Thursday, August 19, 2010

It Reminds Me of Straw

It is August 19, 2010. In four months--less than 120 days--I will have graduated college and, so, will have realized that once highly evasive goal, will have made the 'one day soon' a very heavy 'now' and the 'that' a 'this.' Things are changing. Indeed, are changing so rapidly and surreally that time seems more than ever to be the cold and lonely abstract the world very much would like to ignore. But for once, I can't. This is not hyperbole, I think, in as much as it is a step back--not from my responsibilities mind you (they're here to stay, let's face it), but from the whirlwind, the chaos, the thing kids called growing up and the thing the grown-ups call 'daily routine.' Now more than ever, the weight of the world is becoming fully tangible: now, when what I would like to do and what I need to do, what could be done and what probably at one point actually will occur, wrestle and fight and claw for dominance one over the other. And so amidst working and papers and books and running and that small distraction I call my social life, questions surface, as daunting as they are demanding.

Where are you going and what are you doing?

And for once, there's a grey area where there should be clarity--fog where there need be light. C.S. Lewis once remarked that to live in a pre-constructed world is not to be a man. Indeed. The underlying idea is that when plans and schedules dominate reality, the end result is some kind of routine devoid not so much of spontaneity as of humanity itself. A world, you could argue, replete with shadows.
Is it lamentable to talk about time and all of its abstract implications as if decades have past when the calendars and photo albums speak only of singular years: a year ago today, two years, three years, four, five?
I do not think so. To look back in awe is to look forward with eyes wide open. And so, the questions still remain. This is what I've decided, and this is where I am.

Declaring a major in literature yielded almost immediately as many ambiguities as it did satisfaction and temporary security. But with graduation approaching more quickly than I would like to admit, phase two--whatever it is--demands attention, some finality--at least as far as decision-making is concerned.

I've decided to pursue a MA at UTK. It's a two year program that I can get fully financed if I teach a composition class--something feasible, I think, so long as I understand at all times that the 'point' of composition classes is not to shape and mold future Faulkners, but to inculcate students with the creative tools and ideas necessary to interact in the highly diverse, highly unpredictable 'real world.'
At once, though, other questions arise: over whom will you write a thesis? What will be your area of speciality? And, if I am to be so crude as to leap over years, what happens after?
Concerning the last question, I haven't the slightest clue. Indeed, should be terrified if I were to have an inkling of an answer. But with its cousin questions I have building blocks upon which I hope to build greater certainty. American literature is where my heart lies. Nothing makes me happier than reading and writing and there can be no doubt that a job inclusive of these loves is a job nearly perfect--as perfect as imperfections will allow. Whatever that is, wherever it may be, sign me up at once.

"For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" -St. Matthew, 6:25

Recently, I have finished a book on prayer--'Letters to Malcom'--by C.S. Lewis, a book considered to be one of his minor works of fiction, odd, though, as it is also his last. Less than 130 pages long, the book follows on the coattails of 'The Screwtape Letters,' in as far as the book itself is written in the form of lucid yet sophisticated letters between Lewis and the fictional Malcom--someone we later learn, in a letter mentioning modern physics, is probably a man of science. Perhaps I enjoyed this book so much because it re-emphasized Lewis's view of Christianity as myth fulfilled--a theology bound in as much magic as it is in metaphor. Indeed, there could be no other way. Imperative is the understanding that a belief in God--or in any deity--and the subsequent belief system--if a person is so driven to subscribe to one--is contingent upon the supernatural, as nothing exudes more of the supernatural than the mere belief in God Himself.

But I also appreciate Lewis's deviations from contemporary thought. Lewis, throughout his apologetic writings, stresses the grievous state of Christ's church--specifically, the divisions from within. Viewing Christianity as the philosophical apex to which all the antecedent Pagan myths had led, Christian theology was the fullest and heaviest realization of objective reality. And so, when Christ uttered that He was God, the words escaped, Lewis notes, and exist now as the most radical words ever spoken by human lips (Mere Christianity). And so:
"Broaden your mind, Malcom, broaden your mind! It takes all sorts to make a world; or a church. This may be even truer of a church. If grace perfects nature it must expand all our natures into the full richness of the diversity which God intended when he made them, and Heaven will display far more variety than Hell. 'One fold' doesn't mean 'one pool. . . . what pleased me most about a Greek Orthodox mass I once attended was that there seemed to be no prescribed behaviour for the congregation. Some stood, some knelt, some sat, some walked; one crawled about the floor like a caterpillar. And the beauty of it was that nobody took the slightest notice of what anyone else was doing. I wish we Anglicans would follow their example. One meets people who are perturbed because someone in the next pew does, or does not, cross himself. They oughtn't even to have seen let alone censured. 'Who art thou that judgest Another's sevant?'" -'Malcom,' p. 10

Christians--mind you, those who fully adhere to the Christian faith as faith and not as social club--are told to pray without ceasing. At once, however, the questions arise: if God is omnipotent, omnipresent, would He not, then, know of my trials? My temptations? My failures and my successes?

Why pray to He Who already knows? The process would, logically, prove redundant. A waste of time.

. . . I'll finish this later. Food and friends calleth.

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