Deepening Ruts

Two years ago, for a full school year, I wrote a poem once a week, always on a Monday. Why I chose Monday, I don’t know, except perhaps for the fact that Mondays were the worst days for it, so I’d get the best poems, ‘cause I’d have a lot of feelings. The only rule was that the poems must be addressed to God. I stopped when summer came, and have written inconsistently since, so I only have a handful more, but so often I find myself going back and reading over those lines in that green moleskine, especially in the past few months. Many of them are sloppily constructed, and some of them don’t contain anything of value at all, but a handful of them are true. I managed somehow to wraps words around God’s gifts and hand them back. I read them now and I am reminded. I am reminded of my Lord’s steadfast faithfulness whenever I am lost, and lost, and lost again. Apparently we can bear witness of the truth not only to others, but to ourselves.

I have sometimes done the same thing with these blog entries, wandering back to re-read the things I learned three or four years before. Coming to understand the Gospel, Jesus’s good news for us, is not so much a series of revelations as a deepening of grooves, a learning of the same things over and over, only heavier and more each time.

And as I read over these last few entries, I think that in a roundabout way, I have been trying to talk about beauty. Of course I have always believed that God speaks to us through beauty. You’re supposed to believe that when you read and write for fun, and make other people read and write for a living. You’re supposed to believe that when you’re me. But only recently, I think, have I really begun to understand beauty as something that I am surrounded by, that will teach me about the God who made it, who delighted in it first, who called it good.

So, though it’s small, I will just tell you this: I have learned recently that beauty is the moon still hanging gossamer in the sky at seven-thirty in the morning while I drive to school, like a disk of stretched lace, mislaid in the thick blue.

And I believe that next time I come back to read this, I will have learned beauty just a little more.

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