Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"...all Narnia will...perish in fire and water."

With bowed crown I paced steadily, silent, and alone across the darkened floor.  Bleachers lined the wall to my left. Their complete fall ended at my feet.  To my right was a stage.  Illumined by the only burning light, an artist perched on his platform as he gently sang a song he believed.  It was safe in his voice. 

"It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
The minor fall, the major lift..."

Between he and I was a void twice as wide as his audience.  We were more than oceans apart.

"...Well baby, I’ve been here before
I’ve seen this room and I’ve walked this floor
You know, I used to live alone before I knew ya..."

His song was enchantingly somber.  It penetrated my skin, coursed through my veins, dug into my skeleton, invaded my body, attempted to resuscitate the vitals that could call me back. 

"...But remember when I moved in you
And the holy dove was moving too
And every breath we drew was..."

Those traitors upon which I stand continued their own indifferent beat until they carried me to the center.   I was a specter of the elevated performer; he hunched over his instrument, I over the chasm in my chest.  From my land of shadows I crossed him on his pedestal.  For a moment, we eclipsed.  He struck his crescendo:

"Hallelujah!" : a roaring proclamation. 
"Hallelujah," : a statement.
"Hallelujah..." : a hope.

Trembling from core to cuticle, the song flickered out.  Transparency drowned in my murky, downcast eyes as I turned to ascend the bleachers.

*     *     *

"...Love is not a victory march;
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.

And it’s not a cry that you hear at night.

It’s not somebody who’s seen the light.
It’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.


Friday, December 2, 2011

from my notebook for BIO 1530

"I wanna see the earth start shaking.  I wanna see a generation finally waking up inside."

We're all still waiting for an alarm to go off.  What we don't realize is that we're asleep, we are not fully alive. 

They say the eyes are the window to the soul.  Look deep and hard into every set you have contact with.  Tell me they're all alike.  Tell me they are all equally alert and joyful and suffering and deep and alive.  I dare you.

I'm sitting here with the above lyric chanting in my head and moving in my soul, and I'm wondering what it's going to take.  Does humanity have a breaking point, when all at once a pristine clarity descends on humanity like a fog on the moor?  When will we wake up?

I glanced down at the pen resting in my hand, poised to scar this paper.  For a moment I realized how much power I hold weightlessly in this ten-cent object, daily in my right hand.

In my eighth grade literature class, we read a short story about these people on an adventure for kicks.  They happened upon this valley full of sleeping dinosaurs.  The dinosaurs eyes were rolling under their lids - they were in the middle of REM.  Their sleep was induced, as the humans soon realized.  They'd been sleeping, unnoticed, for thousands upon thousands of years.  The story ended with the ground shaking rhythmically, the people fleeing; millenia later the dinosaurs had finally woken.

"I wanna see the earth start shaking.  I wanna see a generation finally waking up inside."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Silence and Clamor

I walked alone through the automatic doors into the air conditioned, noisy atmosphere as I fought back tears, as I pushed all the baggage down and jumped on the lid yet again.  I'd been fighting with my mom.  She dropped me off where I work in the bakery department of the local grocery store.  I like smiling in general, but especially at work.  I like reminding people that it's possible to be happy, that happiness can be more tangible than a fairy tale.

I hurriedly punched my four digits into the system.  I was late.  I hate being late.  I cantered down the bread aisle to the back corner where I basically live, as I spend at least 30 hours there a week.  I tried to look natural, calm, composed, normal.  I held my voice steady and even managed to smile as I casually greeted my coworkers.  All the while I was shrieking inside.  Civil war was escalating, working its way toward self-destruct.  I felt alone, like there was somewhere more important I had to be, like my body was there and going through the motions as the rest of myself moved and contorted itself in a terrifying combination of rage and fear.  I felt transparent, invisible even as I stood there and they watched my face laugh with them.  

I nearly burst into tears.  I started running around, occupying myself with anything at all so I couldn't interact, to distract my mind, to calm down.  I cried.  People walked by.  I discreetly dried the tears, making it look like an itch or something.  We exchanged words.  They never knew.

My busy-ness found me in the freezer where we store cakes and other baked goods to keep them fresh before displaying them.  I have thoroughly drawn comparisons between the freezer and Hell:  it is so cold it burns, it is full of temptations, yet nothing can be savored and there is always reason to fear.  Unlike Hell, no one remains in the freezer for more than a couple minutes at a time. 

I let myself go, I cried a bit, and I did not grow cold, surrounded with metal and ice.  But the cold air calmed my nerves and caressed my skin.  I was a powder keg that had been stabilized for the moment.  A moment was all I asked for. 

