These Days

Saturday, 7 February 2009

You don't like anymore to declare, "I am now this way" or "I am now that way", trying to tie things down underfoot. Of course you understand why you do try to tie these things down. You have been as changeable as Melbourne weather for the last several years; of course you wanted to have happiness and contentment that rolls away in front of you like a red carpet for days and days. But all year long you have said, "I am now this way" and then you find yourself the other way in an hour or a day. Only to be this way again in another hour or day. Best to say you are everything or nothing. And anyway, you know, as soon as you try to tie down happiness and contentment and make them your own, that in the process of control you will turn them into something they never were before you caged them like a butterfly.

You know that now is enough for you to handle if you are going to be more than halfway in it. You're not entirely happy with that, but you know it. You're joyful about it when you manage to do it. You know that sadness and depression and despondency and despair and grief are in your future, as they are in anybody's. And just the saying and naming of those things puffs out the future, allows it to be what it is going to be without your teeth marks jagging its edges.

You can say today at least that you are content. There is a gentle flow, like water over stones. A flummox of thoughts every moment through your mind, a choice of which hallway to walk down, which door to open. You stall throughout the day, dwelling, wanting what you do not have, not liking what you do, and yet also finding that you have come to a certain place of command in your mind. Perhaps it is knowing God that has brought you along to a here, a mind that can draw itself now from one room down into the cool pool, or towards the beautiful hearthfire, or the fluffy pillow of rest. And you love how it is that thinking about God, about the God of all comfort, gives health to your heart and your mind. And when you remember you stop, and you say selah. Because the days are evil otherwise.

And even further, you can say today that you are happy. You have swum to the other side of the vat of grief. You sit dripping out the other side on the bank wondering how you got here. The grief does not hang off you any more, and you realise with a shock, a start, even as you have been realising, slowly, that the life you are liviing in feels no more like a life you have borrowed off someone else, ill-fitting, like the shoes you bought off EBay the other day, labelled 10 but a half size too big. You realise, suddenly, that this life that you are in fits you snugly, tailor-made, perfectly imperfect, and you don't know how that happened but it did.

And you think, it doesn't take much for you to be content any more. A few small plans for the future, a few friends, a God who you would be proud to introduce to people, a few ideas, a few daydreams. A small salad made this evening, from the lettuce you plucked from your own garden and the one small tomato that has ripened on the bush so far. More the size of a cherry tomato than a standard tomato, it looked almost incongruous as you cut it up and put it on the plate. But it tasted the sweetest, this small tomato, that you grew yourself.

And you wish you could share this peace with everyone, bottle it up and give it away for free on street corners to homeless rapists and methed-out kids and lonely people constricted and restricted by their thoughts and words and deeds. You wish you could share how your peace comes not from yourself but from the vision, the vision, the vision that the entire world is saved, but it just doesn't know it yet. But you know when you waffle on like this that you sound like a pain in the arse, and you know that it is best instead to distil this down into small gifts like a glass of cold water or a wrestling in prayer. And you know that that sounds a bit tossy too, a bit trite, and you wonder how irirtating it is that it is always easier to wax dramatic and depressing than to wax happy without sounding like a bit of a pillock. And you think the new heavens and the new earth would surely be the sort of place where you can wax expansive without sounding as if you need to take your meds.

These days turned out nothing like you'd planned. And finally, for all that, at least today, the world spins at its regular pace and you feel like, in some small way, life is pretty alright, thanks.

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