August 20, 2006

Maybe it’s just the heat, but I find myself being dragged down big time even as the slightest hint of a coming change in season (even here, the days are getting shorter enough to notice in the mornings and evenings) indicates this long, hot summer can’t go on forever. It seems hard to believe: today we hit 105 and the pool is still well over 80 degrees; running errands in the early afternoon meant once again avoiding the dreaded flesh-touching-car-interior experience you just get tired of after months of the same with no break. After awhile it just kinda gets you down…

But I was thinking today of angels and demons, and how close they both seem to me right now.

I’ve been haunted by a street person my work mates and I encountered in Vancouver the other night. He was asking everyone he encountered for change, and when he came to us, I couldn’t take my eyes off of his glassy, silver eyes before he was brushed off quickly and curtly by my friends. I hadn’t gotten a chance to fish into my pockets to give him something, and I told them afterwards we should have given him at least some of our change, because you never know when there are angels around you. The two of them being at least agnostic (if not atheist), I wasn’t surprised at being rebuked for my comment, but the whole incident left me feeling weary, troubled, and disengaged from my surroundings.

Attending Mass today at St. Anne Catholic Church, the priest gave an interesting homily, comparing the technological advancements of the past 500 hundred years with the seeming lack of progress in the study of human relationships and our human nature over the same span of time. His point was how little we as God’s creatures understand about ourselves as beloved children of God – something Henri Nouwen wrote so wonderfully about in his book Life of the Beloved – and how afraid we are to release ourselves to God and relinquish the control we desire over our lives. He pointed out that it is through the sacraments of the Church, and the divine grace we receive through them as children of God, that brings out the “better angels of our nature”, and us together in ways our own selfish impulses would never allow us to do.

The way I see it, the angels and demons in ourselves reveal themselves in two alternative realities – that you’re so small and insignificant that there is virtually nothing most of us could do (outside of, perhaps, not going to work and telling no one, or stopping all payments of our bills) that would get a rise out of anyone, or that the things we do and the decisions we make in some way do matter and fit into some far bigger picture than we as mere mortals are privy to.

Perhaps this is something only God understands out of His knowledge of us as human beings in general, and love for us individually. I sure hope so, for with Tracey in bed and no evidence of anyone or anything going on or around outside in our Gilbert neighborhood this Saturday night, it’s just me and the rabbits hanging around in our own isolated air conditioned space. There may be four million people – give or take a million – also sharing this space called the Valley of the Sun, but I can’t help but see in the endless, mindless cycle of work, chores, sleep, then work again (in the same damned heat) for the paychecks that subsidize this lifestyle something entirely without any greater purpose.

Brian Wilson, I think, understood this better than anyone when he composed the words to his 1971 song ‘Til I Die that appeared on the Beach Boys’ album, Surf’s Up:

I’m a cork on the ocean
Floating over the raging sea
How deep is the ocean?
How deep is the ocean?
I lost my way
Hey hey hey

I’m a rock in a landslide
Rolling over the mountainside
How deep is the valley?
How deep is the valley?
It kills my soul
Hey hey hey

I’m a leaf on a windy day
Pretty soon I’ll be blown away
How long will the wind blow?
How long will the wind blow?

Until I die, until I die

These things I’ll be until I die
These things I’ll be until I die
These things I’ll be until I die
These things I’ll be until I die

If it is indeed true that there are angels and demons around us and in our nature, tonight those demons seem to be winning out. Tomorrow is another day.

Filed in: Religion & Culture by The Great White Shank at 01:28 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. […] But that’s not a concern to me right now. For right now all I wish is that I had the money to invest in a pool heater to keep my water at a toasty 85 degrees so I could splash around under the lovely 3/4 moon that shines above – a 3/4 moon that longingly reaches out to me in the silvery diamonds reflecting on the floor of the pool. This shouldn’t shock anyone. I know I have it a gazillion times better than 85% of the people on this earth – and there are probably people reading this post who resent the fact that, amidst all the suffering and misery of this world, all I’m concerned about is the temperature of my pool water – but that’s not where my head is at this night. I remain a leaf on a windy day, a cork on the ocean, a rock in a landslide. […]

    Pingback by Fadeaway | GoodBoys Nation — October 10, 2008 @ 11:54 pm

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