Saturday, February 2, 2008

Worry Too Much

every resurrection requires a death

I've been obsessed with the idea lately that every resurrection requires a death. Yeah, I am deep into Joseph Campbell's stuff right now, and he surely touches on this idea. But I’ve been ruminating on it for a year or two, and subconsciously, for much longer. One of my Dragons to slay is the idea that in order to truly accomplish anything in this life I’m going to have to die. To disappear in some way, to go by the wayside.

In Stephen King’s novel Desperation, The protagonist, 10-year-old David Carver, has this same fatalistic idea. He believes that in order for his family to be saved, he (like Jesus) will have to die. He seeks God because he knows he should, but at heart he truly believes God is cruel. At the end of the story, in the climactic moment he has a choice to make about walking into a needless sacrifice, or sticking around to participate in the redemption of those he cares about. Another character – a literary agent who will soon give his own life says to David, “You said ’God is cruel’ the way a person who’s lived his whole life in Tahiti might say ’Snow is cold.’ You knew, but you didn’t understand. . . . Do you know how cruel your God can be, David? How fantastically cruel? . . . Sometimes he makes us live.”

Maybe that’s my problem… I’ve been living as though a physical death was the only possibly way through to enlightenment. But there are other options… Physical death is only one, and even that is not as much to be feared as our culture makes of it. But the other ways… different kinds of death... A death to self, or to selfish ideas. A death to what I need or what’s important to me, or what I will or won’t do , or who I want to be or where. These are all deaths. And in them, and through them, I can slay the dragon.

Not sure why, but it reminds me of Mark Heard’s song “Worry Too Much”

"Sometimes it feels like bars of steel I cannot bend with my hands..."

(Mark Heard)

it's the demolition derby
it's the sport of the hunt
proud tribe in full war-dance
it's the slow smile that the bully gives the runt
it's the force of inertia
it's the lack of constraint
it's the children out playing in the rock garden
all dolled-up in black hats and war paint

sometimes it feels like bars of steel
i cannot bend with my hands
oh - i worry too much
somebody told me that i worry too much

it's these sandpaper eyes
it's the way they rub the luster from what is seen
it's the way we tell ourselves that all these things are normal
till we can't remember what we mean
it's the flicker of our flames
it's the friction born of living
it's the way we beat a hot retreat
and heave our smoking guns into the river

sometimes it feels like bars of steel
i cannot bend with my hands
oh - i worry too much
somebody told me that i worry too much

it's the quick-step march of history
the vanity of nations
it's the way there'll be no muffled drums
to mark the passage of my generation
it's the children of my children
it's the lambs born in innocence
it's wondering if the good i know
will last to be seen by the eyes of the little ones

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