Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Unmade


It's Christmas Eve, and snow is drifting through the roof onto the kitchen floor, strikingly white among the soot and ash, various shades of black. The living room is blackest. There, snow falls through the floor as well. A candelabra on the wall hangs, twisted and warped; continues to hang, static, where it hung before all of this. Everything is static now, where once was light and warmth there are now static shades of black.

Fire leaves behind art. Standing in the middle of it, my mind shatters to cope with each of the overwhelming realities that are presented to it. Practicality swallows Emotion to keep it from taking over, like nausea. Once you start, you can't stop, so you can't start. Like Nausea. The Form to Practicality's function floats above the writhing pair. Keeping out of the fight. Analyzing. The discernment of Fire can be fascinating, and Form follows Perception, a few seconds behind the eyes, taking notes. This is the part of the mind that causes double takes. In this static world of black on black, nothing that catches the corner of the eye disappears, it sits completely still, demanding inspection, defying explanation. A canister of motor oil, melted through, not burned, not... "involved" as the firemen might say. A house fire is measured by participation. A package of marshmallows, indistinguishable from one you might find in your own pantry except for the row on one edge that is perfectly roasted, golden brown (one of the lighter shades of black that day). It is that indistinguishability that is most disturbing. These are all things that I have in my house, these are all things that could have been mine.

When I first heard the news, I was, for the most part, unaffected. It may seem callused or misguided, but the thought was "it's just stuff... You can replace stuff." Standing in the middle of that stuff, mind wrestling with itself to keep from comprehending, I realized that the skeletons that remain each have some memory attached to them. You never realize how much you liked your microwave until it's all metal bones, with none of the magic left to re-heat that midnight co-co because you were too busy talking to drink it while it was hot.

Before we left, we stretched a chain across the driveway to keep out the vultures and voyeurs. (An unnecessary precaution?) My mind pieces itself back together and I prepare for whatever might come up when Emotion is released. I was not overwhelmed with emotion, but I did learn something about my old perspective about the things we all own, just in time to never see it again.

A lens, once shattered,
cannot be reformed the same.
The old is unmade.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The Blessed Paradox

I was reminded this Sunday of the reason why I called this Blog "The Blessed Paradox," and I feel like it would be useful for you, the reader, to know a little bit about it. I want to start by saying that it is not a renunciation of the idea that there is absolute truth. It is a call for open minds. The trouble (as I see it) is that men fight, kill, and die for their own truth, or some part of The Truth. How much better to live for the Truth, accepting that we may only know part, and let the Truth fight for itself? In this way we can reach the True centre of pendulum extremes which only judge relatively, and are farther from the truth with each successive push towards some presumed, relative centre.

Of predestination, I can say equally that while God called me before the beginning of time, and yet I am free to choose; whether I will fall or follow. His call is not irresistible. The paradox explains the Truth best. He guides my path through life. Further to this point, He uses everything around me to teach me, as though I were the only one in the universe. Yet, this is how He fathers all of His sons (and daughters, so I've heard). His word was written thousands of years ago, and yet, it lives and moves. I come back to a passage after a month or even a week and there will be something there which I did not see before. Did it grow while I wasn't looking? Did I?

I was an object of wrath, and yet God loved me. I was so covered in sin that he could no longer see the soul he created, only the muck of transgressions that covered me. A garden, once full of flowers and trees choked out and grown over with weeds; all grown from seeds that I planted, and yet He loved me. I wasted my inheritance on worldly things, spending indiscriminately on things that could only last for a moment, and yet when I returned, broke and broken, He ran to the end of the road, threw His cloak over me put His ring on my finger and called me son, when I simply wanted to be called slave. Now despite my own failings I am clean in his sight. By seeking out ways to give up control of my life I am more free than ever I was while I sought independence.

I cannot write long about paradox without running in circles (see the quote below), but I am continually astounded by the way that nearly every conflict, theological or otherwise can often be resolved by keeping an open mind to the paradox, the one Truth that has been folded over to create two sides of an argument. My experience has been that the most useful truths are found and internalized in this way.

"... One must not think ill of the paradox, for the paradox is the passion of thought, and the thinker without the paradox is like the lover without passion: a mediocre fellow. But the ultimate potentiation of every passion is always to will its own downfall, and so it is also the ultimate passion of the understanding to will the collision, although in one way or another the collision must become its downfall. This, then, is the ultimate paradox of thought: to want to discover something that thought itself cannot think."
 -Søren Kierkegaard Philosophical Fragments


P.S. Semantic precision might demand that I call this blog "The Blessed Dilemma" due to the fact that Paradox is such a specific logical concept, but Paradox is so much more dramatic. Those of you who know me well will realize that while a choice between drama and precision is very difficult, I must err on the side of Drama. ;)