Monday, March 26, 2007

Yes, You CAN read this whole post!

Today is March 26th: Day One of the AC. That's right- we turned on the air conditioning. Also, we are drowning in near record breaking showers of pollen. Spring is springing and it is glorious.

I picked up a book at Goodwill recently: The Journey of Desire: Searching for the Life we've only Dreamed Of, by John Eldredge. Oh my word- I want to buy a copy of this book for EVERYONE I KNOW. It is delectable. I keep finding passages that resonate so deeply with me and I want to quote them and post on the blog...and they keep stretching on and on...and I think: Maybe I should just post the whole book! Hmmmm....there are surely some sort of copyright issues there...but, I will share with you an extended quote. A quote of Israel report-like proportions, but it's good. And you don't have to read it. That's the beauty of the blog. It's too long? Okay- don't read it. Fine. Deprive yourself of some scrumptious truth. Be my non-guest.

I DARE you to read on.

Defy your fear of too many paragraphs!

Here's something that seems apropos of the season. I know that not all of you who read this are enjoying the same warm temperatures and greenery that we are, so this is a token of hope for you.

He starts off chapter seven, "The Great Restoration" ( Huh!), by talking about a friend who he had recently lost in a tragic accident.

" My heart was so aware of the loss - not only of Brent, but in some ways, of everything that mattered. I knew that one by one, I would lose everyone I cared about and the life I am still seeking...Telling myself to long for eternity feels like telling myself to let go of all I love - forever. It feels like accepting the teaching of Eastern religions, a denial of life and all God created. We lose it all too soon, before we can begin to live and love. But what if? What if nature is speaking to us? What if sunrise and sunset tell the tale every day, remembering Eden's glory, prophesying Eden's return? What if it shall all be restored?"

Back to me ( Claire) here: Resonating yet? And then, skipping along, he's talking about how spring comes late to Colorado, where he lives...blah blah blah...

"Through February and then March, the earth remains lifeless. The whole world lies shadowed in brown and gray tones, like an old photograph. Winter's novelty is long past, and by April we are longing for some sign of life - some color, some hope. Instead, we get dumped on. It's our biggest snow month. While the azaleas are coming out in full glory in Atlanta, and the dogwoods are blooming pink and white in Portland, we are shoveling several feet of snow. It's too long.

And then, just this afternoon, I rounded the corner into our neighborhood, and suddenly, the world was green again. The bluffs behind our house were transformed. What had been rock and twig and dead mulch was a rich oriental carpet of green. I was shocked, stunned. How did it happen? As if in disbelief, I got out of my car and began to walk through the woods, touching every leaf. Just yesterday the scrub oaks had the twisted, gnarled look of the hands of an old witch. Now they are beautiful, tender, supple like a maiden. The birds are back as well, waking us in the morning with their glad songs. All the chirps and cheeps and whistles and twitters, a raucous melody of simple joy. It happened suddenly. In the twinkling of an eye.

My surprise is telling. It seems natural to long for spring; it is another thing to be completely stunned by its return. I am truly and genuinely surprised, as if my reaction were, Really? What are you doing here? And then I realized, I never thought I'd see you again. I think in some deep place inside, I had accepted the fact that winter is what is really true. As I lived through the first year of my grief, I had unconsciously settled into resignation. Empty and still, the world outside seemed a confirmation, the only fitting backdrop to the world within. I am shocked by the return of spring. And I wonder, Can the same thing happen for my soul?

Grief melts away
Like snow in May
As if there were no such cold thing.
Who would have thought my shrivl'd heart
Could have recover'd greennesse? It was gone
Quite underground

And now in age I bud again,
After so many deaths I live and write;
I once more smell the dew and rain,
And relish versing: O my only light
It cannot be
That I am he
On whom thy tempests fell all night.

( "The Flower" George Herbert)

Can it really happen? Can things in our lives be green again? No matter what our creeds may tell us, our hearts have settled into another belief. We have accepted the winter of this world as the final word and tried to get on without the hope of spring. It will never come, we have assumed, and so I must find whatever life here I can. We have been so committed to arranging for our happiness that we have missed the signs of spring. We haven't given any serious thought to what might be around the corner. Were eternity to appear tomorrow, we would be as shocked as I have been with the return of spring, only more so. Our practical agnosticism would be revealed. Pascal declared, " Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity...for want of reflection, that we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.""

I could go on and on, quoting from this book, and perhaps I will post more excerpts at a later date. It's just SOOOO good -so what I need right now.


lis said...

Good work, Claire - I read it all.

And thank you.

KW said...

Hey, get me a copy quick!

pennyjean said...

Yes, I read the whole post and it was worth it! Awesome. Now I want to read the book!

Claire said...

Seeee!!?? SEEEEEEEEEEEE???!!!