"There are times....when we are in the midst of life - moments of confrontation with birth or death, or moments of beauty when nature or love is fully revealed, or moments of terrible loneliness - times when an awesome awareness comes upon us. It may come as deep inner stillness or as a rush of overflowing emotion. It may seem to come from beyond us, without any provocation, or from within us, evoked by music, or a sleeping child. If we open our hearts at such moments, creation reveals itself to us in all its unity and fullness. And when we return from such a moment of awareness, our hearts long to find some way to capture it in worlds forever, so that we can remain faithful to its higher truth... When my people search for a name to give to the truth we feel at those moments, we call it God, and when we capture that understanding in timeless poetry we call it praying..."
"There's an old Jewish story that says in the beginning God was everywhere and everything, a totality. But to make creation, God had to remove Himself from some part of the universe, so something besides himself could exist. He breathed in, and in the places where God withdrew, there creation exists. ... He watches. He rejoices. He weeps. He observes the moral drama of human life and gives meaning to it by caring passionately about us, and remembering."
"In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom, through the awful grace of God."
- from The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. italics my own.
i'm not sure to whom i'd recommend The Sparrow... no... i would be cautious... the closing chapter made me feel (literally) faint with horror and i had to lie down...
but i will be thinking about it for much time to come... it's not the kind of story one will shake off easily...
perhaps wisdom is another name for remembering, or not forgetting... perhaps that is all God is, that which bears eternal witness to the beauty of love and the horror of brutality... i don't know if i find that comforting or awful... and perhaps that's the point... we can choose meaning, or not... either way, moments of love and moments of pain persist... and somehow we have to find a way to reconcile ourselves to that... and keep on keeping on...
the latest offering from Helios, Caesura (seehear at Boomkat) made for a good accompaniment to reading. (also available on iTunes.)
also recommended, Stephen Fry presents Oscar Wilde's short stories