Saturday, March 12, 2011

Eschatology III

While these posts are sort of drifting from actually having anything to do with the study of the end times--the original only sort of had to do with it anyway--they are a progression of thought and as such it seems only fair to continue the progression of name.

The poem contained in the last post was not called "Eschatology II." It was called "For A Friend," as it was a vent to feelings inspired both by my own personal troubled thoughts and those of a good friend. The reason I chose that post title is that the thought inspiring the conclusion that poem reached was directly related to the thoughts in the post titled "Eschatology."

Now, I do not want to assign a direct meaning to my own work, or imply that this is the only thing that poem is about. It is about a lot of things, and if I expounded on all of them this post would become massive.

The original thought was, Why do poetic sentiments about the end of all things, and the fulfillment of all hope, and the healing of all hurt, and the wiping away of every tear, only seem to ache, to instill almost a hurt, and to make one (make me, at least) want to cry? Why does such comfort, even when believed with a whole heart, with an unshakable faith, make one feel like weeping all the harder? The simple answer is that we live in a fallen world, a world where all such hope reaches for a better world, a world we can only dream of, can only imagine in our highest thoughts and most mystical fairy tales. But something more occurred to me, one morning while getting ready for class.

It struck me that the reason people cry is not that they are in despair. When one despairs, tears dry up, for things are not even worth crying over anymore. Tears of sadness are the product of dashed hopes. They are the dust of dead dreams, or the funeral libation for dying ones. We cry when someone close to us dies, not because they are gone, but because somewhere deep inside we wish they could be with us again, and in wishing, we hope. We cry when love hurts not because we are mourning the end of something or the impossibility of something, but because we are hoping for happiness, hoping for a love that will not break our hearts, but dismiss our fears. The sadness we feel in these situations is fully real, but we would not bother to feel sadness if there were not happiness to be hoped for. Even sadness, perhaps, is a form of hope.

What is Revelation 21 talking about, if not the ultimate fulfillment of faith? He will wipe every tear from their eye, because hope is no longer needed, for it has been fulfilled.

And so, with this on my mind, a somewhat traumatic day passed--filled with those little traumas that are really insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but which hurt no less for that--and I felt I needed to sing, a song of light in the darkness. Very nearly four years ago now, I wrote a snippet of prose which never actually found its way into a story, perhaps because, despite appearances, it is complete by itself. I think of it, periodically, and now it seems to me that perhaps the thoughts contained in these three "Eschatology" posts are not that new after all, but are things I've thought before and temporarily forgotten.

"We are children of light," said the old man. "And as such, the darkness clusters all around us. We speak of high-minded things, of good versus evil, of slaying dragons within and without. But we forget, sometimes, that our doppelgangers do exist; we forget that there is truly evil in the world. And when it comes roaring out of the shadows, fangs bared, and tears us and scars us with unspeakable horror, sometimes we lose sight of the good that, in the end, is really the victor.

"And sometimes, lost in Misery, in the dark wood of Despair, there is nothing to do but sing, a song of light in the darkness, and wait for others to answer our call. And soon that song will be ended, and its yearning will be fulfilled."