Saturday, June 04, 2005


So I’ve been trying to make up for the incomplete reading of Gilead that I did when it was assigned for class and reading it sincerely this summer. It’s one of those books I have to read slow (which explains why I didn’t do it justice during the semester) it’s the same thing with Annie Dillard. Anyway, one thing I like about it is the way every sentence seems to glisten with intention. One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is what the book says about visions. The narrator keeps coming back to a sort of every day moment of sharing a biscuit with his father in the ruins of a church that was struck by lightning. He says “it seems to me much of my life was comprehended in that moment” (96) and “I truly believe it is a waste and ingratitude not to honor such things as visions, whether you yourself happen to have seen them or not” (97). So I’ve been wondering what those visions are for me – what are those moments. And whether it is something inherent in the moment or the way we think about it afterwards that makes it so defining.

Well, I haven’t settled on any major life visions, but lots of small moments of profundity. Or at least of joy or grace or awareness. How postmodern of me, I suppose. And some of the moments are that because I wrote about them later. So maybe the writing is what makes them important. For example, today I had a moment when I was walking home from getting my dinner. Here’s the poem:

walking home with Chinese takeout
warm through the bag in my hands
in the sunny early-summer heat
I feel the first drops of
is that rain or am I only imagining
the cool drops touching
my shoulders soft like
the way he looks at me sometimes
or like blessing falling surprise
out of the sky

so was it a moment because it was, or because I thought about it and then wrote about it? I’m leaning toward the latter, but there was something in the rain and the sunshine or I wouldn’t have written about it in the first place. Does God give us the vision, or the attitude to look for the vision?

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