Monday, March 19, 2007

terra nova

"Mais la mort, ici, n'est qu'un indice. En christianisme, ce n'est pas la mort comme telle, c'est la résurrection du Christ et le monde nouveau ainsi inauguré, qui impliquent, à propos de la réalité, une véritable et indispensable conversion de point de vue."

~ frère Pierre-Yves Émery de Taizé, Le Souffle de l'Espérance

To feel the strength that new vision is enduring the tests of time and of the banality of the commonplace, is convincing me of its manifestation. Yesterday, I drove what we call the "airline road," which connects Bangor, Maine and New Brunswick, Canada. The nickname is due to the way that slick bending roadway rises, drops, and banks over scenery. Some of the views give an impression of being in the air, looking down at fields and water (but surely not as the above images of my approach to Iceland). I've driven the Airline Road many times, although with this recent adventure it all looked quite new, and somehow the grey backdrop of winter sky added a reassuring sense of serenity to all that was presented before me. Bare trees laden with ice were living black and white pictures. When I reached the Bay of Fundy, seeing evidence of extreme tidal movement demonstrated the certainty of change and the solidity of the ground upon which such transition takes place. As surely as morning after night, the spring tides will continue to bring the waters in close so as to immerse the land beyond the shore. Now that I have reached the new land, I can inhabit the new places with care and gratitude.

The landscape is familiar, yet different. I know enough to find my way, and yet the old Portland streets of my day-to-day reflect an evolving perspective. Is it what we see, or is it how we see that which is present to us? In a similar sense, there is a contrast between considering a statement like "things will never be the same" as something once having a connotation of fright, becoming an exciting prospect. Embracing the transitory aspects of living allows me to thrive in its very dynamism. Contrasts add dimension to our sight. Doubts and confidence coexist side-by-side. And so, if stress reveals the darker side of uncertainty, how shall I tread the trusting side of journeying into the unknown? Perhaps it is to root myself well in the terra nova, and to fully hope in what renews. I walk gently and solidly on this new land, with new steps. Hope is a correspondence between the present and the alighting future. Holding fast to hopefulness is showing me to die to discouragement, to release the grip on defeat. Often it has been the self-defeat of believing I will never be "good enough." But from whence comes the criteria? Truly, this voyage of advance can only happen in steps, and the movement proceeds at a pace I cannot predict. But my thirst leads me onward.

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