Saturday, October 8, 2011

Finding God in all things?

Poet and author Mary Karr, commenting on how truly vexing the Ignatian imperative "finding God in all things" is, spoke truthfully when she wrote, "I don't much care to see God in all things." When I stop and consider this idea in its intended totality, with Karr, I have to say that it is not something that "innately" appeals to me. When asked by Timothy O'Brien in an interview for America magazine to unpack her insight, she said, "I want to find God where I want to find him. You know, when it's convenient, when I'm ready - like maybe Christmas Eve or Easter, where we've got it taped off."

Karr became Catholic in 1996. Her poem "Disgraceland," in which she reflects back mystagogically on her first communion, is where O'Brien next drives his article:

Before my first communion, I clung to doubt
    as Satan spider-like stalked
       the orb of dark surrounding Eden

for a wormhole into paradise.
   God had formed me from gel in my mother’s womb,
      injected by my dad’s smart shoot.

They swapped sighs until
    I came, smaller than a bite of burger.
        Quietly, I grew till my lungs were done

then the Lord sailed a soul
   like a lit arrow to inhabit me.
      Maybe that piercing

made me howl at birth,
   or the masked creatures whose scalpel
      cut a lightning bolt to free me.

I was hoisted by the heels and swatted, fed
   and hauled around. Time-lapse photos show
      my fingers grow past crayon outlines,



my feet come to fill spike heels.
   Eventually, I lurched out
      to kiss the wrong mouths, get stewed,

and sulk around. Christ always stood
   to one side with a glass of water.
      I swatted the sap away.

When my thirst got great enough to ask,
   a clear stream welled up inside,
      some jade wave buoyed me forward,

and I found myself upright
   in the instant, with a garden
      inside my own ribs aflourish.

There, the arbor leafs.
   The vines push out plump grapes.
      You are loved, someone said. Take that

      and eat it.

1 comment:

  1. i love mary karr. her memoir "lit" is so powerful. now i'll have to check out her poetry.

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