“It is wonderful if we are used for God’s cause, but it would exist even if we were not there…”
Today is the first day of Spring. Cloudy at the moment, but the forecast has it clearing. Temperature in the low 50‘s. Winter, in the legal sense, is over. With zeal and endurance, it has fulfilled its contract. Now, however, are days of Spring. Trees are to bloom, and birds are to sing.
There’s also free water ice at Rita’s today, for all weary and heavy-laden. “Come and see,” she says. “Shake off all doldrums, lift your eyes and have a cup of Strawberry on the house.”
Ice, Water, Happiness. And also with you.
There’s an abandoned brewery across the street from the office, a castle of red brick. At some point in the past, people filled its halls; a linked chain of lungs pressed out and round with life. One imagines the building as a jewel of constant motion, a tower of mud and might, always producing, always giving, receiving and loud with life.
Today, the castle’s windows are blown out, and graffiti covers the exterior. Large parts of the building have crumbled, and the extent of the decay casts doubt on the notion that the skeleton of the building could be saved.
And that’s the last will and testament for jewels of constant motion. Once settled, all life, spirit, mud and might seeps into the earth like rainwater, and all that’s left are bones.
We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are not promised birds or water ice or the marking of another Spring. We shake ourselves from dust, covet the heavens, build the tower, claw-scratch-kick and scream, blood-curdling and naked-emperor-clothed, until we collapse in folly and beg and plead for mercy. In the evening light, we burst with Love. Then we sleep in grace.
One after the other, rise and fall. What we produce is tethered to flesh, and it, like flesh, vanishes.
Meanwhile, from our window, I spy a tree ripping through the second story of the abandoned brewery. Branches spread outward, the tree resembles an open palm, all deepening lines and stories in tow.
This week is the first week of new apprentice training at Working Film. Three people have committed to a work of time and focus, and a family has committed to them. As they devote their hearts and minds, they state belief not merely in accomplishment, but in excellence. In transformation.
We chase after the heart because we’ve seen the impermanence, and the impotence, frankly, of every other institution. Governments and kingdoms, glad hands and good tidings, all fossilize like pterodactyls and dodo birds. Given our impermanence, however, we are free now to embrace that which will not waste away; to believe in abiding and a Merciful Spirit.
We chase after the heart because we have been pursued and caught up in the Love of God. We have been Redeemed, Reclaimed, and Renewed. And it happens day after day, hour after hour. We are ill-tempered and amnesiac, and so we must continually be called back to our dust.
Convicted, forgiven and comforted. Here to sing, stumble and cut a rug for Love.
Beneath the dust is the current from which we rose. Deeper and deeper, wider and wider, higher and higher is the Love that calls us home.
Now, keep us close to the warmth of soil.
Now and forever, keep us close to the heat of Grace.
“…There is no question that you are gifted, that you are strong, that you are smart, and that you can get a lot done, but that is not the issue. We do not live together on account of these gifts. They are all mortal and will pass away. What lasts forever is humility and love — love, the incorruptible ‘treasure in heaven’ of which Jesus speaks in the Sermon on the Mount.”
- J. Heinrich Arnold