Tonight was cold,finally.Even for the south it has been a particularly warm year thus far. But tonight the city lay still and quiet, clear and brisk, as it slept beneath quilts of incoming frosts; this evening the clouds that brought a Christmas Day rainfall stooped towards the earth and spread themselves out on the ground and rested: the hustle and bustle of the season surely does not limit itself to mankind alone, what an undesirable lot that would amount to. Recently, the days themselves and their characteristics have seemed confused and tormented. They seem to know their own cruel fate and seem to struggle in the reckoning thereof. Seasons come and go and fall and crumble and fade off into oblivion nevermore to be seen again as time passes not in a circle but in a straight line from then to now and on to tomorrow and the cold, which fights so mightily to be something important, succeeds mostly in its failure.
But, though it passes away as it is certain we all must, cold has the powerful ability to make us feel: in the cold I am most reminded that I am, indeed, alive. And as I doubted that fact recently, I went for a walk tonight. I brought along my preferred walking partners, Mr. Clove and Mr. Bic, and under a pleasantly clear sky began to amble through my neighborhood. I walked past pleasant suburban homes (Christmas decorations included) and their pleasant automobile counterparts. I walked past well manicured lawns and well manicured eaves. I spied in windows and noticed comfortable chesterfields* and comfortable kitchens. And i wondered at the happiness of these suburban people.
My own existence in American suburbia has been one of marked disappointment — and I would guess I am not alone– what with it’s excessive pursuit of all things sex, money, and fame. Let us pursue Happiness by all means, but let us do so with a realistic sense of what truly brings happiness. But, lest i fall into a trap I can’t escape, I must say that I do not intend to provide an answer to this question. Each man must seek for himself that by which he is fulfilled. Alas, it is the lack of consensus on what the state of happiness is, that allows for such an emphatic disillusionment in our culture. The more positive feelings we have the happier will be, we say. Give me sex and money and fame and I shall sing of my joy on the street corners I suggest, and then when finally my greed is appeased I simply become more greedy. There is no end to all this madness. We must escape this paradigm of treason against ourselves. We must let this winter of our discontent pass away. We must not allow our suburban values to interfere with what happiness really ought to “feel” like.
To feel, i am afraid, is to fear. I.E.: I have feelings for you and in my feelings I fear for your safety and i fear that you will not return the same feelings.I feel for my friend’s mother who is sick and i fear she may pass away and my friend will be hurt. I feel that I want to write books and I certainly feel that I will fail in such endeavors. I feel for the homeless and fear they will be left homeless. I fear for aides victims in Africa and fear no solution will arise. I have dreams and hopes and desires and fear I will fail to achieve them.
As I look around this hellish world and see it’s inherent pain I am caught up in my feelings for it and subsequently my fears for it. And it takes walks on cold night to clear my mind- or to near clarity.
And i realize
Life is surely hard, though our Christmas cards and nativity scenes and churches often attempt to pain a different picture, pictures which are lies both to themselves and the pained of this world, and in their dishonesty these catalysts of goodwill act in disobedience to the greatest of commandments– do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and go unto all the world and seek to save the lost—
I have come to realize that the mercy of life is in the enduring and in all this darkness our joys rely on our ability to stand in faith and to believe that Jesus is, as he claims, the light of the world. Oh wondrous, rapturous feelings that thought conjures!
Fear no more, for the Son of God has come!
*A couch to the non-Canadian influence of you