Potted Plants and Reassurances against Insanity and Doubt
I haven’t been writing very much recently, but for the sake of posting something new, I combed through my (sparse) entries from the last few months and assembled a few excerpts here. Enjoy~
A few days ago, while I was sitting in the library studying for the MCAT, I observed a boy a little ways in the distance point to a potted tree and remark: “You know it’s real if it’s dying.”
What an interesting statement, I thought. Of course the boy was referring to the mottled trunk and the falling leaves of the tree, and proffering these markers as evidence that the plant was, indeed, not made of silk and plastic; but, without knowing it, the boy also happened to conjure a bit of Life Wisdom.
I didn’t think about the statement too much, only noticed that it had the ring of profundity and someone could make probably make something of it if they took the time to ponder it. I guess that’s the writer’s task, after all: to catch scraps of daily utterances that might have the gleam of truth in them, that retain the potential of something more elevated.
How does a person function when burdened by the awareness of the impossibility of the work that has been set to her? How does one stay sane in the midst of turmoil? Better to say, how does one stay sane in the midst of insanity? The answer, I suppose, is that a person must become bigger than the insanity, must expand her being until it swells in size, enough to contain all that threatens to overwhelm it—so that, in the end, one is not conquered, but one lives in harmony with the essence of that beloved Scripture observation: “And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
The voices in your head are not at odds with the voice in your heart, although sometimes they are led astray. What really needs to be said will be said by the clear voice of truth when the time is right. The rest is just entertainment for the ride.
The rays of light are hitting your face with the kind of grace that’s only seen in moments of pure luck. There are people in the kitchen, drinking cans of soda and cups of coffee like it was time to die. Well, there can’t be any reason to worry after this. All the crazies have left your mind and now there’s a lot of empty space to sit and think. When you feel the pressures of life, how do you respond? With a hopeful look to the future, or a sorrowful disdain for the present? You are burdened by many cares which don’t even belong to you. Your soul is buried beneath layers of fear that have nothing to do with the real truth. This is what makes your life so troubled, so hard: you work from a habit of fear and all that fills you is on a path to bring you dread. Shake it off before the load becomes too much to bear.
When your heart is in pain, what can you do? You wish to cry, but the time is not right, there are too many faces around, too many bodies to avoid. But if your heart were free of pain—if it could finally be free and light—what would you do? How would you live? The love would come light and easy and there would be no hindrance of doubt to weigh it down.
You’re often afraid of leaving God behind—of not serving Him in the right way. But, child, the truth is more magnificent than that; it’s wider and it gives you room to breathe. The truth is that God cannot be separated from you, and your ways are intertwined with His own.
Then the sun comes out and you aren’t sure what to do. The voices in your head come dutifully and quick—they are chatty and have much to say. Maybe if you give them an outlet—give them their (daily) 15 minutes of fame—they’ll quiet down and go rest in the corner. Maybe they just need to be subdued by a quick acknowledgement and some reassurance that they will be heard.
Now the time is short and you are wearing a crown of roses in your hair. Did someone forget to tell you that you’re a beautiful girl? Well, the time is too short and can’t be wasted in worry. The truth is that you have nothing to fear—all is well in the way of the soul, and the outside world responds. Don’t believe me? Try this piece of advice: Close your eyes, count to ten, and see the face that appears to you in the dark. Go on, try it. I know there is much nonsense in the writing of this book, but there is much sense in it, also, and I’d hate to see you throw out the baby with the bathwater, for fear of losing your heart to fickle things.