Thursday, December 28, 2006

This Year, I'm Grateful

This reeks of melodrama, I know. I'm paranoid about being overly dramatic, too emotional. I'm coming to the conclusion that drama and emotion are seminal elements of humanity in general and of me in particular. There is a place for them. It would be a shame to eliminate them completely, don't you think? I'd miss something of what it means to be human. Feeling may twist judgment, says Kenneth B. Clark, but the lack of it may twist it even more. I love that quote. Who can be objective? Not one of us, really. We just aren't. The ones who think they can express anything with objectivity are the most partisan (and consequently, the biggest liars). We just weren't meant for that.

I'm starting to feel something unexpected taking the stage in the play of emotion I've been watching in my heart's theater this year. The first act: Hope. Followed by Fear, Apathy, Grief and Despair. See, I've had twin themes of disappointment running a dual, and bizarrely synchronized, course through my life this year. I've greeted these themes with emotion. I'm at what must be the climax of action. Something is about to happen and I wave a ragged flag of faith that says it must be good. This unexpected thing is starting to feel a lot like Gratitude. Odd.

I'm walking around with a hole in the middle of me. I've tried filling it with all kinds of things and I've felt all kinds of things about it. I almost feel crippled. More odd still is what effect it has on me. I've welcomed the Son of God into a part of my heart that I've held close and silent for a long time. The needs of other people, their vulnerability in a harsh world, is poignant and real and pressing to me. Every moment is pregnant with meaning. Every small beauty makes me cry. And as there are more small beauties in the world than we will ever be able to catalogue, I cry a lot. I don't even know that it's a sign of sadness as much as it is a response to a mundane yet sublime realization that this hole in the middle of me has made more room for God than I knew I had. This strange and uninvited perspicacity leads me back to Hope. I feel it's waiting in the wings and wishes to whirl me around with my eyes closed at least one more time.

What a blessing was Paul's Thorn of the Flesh. I'm brave enough to say that although I feel the temporality of my thorn, I hope I'll never forget what it meant to hold it.