in a perfect world of yancies: A Fragmentary Experience of Love, Beauty, and Joy

14 April 2014

A Fragmentary Experience of Love, Beauty, and Joy

The last few days have been, let's say full. And look at these two:
At the Washington Park Arboretum Playground

Not sure, by the way reader, that I can hold all the pieces of this post together, but maybe I'll just accept their fragmentary feel.

On Thursday I was again impressed with my employer. They explained, before hundreds of employees—who'd gathered to renew their commitment to the school's mission of promoting a just and humane world, on a Mission Day focused this year on environmental justice—that they've decided not to divest from fossil fuels. And then in such a great SU moment, they turned over the microphone to (among others) one of the students leading the divestment campaign. He stood in front of the University president and others, and expressed his disappointment. And then he announced a rally to protest the decision. (That's today by the way, see the Facebook event for details.) He received the only standing ovation during the three-hour event.

Back home, I'm loving being able to hang out with Franklin more lately. Finally had the chance to show him part of the 2008 championship game:
Watching the 2008 Championship Game
I mean, he keeps asking to watching a Jayhawk basketball game: what choice do we have?

No, we haven't made it to the end of the second half yet—to "the shot": he likes to start shooting baskets after watching for a few minutes, so we're saving that and savoring the suspense a little longer.
Watching the 2008 Championship with Dad

Also enjoyed a nice walk through Washington Park Arboretum with grandma. Not sure how we managed not to get any shots of grandma or the beautiful flowering trees, but here's a little more of Franklin enjoying the playground near the north end of the park:

Break from Climbing

Speaking of climbing, I am in way over my head with reading groups and book clubs right now... but I'm really glad I stuck with the second-year Arrupe Seminar on Jesuit education. Last Friday we discussed Karl Rahner, the influential 20th-Century theologian. The reading assignment (a short biography and overview of his work) was interesting, but I was totally blown away by an excerpt of one of Rahner's books that the discussion leader brought for us.

It's Rahner giving examples of where to find divine grace. I'm tempted to quote the whole thing, but here are just my favorite bits:

There is one man who does his duty where it can apparently only be done, with the terrible feeling that he is denying himself and doing something ludicrous which no one will thank him for.

There is a woman who is really good to another woman from whom no echo of understanding or thankfulness is heard in return, whose goodness is not even repaid by the feeling of having been "selfless," noble, and so on.

There is a woman who is absolutely lonely, who finds all the right elements of life pale shadows; for whom all trustworthy handholds take her into the infinite distance, and who does not run away from this loneliness but treats it with ultimate hope.

There is one who suddenly notices how the tiny trickle of her life wanders through the wilderness of the banality of existence, apparently without aim and with the heartfelt fear of complete exhaustion. And yet she hopes, she knows not how, that this trickle will find the infinite expanse of the ocean, even though it may still be covered by the grey sands which seem to extend forever before her.

One could go on like this forever...

—where the fragmentary experience of love, beauty, and joy is experienced and accepted purely and simply as the promise of love, beauty, and joy, without their being understood in ultimate cynical skepticism as a cheap form of consolation for some final deception,

—where we entrust all this knowledge and all our questions to the silent and all-inclusive mystery which is loved more than all our individual knowledge which makes us such small people,

—where we rehearse our own deaths in everyday life, and try to live in such a way as we would like to die, peaceful and composed,

—where... (as I have said, we could go on and on):

—there is God and God's liberating grace.

I don't know about you, reader, but I just love that. Now of course that very last sentence takes things in a direction I wouldn't go, but still. Just beautiful thinking.

It's from this book (pp.230-1), which I haven't read but just might need to get a copy of.

Okay, anyway, back to work. Here's hoping for the promise of another weekend soon.

Oh, but here's one more fragment of beauty: Franklin with June, our upstairs neighbor:
Walking with June 1

Walking with June 2

Walking with June 3

1 comment:

  1. I remember Rahner from college; good stuff! Talk about thought-provoking...

    Thanks for escorting me around the arboretum; it was amazing!

    Love, Grandma Christine