Sunday, January 17, 2010

The More Loving One, by Auden

Because every once in awhile, I will post another's poem, today I choose Auden. And in the doing of it, I ask you to ponder the true "more loving one" He who made the stars has endured every hatred and indifference, including the full wrath of his own father. It is beyond me just as the stars themselves are, to fathom the greatness of God. Today, there is the staggering reality of an earthquake. How can a loving God allow something so cruel to unfold?? To which I first respond: GREAT question! Then, if I've my wits about me, and am open to indwelling of his Holy Spirit, I can, and have responded: have you considered what this loving God allowed his own son to endure...for our sakes? How can I be indifferent to that kind of love?

The More Loving One
by W. H. Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

"The More Loving One" by W.H. Auden, from Collected Poems. © The Modern Library — Random House, 2007. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sinking Sand

The prior post about my dear sister and Flannery Making A Way stirred me to ponder where & in whom it is I place my trust. I love my sister. I admire Flannery. I am thankful for a home and a roof over my poor head. But were I to love my sister or the words of Flannery more than dear Jesus, I would be entertaining worshipping the made and not the Maker. The words of Edward Mote resound:

My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.

It might look as though life is rich and full where family is at the core, or where your keepsakes and possessions are dust free. A life of abounding order and streak-free windows is nice, but not trustworthy.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Making a Way

When we get our spiritual house in order, we'll be dead. This goes on. You arrive at enough certainty to make your way, but it is making it in darkness. Don't expect faith to clear things up for you, it is trust, not certainty. - Flannery O'Connor

Her words have a seal of authenticity; Flannery O'Connor's short life remains vivid to me because she was a damn fine writer, and she suffered terrible pain. So she knew about suffering in a unique way, and therefore her voice is trusted, even to this day.

Over the last few days, I've been staggered by the kindness of my sister, her tending to my house with me, de-cluttering, cleaning and preparing it for sale. Now the house, is, as they say, on the market. I keep telling my sister, I could not have done it without you- and it's true. I would still be floundering and staring at all the stuff, wondering what to do next. She, armed with zeal like the north wind, buoyed me toward the finish line. Left to my own devices, I'd drift along, halfway content the rest of my days in dust and old daydreams. Maybe I could have finished this project of de-cluttering without her, but it would have been a lonelier job, and six months in the doing of it. With her help, I did it in almost one 14 hour day. We threw out a load of old stuff- things I did not need, things I would never use, that today could be smiling at someone from a pale Goodwill shelf.

And so we made our way. In the midst of it, when the piles of clutter were enormous, when my bones creaked and muscles ached, I did not think it possible. But as I watched my passionate sister carry on through the day and night, I was energized and inspired. Several times she would stop to clutch her back and sigh. I grew weary too and temperamental at times, biting my tongue on occasion, and letting it slip on others. Nevertheless, we muddled through. In making our way through that long day, I've been the one to reap the fruit of the labor. My home is a showplace.

My sister is the Flannery O'Connor of home fixer-uppers, she's a doer with stick-to-ittiveness. She calls it like she sees it. She loves the truth. And she inspires me. She is more like Flannery than any of you could ever know; her suffering has lasted a lifetime. And it has shaped her into a stunning woman with an authentic voice-for hers and Flannery's I am ever grateful.