Friday, January 6, 2017

enough Time






“It is difficult to admit that one is wrong. Particularly when one has been wrong for a very long time.” (pp. 305, 309)

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding onto words like “if.” (p.282)

Yesterday I finished (Fredrik Backman), A Man Called Ove. Reluctant to put it down — as was the case with (Mark Spragg) Where Rivers Change Direction, (Roger Ebert) Life Itself: A Memoir, (Anthony Doerr) All the Light We Cannot See (“Father needs me to be at Schulpforta. Mother too. It doesn’t matter what I want. . . . Your problem, Werner, is that you still believe you own your life.”) and any number of other books that draw one intimately into the story — I had to fight to make the book and my visit last, and the epilogue closing chapter was, frankly, an emotional experience. 

Backman has a way with words, turning a phrase, psychology of life worth living. Quoted a couple so far earlier in the week. Couple more quotes from yesterday’s reading

“We always think there’s enough time to do things with other people. Time to say things to them. And then something happens and then we stand there holding onto words like ‘if’.” Everyone of any age or maturity knows the “ifs,” the regrets that are beyond recall. If only … .  If only I had done … . If only I had told … . If I had … . If … . Because life does not long or reliably endure, standard wisdom is to say I love you while one can and before it’s unexpectedly too late forever. 

In my mind, a somewhat related sentiment: Jim Croce, 1970s, Time in a Bottle

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day till eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you

If I could make days last forever
If words could make wishes come true
I'd save every day like a treasure and then
Again, I would spend them with you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

If I had a box just for wishes
And dreams that had never come true
The box would be empty, except for the memory of how
They were answered by you

But there never seems to be enough time
To do the things you want to do, once you find them
I've looked around enough to know
That you're the one I want to go through time with

Another from Backman, “It is difficult to admit that one is wrong. Particularly when one has been wrong for a very long time.”

Not only individuals and society at large, the church has this difficulty I say, has this problem. Perhaps not so obviously with doctrine and dogma where there are ancient creedal assertions that precede enlightenment, reason, and common sense, and/or cannot possibly be known about a postulated deity; or, more, that have been overtaken by simple observation and/or scientific knowledge (disappearing feet of the Ascension of Christ, 


bodily assumption of the BVM); and especially with teachings based in social norms and certainties, [Jews persecuted as “Christ-killers”; homosexual preference and practice condemned or criminalized as a sinful choice or capital crime; interracial marriage criminalized and ostracized; slavery sanctified (as a priest, my own second church was a historically registered 19th century building constructed with the rear balcony as a slave gallery); apartheid, racial segregation in schools, churches, throughout society, industry and commerce; ostracize and/or excommunicate divorcees; forbid contraception; condone wife abuse by husband as head of family; perhaps capital punishment; anathematize other religions and Christian denominations; and, lo, any number of long-time church-blessed social norms for which “time makes ancient good uncouth”]. The daring Progressives may venture to rationalize or even rubbish. Still, our entrenched tribal certitudes, especially our religious, social and political certainties that stir hatred, are our base evil, our greatest sin.

In A Man Called Ove, a young man comes out as gay, “bent” is Ove’s term, and his father, who has always passionately hated homosexuals, kicks him out of the house and Ove takes him in. The boy's father later relents, perhaps moved by love for his son, but experiencing, as Backman observes, that “It is difficult to admit that one is wrong. Particularly when one has been wrong for a very long time.” There are so many issues, religious, sociological, political, human relations, on which we are so wrong but too long coming to realize and, in time, to admit. Resistant to change, we cling kicking and screaming to the ways and certainties of our forebears in which we were raised. Just because you believe it, even believe it from the bottom of your heart and with every fibre of your being, that don’t make it so. Seek the truth, come whence it may, cost what it will. 

A grieving of my own ancient age is watching American, Christian, and other generations after me cling certitudinously to religious, social and political beliefs and customs that are sheer evil; even as I wonder of myself what I confidently “know” and do that is mortal sin in the mind of God.


DThos+ in Stoppage Time

201701060646 from 7H

Arriving: Seaboard America V41 525x91, 25’ draft, inbound with general cargo from Kingston, outbound for Houston.

Backman, Fredrick, A Man Called Ove, Washington Square Press of Simon & Schuster, NY 2014

Anglican Chapel of the Ascension, Walsingham, England

1935 Volvo PV36 Carioca

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