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Thursday, May 22, 2003

Where Does Your Road Go?

As many of you know (many, as if I have millions of people reading this, but only two hundred thousand are in the know LOL) I am at present (checking watch) ten days, one hour, thirty one minutes and…….12 seconds away from being peacefully married. Peacefully, I know, it’s a strange word to append to in that context, so many connotations and what-not. Here’s what I mean.

Some might say “happily” married. Well, I can’t say for sure that my marriage will always be a happy one. But more important, I’m not appending the word as directly tied to the word married in that way. More like married and at peace. There may be times when even the marriage may be unpeaceful (which will most likely be my fault). Here’s what I’m driving at. Being married is part of the path of salvation God has ordained for me (and I mean both uses of ordained).

Indeed, it is integrally tied to my salvation. To borrow a term, it is salvific. Were I to actively choose not to be married at this point, I would be turning away from one of the ways God has planned to grow me into maturity, away from His grace, away from one way in which He desires to reveal and accomplish relationship with me.

Being in that relationship with Him, basking in His grace, loving what He desires for me, this is what saves me. Committing myself to that relationship is only the first step; it is in no way the end result of my salvation. And it is this road towards salvation that is the place of peace. I can know no ultimate peace apart from continually choosing to walk this path, being purified and enlightened about that relationship along the way. This is why there would be no peace for me apart from my marriage to this woman, for indeed I need her in. I cannot faithfully walk this path without her.

And so we come back to the title. Where does the road GO? I remember there was a time when I answered “to heaven of course”, as if heaven were just the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and the journey along the way ultimately meaningless. “Just so long as we get there, what does it matter how?” was the unspoken (and perhaps even unknown) assumption. How sad that perspective is.

Now I am beginning to understand all of Paul’s allusions to athletic training, Christ’s teaching about counting the cost when building our storehouses etc. How we get there, what we do along the way, who we become the further we go, these are just as important, perhaps even more important, when considering where our roads go. “Further up and further in” as CS Lewis wrote. We are always walking the road, even in eternity, because we ought always be growing into the image of the infinite God (for we are truly made in His image).

The road is not just a means to an end. It is an infinite series of steps, and each one moves us in a direction. Each step is in effect a road unto itself. We need to know where each step goes. We need to continually order our lives to that path. I thank God every day, that He has left a Church to draw the map. Two thousand years of Orthodox Christians who have walked the path, who have carefully chosen every step in the path of theosis. For them, each step was a microcosm of the entire path. Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers and Mothers, may I be as faithful as they, and in the end attain the crown.

Friday, May 16, 2003

A Very Tasty Cake

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about talking. Those of you that know me know I can talk. Those of you that don’t, well….that depends on your frame of reference. Some of you don’t have blogs, and so probably marvel at how much fodder rolls of my fingertips. Others post more on their blogs by 8am than I post all month, and might think me very quiet. I know a couple of people, who for some reason that utterly escapes me, think I’m smart and “provocatively thoughtful”, while others read my words and just scratch their heads wondering how so many words can have so little meaning.

And the really funny thing to me about all this, is that they are all wrong and they are all right (well, except those who think I’m smart, I assure you; I am but an itchy pimple on the butt of the smart). But whatever…. I guess this is what I really wanted to talk about anyway.

Words…all of us have them, and none of us really know what they mean. Oh sure, we all know how to use them, and sometimes we even communicate with them, and even more rarely, we actually on some level communicate what we mean. Stranger things have happened. But how many times have we had to say “I’m sorry, that’s not what I meant”, or “My bad, I misunderstood you”, or even (and this is the one I hear directed toward me most) “WHAT DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND ABOUT WHAT I’M SAYING!!???”.

But then there are some things that I understand every time. When Cybil kisses me before I go home at night, late nights sitting on the patio smoking and talking with friends, the smile of my baby nephew when I hold him and babble nonsense, “El Diablo” patting my butt as I walk by, “The Forerunner”’s smooch on the way out of Church, the rush that accompanies the faithful proclaiming the symbol of faith………………………………… THE BODILY (read physical) EMBRACE OF CHRIST IN THE EUCHARIST…………….

Or the peace of God that passes all understanding. I can’t describe it, I can’t explain it, I can’t even begin to tell you what it’s like. It passes all understanding. And yet, if you’ve experienced it, you know it too. And yet sometimes we get so stuck on words. We need someone to tell us, to explain something to us, and until they can, they must be wrong.

I used to do this all the time (still do sometimes, but I’m a recovering wordmonger). My beloved and I would disagree about some thing or another, but in my mind I was never wrong. And to be honest, when I let it all rest in words, I really never was. I was a legal mastermind, man…..those pharisees had nothing on me! I would argue and mince words and do the verbal equivalent of Bo and Luke jumpin the General over the Boars Nest, so that no one could show me why I was wrong…..until my beloved’s tears would stream down her face, and only then would I get it.

Sometimes we’re wrong because we have turned from the relationship. We’re wrong because we don’t care…because being legally right is more important than being relationally right. It is relationship that has meaning. Words are just a tool for the relationship, and a piss-poor one at that. Throw all the words out there you want, you will never capture love with them. Every sonnet ever written will still fall short of communicating love to the child abandoned by abusive parents. But a warm embrace, feeding the hungry, acts of relationship, COMMUNION….THESE are the bread on which we feed. Words are just the icing (or the mayo as the case may be) on a very tasty cake.


Friday, May 09, 2003

COMMENT CAVE

This entry is simply for the aid of those who are unable (you know who you are, though any may post in here) to partake in any internet communication other than (strange though it may seem) blogs. Those pesky little workplace firewalls!!!!

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