The truly necessary qualification is not that the City’s streets will not be paved with real gold, but that gold as we know it is not real gold, such as the City will be paved with. What is the matter with gold anyway? Will goldsmiths who gain the Kingdom have nothing to do there? To stay with this one little piece of the vision, our discourse must learn again to revel in the beauty and flexibility and integrity of gold, of the City’s true gold, and to say exactly why the world the risen Jesus will make must of course be golden, must be and will be beautiful and flexible and integral as is no earthly city. And so on and on.
Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills—
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn’t matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn’t always understand.
Awe is the feeling we have when we encounter the monumental or immeasurable. We experience a sudden shrinking of the self, yet a rapid expansion of the soul.
The common ground between awe and love would seem to be 'a sudden shrinking of the self,' 'the way one looks at distant things.' When we love, we find the monumental and immeasurable. When we wonder, we learn to see in a way that heals the heart without knowing it.
groans in gratitude, grows with awe, and walks
hand-in-hand with imagination. Joy
bouqueted as lavish larkspurs of light popped into sulfur
tang. She’s a tart pickel bit in
the dark of your mouth, tasted like the sight of life, shaped
apple whose thin, green skin beckons one’s teeth. World delivered
in blood and tears, beautiful in song. Sung from the start that
was then, this is
now the story of a baby. Wait, we wait,
now for then. Patience is a woman’s grin
grown, no longer thin. So, when?
The question one can
see in the shrug of a tree.
Lately, I've been obsessed with the Lone Bellow's latest album, "Half Moon Light." Alongside Bob Dylan's latest and "Easy Rider: The best of the Mercury recordings" by Johnny Cash, New York's finest country-folk band has my heart and ears. A favorite track titled "Wonder" asks,
"Should I let go of the wonder? Let go of the wonder? I'll find it out beyond the trees."
The question is a good one because it seems to be asking two things at the same time.
What can I keep from the childlike (not childish) awe from before now, when all I got from growing up was getting old?
How am I holding on to an imagined person, place, or thing that isn't leading me to hope and love? Is it best for me to let that go? If so, where will I find the strength to do so? What do I hold on to instead?
Thinking about wonder and seeing that Austin Kleon was recently asked by the Corita Art Center to speak about Sister Corita Kent in a conversation about her influence on his own work, reminded me of her great collage using Wonder Bread branding (image above). In that collage Sister Kent incorporates a hearty quote from Camus. The tiny script in her collage reads:
Great ideas, it has been said, come into the world as gently as doves. Perhaps then, if we listen attentively, we shall hear, amid the uproar of empires and nations, a faint flutter of wings, the gentle stirring of life and hope. Some will say this hope lies in a nation; others in a man. I believe rather that it is awakened, received, nourished by millions of solitary individuals whose deeds and works everyday negate frontiers and the crudest implications of history.
As a result, there shines forth fleetingly the ever threatened truth that each and every man, on the foundation of his own sufferings and joys, builds for all.