I know nothing....

What happens when you pay attention?

All I've ever wanted.
All I've ever wanted to do in life, when my head has been on straight, but still in the core of my being nonetheless, has been to give myself completely to something greater than myself.

All my greatest fantasies, my most compelling imaginations, have been to become a part of something greater for the sake of that which is greater. Whether to join a monastic community, a guild of some sort, where I could sit at the feet of the masters and practice a craft which will help others to live and love more fully, even if it meant just a mechanical or electrical trade, instead of some kind of engineer. If digging graves was all it was, then may others rise to a greater love because of it. But I've held myself to keeping fantasies as just that: fantasies. So, when something real and true came along, when someone who did finally capture my heart came along and I found myself hoping for marriage to this wonderful person, who was someone who did, in turn, enjoy me and reciprocate love (indeed I could ask for little more than that), it felt natural and yet it felt entirely foreign. After years of selfish love, and years of just being around myself, I looked beyond myself, but I wasn't quite mature enough for the true love that came into my life.

The sun came up on the horizon to brighten the entire world and I looked instead toward that room with a candle which at one time was the best I could hope for. Only now the door had locked. Sure I could see inside and the feelings of joy and gratitude were real, but maybe it was the kind of joy one gets from seeing a movie or television series, or going to an opera or play. I stood there transfixed, imagining with the best of my imagination what it would be like to be apart of it. It was like playing superheroes as a kid. It was the kind of real make-believe where I would ride my motorcycle through entire cities with skyscrapers and suburbs on a spy mission trying to avoid being caught; But in reality, I was riding around the block on the sidewalk, up and down driveways, through alleys, and the neighbors didn't mind if I went up their driveways so long as I didn't go the lawn.

Meanwhile, I had homework and chores to do, and eventually I'd have to come home and do what I was required to do.

This time though, I actually was in that scenario. It didn’t entirely match the fantasy, but as a reality, it was pretty darn good. It did require however, a level of maturity and responsibility that, although I could resign myself to and accept, was just scary enough to me that when something else came along, I could again revisit the old imaginations. Not surprisingly, the object of my responsible love, was none to pleased. The harsh words of real love that she showed to me as well her true desire to see me happy, which was again just more love, was all I needed to walk away towards this childhood fantasy again. How could I have done that?

Now, four years or more down the road, the fantasy has not become reality because as attainable as it might have been, I was not strong enough nor mature enough to do what had to be done to make it a reality. What was a bird in the hand I traded for two in the bush, and I was not quick enough to grab them before they flew away.

So now what? Maybe I did get something for that fantastic trade off. Yeah, perhaps I lost the bird in the hand and the two others flew away, but there is a sort of consolation prize, as the Lord has been my consolation in the midst of these failed pursuits. The prize consists of renewed and true Catholic values, and a better knowledge of how I am made. My head is still spinning from the falling down the Hill, my arms are still tired from swimming upstream, I am still in over my head because of agreements I unwisely made, and there are still tough choices which I am not nearly strong enough to follow through with. My life is a bit of a mess in the material sense, I am in a tangle mentally, my body is barely functional for the things I want and need to do, and my spirit wallows in the mud where I’ve become comfortable surrounded by the familiar comforts.

I am still not sure about what is next, but I have asked for the awareness to see the next steps on the path God has had to reroute for all of my wandering. One thing seems for sure, and that is there is some sort of family life involved.

Were all these decisions mistakes? Without a doubt, yes. Complete and utter mistakes of the kind that well meaning but unlistening, unseeing people make. The Lord tells us in ways that would be obvious if we knew how to take the time to listen and give in to it. Instead, if we hear it at all, we go off in other directions, listening to selfish desires and ambitions, giving in to the will to power, ignoring the warning signs and turning to inward comforts, committing sin after sin, with an unending line of excuses.

Yet for all that loser-ly behavior, God is there, desiring nothing other than that we turn towards him, willingly, so that he can bring us, frightened and lost, back into his fold yet again.

Light in the darkness, what do the shadows tell me?
If one is trying to figure out the way in a tangled maze of trails, and the divine light shines in for guidance but one is not quite in the light and can't figure out how to get into it, then it's time to move, feel the walls of the maze and try whatever path until it's clear it's a dead end. Then try another, starting again from where one is and move forward down another way until eventually one starts to see shadows. Now one can deduce from where the light doesn't shine that these are the walls, these you cannot pass through, so stop running into them, stop trying to climb them, stop trying to break through them. You cannot do it. Walk towards that glimmer of light and it will soon increase. Keep going and you will find the source. A catch, some of the wall are mirrored, it's the only way light can travel around the bends.

Jonah overboard.
Jonah overboard!
Tumbling in the rough sea
Resigned, sinking
Waiting for the whale

Favorite things 3
Cattails. How I love to hold and feel and look at cattails. They thrive in marshes and wet soil. Where the pretty flowers might rot they grow tall in large numbers with plump heads that are firm but then very soft as they loosen. They have a stiff stem to support a heavy top. And there seems to be nothing harmful about them. No thorns. No poison, Just strength. Being hit by one is like being hit with a padded mallet. You get a firm but soft hit.

