Mind in the MineField
Dawns the Thursday. Bit later there goes the Navy out for another hard day’s work at sea. Two craft, I might say too small to be ships, too large to be boats. Don’t know about now but nearly sixty years ago when I started in the Navy a boat was defined as small enough to be lifted aboard a ship. Except ein Unterseeboot. A wistfulness attaches to watching them come and go everyday, life here in 7H all the more special. Would I go back, go there? But yes. I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t. Truth, turn that around, I could if I would but I won’t so I can’t. Except for what the mind does to me in spite of myself.
Same with looking straight across: Annie & Jennie disappearing round Davis Point, Alfred aboard, every single time I glance there. Seldom I’m aboard to make it right, mostly watching from here. The vision goes with the life, take it or leave it, and I’ll take it, the only life gifted me. “… the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul,” and here I am, grateful for the Having Been and for the Here and Now.
How could I be so blessed, fortunate, why me, an American living through and beyond a golden age, why me. Though not so sure about this popping out on the far side of the golden age —
The mind is a stranger, mine has a mind and will of its own separate from my own mind and will. Not the conscience, maybe it’s the subconscious or even the soul, a beastly being. I’m thinking of Paul to the Romans, chapter 7, from verse 13 and following, lamenting his failure of control over his acts, mine is all inside this bone head where the storms rage. Paul laments his body, I lament my mind. Or my soul.
I would if I could and I can so I will. Life begins. Early fall 1957, I just turned 22. Saturday morning on the Jamestown ferry gliding across Narragansett Bay.
St. Paul’s Inner Conflict
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? μὴ γένοιτο By no means! It was sin, working death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Romans 7:13-25 RSV)
Paul’s enemy the body, mine the mind. Or even the soul. Soul in a minefield somewhere off 7H rounding the Point. God forbid. MindField.