Saturday, April 09, 2005

So Much for Silence

For the time being, since I seem to have a whopping two subscribers, both of whom know my situation, I think I can discuss it fairly freely here.

Thanks to both of you for your insight and comments. If it were a question of sinfulness, yes, being made aware of it would be a very good thing, painful though it might be. What's more painful is the frustration, as one of you so accurately pinpointed, of having to apologize for an offense inadvertently given -- that's nothing, we all do that -- but not having it accepted, and also, the notion that the remarks I made were a deliberate attempt at character assassination. Once people put their own spin on your actions, nothing you say or do makes any difference; and as you both know, this is an important relationship in my life.

I'm glad, too, to have the input on silence not being a good thing, since the description of "bad" silence -- a prison -- is exactly what this is becoming: a place to be stuck in, where my letters are not answered and my phone calls not returned, and I just don't know where else to go from here.

The answer, I guess, is patience, the hope that over time, being distanced from me will get to be more of a disadvantage than an advantage. I do have one ace in the hole: my son's favorite recipes. (The way to a man's heart...) I used to share them, but have by no means given them all out, so when he gets sick of having the same five recipes over and over, maybe then I'll hear from his Significant Other. But at this point, as things stand, I don't see what else I can do for these people, and racking my brains for a solution is wearing, to say the least.

Thanks, ladies -- your input was a big help.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Silence of the Mutton

Recent events, which I would prefer not to discuss publicly, have had me thinking about the possibility of observing an overall silence -- including shutting down my blogs. In looking back over my life, one consistent thread has emerged: It seems I can't open my mouth without somebody taking offense. I can say the most innocuous thing, such as expressing an admiration for German culture, and in somebody's mind, this automatically turns me into a Nazi. (Yes, this actually happened.) Sort of like me telling my mother-in-law that I hoped my kids would get to spend junior year abroad (they didn't), and her telling my husband that I was planning to throw them out of the house when they turned twenty.

So it's a serious temptation just to say nothing. Not nothing offensive, since that seems to be impossible: Nothing. Just my prayers. It's radical, it would almost certainly lead to isolation, which is never good, but then, neither is offending people, so who cares?

And then I opened my e-mail Inbox, and I read this:

The Spiritual Senses: St. Mark 7:31-37, especially vs. 34: “Then, looking up to heaven, [Jesus] sighed, and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’” Read here of a man who could neither hear nor use his ordinary physical organs of speech. However, the man heard the command, “Ephphatha!,” and “...he spoke plainly” (vs. 35). After that, there was no silencing the man nor his friends.

Who has not encountered terrible seasons when the spiritual senses are closed off to God? The Prophet David knew such inner silence and darkness: “And now, what is my patient endurance? Is it not the Lord? Yea, my hope is from Thee. From all mine iniquities deliver me; Thou hast made me a reproach to the foolish. I was dumb and opened not my mouth, for Thou hast made me. Take away from me Thy scourges...” (Ps. 39:10-13 LXX).
(From the Bible study Yahoogroup Dynamis)

I'm not sure what exactly to think about this. But it was plainly the will of our Lord that this man be able to speak; in other words, not speaking was not a good thing, and He made it possible for this man to speak.

So, I guess this is also His will for me, considering that this particular reflection came into my life on the precise day I was seriously considering giving up speech; also considering that I still have the use of my vocal cords. After all, if He didn't want me to speak, I could have developed laryngeal cancer or something. As for giving offense, though -- I'm not sure there's much I can do about that, other than shutting up permanently. I can't control what people choose to read into what I have to say. I do my best to keep it non-offensive as it is, so total silence really does seem to be the only alternative; and since that's evidently not the Will of God, well.... Chill. Stop putting words into my mouth, and thoughts into my head, that aren't there. You know who you are.

Monday, April 04, 2005

To Be the Tree

If you ever get a chance, try to locate a recording of Krysztow Penderecki's "St. Luke Passion." Penderecki is/was a very modern composer (I'm not sure if he's still alive), so this particular Passion is a chaos of some of the most god-awful sounds human voices can make. But I recommend it because of the very, very last chord of the piece, when three four-part choirs come together for the final "GLORIA!" -- a masterpiece of harmony, when you suddenly realize that the piece had to be chaotic, because the Crucifixion was a triumph of chaos -- but God's perfect harmony is still more triumphant. What genius.

Yesterday, as I'm sure we all know, was the Feast of the Holy Cross. In typing up the material for this Sunday, I was struck by this Ode from Canticle Nine of the Canon: Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, as they behold their fellow tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration: for Christ, as holy David prophesied, hath exalted it on high. Some years ago, I belonged to an Orthodox list, now sadly defunct, on which we encouraged one another to write poetry about specific events. This was my offering for September 14, the Elevation of the Cross:

To Be the Tree

"Cursed is he who hangs," they say,/ as though there were nothing worse./ But I tell you, to be the tree,/ on which hangs the One Who created me/ -- now that's a curse.

No matter to me He rose from the dead./ I hide myself for shame./ Those others with me, on whom others died,/ in terror and trembling also hide,/ for fear of the flame.

Three hundred years I lay in the earth/ before I felt it turning./ Now, in the light of day I stand,/ exposed to all by a woman's hand,/ and await my burning.

But wait! What does St. Helena say?/ "Behold the life-giving Tree/ by which salvation came to man!"/ Even I, it seems, was part of God's plan./ Salvation comes -- even for me.

Let all the trees of the forest dance and sing, as they behold their fellow tree, the Cross, today receiving veneration....