Favorite things 2
THere's a definite Joy about marbles. I can't quite describe why, though. It's a tangible good feeling to see a jar of marbles, or beaded jewelry, or those glass christmas ornaments that are just shiny globes.

So, to explore this a bit... Marbles roll on hard surfaces. always according to gravity and momentum. A bunch of them can be hard to control, or even dangerous on a floor. Yet they are predictable. They don't change direction without appearant reason. A rolling marble can tell you alot about the surface it sits on. A physical indicator of an underlying condition.

The colors also matter. I like white with bright colors. Also metallic ones.

I like to hold them, too. A handful or marbles, like rosary beads, can be a physical reminder to calm down, pray in a structured yet contemplative manner.

No matter which way you travel on the surface of a sphere it's a never-ending smooth ride.

Favorite things 1
Abandoned railroad tracks or ones that rarely get used.
- There's some about a road no longer traveled. It's an opportunity to reflect on something tried and true but now ignored. Walking along the tracks can be so peaceful, especially to see everything that has gone into disrepair along with the tracks. For me, there is a sense of life lived with purpose and direction. Rails to trails? Yeah, they are a way to reclaim a right of way, but there is something crude about it. Like tourists trampling a graveyard.

Prepare to die well. to tear though the vail.
I was listening to Br. Adam speak at the Oblate meeting tonight. The subject was the Liturgy of the Hours. The monks gather 5 times a day for prayer, and they don't always want to. As I was listening as reflecting on this, it seemed this was the perfect workshop for the mind, body and soul. But my chances of making there are slim to none. I'm swimming upstream and my arms are very tired. Now my best hope is to be able to spend time there when I can and share in the community with the Oblate program.

But then, I thought, how are we living life if not to prepare for the ultimate test and transition of death? How am I living lately? Poorly, really. Half-heartedly, sometimes up, sometimes down. But I am really a physically oriented person, although the mind and spirit are what I've given more time to cultivating. The reasons for it go back 30 years, but still, I hate excercising. Yet without physical excercise no forward progress can be made in the mind or the spirit. How do we storm the gates of heaven, how do we equip ourselves to do spiritual battle with a weak body? I've gotten by for years, with a "forward by stealth" mentality. But the challenges coming up require more of a grappling and forceful approach. There is no boot camp for me, no apprenticeship, no novitiate. The sense is that the body must be trained so that the mind and soul also become stronger. Right now, there is little strength. Right now, there is little fortitude. Right now, although too late for some things, it is time for the next adventure to begin. There is only the faintest, shiftiest hint what that might entail.

These days.
The promise of material gain always excites children, but I cherish digestive comfort and a clear head much more these days. Standing, watching the snow fall past the lights on abandoned streets is more to my liking. Meditation on the shape of a life span, and how one in particular sets all this in motion is so much more rewarding.

My thing
I was just praying as I was about to go bed. Considering my life as a string which is supposed to woven into the cloth of life, the seamless garment worn by Christ Jesus, I had the notion that I actually became unwoven and actually loose from the garment. Maybe stilll attached at points but now with the living end now loose, frayed. And I prayed the Jesus Prayer. "Lord Jesus, only Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." A number of images came to me.
THere was the image of cut strings, chopped off as they hung away from the garment. Or cut hair, Grown as long as the life of a person and cut and woven into the cloth. Again the loose ends cut short.
Perhaps, we are like the knitters or weavers and also the threads themselves. We knit ourselves into the cloth of life. Sin takes us off the cloth as we knit. Only the Master knitter, God can correct those loose threads, the sinners. But we are only worthy of being corrected when we are washed clean as in baptism or confession. Then we can be put back into the cloth, and try again to stay in the pattern.
I sometimes feel that attempts to find the past still alive in me, remembering the heart of the times when I might have been closer to the cloth, are a way of trying to bring the whole string closer to the cloth, rather than just the current working end. And perhaps in the dimension of probabilities and alternatives, that could happen. Maybe it's why I'm blind in the world of the spirit but others seems to think of me as something more than I think I am.
Anyways, the notion came to me that the reason I am so attracted to the art of cutting hair, or trees, is because it's a message I need to hear. Why is that the message? Maybe I should 'cut loose' bonds which pull me away from where in the garment I am supposed to be. Does it mean away from the family? Does it mean a compulsion away from God? Am I just resisting and wishing to be cut free from everything? Escapism.
Some people are able to weave others as well as their own. Some have a way of breaking apart. What am I trying to get away from? What am I trying to work towards? One should stop and have a goal, so that one might cut bonds more effectively to move toward the way of the ultimate goal of heaven.

Artistic images. A huge rope with innumerable strands but constantly being picked at by evil ones who hope to break the rope which is the connection between heaven and earth. I got picked pretty hard. And now I have a hard time getting back in. I am kinked and moving in unpredictable directions.
Orbis Catholicus Secundus: The Child Martyr: Adam


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