I’m sandwiching today’s entry in between a couple photos from my daughter’s dance recital practice this evening. It’s that time of year when final activities — dance and piano recitals, confirmations and first communions, award ceremonies and graduations — come at us parents (and children) relentlessly. Many times of late, I’ve caught myself staring at my calendar for the upcoming month, stuck in a how-to-be-in-three-places-at-once trance. And yet, it’s all good. This culmination of a school year, of another season of life, serves as a marking for our forthcoming passage into the next place we are to go. Without these signals that come like spring buds, multi-colored and imperfect yet truly beautiful, we would have a mighty hard time making the transitions gracefully. And certainly, given the flood that hit our area so hard so recently, these ordinary season-markers have become even more meaningful and appreciated. A month ago, it was hard to imagine we’d have a soccer season at all, and yet here we are, gearing up for it all full blast.
Despite the more-than-usual hurriedness of it (given the time we’ve lost fighting floods), I am finding it necessary to pause. This evening in particular, I need to gently turn the spotlight onto something that began mid-flood: my latest read. It’s taken me a full month to get through it, but it’s not for lack of enjoyment. This book surprised me. It was a treat that became sweeter as it went along, and I’m glad I stayed with it, even if distractions caused my occasional inattention. I’d marked several sections to share, including the one below, and I don’t want to put the book back on the shelf until I’ve done so. This particular section comes at a time when the narrator has made some fairly serious discoveries, and I feel her words offer some nice food for thought:
[From Our Lady of the Lost and Found, “History (7), p. 270-1:]
Now I see that the opposite of fact may not be fiction at all, but something else again, something hidden under layers of color or conscience or meaning. If I were a visual artist, I might call it pentimento. If I were a historian, I might call it a palimpsest. But I am a writer and I call it the place where literature comes from.
It is a place akin to those known as “thin places” in Celtic mythology. Like the thin places in both palimpsest and pentimento, these are threshold bridges at the border between the real world and the other world, still points where the barrier between the human and the divine is stretched thin as a membrane that may finally be permeated and transcended.
Now I see that the opposite of knowledge may not be ignorance but mystery; that the opposite of truth may not be lies but something else again: a revelation so deeply imbedded in the thin places of reality that we cannot see it for looking: a reverence so clear and quiet and perfect that we have not yet begun to fathom it.
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.