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by gesture only

10 Jul

Your first word of all was light,
and time began. Then for long you were silent.

Your second word was man, and fear began.
which grips us still.

Are you about to speak again?
I don’t want your third word.

Sometimes I pray: Please don’t talk.
Let all your doing be by gesture only.
Go on writing in faces and stone
what your silence means.

Be our refuge from the wrath
that drove us out of Paradise.

Be our shepherd, but never call us –
we can’t bear to know what’s ahead.

A friend handed me this page from Rilke’s Book of Hours this morning.

It comes to me on the heels of experiencing Malick’s The Tree of Life again yesterday. Each time I watch and take in the impressionistic, emotional, spiritual feast for me that is The Tree of Life, it sobers me, takes me to very deep places that are wordless.

As I find myself increasingly ready to be absorbed back into the essence of all things, I find myself quite happy with “all his doing being by gesture only.”

We are surrounded by incessant chatter in Christian circles of hearing this or that from the Lord.

Is it greater intimacy? Wilder imagination? Presumptious claims of divine backing of our act?

I experience much silence.

With Rilke I wonder, “Do I want your third word? And the one after that? Can any of us bear what’s ahead?” And to what extent is the Divine Mystery at the center of all things echoing right back to us, “Please don’t talk”? So much we think we have to say, and yet the deepest and most intimate of relationships banish the cacophany of chatter and are filled with the rich language of wordless gestures. Aren’t they?

I see his gestures everywhere, the writing in faces and stone.

Gestures not leading me to launch grand and glorious designs. That seems to be the glory for others. These seem not to be gestures inciting plans of action and aggressive movements, but gestures pointing home, where striving and wrestling cease. Where the way of grace overtakes, embraces, caresses the way of nature.

Gestures quietly leading to the place where yet abides the pillared graces of faith, hope and love.

The place of refuge from the wrath.

Gestures in the silence.

And here I sitting composing words for the wordless.

Foolish man…

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6 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2012 in musings

 

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6 responses to “by gesture only

  1. kat

    July 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    what? i wasn’t there… i didn’t hand you Rilke. who is this so-called friend?
    i love that book – every single day i love that book.

     
  2. wordhaver

    July 10, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    That other friend’s initials are A.J…you can go figure. I passed on to her what you passed on to me — for which I owe you a big thank you! :o)

     
  3. K.D.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    “Be our refuge from the wrath
    that drove us out of Paradise.

    Be our shepherd, but never call us –
    we can’t bear to know what’s ahead.”

    “The deepest and most intimate of relationships are filled with the rich language of wordless gestures.”

    This spoke to me. I am surrounded by sometimes deafening chatter. I grow tired of the “cacophony of chatter, presumptuous claims of divine backing of our acts” … I grow tired of my own doings, and speakings, and striving, and wrestling. I crave the sound of silence. I crave the “place where yet abides the pillared graces of faith, hope and love.”

     
  4. wordhaver

    July 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Ahhh, K.D., may we both be blessed in the finding of it! so glad this spoke to you!

     
  5. LorettaJean

    July 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Oh so not a “foolish man”.. Yes you are composing words for the wordless–and that is the blessing God allows me (and I expect many others) through you. The wordless ones who crave the wisdom of others to express their own path. There is comfort in that for the Body; for the giver; for the community. Your gifts and talents are how God builds me up–in both knowledge and empathy as I learn to comfort others with the comfort He has shown me (and you) 🙂 And, thankfully, I do not know you in the holy bubble as others do. Only my earthly father walked on water–in my world. Know, my brother, that you are an encouragement to me when it should be the other way around; and so I try to be for you the same in thanking my God for you—praying always for His healing hand on you and His gentle care for your family.

     
  6. wordhaver

    July 12, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Thanks Loretta! 🙂

     

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