Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Thursday, December 25, 2008
To suck the marrow out of life is quite the word picture, indeed. Imagine gnawing through our rubber-like covering--some call it skin, others epidermis—and then through the fatty tissue underneath shrouding muscle and sinew which provides a protective armor for the base skeletal structure that holds us together…bones. Imagine then, with blood and flesh spattered all over your face, most dark red around your mouth, chewing through a bone, crushing it with your molars and exposing the purplish-red middle. And then, with barbaric and cannibalistic mirth, wrapping your lips around the fractured bone and sucking with all your might, vacuuming out every last morsel of marrow that is the deepest representation of our flesh. There is nothing deeper, nothing. There is nothing richer, nothing. It is the core, the crux. This is the marrow of our very life.
To live deep is to go to the top…but it is also to drill to the bottom. It is to plow below the surface of things, penetrating layers and layers that cover the great deep…the hidden recesses…the dark caverns of life that are reserved for those who press through the superficial to what lies beneath.
To live sturdily and Spartan-like is to fight off all that counterfeits life. All that seeks to dilute and pollute, all that tries to make sport of living. To be a soldier for life, to be a guardian of life…a keeper of the flame. To be vigilant in my protection of my story. I want to kill all that is not life, to rout it---to the death if needs be.
This, I know, will take all the effort I can muster. I will become weary in well doing, as the Bible puts it. Paul said that he did not want to lose heart. That is another great description of this fight…this life support. Losing heart and losing life are one in the same. And it can happen overnight if you’re not careful. If you’re careless.
And this carelessness is killing us, we humans are rotting away, marrowless—meaningless. Who will plunge past the silky skin of appearance, past the fatty tissue of the trivial, past the muscle of meaningless movement, past the last line of defense…the brazen bone, and dive into the marrow of life’s meaning. Who will care about that unseen reservoir of real life? Who will look to the marrow within me? Who will be unsatisfied enough, unsettled enough to press beyond all appearances to the rich resources within…the marrow of Jason.
It is this bloodthirsty longing for life’s marrow that invites me onward…inward. As C.S. Lewis said, “Further up…further in”. Amen.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
"The millions are awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?"
The difference between a prosaic life and a poetic life couldn't be more stark. I love to think of life in terms of poetry. To find new expressions to lace together with fresh words. To abandon the dead language and lenses of rhyme and meter and to function in free verse...letting your heart surprise you and others with its ability to soar by living on the fly...that is in flight.
Political living replaces poetical living quickly. We are strapped to systemic rituals that have been in place for so long it's hard to envision life apart from these constructs. At times, I try to cast off the bonds of these traditions at dawn, only to find them leaking back into my system by midday. Codes of conduct and modes of operation press in and politic for control. The poetic life is often discarded and made sport of.
But the rich and creamy life of poetry gives meaning to truth, and how badly truth needs a meaningful facelift these days. We have outsourced meaning. We have downplayed it and degraded it as superfluous and inconsequential. What a tragedy. What a travesty.
When lives again lay hold of the divine, that is the poetic spirit that swirls around us and within us, the very Spirit that hovered over the waters in the beginning, we shall once again know life in its most robust form. Can you feel Him hovering over you now...can you feel the poetic life hovering about you, suspended and whispering into you ear, "Come over to the other side...the road less travelled by that makes all the difference. Come live as a poet. Come live"?
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
It is time to push from the shore of civilized commentary and allow the poetic pen of H.D.T. to be the gusty wind in our sails nudging us toward the ineffable, unspeakable mystery of this thing called life. Last night I was, again, filled with the rapture of his expressions and the way they give voice to what I often cannot find words to explain. All I know is that when my eyes dart across the pages of his book, Walden, I am bewitched and enchanted in ways that I need to be in order to not lose heart. I lose life in the living. I don't mean to, it just leaks out on me.
So I've chosen to devote some time to extracting and expositing the text that you will find below. It is found in the chapter titled, "Where I lived, and what I lived for". This is my feeble attempt to call to order the first meeting of the bloggers "Dead Poet Society". (a movie I just re-watched last week that wrecked shop on my beleaguered soul)
I don't even know who frequents by this blog, but I must tell you that we won't be doing much frolicking in the days ahead. I encourage you to set down your snorkel and to show up with your scuba gear. Henry has a way of taking the human heart 20,000 leagues under the sea...your ears will pop when you're down there, your head will feel like it's going to explode under the immense pressure, your ears may even bleed when you return to the surface and go about your life...but what you will see will infuse a life in the living that may be escaping you without your knowing it.
Here is the text we will be diving into...
"Why is it that men give so poor an account of their day if they have not been slumbering? They are not such poor calculators. If they had not been overcome with drowsiness they would have performed something. The millions are awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive. I have never yet met a man who was quite awake. How could I have looked him in the face?
We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the day, which does not forsake us in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavor. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his most elevated and critical hour. If we refused, or rather used up, such paltry information as we get, the oracles would distinctly inform us how this might be done.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, whether it is of the devil or of God, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy Him forever.'"