A few nights ago, as I lay in bed and tried to fall asleep instead of seeing Dr. Lundin’s face in my mind, I remembered something about that freakish Friday only one week ago: it was also the same day that I’d been hospitalized two years ago as a freshman in college. I’m not a mystic, but I found myself silently stunned in the semi-darkness as I reabsorbed a day where a beloved professor had unexpectedly died, (a mere three days after a different English professor had died), my sister was in a city blowing up on media and seemingly in real life, and two years ago I’d experienced something that continues to haunt me in its trauma. How can one day hold so much? – both the weight of painful memories from the past, and a loss that I knew would render that day deeply significant for a very long time.
I attended a funeral today for a professor who was more than a professor to me, the first funeral I’ve ever consciously attended for somebody that I loved. And I am weary now. Weary of seeing headlines on the news that make me flinch in horror. Weary of terrorist attacks and refugee crises and people blaming people for blaming people for blaming more people. Weary of trying to be better than I know how to be, and of memories that reincarnate more viscerally than I can imagine Christ’s incarnation. I am even weary of the beautiful. Can you be weary of the beautiful? I don’t know. But I know that there is beauty, and it is like that light out of the corner of your eye that you glimpse for only a second before it flits away, always a step out of reach, always a second too late. . .
I believe in voltas. Turns. The tragic comedy of the Gospel. But sometimes I feel too human, more human than I know what to do with. I wish there was more hope in me, less skin. Sometimes I feel things too much, I think. Events and people and stories and past lonelinesses clinging to my body like rain drops with too much adhesion, not enough gravity. I am a part of all I have met. Tennyson knew. I have met so much. And it is such a privilege. I am honored to have known so many beautiful people. I think of the special needs students I got to work with in high school, or the friends surrounding me now in college, or the professor whose funeral I just attended. I am so privileged to be a part of all I have met. But the meeting.. Sometimes it feels like I’ll never be able to untangle the web of corded interactions and experiences – many not even mine – from my own, quiet self. I have tasted goodness so good I do not even deserve to believe in its existence. I am privileged. I am aching, and yet I know I do not deserve the privilege of this ache.
History may be freedom. See, now they vanish,
The faces and places, with the self which, as it could, loved them,
To become renewed, transfigured, in another pattern.
-T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding
The faces and places. I have my own – faces of unrepeatable anguish and faces of unspeakable beauty; places of death and resurrection. And I know you, you have yours. Your own faces and places, Edens and Gethsemanes. We are weary but we can be Christ-bearers for each other, showing each other our face when we forget we have one. I am a part of all I have met, but I am not the sum of them. And you are not the sum of yours. Jesus meets us in the failing of our bodies to hold communion with all the faces and places that we wish we could. We are weary, we wear so much. We are privileged to wear so much. He was already worn them all. The masks and the faces and the places. Come, all you weary, and I will give you rest.