Friday, February 12, 2016

"When I was a child, I caught a fleeting glimpse . . ."

Here along the Wasatch Front it is cold, gray and a bit foggy. It's one of those days that it seems like it's 7:30 AM all day. It's weather that befits a Friday after Ash Wednesday. I'll be honest, it's a day that's a bit difficult for me to take, but I accept it with gratitude. If nothing else, it's a day that helps me be honest. It's only in being honest that I experience hope. My Lenten theme, shamelessly lifted from the title of Terry Eagleton's latest book, is "Hope without Optimism." It sounds much drearier than it actually is.

In my experience, not just my abstract view, hope lies beyond optimism. That sounds like a simple realization, but, at least for me, it is not. Just the other night, as I continued to read a book that in many ways resonates deeply, John Waters' Lapsed Agnostic, I was reminded of the need I have to surrender myself to reality, to the every day realities of my own life and not live so much as a prisoner in my own skull. This means letting go of my preconceptions, my fears, my insecurities, etc. I'll be honest, it's hard work. It's the acesis Don Giussani insists we must undertake.

While I am pretty sure I've featured it before, today's Friday traditio is David Gilmour and David Bowie singing Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Indeed, when I was child of nine I stared at myself in the mirror for probably what only amounted to perhaps a minute - I did this after thinking a lot about death due to the news coverage of Jack Benny's passing (26 December 1974) - I caught a fleeting glimpse. It was when I realized - though I didn't have words to express it - that I am a relationship with the Mystery. This experience has very much shaped my life ever since. It was also between Christmas Day and New Year's Day that year that I arrived at the knowledge that death is not the end. And so, I believe it was on a winter day during Christmas in 1974 that I had what Giussani might call an "elementary experience."

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