.you may think that the new year, in january, is the time that most changes take place. but, it’s not the truth. even with all the talk before hand about resolutions and promises, all the hoopla, all the noise. in the end, it is really very little more than talk. the time of year when things really change is now. june. some people leave on vacations, and others graduate from some kind of schooling, or both. these are events that grab a person out of their more usual tasks and goals and throw them into new ones. it is a time to explore new options and challenges. it also causes other people in those lives to make adjustments. statistically speaking, june is the most popular month for weddings in the united states. there are so many things happing in june with a great amount of an unrecognized undercurrent of gusto that don’t happen the other eleven months of the year. maybe because it’s not a national holiday it is allowed to be personal, to remain our own. our very own real-life changes. and so they might go more unnoticed. but, isn’t that the way we want it? it’s the june waves of change…for good or for bad, they belong to us and to those who know us. . . .
PORTION THREE. . The only way? Into my words, as into the things around me, seeps the silence that defeats them. Better to say that contingency is the only way toward knowledge of God, and contingency, for Christians, is the essence of incarnation. And incarnation, as well as the possibilities for salvation within it, precedes Christ’s presence in history: Into the instant’s bliss never came one soul Whose soul was not possessed by Christ, Even in the eons Christ was not.And still: some who cry the name of Christ Live more remote from love Than some who cry to a void they cannot name.—after Dante . ♦♦♦ . I wouldn’t want any of this to seem like I’m blaming M. for her suffering, or that I’m in any way refusing to acknowledge the full impact of it. (Christ is contingency? An absurd, even callous thing for me to have said to her at that moment. It was true, but the time and the context made it, in any ordinary human sense, false.) There is a sense in which love’s truth is proved by its end, by what it becomes in us, and what we, by virtue of love, become. But love, like faith, occurs in the innermost recesses of a person’s spirit, and we can see only inward in this regard, and not very clearly when it comes to that. And then, too, there can be great inner growth and strength in what seems, from the outside, like pure agony or destruction. In the tenderest spots of human experience, nothing is more offensive than intellectualized understanding. “Pain comes from the darkness / And we call it wisdom,” writes Randall Jarrell. “It is pain.” . ♦♦♦ . Sorrow is so woven through us, so much a part of our souls, or at least any understanding of our souls that we are able to attain, that every experience is dyed with its color. This is why, even in moments of joy, part of that joy is the seams of ore that are our sorrow. They burn darkly and beautifully in the midst of joy, and they make joy the complete experience that it is. But they still burn. . continue reading… the rest of the story. . . .
.“Christ is contingency,” I tell M. as we cross the railroad tracks and walk down the dusty main street of this little town that is not the town where I was raised but both reassuringly and disconcertingly reminiscent of it: the ramshackle resiliency of the buildings around the square; Spanish rivering right next to rocklike English, the two fusing for a moment into a single dialect then splitting again; cowboys with creekbed faces stepping determinedly out of the convenience store with sky in their eyes and twelve-packs in their arms. I have spent the past four weeks in solitude, working on these little prose fragments that seem to be the only thing I can sustain, trying day and night to “figure out” just what it is I believe, a mission made more urgent by the fact that I have recently been diagnosed with an incurable but unpredictable cancer. How strange it is to be back in this place, where visible distance is so much a part of things that things acquire a kind of space, an otherness, a nowhere-ness, as if even the single scrub cedar outside the window where I’m working holds—in its precise little limbs, its assertive seasonless green—the fact of its absence. . to be continued… . ♦♦♦ There is an interview of Christian Wiman from 2007 at the blog Kaurab Online.
PORTION ONEWinter/Spring 2012 (Vol. 40, Nos. 1 & 2) Harvard Divinity Bulletin ________________________________
By Love We Are Led to God
Faith is found in the mutable and messy process of our lives.
by Christian Wiman
AT NEARLY SIXTY years old, M. finds that her faith has fallen away. She tells me that it was love that first led her to God. Thirty-five years earlier, love for the man who would be her husband for most of her life seemed to crack open the world and her heart at the same time, seemed to fuse those latent, living energies into a single flame, the name of which, she knew, was God. There were careers and children. There were homes laid claim to and relinquished. There was something perhaps too usual for a love that had torn her so wholly open, but time takes the edge off of any experience, life means mostly waiting for life, or remembering it—right? She tells me all this, right up to the depressingly undramatic divorce, at a table outside in far west Texas, the country of my own heart. She asks me: How can a love that seemed so fated fail so utterly? How can a love that prompted me toward God become the very thing that kills my faith? Once, it seemed love lit the world from within and made it take on a sacred radiance, but somehow that fire burned through everything and now I walk lost in this land of ash. If God by means of love became belief in my heart, became the faith by which I lived and loved in return, then what should I believe now that my love is dead? Or no, not dead; that would be easier. Actual death cuts life off at the quick of your soul, but there is yet the quick to tell you what life was, assure you that life was. You grieve the reality of your loss, not the loss of your reality. That former grief is awful, and may seem unendurable, but at least it is more productive, for it is grief that has lost but not renounced life, grief that still feels to the root the living reality of love because it feels so utterly that absence. All I feel is that the life I felt, the love that once scalded me toward God, was a lie. . to be continued …
.i have bound myself with a chain of thought a dream of such things as you and though a thought may get me through today and hold me it won’t hold back what’s bound to come . . . . . . . Words . by davis rosback Painting by Irene Belknap,“The House of Belonging”; the title and words in the painting come from a poem by David Whyte.
Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
.It’s easier to let a small thing go, and to add a small thing, than a large one. That is how some kinds of change happens. For the better, for the worse, if a person continues to let go of and add a small thing the effect will become evident over time. Not an instant recognition of the effect, but a gradual awareness, as dawn to one sleeping. Small things and time…
cold shovel hope
planting in october earth
the leaves of summer