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