I walked out of the freezer with my emotions placid enough for me to rationalize.  The battle I've fought so many times before began.  I faced hard questions: Why was I where I was?  What gave me the right?  Why should I not be somewhere more grand?  Why do I exist?  Why do I not forfeit the good fight, the difficult life?  It's a loosing battle anyway, isn't it?  How could it not be?  What am I continuing for?  Tolkien's idea as spoken by his hobbit, Sam, echoed clear and strong in my mind: "Because there is some good in the world, and it's worth fighting for."
Simultaneously an image of the world as a black cloud of a fabric knot held together by a single golden thread woven throughout met my mind's eye.  This is my new image of the world.  Elusive black depending on the strength and symmetry of gold.

I was still running around, putting things away and taking things out.  But I was finally calm.  The turmoil died.  I remembered that I'm free. 

"Suddenly there was a great burst of light through the Darkness.  The light spread out and where it touched the Darkness the Darkness disappeared.  The light spread out until the patch of Dark Thing had vanished, and there was only a gentle shining, and through the shining came the stars, clear and pure.  Then, slowly, the shining dwindled until it, too, was gone, and there was nothing but stars and starlight.  No shadows.  No fear.  Only the stars and the clear darkness of space, quite different from the fearful darkness of the Thing."
~ A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle

Friday, May 20, 2011

the place that we'd meet

Someone in my fam has been extremely sick in recent weeks. Everyone was crying at the hospital; we didn't think he was gonna make it. He's at least stable for now, thank God. I told only two coworkers. When my other coworkers overheard they started treating me and even acting differently toward me. They had no idea before. I guess it's just a reminder: treat EVERYONE you meet with extra kindness because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

* * *

Last night two very different people I know told me things about their past experiences that they are not proud of but have changed them. I never would have guessed either.  They are amazing people. Sometimes it seems like I have a sign on my forehead that reads something like: "If you have something deep and dark to share, tell me!".  Don't misunderstand me:  I'm honored when people reveal to me a bit of their soul.  I know it takes courage.  I'm happy to listen and do what I can for them.  But sometimes it feels too heavy. Today I've been having a difficult time handling it.

I woke up, only because I had to.  I made myself scrambled eggs and toast, my favorite breakfast, because I was hungry.  I ate the slice of toast and a small bite of scrambled eggs. I lost my appetite completely and threw the rest out. I sank to the foot of the stairs and said a prayer. I tried to sedate my emotions and I tried to cry. I finally did cry, but not enough.

All the while the script's line "when your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be" chanting faintly through my head. Random line, right? So I thought, which is why it struck me as strange that the line was so persistant.

"when your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be"

Then a random neuron met another. What if the heart mentioned in the line is that of the Church Militant, and the singer is Christ? As if He's waiting for me to find Him, perhaps on a street corner as in the song, perhaps at the 90 degree angle where the upstairs steps meet the foyer floor in a place similar to where I was in the fetal position at the time.  It fit too well.  And I was finally calm.

I'm still upset even now.  The truth is I probably always will be.  No one wants to accept the darker side of life, we all fight it in our own way.  I think what defines us is the way we fight it. 

Miss Dickinson wrote: If I can stop one heart from breaking / I shall not live in vain. / If I could ease one life the aching, / or cool one pain, / I shall not live in vain.  I believe these verses, they are lines I try to live by.  I want to help the people I know carry their burdens,  even if it's simply encouraging them or helping them remember what it means to be joyful when they forget that they were made to love and be loved.  We were not made to be alone. 

Perhaps that is why there are so many corners in this world.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thoughts During PHI 1620


I am sitting in my ethics class.  We are talking about the moral system developed by the author of my text based on the theories discussed in previous class sessions.  I am having a difficult time staying awake.  I keep yawning rather noisily.  The people around me probably think I have some digestive issues or something.  Oh well.  After this semester, I will probably never see any of these people again.  We just spent the last 5+ minutes developing hand cramps, as we wordily wasted ink establishing that this theory is compatible with Kant's idea that people should never be viewed only as a means, but always an end.   Glad that's been established.  Moving on...Oh now we're saying you shouldn't contradict yourself (really?!?!) but don't be rigid in your theory.  Uhm.  get me out of here. 

If you've made two promises but you cannot keep one without breaking the other, what do you do?  Keeping your promises must be too rigid a principle (sarcasm).  Maybe, for some people, the only unbroken promise is the one that is not made.  Perhaps you should not make promises you can't keep.

