Sometimes when my son hugs me, I feel completely humbled and undeserving of the love he shares with me. My love for him pours out in an unstoppable and unending torrent; it is easy to love him because it is involuntary. My love for him is so consuming that I don’t have the spare neurons to expect anything back. So, when it comes back in the shape of his smile, its like getting the wind knocked out of you — it is bewildering, terrifying. So, when Christians talk about living in fear of the Lord, I imagine it’s a fear engendered by being overwhelmed by a love you don’t understand.
Love can make you humble when you receive it, but it can also make you humble when you give it. Sometimes you give, and sometimes it gets pulled from you. You cannot control it, you are overawed by it, you fear looking at your face, fear your lips, fear your hands because you’re not sure what they’ll do. Fear that the love will cause itself harm, or harm to those it is intended for, or that it might not be received at all.
But this terror nothing compared to when your love is received and then given back to you. Love is honoring someone more than yourself, it living for someone or something else, something beyond you. It’s not really surprising then, that, when the person you love also loves you, that the acknowledgement and reception of that affection is confounding. How could I, who am convinced that this person is more important to me than my own being, comprehend that they might feel a similar way about me. How could I be worthy?
That must be like standing inside a bell as it is rung. For what could sustain love better than receiving it back, amplified, from the one you give it to?
A thought I had — one grown to support my own current whatever — regarding incompleteness:
Persons are by their nature incomplete, and seeking completeness. In themselves, in their institutions. But at the moment one stops seeking, the moment one believes these goals of completeness are met, they are lost. Liberty, freedom, justice, love and happiness are never fully attained and cannot be possessed, like Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle or Schrodinger’s cat, to know a thing is to change it.
So, the closest we can come to any of our desires is through pursuit. The bond between hunter and hunted. If you catch happiness, you kill it. It becomes a dead thing. If you think you’ve attained the apex of liberty and freedom, you’ve let them both go. But if you know that liberty, freedom, justice, love and happiness can be yours in the context of pursuit — and know that the value we ascribe to these ideas is not inherent to them but exists only in the dynamic of seeking — they can all be yours.
This seems very much in tune with the point Camus makes in The Myth of Sisyphus.
UPDATE 7 July 2013
There’s a danger in the pursuit too, a good hunter knows when to call off the chase. Sometimes you can pursue one thing that turns out to be something else entirely. Sometimes the pursuit itself changes a thing. Knowing when to call off the chase is just as important as knowing that the pursuit is what matters.
In the beginning,
God was monobloc — but
love is motion and
God grew hermetic upon
wrecked — as red
and purpled valves
syncopate — an
love is any hole-shape, every
writhing cavity behind
ribs, a empty vector for your
As you curled into the
in a father,
a mother, your
Each clasp in arms
as if it might be the last. Each
hollowed part a fresh wound
of gentle fingers.
you leaped upon me
like a panther and now your shadow
hides in my throat, waiting for
you to find it.
the whole agony a pulling
together, a drawing apart, an automatic
the will to listen
to the reverberation of
that primal heart
broken — an echo
that tastes like our blood.
Lay your hands upon
me and I will
be at peace. Sleep
in my veins and let me rest
we could pretend we
are more than small dolls in a matryoshka. Each
nested bit a piece of
today has been interesting. does the fact that i desire a beautiful woman make me shallow? if so, then i guess i am shallow. however, i believe that since our first instinct is physical, it should be accepted, provided that the attraction is not only limited to that. seriously, if you knew a person of the opposite sex who had one eye, severe burns, a club foot, a harelip, greasy hair, and the most wonderful personality in the entire universe, would you be attracted. sure you might hang out with them but would you want to get your freak on with them? if so you are a better person than i am.
how do i reconcile myself to the fact that someone can appear wonderful and degraded at the same time. by looking at myself. i know i have positive qualities, and i know my negatives better than anyone. why should i judge when i am the same. i need understanding and dialogue to attain enlightenment. i must not be bound by stagnant thought, participant-observation will enable me to understand points of view that i have understood through my cultural education to be bad. i must make myself a better person. i owe it to you.