AN UNCOMMON THOUGHT

"The real trick to life is not to be in the know, but to be in the mystery."
-Fred Alan Wolf

23 December 2019

Carried.


For myself, as I approach my own end, which cannot now be long delayed, I find Jesus' outrageous claim to be, himself, the resurrection and the life, ever more captivating and meaningful. Quite often, waking up in the night as the old do, and feeling myself to be half out of my body, so that it is a mere chance whether I go back into it to live through another day, or fully disengage and make off; hovering thus between life and death, seeing our dear earth with its scents and sounds and colors, as I have known and loved them, more, perhaps, as Bernanos said, than I have dared to admit; recalling the golden hours of human love and human work, at the same time vouchsafed a glimpse of what lies ahead, Eternity rising in the distance, a great expanse of ineffable light - so placed, Jesus' words ring triumphantly through the universe, spanning my two existences, the one in Time drawing to a close and the one in Eternity at its glorious beginning. So at last I may understand, and understanding, believe; see my ancient carcass, prone between the sheets, stained and worn like a scrap of paper dropped in the gutter, muddy and marred with being trodden underfoot, and, hovering over it, myself, like a butterfly released from its chrysalis stage and ready to fly away. Are caterpillars told of their impending resurrection? How in dying they will be transformed from poor earth-crawlers into creatures of the air, with exquisitely painted wings? If told, do they believe it? Is it conceivable to them that so constricted an existence as theirs should burgeon into so gay and lightsome a one as a butterfly's? I imagine the wise old caterpillars shaking their heads - no, it can't be; it's a fantasy, self-deception, a dream. Similarly, our wise ones. Yet in the limbo between living and dying, as the night clocks tick remorselessly on, and the black sky implacably shows not one single streak or scratch of grey, I hear those words: I am the resurrection, and the life, and feel myself to be carried along on a great tide of joy and peace.

Malcolm Muggeridge

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