Oh!  Abortion debate!  pg. 160... "people tend to argue past each other in abortion debates..." I'm actually agreeing with my proff on this one.  "'2.  Human life begins at conception.'  That's the Catholic concept anyways," ...and the only concept science supports!  Biologists define humans by the chromosomes.  Conception is when the 2 sets of 23 chromosomes join to form the 46 chromosomes of the same unique DNA that individual human will have for the rest of his or her life. 
Now he's talking about Roe v. Wade...hmmm...he knows his stuff.
Most of the class looks stiff, legs crossed, leaned back, arms folded.  He goes on about different ways people determine whether people are human, then "Moving on,"  OK then.

Now he's talked for about 3 minutes on solving conflict.  I think.  It's difficult to find the point in all of his ranting.  He just talks.  People are now haunched over their texts.  He must have seen every sort of hair division by this point in his career. 
Now he's discussing the golden rule, and trying to make a joke.  He's moving toward the board.  More notes...
The first point of the author's ethical system involves revering life and accepting death.  "...drink life like water and death like wine," ~Chesterton  sounds good. 
WHAT?!  Well duh, using a respirator is justifiable! 
Even though this proff and I both seem to be native English speakers, there is such a language barrier between us.
How is that first point compatible with consequentialistic theory? 

I like glittery black things.  They are pretty.

Pg. 175.  YES!  Almost the end of the chapter.  He'll probably let us have our break before we begin to review for the midterm, to be taken in two weeks, after break.  I need chocolate. 
"'Living together before marriage'"...here we go.  "Now let's say they're practicing safe sex," ...not gonna say anything.  Not gonna say anything.  Not gonna say anything.
"His other example, is rape."  Wow.  "I think what's wrong with rape is that we aren't respecting another person's autonomy."  Ummmm I think it's a bit more than that (!) .
"Any questions?  Then let's have our break."  No arguments from this end of the room.


Went for a little walk.  Used the bathroom.  Got some water in my system.  Sitting and writing this with 5 minutes to spare.  As usual.  Evidently, at least half the class is addicted to nicotine.  It must be an expensive and time consuming addiction.  I think I'll steer clear of smoking as well as coffee.  I'm not gonna eat my chocolate now.  Writing this is effectively keeping me awake.  I'll have an apple when I get home.  The teacher is erasing the board.  I think the kid who just walked into the classroom works at the same place I do.  I wonder how different I look with my hair down.

"Midterm exam review,"  Oh joy.  There'll be a vocab/short answer section and an essay/long answer section.  The girl next to me took her things and never came back from break.  Huh.  Now we are talking about ethnocentrism and tolerance.  Tolerance.  A word very much abused, misused, and misunderstood in this culture.  How sad. 
We should know the criticisms of Utilitarianism.  I wonder what the criticisms of Catholicism would be, were it to be discussed. 
Aristotle and Mill both said that the ultimate end of man is happiness.  I beg to differ. 
I could not be an anthropologist; it requires the descriptive approach to ethics, rather than the prescriptive approach.  Wouldn't work.
We only need to know cultural relativism from Chapter 5!  That chapter was my favorite thus far!
LOL  I love the term "free will problem".  LOL
"Soft determinism is when free will is compatible with determinism."  "I'm sorry, what is free will compatible with?"  Good.  I am glad I'm not the only one having a rough time taking notes when this guy talks. 
Aaaaaand absolute consequentialism makes no sense in practice. 
That chart is not giving me definitions!
YAY!  That's it.  Class dismissed.

Now let's see if I pass...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Re-Posted: Inscription of Hope

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining.
And I believe in love
even when there's no one there.
And I believe in God
even when He is silent.
I believe through any trial
there is always a way.

But sometimes in this suffering
and hopeless despair
My heart cries for shelter,
to know someone's there.
But a voice rises within me saying
'hold on my child'
I'll give you hope
I'll give you strength

Just stay a little while

I believe in the sun
even when it is not shining.
And I believe in love

even when there's no one there.
And I believe in God
even when He is silent.
I believe through any trial
There is always a way.

May there someday be sunshine.
May there someday be happiness.
May there someday be love.
May there someday be peace.

These words were inscribed on a basement wall in Nazi Germany where Jewish refugees had been hiding from agents of the Holocaust.

I hope you found this as incredible and inspiring as I did.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sonnet LXVI

Tired with all these, for restful death I cry,
As to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honour shamefully misplaced,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,
And strength by limping sway disabled
And art made tongue-tied by authority,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,
And captive good attending captain ill:
     Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
     Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.

~William Shakespeare