Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Looking in the gutter

God's gifts flow endlessly.

To be sure, these are just words; and I destroy them as easily as any truth mishandled. It is the easiest thing, after all, to take all things for granted and dismiss them; my eyes do not meet the morning freshly, and my heart does not engage with the moments that could most nourish me. 

It seems, somehow, that I am forever turning away; and this is all I have in me. Grace, now; that is too familiar, and it has all the things I lack. Yet I can't invoke it; and I am left bereft from moment to moment hoping for it, since without I'm lost.

Grace: some call it attention. Yet this is dangerous; it makes it sound as though I could have it, when really it belongs strictly to itself. Through itself, it leads me directly to worship; and no one who has not tasted it can appreciate how inexorably this line is drawn within, from a lack of self, to the deep and committed praises of the Lord. I would be within this all the time, if I could; for in those moments nothing is more right and pleasing than to praise the Lord. But I am withdrawn; and left to wonder why.

Every formulation of these principles to me seems false; the forms, as beautiful as they are, are stale too, as are the ones who prosecute them. Even the believers fall short, simply by believing; they do not suspect that their faith ought to lead them past belief and into the unknown paths of love, where even belief itself is a sin, because it falls too short and carries a suspicion in it. And I? I know the difference between these things, yet still it isn't enough. If the Lord, through Grace, removes my doubt, it is only one room half-cleaned in a house full of dirt. Here I stand, not believing, but knowing; yet I am still indequate, and there is no way of my own towards heaven.

One would think. One would think the knowing would suffice; and yet sin must be purged throughout. This is not a task for days or months or years, but lifetimes; and yet I want everything now, even though I know I need to be brought gently to the many moments of my penance. Time flows the way it does for this reason; it carries me past what I lack over and over again. At its best, it brings me to my worst. Not once, but over and over again, and most especially when I think I have become good. Then something happens that pulls the wool from my eyes; and once again, I am reminded of my mortality, and all its implications. I can think the good; but cannot do it. To do the good is only from God and through God; I forget this constantly.

To that extent, a hypocrite I remain, and a coward. These are the most silent sins; for who would own them? Yet I think we are all there together, in these things.

To turn Oscar Wilde's famous quote on its head, we are all under the stars; but some of us are looking in the gutter.


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