NOTE: I wrote most of this yesterday, but thought perhaps it was too sentimental. This morning it seems horribly appropriate, as I’m praying (and crying) for Geoff’s little boy.
Kaimi’s post puts me in mind of a favorite poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (“golly,” you say, “it doesn’t take much to get her going, does it?”):
The Lantern out of Doors
Sometimes a lantern moves along the night.
That interests our eyes. And who goes there?
I think; where from and bound, I wonder, where,
With, all down darkness wide, his wading light?
Men go by me whom either beauty bright
In mould or mind or what not else makes rare:
They rain against our much-thick and marsh air
Rich beams, till death or distance buys them quite.
Death or distance soon consumes them: wind,
What most I may eye after, be in at the end
I cannot, and out of sight is out of mind.
Christ minds: Christ’s interest, what to avow or amend
There, eyes them, heart wants, care haunts, foot follows kind,
Their ransom, their rescue, and first, fast, last friend.
The bloggernacle is the road I look out at in the night, full of bobbing lanterns that catch my eye and my heart for a minute. Most often, it’s the little bits of things that barely get said that stick in my head, make me watch until the lantern disappears from sight–anne’s one line about her son committing suicide, Stephen’s occasional mention of Robin or Courtney or Jessica, the bloggernacle-announced babies–Mia, Emma, Truman, Mary, Conner, Alison (a toddler already, not inspiring late-night, colic-exhausted musings from her daddy anymore!), the little gasps of pain over unrequited love, bar exam agonies, throw-away lines full of heartbreak (“if we’re able to have children…”). Remember Mother of Triplets a few months back? I’ve wondered every day what she decided, how she and her babies are doing.
In a way, of course, it’s easier to be compassionate at a distance. I don’t have to–*can’t*–really do anything; no casseroles to make, no babysitting to help with, not even a chance to lend a shoulder for crying on. And that makes it harder, too, forcing me to look at people’s pain instead of running from it into busyness. And it makes me pray, too, more sincerely than I usually manage to pray about my own life. I’m forced to ask and allow Christ to mind, and trust that He will, because I can’t do anything else. In at least this one tiny way, “knowing” you in the bloggernacle, watching your lanterns go by, makes me a better Christian. Thanks.