Sunday, January 22, 2012

Victoria in January

After snow, wind. Winter the season of dark and cold, a time of endings setting the stage for renewal. Often we are urged to anaesthetize ourselves against the sense of loss we get from this time of year, or for the ups and downs of our internal seasons. I often think that there must be a higher realm, invisible to our senses, but where the core of our being lies, a place which has its own seasons, its own weather, a place with its own hills and valleys, beauties and pitfalls, its own dangers and afflictions, but a place that is more permanent and lasting. This is the realm our souls inhabit, and this world of our senses, what we call Creation, is an extrusion of that realm. Plato set forth such a theory when he tried to understand how we know things through reason. He believed that our souls were able to see things because they were illuminated by the uncreated light of pure reason which had its origin in God. I take the concept a little further. Many philosophies have looked at this same problem and concluded that the world is an illusion, or the creation of an evil being and that the rational thing to do is to ignore it. Stoicism taught that we could learn to ignore pain. It was a popular doctrine among the militaristic Romans. Since I subscribe to the view that God is good, I conclude that he has a reason for sending us out on this strange journey we call life, and so I think its wrong to try to wall our selves off from the pain we receive from our injuries. Just like physical pain teaches us about the dangers of the physical world, the deeper pains of our inner beings is telling us something we need to know and try to understand. So whether we anaesthetize ourselves with drugs or philosophy, it's a mistake.
The strange thing about pain is that it tells us that we are alive. Pain is feeling, and we are constantly told to get in touch with our feelings. Sometimes you have to shut them down to get through a difficult time, but if you don't have them you are just as good as dead.
What brings on this train of thought is the experience of a friend of mine who lost his mother a few months ago. "Get over it," he is advised. But you never do really... and you shouldn't. If you lose a loved one it leaves a gaping hole in your heart. It heals, but the scar tissue never goes away.
And today I read a piece about what happens to people who become bonded together in marriage and then separate. She likened it to a two pieces of wood glued together with a super adhesive. They can be pulled apart but they can never be put back together again because both halves of the union have been too damaged. When the damage occurs to a human soul it becomes an ulceration that will never heal. The writer was trying to explain why a young girl should not yield to the first seducer that comes along. She also made the point that men and women are complementary. One has attributes the other lacks. We can't be complete beings without each other. This is why gay marriage is wrong. Man with man, woman with woman, these are sterile, dead end relationships which defeat the spring. With them there is only death. There can be no renewal.
Being human we are prone to do ourselves injury, but when we do let's not blame God. Let's think and ponder as the pain of our own foolishness washes over us, and thank him instead for giving us the means of finding our way back. As for that other realm, I believe we came from there and I think we are going back. I do not believe that there is death after life.
As someone who has been permanently damaged by my own folly I welcome the winter for its role in forcing me to think about it all over again.
The streets are barren today, the wind gives the illusion of life to dead leaves and scraps of newspaper which skitter along the pavement and jump up into the air.

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