Tuesday, January 12, 2016

On God

What is God? A `goodness' assumption on the nature of the unknowable core, within and without, which is the most real. It is not a rational, logical conclusion; rather a deep orientation in our being that elevates us from fear and anxiety into peace and calm. As such, God is essentially the movement from fear into hope.

 ... That's how she used to be and how she might be again someday, if she was ever just barely getting by and somebody seemed to be about to make it harder just by making it different. ... she still thought sometimes, Why should he care? What is it to him? That was loneliness. When you're scalded, touch hurts, it makes no difference if it's kindly meant. ... --- p.253

And then there were the people no one would miss, who had done no special harm, who just lived and died as well as hey could manage. That would have been Lila, if she had not wandered into Gilead. And then she though, I couldn't bear to be without Doll, or Mellie, or Doane and Marcelle. ... not that they had mattered so much to her when she was a child, but because fair was fair and none of them ever had any good thing that the other didn't have some right to, ... If there was goodness at the center of things, that one rule would have to be respected, because it was as important to them as anything n this world. --- p. 258

So it couldn't matter much how life seemed. The old man always said we should attend to things we have some hope of understanding, and eternity isn't one of them. Well, this world isn't one either. Most of the time she thought she understood things better when she didn't try. Things happen the way they do. Why was a foolish question. In a song a note follows the note before because it is that song and not another one. ... It was eternity that let her think this way. In eternity people's lives could be altogether what they were and had been, not just the worst things they ever did, or the best things either. So she decided that she should believe in it, or that she believed in it already. ... --- p. 259

... Eternity has more of every kind of room in it than this world did. ... ---p.260
... and then she realized how tired she was. But she knew she would come back to what she'd been thinking about. And also to ``the peace that passeth all human understanding,'' which was the blessing he said over his flock ... ---p. 260
... There was no way to abandon guilt, no decent way to disown it. All the tangles and knots of bitterness and desperation and fear had to be pitied. No, better, grace had to fall over them. ... ---p. 260
That's how it is. Lila had borne a child into a world where a wind could rise that would take him from her arms as if there were not strength in the at all. Pity us, yes, but we are brave, she thought, and wild, more life in us than we can bear, the fire infolding itself in us. That peace could only be amazement, too.
Well, for now there were geraniums in the windows, and an old man at the kitchen table telling his baby some rhyme he's known forever, probably still wondering if he had managed to bring her along into that next life, if he could ever be certain of it. Almost letting himself imagine grieving for her in heaven, because not to grieve for her would mean he was dead, after all.
Someday she would tell him what she knew. ---pp. 260--261, Lila, Marilynne Robinson 

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