Monday, April 10, 2017

notes from shanghai april 10

Notes from Shanghai, April 10, 2017

I'm 44 floors above the city streets in the business lounge. It is raining hard; and there is perhaps no spring so cool and gray as a rainy one in Shanghai. Being this high thrusts one up against the clouds; one comes to know water in a different way.

I don't know why God is so consistent. Once He moves in, He never really leaves; always there is a reminder of His Presence. And this, mind you, without instruction; just Grace. If there ever was an evidence of His abundance and His Mercy, it is here, in the way that Grace flows endlessly and without a specific reason.

Grace needs no reason; it comes from its own heart and affirms its own blessing.

Something changed in me; I am not the same as I was. Yet what this means is, as ever, not so clear. In one way I am exactly the same as ever; in the next, I am absolutely different. Both things are true. How does one speak about such matters? There is no literature; there are no precedents. It is the lyric of a foreign tongue from foreign shores, more foreign than the ones I find tonight. There are places in the universe right next to us of which we have no sense; and yet we live in them at the same time we live here, where we are, where everything looks so ordinary and so normal that we give ourselves permission to ignore it. Perhaps this is the difficulty; we give ourselves permission to ignore everything, because the only interesting thing, it seems, is our own desire. What a powerful creature it is! And yet it builds its own cage and lives in it so happily, when it might have the whole world if it wished.

Sometimes a person can touch the other worlds, and be touched by them; in me, the fabric ‘twixt is grown thin. There are angels everywhere; and though I cannot see or hear them — they have no need of images or sound to make them real — they penetrate my bones, inspecting me. I never know why they have this task, but they exercise it in such a way that I feel only gratitude. The moment that arises in contact is a moment of purity and goodness. Such moments are everywhere, and in all of time; what foolishness to speak of time as though it were an enemy, when it contains the Love God gives.

One is afraid it will run out; but such fear is sheer stupidity, because both Love and time come in endless measure.

Do we know that?

Or do we merely mark the inches on our soul in consternation of its finite length?

Really, there are better things to do. I have found them; or, perhaps, I should say they have found me. They find me in the most casual way, when there is nothing special going on.

I spend my days waiting to be discovered in this way, because it is so absolutely fascinating.


Lee van Laer is a Senior Editor at Parabola Magazine.

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