Sunday, January 31, 2016

to ravish & to lavish

"The world is the closed door. It is a barrier. And at the same time it is the way through . . . Every separation is a link."

lavishing
ravishing
love
He said, "Fall on your knees before this place, in love, as before the place where lies the truth." I obeyed. 
He brought me out and made me climb into a garret. Through the open window one could see the whole city spread out, some wooden scaffoldings, and the river on which boats were being unloaded. The garret was empty, except for a table and two chairs. He bade me be seated. 
We were alone. He spoke. From time to time someone would enter, mingle in the conversation, then leave again. 
Winter had gone; spring had not yet come. The branches of the trees lay bare, without buds, in the cold air full of sunshine. 
The light of day would arise, shine forth in splendor, and fade away; then the moon and the stars would enter through the window. And then once more the dawn would come up. 
At times he would fall silent, take some bread from a cupboard, and we would share it. The bread really had the taste of bread. I have never found that taste again. 
He would pour out some wine for me, and some for himself–wine which tasted of the sun and of the terroir upon which this city was built. 
At other times we would stretch ourselves out on the floor of the garret and sweet sleep would enfold me. Then I would wake and drink in the light of the sun. 
He had promised to teach me, but he did not teach me anything. We talked about all kinds of things, in a desultory way, as do old friends. 
One day he said to me: “Now go.” I fell down before him, I clasped his knees, I implored him not to drive me away. But he threw me out on the stairs. I went down unconscious of anything, my heart as it were in shreds. I wandered along the streets. Then I realized that I had no idea where this house lay. 
I have never tried to find it again. I understood that he had come for me . . . My place is not in that garret. It can be anywhere––in a prison cell, in one of those middle-class drawing-rooms full of knick-knacks and red plush, in the waiting room of a station––anywhere, except in that garret. 
Sometimes, I cannot help trying, fearfully and remorsefully, to repeat to myself a part of what he said to me. How am I to know if I remember rightly? He is not there to tell me. 
I know well that he does not love me. How could he love me? And yet deep down within me something, a particle of myself, cannot help thinking, with fear and trembling, that perhaps, in spite of everything, he loves me. 
// from The Notebooks of Simone Weil (Arthur Wills' translation). 

Simone. She was a slave set free, like every saint, "singing what must certainly be very ancient hymns of a heart-rending sadness. Nothing can give any idea of it. I have never heard anything so poignant. There the conviction was suddenly borne in upon me that Christianity is preeminently the religion of slaves, that slaves cannot help belonging to it, and I among others . . ."

Simone. She is one of those women whose craziness offers me a comforting kinship. A traveling friend whose journals came with me to the restorative and serene radio silence of the Catskills this weekend. She is yet another wandering self-exiled Jew, with an itinerary away from the cathedral cloister, part of the fellowship of the excluded. A chosen outcast, whose psychological homelessness––whose marginalization––matters, bears weight, in all of her self expression. I met her after that August day eight years ago on which splaying out on the hardwood floor I was newly acquainted with my own poverty of heart. She was a balm–-and a caution––to my embattled mind, against the valorization of unnecessary suffering and against self-exclusion. Weilly weirdly wonderful and woeful.

To Bousquet she had written:

I absolutely cannot imagine the possibility that any human being could feel friendship for me. If I believe in yours it is only because I have confidence in you and you have assured me of it, so that my reason tells me to believe it. But this does not make it seem any the less impossible to my imagination. 
Because of this propensity of my imagination I am all the more tenderly grateful to those who accomplish this impossibility. Because friendship is an incomparable, immeasurable boon to me, and a source of life—not metaphorically but literally. Since it is not only my body but my soul itself that is poisoned all through by suffering, it is impossible for my thought to dwell there and it is obliged to travel elsewhere. It can only dwell for brief moments in God; it dwells often among things; but it would be against nature for human thought never to dwell in anything human. Thus it is literally true that friendship gives to my thought all the life it has, apart from what comes to it from God or from the beauty of the world. 
So you can see what you have done for me by giving me yours.

She was constantly Surprised by persevering presence, enduring friendship.

