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5.30.2013

It's been all reminiscence.

I've been reading through old journals, which will always do it to you. Also, this morning I was reminded of a professor I hadn't thought of in years while moving some books from his class to the office. Found out a couple hours later that he's guest preaching at my church in August. Shortly after that, my roommate from senior year, whom I lost touch with soon after graduation (I graduated before Facebook, you see), found me on a social network I never use and was planning on dumping. It has served me well; I loved that woman, and am so happy to be back in touch.

On top of these things, all day long I've been haunted by the smell of jasmine. As though my memories of college are actually messing with my sensory organs. Jasmine is the smell of Wheaton to me, because I wore copious amounts of jasmine oil back in those days. But it's not the memories that are making me smell jasmine again. The jasmine is blooming wildly, at home and at work and apparently everywhere else I've been all day long. A reminder that the best of those days is still with me, not as a memory of some distant, idealized "good ol' days," but because of who I am and how I've grown and what I see in where I've found myself because of where I've been. 

5.25.2013

For Graduates

Thomas Merton writes the following in his book Love and Living (forgive all the elliptical breaks):


The purpose of education is to show a person how to define himself authentically and spontaneously in relation to his world....The function of a university is, then, first of all to help the student to discover himself: to recognize himself, and to identify who it is that chooses.

...This inner identity is not “found” as an object, but is the very self that finds. It is lost when it forgets to find, when it does not know how to seek, or when it seeks itself as an object....Hence the paradox that it finds best when it stops seeking: and the graduate level of learning is when one learns to sit still and be what one has become, which is what one does not know and does not need to know....

Education in this sense means more than learning; and for such education, one is awarded no degree. One graduates by rising from the dead.

Thinking about this, I only know what he means because I have experienced it, in the breathing autumn leaves, the stone city buildings that first trip into Chicago, the small daisy rising from the Scottish soil. Those moments I was most myself were the moments I was acutely aware of life, beauty, existence, creation, the world. 

It is my goal then to make a practice of this. To make it a way of life. I do not know if it's possible, but Merton seems to imply that it might be.
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