I ran across some things I wrote in a notebook last month and, these things pleasing me, decided to write them here.
bird in cage
you must quickly grow wings
the moment to soar is here
and you are still polishing the bars of your cage
Now the cage is closed again
Take up your work again
And calm and close your eyes
Another chance may come
Will you be ready
After all this time and getting experience–AKA wisdom–
Peace of mind, sunny autumn
Yet comes winter and the lonely, icy, comfortless chill of despondency
Where are my accomplishments?
How can I go on? I’m stopped by all all all I would like to do.
I’d have wanted to have a name, a genius
And discontent is what I seem to have two hands full
George says it isn’t what it seemed it would be
And, anyway, I have a name, THE name, and have no need of genius–
What would I do with it?
Don’t have it but can detect it,
Like a dog watching a human dance, or use her hands.
Oh, why don’t I feel a little marvelous?
Does God? Does He feel content? Is He amazed at what He does? Or does He still shake His head and say, “I wish I could do more”?
I watched two biographical movies: one about Thomas Merton and the other about George Harrison. These are my notes.
Moments of despair are renewals. Funny–Thomas Merton originally wanted to be a famous writer. Later he reluctantly became one, only to find it was not what he wanted. His readers wanted to keep him as he was–an eager, discovering monk; they wanted all problems solved for him because he became a monk. (No doubt he did too.) But entering Eden with eyes open reveals one’s imperfections.
Faith is overcoming doubt, not not-experiencing it. Overcoming the world is overcoming our deepest self. We have to develop a stronger ego in order to overcome it.
The gate of heaven is all around you. The world is your book (outside the monastery).
One thing I’ve learned from these films about Thomas Merton and George Harrison is that what I’m going through is NOT UNIQUE! They went through it too. Those who lead contemplative lives will find that life does get harder. Even the things we thought were easy now, we think we’re “over that,” can come roaring back fiercer and stronger than we ourselves are. Perhaps it is so, as Thomas Merton suggested, that overcoming the world means we must overcome the deepest aspects of ourselves–EXPERIENCING our doubts and difficulties with faith. The temptation (maybe even the need) to completely withdraw screams at one, shrieks loud and clear. It is one more thorny field to traverse, supported, sustained, and carried by the Word of God.
George Harrison from Martin Scorsese film