Sunday, October 20, 2013

MANALIVE Large Family Vision

Time goes.  The house is full.  We are living.  I can hardly believe it has been a month since I sat down to take care of things here on my own little spot in the world wide web. 

Speaking of our spots...your spot...my spot...my how G.K. Chesterton spoke to my heart through his literary masterpiece "MANALIVE."  It is a rather thin book that I'm surprised took me so long to finish.  It was one of those classics where you pick it up and read a paragraph and stay a bit paralyzed while your brain tries to figure out the new wiring it received in the sudden siege of WORDS that opened new pathways.

I was around the kitchen table sharing this particular passage with my dear friend Janet last night, and I apologized for sharing as we were both rocked by the words because I felt I robbed her of the discovery on her own.  She said it might be years before she sits down and has a chance to read the whole book, so she was grateful for the profound tidbit I shared.

And so...I thought...perhaps I could share it here too???? 

It will definitely shape my "Large Family Vision" from here on out.



(I know I am pulling a piece out of a whole, forgive me...it's just too exciting to keep to myself right now)

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The man silently stretched out his rake in that direction; and before he spoke I knew what he meant.  Beyond the great green rock in the purple sky hung a single star.

"A star in the East," he said in a strange hoarse voice like on of our ancient eagle's, "the wise men followed the star and found the house.  But if I followed the star, should I find the house?"

"It depends perhaps," I said, smiling, "on whether you are a wise man." I refrained from adding that he certainly didn't look it.

"You may judge for yourself," he answered, "I am a man who left his house because he could not longer bear to be away from it."


"It certainly sounds paradoxical," I said.

"I heard my wife and children talking and saw them moving about the room," he continued, "and all the time I knew they were walking and talking in another house thousands of miles away, under the light of different skies, and beyond the series of the seas.  I loved them with a devouring love, because they seemed not only distant but unattainable.  Never did human creatures seem so dear and desirable:



but I seemed like a cold ghost.  I loved them intolerably; therefore I cast off their feet for a testimony.  Nay, I did more.  I spurned the world under my feet so that it swung full circle like a treadmill."


"Do you really mean," I cried, "that you have come right round the world? Your speech is English, yet you are coming from the west."

"My pilgrimage is not yet accomplished," he replied sadly, 

"I have become a pilgrim to cure myself of being an exile."





Something in the word 'pilgrim' awoke down in the roots of my ruinous experience, memories of what my fathers had felt about the world, and of something from whence I came.  I looked again at the pictured lantern at which I had not looked for fourteen years.

"My grandmother," I said in a low tone voice, "would have said that we were all in exile, and that no earthly house could cure the holy homesickness that forbids us rest,"

He was silent a long while, and watched a single eagle drift out beyond the Green Figure (some rock figure) into the darkening void.

Then he said, "I think your grandmother was right," and stood up leaning on his grassy pole.  "I think that must be the reason," he said, "the secret of this life of man, so ecstatic and so unappeased. But I think there is more to be said.  


I think God has given us the love of special places,




of a hearth




and of a native land,



for a good reason."


"I dare say," I said, "what reason!"

"Because otherwise," he said, pointing his pole at the sky and the abyss, "we might worship that."

"What do you mean?" I demanded.





 "Eternity." he said in his harsh voice, "the largest of the idols - the mightiest of the rivals of God."









"You mean pantheism and infinity and all that," I suggested.

"I mean," he said with increasing vehemence, "that if there be a house for me in heaven it will either have a green lamp-post and a hedge, or something quite as positive and personal as a green lamp-post and a hedge.
I mean that 
God bade me love one spot and serve it,


and do all things however wild in praise of it, 


so that this one spot might be a witness against all the infinities and the sophistries, 


that Paradise is somewhere and not anywhere,


is something and not anything,


And I would not be so very much surprised if the house in heaven had a real green lamp-post after all. 

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Paradise is right here and now my friends.  Step outside your home and look at it. See.  Long for it pilgrim...as if you just circumnavigated the globe to find it. Burst through the door and love the man and press your ear to his chest and love that sound.  Wrap your littles in hugs and smell their hair and skin. Do not make an idol of eternity, love the hearth here and now, your place, your spot.


God Bless! xxxooo