Friday, June 30, 2006

"...alone on the outskirts of town, where no-one knows my name..."

"Truth is commoner than articles of furniture.
It cries out in the streets and does not turn its back on us when we turn our backs on it.
Ideas emerge from facts; they also emerge from conversations, chance occurrences, theaters, visits, strolls, the most ordinary books.
Everything holds treasures, because everything is in everything, and a few laws of life and of nature govern all the rest."

~ A.G. Sertillanges

It seems the forces of creation have deigned, for this extended season, to render me invisible. Now this is not to say not present, either to people I help or those I work for. People who need me, or are affected by me, seem able to see to me. This vaporish state I evidently inhabit occurs to me as I cannot seem to be discovered, no matter the setting. It is a mystery and a paradox, whether I try to make myself noticeable- or if I can put it out of my thoughts and simply blend into the background (as usual). In something resembling a public opinion poll, I've tried drawing attention- and have exaggerated an aloofness. None of it "works." I'm unnoticed. That puts a negative spin on the aspiration to be transparent, doesn't it? Perhaps assuming the role of invisible man is a bit of self-flattery. There may be a lesson here, about trying too hard for something and thus making that hope unattainable. If that is so, then the not-trying has yet to help the opposite effect!

So, Friday evening returns, and in trying to redeem the time I am looking for the Good Purpose of this invisibility. The post-rain western sky presents drifting jigsaw puzzle-pieces of clouds. Tomorrow is the 1st of July. Each day brings the audacity of new hopes. Even Jeremiah the tragic prophet observed the mercies that are renewed with every morning. So with reflection and discipline (and thankfully the outlet of written expression) this time continues to allow a heavy tilt toward fulfillment without apparent consolation. Study is a prayer for truth. In these times, it seems wisest to focus on learning, preparedness to be fit and attentive to others, to be present to the moment, and to remember what little control any of us have over what's around us. The metaphor of gathering practical and philosophical knowledge as if filling a vessel is an endeavor I can fully exercise, and that is cause for gratitude indeed.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

tomorrow on the runway

"But I feel that my own life is especially sealed with this great sign... because like Jonas himself I find myself traveling toward my destiny in the belly of a paradox."

~Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas

Summer proceeds apace, and as I sat reading and writing at an outdoor cafe, on my supper break from work, the balmy breezy world of pedestrians, couples, solo-speaking-cellphone-strollers, and all sundry movers-about looked pronouncedly at ease. Portland is a town in which people hold doors for one another. The wafting maples carry a message of reassurance, and it is good to be at the receiving end.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

rainy day shine

"Though tomorrow is not yet there for you, it is for God."

~ C.S. Lewis, Beyond Personality

Ancients like Augustine and Eriugena would regard the whole creation as a wonder, as an overarching theophany- which is to say a revelation of the divine goodness even if that might be incomprehensible, invisible, and hidden. And today is one of those days in which that which may often be hidden is evident to me, to the point of blantant and obvious. Even the faces of those I've worked with and instructed today have been theophanies to me. It is good to reminded that one is part of something large and really quite incalculably grand.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Message in a Bottle

"What is the best comfort in suffering and tribulation?
It is this, that one should take all things as if he had desired and asked for them.
For if you had known that all things happen in the divine will, you would indeed have wished for them."

~ Seneca

Of course, in attempting to find the good in the present, I accept each moment and can perceive what is positive and productive. But acceptance does not mean complacency, neither does it imply retreat from hope and ambition. And in this season of my life, I am not avoiding social situations- as it seems so many in this society are hiding from one another. We are alienated enough from contact with each other, what with teleconferencing, solo commuting, suburbs, and electronic chat. Might there be others like me, who are perplexed observers?

Further still, might there be others, like me, who have not grasped that last musical chair and find themselves the cheese that stands alone? I have decided to muse aloud (to this modest extent), open to the possibility that a kindred soul sees herself in some of these words. In this vast and abundant world, in a society fraught with emphases on relationships, couples, and family units, there may be a solo flyer who has yet to find her companion. It is like an exploration into outer space, looking for life forms. Is anyone out there amidst the stars and the interspersed darkness?

Perhaps someone can inform me as to where these earnest people go. Over recent years, it seems I have tried it all: web sites, books, advice, events, clubs, associations- even just plain socializing. Working with the public, living in a residential neighborhood, traveling, volunteering. Is there nobody left? Is there no-one who appreciates social graces and genuineness, albeit in the wrapping of plain looks? I talk with my closest friends about this. My lifelong best friend, who is ten years my senior, tells me he doesn't worry much about his singleness; in his words, "she hasn't found me yet." I like that. It cheers me up. Being a prisoner of hope is to simply be ready for the serendipitous and to know that the miraculous could manifest at any moment.

Monday, June 26, 2006

To risk is to truly live.

"All suffering comes from love and affection.
If I then suffer because of transitory things,
I and my heart still have love for transitory things and I do not cherish God with all my heart and I do not yet love what God wants to be loved by me and with him.
How then, is it surprising that God should allow me rightly to suffer pain and sorrow?"

~Meister Eckhart

In having been an army of one for so much of my adult life has provided settings for some real self-confrontation. Of course, no one asks to be tossed into the desert. We do not go gently into that good night. I am certain it is an unseen will that relegates a burgeoning soul who longs to love, to have to navigate an uncharted abyss. Weeks become months become years. But I have been making the best of what has not been enjoyable or consoling. Surely and undoubtedly, this world has known far worse, but indeed there is an element of the universal in the way every individual is inevitably brought to confront what it will be like to be alone. Alone and forgotten. Some of us yearn to be connected to others- many for the cause of love, many simply to belong somewhere in the world. None of us like the idea of living ignominiously.

Indeed, it does no good to stare at the ground. The benefits of having known the depths come in the forms of comprehension: we can better understand what befalls us, and can offer understanding and respectful witness to others. We can look out for those around us who suffer alone. My Dad used to tell me to do someone else a favor before they ask you. In these reflections I become certain that when my true love finds me, I will be reverently grateful for her, and to her.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"Society is a book to read, even though a commonplace book." ~Sertillanges

All right, this was the first weekend of summer. Yes, another summer, and the whole Noah's Ark thing becomes ever more obvious: everyone comes out 2-by-2.

Now that I've finished grad school (and my thirties), the challenge has intensified and I am considering my reluctant unattachment to be further time to improve my sense of this life and world. I was never "popular" in school, however my invisibility remains a matter of endless perplexity. It causes me to wonder if other single people go through that same mixture of wishing to be noticed- with a hope not to view oneself as more than they really are.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

accroches-toi a ton rêve

Opening Day.

After about eleven solid years (and counting) of journaling, it's time to blog. Writing is so significant an act, recording events, readings, and sundry speculations, that I've held back from writing about the Single Solitary Life. Then I oddly began to express the more provisional thoughts in pencil, considering graphite to be even more temporal than ink. But then to blog something that endangers to be so self-centered, it seemed to lend even more to an internet format. So here goes.

Note: for those who share La Vie en Graphite, the Pencil Revolution site ( is highly recommended.