Sunday, June 10, 2012

Kinds of Echo or Recollection

The wisest man I know right now is a 75 year old Vietnamese emigre. The second wisest is a Vietnamese Emigre in his early 50's. The wisest man I know is not a man, she is my wife, whose wisdom is such that I know all I need to know in recognizing how wise she is. The smartest person I know is maybe 17 or so men and women who happen to be smart. The best person I know I can't say. Over my limit. Okay more than 17 - probably about 30 really smart people, and certainly mostly women. The wisest woman is as I explained the wisest person. The second wisest may be too though I have no proof.

I was reminded yesterday to empty myself, as I knew well just a week ago and was practicing with success. Then the world and all the riches of experience intervenes and you are full, and perhaps neglect to take out the sweet-smelling trash of your plausible charm.

But these is no second route once you have emptied yourself in faith and await in faith, and it is not my fault that time and time again you are renewed with a passion in situ - being placed in a passion, or passion being made to surround your shoulders, like a cloak. Like human clockwork - an admixture of muscle, iron, and the stars - the life surrounding you makes sense without your having to make sense out of it, which is good as, you know, that simply does not work.

Is life like this, society, politics? Insofar as it is made of people not yourself, I couldn't say, though there are strong indicators. These are your brothers and sisters dotting the landscape or meandering along the highway or warming the seats of the automat. When you forget they are that - brothers and sisters - you have lost what you cannot afford to lose. Time to take out the trash.

I love you not for what you write or believe or for how you vote. I love you as I write that I love you. Goodness knows what I will be feeling when you read it.

It would be lovely and not life if one could make sense of love or have love make sense, such that one could explain it to oneself or to others, or create a formula, a procedure. I believe that true love not only is given by God but goes through God. I do not believe that one has to believe that one believes in God to know love. That would be silly. But I should say it because even my opinions should make sense and, as I confessed, I love you so I want to be understood.

I am not interested in impressing you, though that is the standard cultural form - for liberal and conservative. To impress who you love to be loved. Well, as I mentioned, I believe love goes through God. It is an equal opportunity grant where you can love me right now and receive the gift of love.

But once I try to impress you, to win you over, to point out the bad guys or show how you and I are the good guys; once I say what is right or what is wrong; in doing these things I am not feeling or showing love. So, what can I afford to do?

Well, what I believe I do (it seems this way) is to proceed as if everyone were here with me, or that I am with everyone where they are. I then address what requires address under the challenge of love. This leads directly to politics in saying "yes" to what is right and "no" to what is wrong. But it does not lead to saying "no" to anyone in particular or in mass formation. It leads I think to a politics of show, not tell.

Having ideas is good. Leading with ideas is hard, but learning to lead is necessary to getting those ideas across in a way so that they have a chance in this world. Do you have an idea for improving the world? I want you to succeed. But to succeed you will need to learn some things that may appear at first glance to conflict with your ideas. Do not despair. Perhaps your idea is a trifle over-broad or has been charged with a kind of ethical imperative that may not serve your purpose. You will have to make some decisions if you want to lead.

If you love your idea enough, you will learn to accommodate its needs in order for it to succeed. For ideas need love too. They need your time and patience and a willingness to accept them for themselves in their strengths and weaknesses. We cannot afford to simply project our egos or hurts onto our ideas.

If your idea is simply an assault on other ideas, you will fail. That the rewards of love and thought are in doing so truly, and need not be reciprocated, there is no doubt. What else is needed in demonstrating that this life is a gift?

I hope you will succeed in all you truly love and what holds your thought.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Next Talk Pope Notes

Alright so I think I've got the breakthrough I needed for this next book/sheaf/squander of poems. The titling idea I see now though was a kick-start investment and has no lasting purchase. Just now I have no room for titles. They seem perfectly showy and useless. As a point of reference - who refers to me as it is? No, I like a clean look and a self-revealing text so no hand-pointing or "framing" is necessary at the moment.

A thought today was, What would I do if I were Pope? Before I lose my interest in what I might say, here it is.
  • All marriages are blessed regardless of sexual orientation.
  • Mass is required twice a week, not once. Get out and celebrate, people.
  • Confession (or "reconciliation") is required twice a month. That's every two weeks. Not the current once-a-year cycle. I don't know what they were thinking on that one.
  • While we're at it, as the earthly church is imperfect it will be required to offer its own confession - okay, once a year. To kick off Lent the Vatican will make public its sins. I would announce these in ebony raiment flecked with gold.
  • .....
I could go on, and perhaps in another time I would have. But who cares. This is me, not you, and definitely not the other guy. Maybe this is what happens when you outgrow yourself. Figuring that out doesn't matter much either; it would just lead to another sort of title, wouldn't it.

I do know it's wonderful.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Friday & Dream

Well this is a good day. Off from work without a glance back. Morning Mass, a long bike ride, a nap, some reading.

My reading prompted me to recall a dream I had in January that I wish I had written down. It came just a week or two after the St. Petronius dream I described in my Jan. 13, 2012 posting. In it, I was walking among some houses on a hill and came to one being worked on or perhaps built. I think it was a reconstruction of sorts. I was suddenly in the company of several men and women who appeared to be somewhat or slightly challenged, perhaps with speech difficulties. A carpenter (wait for it) comes over to me and, showing me some tools, said "I think you are about ready to use these. You will work with these people." That's about it. I recall the sky was blue, it was spring. The house was Mediterranean style.

Yes, there was a carpenter. And not a skinny guy with stars in his eyes, but a pretty rugged fellow with a fair set of shoulders. But these people I was with - that confused me. What was going on here? Was I being asked to care more for challenged persons? Okay, I can do that. But I didn't want to write the dream down or blog it as I had just undergone the St. Petronius dream, which if you read it you will understand was enough to last me a while.

So it took until today to understand that the dreams were related. Whereas the St. Petronius dream cleared house, so to speak, the second dream was about setting down to one's task. If I had any doubt that the house was me and that my house is also of course that of the Lord, those doubts have been laid to rest.

Anyway, here is some more background in case you feel somewhat or are indeed RC challenged.
  • We are separate individual members of one body (in Christ).
  • We are are called separately and individually to serve. St. Paul covers the range of service options very nicely in I Corinthians 14 if you want to look. 
  • So what do I do? Well, I am a lector (reader) at Mass and will likely help with RCIA Catechism and have been asked to join the pastoral council.
  • But really, this is pretty embarrassing. I was concerned about what the dream meant in terms of the people around me, but it wasn't about them. They were there to help me to understand that the tool I have is that of communication. To read at Mass. To communicate.
Okay, I can do that. I can be myself in what I do and I can hope it is pleasing. The dream may really be addressing simply the reading, which I take very seriously and deliver with a lot of gusto. It's pretty intense, I can tell you, to be standing up there in front of a priest, a deacon, and a Pieta delivering some of the riper parts of the Old Testament or Letters. What it is of course is an incredible privilege. Short of being graced with having written the words themselves, I can't imagine how I could be brought closer to what I understand is love - pure and not-so-simple.

Thanks for reading.