She came to me again in studying the resistance and inner liberty of women during the Holocaust. And I returned to her this weekend, grateful for her and for all those who've gone before me, to blaze the way.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Point of Departure

Last night, winter's first snow.

I love when the weather outside mirrors the weather inside. It is like the aeonian embraces the ephemeral. (Or, is it like my moods control the weather? Muahahah.)

It is to me like an ethereal inbreaking of the heavens, divine intrusion, divine concern, being looked upon.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?
We sat in Psalm 8 on Saturday at CCM Alum Retreat

External and internal weather won't always match up. Sometimes, the sunshine says, "Lift up your gaze, get your head out of your ass, get up out of your gloom." Sometimes, high winds and rains say, "Slow down, city girl. Still your heart. Seek shelter. Rest."



But sometimes they do align. On New Year's Eve, I sat in the drivers seat of a parked black car. Quiet tears matched the warm Virginia winter rains rolling down the windshield. An immortal boy sat next by me. The tears of my tossings, the ones hidden from him (trust not in princes) and kept for the bottle and book of the heartkeeper, all rained down now. And the sky was saying, I'm with ya girl, I see you.

held you for a little while
my, oh my, oh my



"It is an act too often neglected," said the fox. It means to establish ties."
"'To establish ties'?"
"Just that," said the fox. "To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world..."

Last night, winter's first snow. A blanket over the last several sad and stretching weeks, of nights getting longer and air getting colder, thick with pressure and thin with tension. Pressure and retraction. Not extraction.

So the little prince tamed the fox. And when the hour of his departure drew near--
"Ah," said the fox, "I shall cry."
"It is your own fault," said the little prince. "I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you..."
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"But now you are going to cry!" said the little prince.
"Yes, that is so," said the fox.
"Then it has done you no good at all!"
"It has done me good," said the fox, "because of the color of the wheat fields."



It was time to go, not time to tame. Shine on, wild and light and free. He walked away  s l o w l y , as promised, when the time came.


the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face Shine upon you,
and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
and give you peace.




"... come back to say goodbye to me, and I will make you a present of a secret... Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."
"It is the time I have wasted for my rose--" said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose."
"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.


so long, honey baby
where i'm bound i cannot tell




What appeared through last night's tears as the quiet, delicate, gently falling, colorless whiteness of death, is this morning a garden of crystal, refracting a full spectrum of Light. All the crystals gifted and exchanged, in the light of a new day, the 200th day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A day the Lord has made


Today is the day, the day the ravager was born.

I thank the Lord that I no longer curse the day he was born.
I thank the Lord for his Spirit of forgiveness, by which I can release a prisoner and discover that prisoner to be myself.

Bless this day O Lord, it is one that You have made. I would not have made it this way, but You do all things well, in higher ways. Bless this day, Precious Lord.

-----

Evan Asher was born to Mike & Haenah today!
Thankful for poetic time, kisses from heaven (silver linings).
New life, born of love:
We are overwhelmed by gratitude towards our Heavenly Father
for gifting us with this beautiful and healthy son.
Please continue to keep him in your prayers
that he will come to know and love his Heavenly Father
better than he ever knows and loves us.
That will make us happiest.

-----

so lift up your heart now, to the unfolding
all that has been broken will be restored
here run deep waters for all who are thirsty
Love has come, Love has come for you

10,000 angels will light your pathway
until the day breaks fully in the east
they will surround you and make your way straight
Love has come, Love has come for you

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

the most secure attachment

11. Resolved, to ask our Father for any and all of my desires, even if they are ridiculous and petty and unrefined, to ask Him first. I can come to Abba's throne, as I am and not as I ought to be, to submit in confession the molten chaos of these longings and not harbor any ache or nurse any bitter lack. I don't need to nor can I censor myself, clean it up, or dress it up, I don't need to nor can I make myself and my requests more presentable a more acceptable offering. Just as I am, with all my pleas.

