Friday, January 11, 2008

The unknown remembered gate

This spring when it first started sinking in to me that the ultimate mission where the sundry quests of my young-adult life were converging and climaxing was the mission to learn to receive Grace, I was really pissed.

It took me months to even accept that much: that Grace was a climax-worthy lesson, that my AP courses had been hindered by my bypassing of the ABCs, that Grace really did have the potential to change everything about my worldview and my approach to life. It took me months to accept that the fluffy, happy-sounding, sentimental Christians who responded to pain with adages about Grace actually had some truth to back them. Perhaps I had to reject the answer until I had fully probed the question, but that didn’t make Grace any less the answer.

Last night as I suffered through high-school English papers, Andrew Peterson sang out from my computer speakers his rendition of the words of Julian of Norwich…
But all shall be well
And all shall be well
And all manner of things shall be well
…and it made me think of a poem by T. S. Eliot, one of the few writers of free-verse whose brilliant beauty has overcome my prejudices enough to earn a place in my personal poetry canon.
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, remembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of things shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

1 comment:

Clifford said...

It seems to be the hardest lesson for anyone to learn, particularly among the introspective crowd. I've started Abba's Child per your recommendation; thank you.