So, the other morning the sky was that fantastic combination of charcoal cumulus clouds to the front, and bright, unsuspecting blue behind me. My friend Kathi a little further north was thanking God via Facebook for the rain, and here in my town the wind was all blowy with promise.
I was on my way to church for the first time in a few weeks (ironic, considering I am a member of the clergy. But life has been just One Damned Thing After Another and I couldn’t cope.) The Fiat windows and top were down, no one was on the road, and I looked forward to seeing dear friends.
Thanks to the miracle of iTunes, I was able to choose the perfect music: Canon and Gigue, For 3 Violins & Continuo in D Major (more familiarly “Pachelbel’s Canon”.) Okay, I know it has become a cliche, but IT’S SO LOVELY. So lovely. (And by the way, you need a version that’s not too fast. It’s not supposed to be perky, damn it.) I felt like I was in a movie: it was a perfect combination of audio and visual.
Then, because sometimes I like to listen to my bazillion songs alphabetically, just as I turned the corner to downtown, I was hit by Carry On, Wayward Son. My heart soared up through the open roof of the car. The perfect soundtrack for the moment.
I thought of my dear friend Br. Curtis, who likes to quote Thich Nhat Hanh: “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment, I know this is the only moment.” (from Being Peace). Yes. Amen.
Remember, he said. The name of the room I wanted was Remember. That was what woke me. It shocked me awake, and the shock of it, the dazzling unexpectedness of it, is vivid to me still. I knew it was a good dream, and I felt that in some unfathomable way it was also a true dream. The fact that I did not understand its truth did not keep it from being in some sense also a blessed dream, a healing dream, because you do not need to understand healing to be healed or know anything about blessing to be blessed.
(Frederick Buechner, A Room Called Remember)
We want so much to understand everything, and to understand it right now. And not only to understand, but to acquire and to control as well. Control others, control life. Right now. If we can’t see it and grasp it and control it right this minute, we get all exhausted and freaked out. I’m pretty tired of being tired and freaked out.
It may be just a foible of post-modern life, this fast-food mentality. It may be just one of our quirks, like that crazy aunt (everybody has one) that makes us smile indulgently. Oh, ha-ha…sorry! Such a control freak. Oopsie.
I suspect, however, that our controlism is more sinister than that. It is at least an addiction, and possibly a sin: a crime against our humanity. The need for control (and what passes for “understanding”) is just a dark forgetfulness, and not in a nice, refreshing, dreamlike way. It is a nightmare, an existential not-remembering who we really are, and who we are in relation to God. God grant us the shock of trying to wake up and be dazzled. God bless us and heal us.