Sunday, October 10, 2010

Glory Not Fading

There's been this long string of warm, dusty-yellow days in Minneapolis. The air is unmoving, almost as if it's afraid to slip and bring the inevitable cold too early. Stay. Hold that pose till I can snap a picture or two. Keep that musty perfume of tired leaves, everything cracking and dry and sweet.

I've caught myself sighing a good many times into this autumn air, but more satisfied than sad. A good sort of giving up. Most of life is busy, whirring, nonstop, till I run myself into the ground. So I pause in this autumnal stasis for some Sabbath. I bring a book of poems to the park, just so I can turn to T.S. Eliot's Burnt Norton and my eyes skip all over the page (a telling symptom of my cultural inability to concentrate) to my favorite parts.

"Moving without pressure, over the dead leaves,
In the autumn heat, through the vibrant air..."

"The inner freedom from the practical desire..."

"Surrounded by a sense of grace, a white light still and moving Erhebung without motion."

Be quiet for a moment. Think. I am in sync with the poet's words, and step into his rhythm to find the pattern for my own life. Sigh and be satisfied when it fits so well. When I come home from this lovely Sunday walk, things still lie in piles on my desk. Tasks demanding their pound of flesh, tearing a part of this dear present away from me, jerking it into the irretrievable past. But then I start daydreaming again. How could chores be transformed into a fulfillment of now, rather than thieving it away in miserly bits and pieces? I imagine it takes a lifetime to gain that generous, Midas touch.

Speaking of treasure, there is a tree behind our apartment building that has been all lit up lately with leaves golden and luminous. It fills my brain when I tarry there, till little else fits. Even if I don't have time to sit and finish my coffee, I still snap open the lock and push outside for moment, just to imprint this tree on my mind, subtitled: Glory!

Everything cries 'Glory!' " That's the Psalmist singing in the background. Everything. He knew how to take that moment of joy, grace, revelation, the satisfied sigh - and pull it through the rest of his livelong hours of dutiful work and play. Baptizing each burden with a strong sense of 'yes' and 'amen.' So that someday, the reading of poems, and the scrubbing of floors, and the walk in the woods and the grading of papers will all resound in one big 'Glory!' to him. I want that.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18)