Where is the center of the sea? Why don’t the waves break there?
Donde esta el centro del mar? Por que no van allí las olas?
[Pablo Neruda (Sara Lisa Paulson, trans), Paloma Valdivia, illustrator; Book of Questions; New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2022]
Ocean currents are amazing and mysterious. Surface movement in any direction is balanced out with deep currents going in the opposite direction – and all kinds of movement happens between. Since waves break upon shores, could there be a location where the deep currents are breaking – unseen by our human eyes, at depths beyond our reach?
In Orthodox theology, one of the images for God’s love and creative power is a procession; love and life begin in the Creator, flow through the Spirit and Christ, and out to the farthest reaches of creation. All things receive life and love from their center in God, like waves breaking on the shores of our very being.
If I stick with the wave metaphor, could it be that there is a deep, unseen current that returns even my tiniest offerings of love to the source of all things?
When a prisoner recalls the light, is it the same light that illuminates you?
Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice were the words Paul wrote from prison. Rejoice in the light, wherever it finds you; rejoice in the Lord, even in prison. Rejoice.
I guess the answer to Neruda’s question depends on whether the prisoner recalls light as overcoming darkness, and whether those of us who live in light-bathed freedom are aware that we could find ourselves in a darkness that doesn’t end when the sun rises.
[For more information, click Neruda’s Book of Questions above. Better yet, buy the book.]
For a four year old, four years is an entire life; for an eighty year old, it’s only five percent of a life. 4 may be 4, but the sense of duration can be vastly different.
Toting four pounds of bricks is a lot easier than hoisting four pounds of feathers. Same weight, varying levels of difficulty.
I’m enough of a math geek to confirm that 4 is 4, and I’ve lived long enough to know that 4 of anything may be quite different for one person than another – or even the same person at different life stages.
How about sevens? Lucky for some, assigned other characteristics by others, a seven is still a 7.
If this is true of numbers, which are widely considered constant, how much more true is it for less quantifiable realities? I’m going to try and keep that in mind the next time someone offers a completely different understanding of God’s presence among us or what happens after death.
Perhaps Paul was right: in the end, it’s just these three things that remain constant: faith, hope, and love….and maybe he was wrong.
Book of Questions, Pablo Neruda (Sara Lisa Paulson, trans), Paloma Valdivia, illustrator; Brooklyn, New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2022
Doesn’t this seem to be a time full of questions? Who, what, where, when, why, and how fly around inside and outside my head. Perhaps that’s why this new book crossed my desk and made it onto this blog: Book of Questions (Libro de las Preguntas) by Pablo Neruda. It’s visually stunning and verbally fascinating, and one of the few poetry books that’s ever been on back order immediately after publication (thanks, New York Times book review!). So let’s dive in…
Is 4,4 for everyone?
My thoughts in a few days. Why not add yours – just hit the comment button….
Pablo Neruda (Sara Lissa Paulson, trans.), Paloma Valdivia, illustrator; Book of Questions (Libro de las Preguntas); Brooklyn, New York: Enchanted Lion Books, 2022