Monday, January 12, 2009

Sparks in the Cosmos

There's a part of me that wishes
for all my dreams to come true,
and a part of me that hopes
I'll wake up over you . . .

--From a country song

And so it goes. It would seem that we are all houses divided. What are we really sure of in the long run? What about my life, my decisions, my choices makes consistent sense? What warrants the confidence of absolute approval? It seems that I know for a certainty only of those things that do not. Why? Why the certainty of what is wrong above the conviction of what is, or might have been, right?

In the Jewish wisdom tradition, Kabbalah, there is the idea that the creation, as a result of the act of creation itself, exploded and fell through the cosmos as countless sparks of light, and it is these sparks that we are to retrieve in our lifetimes by descending, rescuing, redeeming. When all the sparks are accounted for, heaven will appear (or resume).

I must admit to being sketchy on the details. But then so is the Kabbalah. When we set our minds upon the unknowable G-d, we must do so knowing that He will not be revealed.

For what then do we search? Sparks in the cosmos. We search for what we are, for essence at the most elemental level. We peer into our own stories for clues to the identity of who has been living our lives. What did he mean? What did he want? What right had this intruder to snatch the breath from our lips, perfect as it had been without him?

We are made at least equally of error and and competence, along with a yeast of happenstance. What chance, therefore, of success did we ever have?

Or has that ever been the real point?

These sparks, you see, are not as easy to grasp as agates on the beach or apples from a branch. Rather they flicker and hide, and dart away like swift finned fishes.

Catch a falling star
and put it in your pocket,
save it for a rainy day . . .

Imagine the reward, if you can, of holding securely even one.

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