Death in life in death in life in death

Sunday 11 May 2008

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you're there!
If I go underground, you're there!
If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon,
You'd find me in a minute - you're already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, "Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
At night I'm immersed in the light!"
It's a fact: darkness isn't dark to you;
night and day, darkness and light, they're all the same to you.

Psalm 139:7-12

I was discombobulating my own head earlier this afternoon, sitting on the couch and writing my random thoughts about death which ended up coalescing into how totally spin-outish reality is, like those Russian dolls all one inside each other, getting smaller and smaller as they go. It makes me think I'd like to see with the eyes of God inside a grain of sand. But it would probably explode my head.

Was writing about how difficult it is to get going today (overcast again). Thinking about how time is a straight linear line when looked at from the outside, but how different when lived from within. How quickly some minutes pass, and how interminably slowly others pass. Nothing is really what it seems from the outside.

I sat down on the outside to do my standard three pages of freehand (commonly called morning pages but begun well after lunchtime). I began writing about death, because I was feeling a bit deathlike - stuck in the mood of the morning, the heaviness of the weather, the frustration of my frustrations. And began writing about death but got reminded about life in the process and oh, that's what I love about writing because it makes it all worthwhile when Life pokes his head up, intruding into my words about my own musings about death and surprises me with some bubbles. But of course, he's there, too, in death, isn't he? 'Cause he's been everywhere, man.

I was feeling frustrated when I sat down to write because today I really want to put my head down and my hand to the grindstone and just do instead of thinking so hard about what I want to do. Frustrated that on the one hand, I wanted to do the things I wasn't feeling like I wanted to do, like vacuuming and making pumpkin soup for my Mum's visit tomorrow and, on the other hand, the other things I wasn't feeling like doing either, like centreing prayer and writing, and lighting candles, and writing poetry, and doing a cool little ritual with autumn leaves that my art therapist showed me, and doing some drawing, and all of that cool creative stuff that opens up the world to me so that the minutes start expanding themselves out into double the time, but in the cool way, not in the dragging way that happens when you're sitting in a dentist chair and every minute goes for 14 hours. That sentence was way too long, but it stays.

Isn't that the most evil voice of all, when you're stuck, whether for half an hour or for a few decades, the one that whispers that you're stuck and you're never gonna get out of where you're at? That everyone else gets it except you, you stupid, useless dick. And it always feels like that, even though within this morning's version I knew that all it will take is a step or two and then I'm swimming in and drinking waters that I'm thirsty for and that change everything. And yeah, even though the voice still whispers even underwater, it's harder to hear it 'cause I'm immersed, swimming where the mountains clap their hands for joy. Swimming through repentance to seeing anew again (again, for the 14 thousandth time in one day) the life where God lives.

Repentance or penance. Sitting with unsocked feet in the cold can seem like repentance but really it's just some kind of fleshly penitence unless there's life behind it. And yet some walk the street barefoot and wailing and they seem like penitent fools but in fact they are swimming in the best kind of repentance. And nobody from the outside can really tell you whether you are doing one or the other but your heart can tell if it's a love dance or a flesh flagellation.

The road to repentance doesn't need to be in sackcloth but can be swum down in joy. When you know God is good even repentance contains lifebursts. But the flipside of swimming down the road of repentance - not once-off to an altar where you ask Jesus into your heart, but in a dark and light life where you discover him anew there over and over - is returning again to our own versions of doing life which is really death, returning via the wind whispers or via our own death we carrying around in our bodies every single day until the day we ultimately die to live. The death I choose with monotonous insane regularity, my right to self-determination and my belief that I don't need God to see what I want and need, and that I don't need God to serve God. Which turns gold into dust in an instant, joy into despair, work into chore, and turns all my attempts to do for God into filthy menstrual cloths. Riches into rags.

At times it is hard to accept that unless I'm swimming in Life and living loved, that I find it very easy somehow to slip over into living as if I'm a pile of crap and what I do is unimportant to God and to me. Or, conversely, flipping over the same tiresome coin, I'm living in the strain and strife that what I'm doing or not doing is so important in the grand scheme of things that it renders me paralysed and, conversely, zoned out on the couch in front of the TV.

Death is unbearable when I'm half-living, living half-dead. Death is stingless when I'm living in the Life.

Perhaps this is all tied up in what Paul was talking about when he said that we are already dead. The whole bloody kit and caboodle, everything, is dead. We have died and been sucked into the God hanging on a cross, welcoming the shame for the life that follows. Thank God. Death in life in death in life in death.


  1. I love how sometimes you make me cry when you write the words of my heart. What a talent that is.

    Carry on.

  2. Wow. I love making people cry :)


Newer Older