Saturday, April 21, 2012

St. Stephens on a Spring Day

I have been putting off discussions of God, Catholicism, abortion, the election, pedophilia, the Bible, birth control, Easter, my baptism and confirmation, Acts, and all that, waiting for the right time. That time is now and I have almost nothing to write that I need to see written, which is not to say there is nothing to write about.

For example, perhaps you have tended a garden. In the spring you pull out dead plants and hollow stalks, you remove stones and waste, you break up clumps of earth and you smooth it out. You put all the garbage into a wheelbarrow and take it over to a compost heap, or perhaps you bag it for collection by the city. You do all this because you want a nice garden. It's a pain but your flowers and vegetables need room to grow and, besides, you want your garden to look nice. Maybe your family helps. If you are like me, your wife and son do a fair share of the work you should be doing in tending to the garden. Well, they get the lion's share of the credit for that, and it is nice to see them out there doing things, while perhaps you take a nap.

I napped and dreamed of a gate that swung open at a touch. Inside was a garden of flowers and vegetables so rich and healthy I thought at first, for years and years I thought, they must be a sort of lie. I touched nothing in my walk, for everything was immediate to my senses yet, as it were, transparent. I walked in circles and was never lost, for every sight was perfection itself - but that understanding only came later. I touched nothing yet I did not hunger. The sun rested on my shoulders and soothed me like a cool cloth laid across my brow. It was spring, and I was asleep in the middle of the day in a house that would outlive me and many others, as I have always expected and still do.

But today I might walk and see the riches of the earth as one who sees into the heart of a lover and know that one is loved. That moment, that is now, what befalls and is immediate - promised as given and given now. That day. Now renewed and now. Granted and now. Held too closely for words for now.

There are journeys that are too long for words. You strike the dock and can only exhale. A hand smooths your brow, you are done. The birth, the life that seems like it has always been and can never pass, not from earth as you know it. You simply haven't the capacity - to deny, to go on without. An open heart is a heart that cannot fail to be true. The true heart is not an unfailing intelligence. It knows its way as by a star.

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