Dear Abba, in Your house, there is room.  There is room for me, I am seen and brought in, and You have given space and grace. You hear, really hear, when I call or cry. You miss me when I withdraw into myself instead of being with You. You already know my limits––You wove those selvedges Yourself. I am Your girl, Somebody's baby––nothing is too audacious for me to ask (the nations for my inheritance?!). Nothing is too good for You to give me. Nothing is too costly for You to supply. What can separate me from Your love to me in Christ? What can sever our connection, threaten our relationship?  Not tribulation or distress, not my most cavernous hunger or aching longings, rejection or aggression or assault. By Your Spirit, I am convinced, that neither death nor life, not things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, not my honesty or naked self, my tears or blood or wretched needs, the preverbal halfbaked or stillbirthed or stupid wrong tactless things I say, can separate me from Your Love. I am, I get to be, a child––Your child! Your face shines on me. Better is one day in Your house than a thousand elsewhere. And it's all Your house, every square inch.
12. Resolved, to make known these Spirit-filtered, distilled requests and needs, within loving friendships. To be aware of the boundaries of safety and self, to uphold wise limits, hold tension and frame, and then to express them once knowing, as clearly and humbly as possible. This is all part of spiritual dancing with immortal beings.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Horse and the Hen

The one where I took an acid trip on a catbus to Norfolk.

So what's it like being in the Barr house? ​A snapshot:​

It's like a 39-hour psychedelic trip through a house of 9x9 mirrors, each differently formed by the same canon of literature and music and TV shows and sports teams and art supplies and animals, and everyone is lovely and loved, which is true everywhere all the time but some places are closer to reality than others and this is a place for peak experiences. You haven't seen any clocks in the house but the passage of time is indicated by the chalkboards, blank when you arrived, starting to crawl with new magic more squiggles and new doodles, by the disappearance of food and drinks, and the depletion of wakefulness. You see yourself and everyone/thing in every possible dizzying permutation of those 81 reflectors and you're a spider trying to run along every segment of the web as quickly as you can take in as much recon to situate yourself.

To freeze everyone in time, a snapshot of the always moving everything at once, there is naturally huge inertia to overcome. What can a family photo​ say about the Barr household? A lot. You've seen some of these pictures before. They took a lot of energy​ and coordination and ongoing sanctification to capture​. They say a lot​,​ ​but Barr house says more.​ (​You ​really ​had to have been there​ as they say.)​ Here is what the house says: Welcome​, stay. So you ​drift​ in.

D moves and materializes from room to room all self-contained and you never know when your out-of-body float will bump into him or he into you and he says "Hi, I'm D. Now your gallery is complete. Thanks for helping complete my puzzle too." J, mini-AMBB off to college with friendmaking and fomo in the heart, blows you kisses and shares magnificent freshman bucket lists and says "I want to see you see your sunrise no matter how cloudy it is." And L sends you telepathic beckonings "I see you, I see everything, come where you wanna be and heal." and lands you in the midst of your spirit animals. While S firecracker middle child pulls a logistical miracle out of her hat and says "Great! I get to be the hero for sneaking you down. I love this plan." Then when she returns from her latest affliction she lavishes heaping servings of verbal affirmations so generous and random and abruptly sincere that she might be the first person to ever have shut you down with praise. and Joel says "You're here. I'm cool and you're alright with me" while saying nothing at all. And A has a silly big brother mocker smile that says "I am amused and I'm not telling you why. I have lots of thoughts AND a polite filter... for now." AMBB says I've been trying to admit you to the greatest show on earth for all the years we've been friends I like sharing my treasures and I'm so glad it finally happened but not in the way I thought it would and the show must go on, and J&B say "So, how are we? And how are you? Now you know."

Indeed you do know. If you ever want to know anything at all, such as whether you could/should persist in your alchemical angsty long distance relationship, or the meaning of life, or what is the best arrangement of cars and people to get from point A to D toll-free with an ATM along the way, or the chief end of man, you just take yourself and that thing to the Barr house, and let everybody move about around it, react to it, not react to it, while you watch and feel and react, and then you'll know. Like tripping on acid, it can be a rough ride and wildly disorienting crazy fun but in the comedown, everything is understood and you went all the way around the world, your 4th circumnavigation but this time you never even left home.

What is it like on an acid trip?