Updated: May 9, 2020
The kid selling cigarettes that night in the Old City had a key to the gate, the one leading to the old stone steps down to the Pool of Shiloh, as he called it.
Wading through the tunnel cave, both hands touching clammy rock walls, I soon wanted the adventure to end. Let there be light.
Moonlight there was finally, the Pool of Siloam. A healing ablution open to the night sky. Hezekiah's tunnel, now behind me, finite.
Saturday I felt stuck in Good Friday—Orthodox, this week—with no outlet to Easter. A voice on the other side of the planet, lockdowned out of her church for Holy Week, rescued me and set me on a bridge between the dark night of the soul and the risen grace of mercy. I felt it as Grief.
Grief is motion, painful and active, washing over and through you like holy water, carving out halls to fill with tears, caverns to host fountains, springing from raw ground like streams of freshwater abandoned to the salty sea.
Another voice then said: emotions let free do not kill you; only emotions suppressed. Their motion must flow through you, death to life, darkness to light.
I thought of the monkey-cat debate. Years ago in a class on world religion, I remember presenting the 14th century split between the Vaishnavist monks. In northern India they settled on "monkey-grace": you hang on to God for dear life, like a baby monkey on its mother's back. Get busy, pay the priests and Brahmins their due. The southern Sri Lanka monks, on the other hand, saw "kitten-grace": God reaches down and lifts you up out of danger and pain, like a mother cat swooping up its kitten by the neck. You do nothing. It is done for you.
My Huguenot ancestors followed Martin Luther on this one.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound....
I once was serene as black ice, courageous as a waterfall off a cliff, as wise as the sea, but now am lost, blind, mute and deaf.
Let it wash over you like holy water
Spring fountains full of tears
Fill you with emptiness
Until a sprig of hope
In solid rock
Above the rushing
Heraclitus says it's Logos
Parmenides says Being
Not changing at all
Thales says it's Water
Lao Tzu says The Way
Cannot be Named
No matter, I am
Powerless to change
The falling Gravity
22 APRIL 2020