We look at the world once, in childhood.
The rest is memory. – Louise Gluck
Richard Rohr’s book Falling Upward talks about spiritual growth for the second half of life. Rohr is adamant that in order for us to discover the True Self, we have to fail. It’s true of every myth and big story. Odysseus failed all the way home.
Well, I could check that off my list. What next? As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, I felt as if God had said, “I’m bringing you joy anyway.” I knew it was not some thought I manufactured, because I don’t manufacture joy. Sarcasm yes. Joy, no.
How do you manufacture joy when you’ve felt grief? How can you look at anything for the first time and be awed by it?
I drove to Taos, New Mexico, to hole up in a cabin and write for three weeks. A large weather system had passed through just before me. I don’t know how to describe a New Mexico sky. It’s bluer and clearer. The clouds look as if they have more room to dance. When you drive east on I-40, you pass through dry washes and valleys with rock formations on either side, striations of red and charcoal and gray. There’s a reason the Native Americans call it sacred.
When I reached Albuquerque and turned north onto I-25, I passed under a pedestrian bridge that had been adorned with some kind of public art: a number of iron circles cresting the top of the mesh fence.
I only saw it for a second as I passed underneath, no time to analyze or appreciate it the way you do a piece in a gallery. But it was a second of unnecessary beauty. I teared up. And then it was as if I heard, Come. Come and play.
We pray, “Holy Spirit, come,” as if we’re inviting God to show up. But he’s already there. He is inviting us to come. Come! Come see what I made; come make something with me. Come and play.
About that natural beauty in New Mexico, my wife, an artist, loves the light in
New Mexico. God’s first element of creation in Genesis 1:3 was light. His light is particularly stunning where you traveled. May your own work bring salt and light to all of us.
Yes, a fantastic place for visual artists! Thanks so much for your encouragement, Bob!
How you’re writing about Lent reminds me of the book “The Roar from the Other Side”–can’t think of the author now, sorry.
Oo, I will check that out!