Expectations

I sat near the back- a small thing, waiting under the eaves, waiting for something. A spark perhaps, a touch of the divine, a piercing note, clarion-clear. A swift time rolled past, a known time with expectations, a good time or a great time, a time with meta-narratives stacked high, towering, shifting, dancing. Piles of expectation. Meta-narratives pull at the souls of those that build them, and those who see them, with a gravity that becomes almost unbearable as their heights grow upwards. Those not in the know seem at ever greater risk to miss the whole thing, the larger it is.

Oh, when it goes they will be assured that they missed it- unless it bowls them over as it rushes past with the blast of it’s wind, or they experience a taste of the foundation of the narrative for themselves. Hype and taste are easily muddled, and difficult to extricate.

It is a funny thing that I make things harder to grasp the firmer and straighter I try to put them; once missed initially I struggle to elaborate the truth into clarity. Trying to make it easier to see, I adorn it with description and dressings-up until the thing in itself is utterly hidden. I chain truth to the ground with my knowledge; I bludgeon the truth with language, then box it with endless clarification until it is a thing unrecognizable. I usually claim victory, then. It gives me a violent rush, this battery of the truth.

But a thing so ephemeral and lovely as the truth can’t endure under beatings; live in a cage of expectation and piled narrative, called out to dance the tunes you’ve taught it to dance- the thing is wild. A subject of such rare beauty that to capture it is to defile it- but then, neither can it possess such striking beauty and forever escape the piling on of hopes and expectations- the entropy of communication and gatherings- the capture and the killing.

Oh, to feel the truth flitting by us, to watch it pound across the fields unharnessed; to dive, headfirst, into the rushing, terrible cataract of the truth! Someday.

Sometimes I am drawn with morbidity to analyze the tipping point of a good thing, groaning silently under the weight of it’s own goodness- you can see it on the faces, strained and stretched; they give their own tendons to birth the thing with all of it’s expectation, the weight of it pulling things tighter. You can hear it in the inflection of sentences that are lobbed prematurely, like grenades into a foxhole without challenge. You can feel it in a smile on a stranger’s face; pretense dangling on a thread.

It disturbs me, my propensity towards observation (as opposed to engagement). Perhaps in interacting with the thing and choosing to overlook the towering structure of expectation (as opposed to making comments), I myself could actually change the thing. I wonder whether most of those who engage without pause are even aware of the dizzying narrative, or if they simply engage with the thing because it is there, enjoying the thing itself in a state of blissful, ignorant joy.

If that is what Christ means when he says to become like a little child, then I am indeed a millstone-bearing monster of an adult. I have seen and tasted where I ought not have done- I rang the bell, ate the apple, claimed the ring, lay down with the dragon. And, in my shame, doubtless have led or allowed others to do the same. There is a tearing in my heart, a terrible need for Christ to remove this wisdom altogether, with all of its seeping scars and soreness- even as he molds and applies it in the defense and warning of others. But I am a shattered, wounded thing. You said you would not break me, Lord, but my fibers are warped and cracked in the wind that is blowing, and little of worth remains in the center.

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