So often I am finding clusters of thoughts, gathered to at least some extent around the seasons, in my readings from An Almanac for the Soul.  And I guess, if I weren’t, I wouldn’t waste my time by continuing to read from it on a (more or less) daily basis.  September 1, in theory, starts a new theme/week talking about this season as “boundary” time and the inevitability of loss in human life.

Karl Rahner is quoted:  “Every end becomes a beginning.  There is no resting place or abiding city.  Every answer is a new question.  … We who on all human pathways are always forerunners of the transient are always tempted to elevate our plans and projects to the level of something that is to come, an ultimate that will remain forever …”

But I find myself looking back at last week’s readings as I reflect on this.  Thomas Cahill (The Gift of the Jews) was quoted.  Talking about the death of Moses (Moshe) he says:  “We, too, shall die without finishing what we began.  … though [like Moses or Martin Luther King] we may remember that we ‘have been to the mountain top,’ we do not enter the Promised Land, but only glimpse it fleetingly.  … accomplishment is intergenerational …”

There are continual wounds and challenges along the path.  Eric Maisel (Fearless Creating – A Step-by-Step Guide to Starting and Completing Your Work of Art) talks about Laurence Olivier and Marie Callas (who had respectively stage fright, but still acted, and severe stage fright, but still sang).  He says:  “…it is our job to exclaim ‘Both creating and not creating make me anxious, and I choose the anxiety of creating.’”  So we are not really looking for a resting place where things are settled and calm.  “… our goal is not to grow calmer but to substitute one anxiety for another … every challenge in life is met exactly that way.  You choose to do something challenging not because  you expect a worry-free experience but because you want the experience so badly that you accept beforehand the new anxiety you are about to encounter.”

We are living the transient, always beginning again, looking towards ends we will not see, living with the anxiety of living creatively with our God and living with our wounds and loss.  Pesha Gertler (Claiming the Spirit Within – A Sourcebook of Women’s Poetry) addresses this.  She talks about all the places where we say “no” in our lives and the “untended wounds [and] scars [and] pain” in our lives.  “… I find … the old wounds …

and lift them
one by one
close to my heart
and I say holy
holy.”

Our bishop quoted Steve Earle in his sermon last night, from his new album “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.”  But it’s really the refrain from the tile song that I’m hearing in my mind right now.  None of us will ever get out of this world alive — or at least without dying first.  All that we are doing will be incomplete when we’re gone.  We live with anxiety.  We see our target dimly.  We bear wounds and scars.  And yet, I think, precisely because of this, we can say “holy, holy.”  It is a joy just to live.  Because it is in all this that we find beauty and meaning and love.

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