What shall I relinquish for Lent? What about the unrelenting, incessant, unremitting demand that I do all things well in order to be good. The evil of internalizing the Protestant work ethic. This has been my lifelong counterfeit God, no longer to be worshiped in tabernacles of to-do lists, upon completion of which, a new one arises, and through which each tasks becomes less satisfying than the one before it. Diminishing returns, I have heard it called.
Yesterday two stunning things happened. I watched a film clip of a cousin returning to the place of origin, a place so primitive that it cannot sustain human life. There, pure language has been said to be preserved, and there, inexplicably, the literature of memoir has flourished. Drawn to this place as if in a dream. What is there that must be seen?
Stumbled upon a movie, Wit, which left me sobbing and gasping in the middle of the night, for all the raw beauty (yes, beauty) and passion of the end of our days, for all the realizations, for all the falling away of falsehood. Finally and most importantly, for the pure joy of knowing that for all the soul’s excursions, there is but one point of origin and return, one point that awaits lovingly and patiently for all eternity.
None of the scurrying about of the spirit is worth much, no blue ribbons of redemption to be coveted and claimed. Just being, eternal and unshakable.