The first speaker, Cary Skidmore, is presently serving as a counselor in the Santa Fe Stake Presidency.
Grief is a form that love takes. In the distinction that C.S. Lewis has popularized between enjoyment and contemplation, grief enjoys love. In grief, one contemplates the loved one and enjoys the love.
I have mulled over grief lately. My conclusions may be best expressed by an analogy to Lewis’ concept of Joy. It is a longing for one knows not what, painful but desired, and the longing for Joy can itself be a form of Joy. It also cannot be forced or manufactured.
Grief though painful is desirable. When you grow out of a grief,you cease to actively feel that love for the departed–the memory of what is being grieved has worn thin. When you notice that you have stopped grieving, you experience that as a loss also and therefore also as a grief. That is the second grieving. And the second grieving usually awakens the first. After both are done, the grief is rare. But when grief still stabs, it is painful but also very desirable, because it brings back the one you miss and your love for them.
At the same time, you mostly cannot and certainly should not aim for the feeling of grief. It is hard to do. And when it is done, it dulls both your ability to do it in the first place and your memory and relationship with the one you grieve. It deadens not only your access, but what is accessed. Grief should never come to substitute for the subject of the grief.
In Surprised by Joy, C.S. Lewis talks about his last term at Wyvern, which he hated. He says that even a chair can take on a ghostly quality when you know it is the last time you will ever see it. (more…)
I billeted a strong force overnight in a citadel laid waste in former days by other generals. There we slept upon its back and flanks, while under us its landlords slept. And I said to my heart: Where are the many people who once lived here? Where are the builders and vandals, the rulers and paupers, the slaves and masters? Where are the begetters and the bereaved, the fathers and the sons, the mourners and the bridegrooms? And where are the many people born after the others had died, in days gone by, after other days and years? Once they lodged upon the earth; now they are lodged within it. They passed from their palaces to the grave, from pleasant courts to dust.
-Samuel HaNagid (993-1056), “The Ruined Citadel” (tr. T. Carmi). Samuel HaNagid was a Jewish general for a Grenadian Muslim army. We think of AD 1000 as so very long ago, as indeed it was. But there were people alive then, unreckonably far back from where we sit, who also could see themselves as the heirs of lost ages and old, old times. Someday we too will be dim figures of antiquity.
Hat tip to the Laudator Temporis Acti
On the sweetness of Mormon life.
It’s Saturday evening, and you need to do some ironing for Sunday and the week. Your wife, your lovely one, says, “do you remember when you ironed on one of our dates?” You don’t. She tells you. (more…)
Insofar as Mormon theology implies a rejection of the classical metaphyics of a disembodied God outside of space and time; it seems to imply a different infinite: that space is infinite.
Because for there to be significance, there must be permanence, and permanence requires permanence of memory.
Since memory must occupy space, and there must be scope for progression; then space must not be limited – space must be infinite so that a growing reality can always accomodate permanent cumulative memories.
Either we must be always expanding into infinity; or else breaking into new infinities – those new universes of the King Follett dicourse, perhaps.
But, whenever we find ourselves referencing infinities; we should recognise that we have crossed the edge of our understanding.
I once decided to memorize a few poems. Probably as an affectation. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Those poems are treasures.
It’s not just poems. Scriptures, speeches, quotations, mnemonics–memory is fun.
The other day, when we were getting ready to put the kids to bed, our oldest pulled one of us aside and described a day he suddenly remembered from a few years ago, “when I was little.” It was nothing very unusual, just a funny way we were sitting next to each other and talking. But he recalled it with what was clearly a lot of fondness. Here was a seven-year-old waxing nostalgic about the good old days when he was four, and we thought how much more of this he has to look forward to, how many more years he has to pile up good memories before he leaves the nest for good. And all of us will have this to draw on for the rest of our lives.
I’ve discovered this week just how much His Majesty can be a pain in the
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: all things before my face, Breakfast at Palpatine's, it is a difficult concept, memory and experience, Mormonism
Bruce Charlton is thinking deeply about the Atonement. He is working out alternatives to the customary belief that Christ took on the punitive consequences of sin for us and to the customary liberal notion that the atonement was fundamentally an act of symbolic engineering to excise our retrograde belief in sin and guilt. Charlton thinks he’s found one. (more…)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: all things before my face, atonement, Bruce Charlton, Jesus Christ, LDS, memory and experience, Mormon, Mormonism, repentance
Love is not best considered as a feeling, it is not necessarily something at the forefront of consciousness. For many people, their deepest love is something which structures their life, rather than being at the front of our conscious deliberations for most of the time. Some (I am one of them) are very expressive of love – but this is not a necessity; and some very loving cultures and families and marriages do not go in for statements, hugs or tears.
My understanding of the absolute necessity of loving God above all else is metaphysical rather than psychological – that without this, all other loves (including the love of Jesus) lose their meaning and function.
The supremacy of our love for God is that it makes all other loves possible – it makes other loves a matter of eternal significance.
-thus Bruce Charlton.
Filed under: Birkenhead Drill,Deseret Review | Tags: all things before my face, Bruce Charlton, LDS, love, marriage, memory and experience, Mormon, Mormonism, romance
There is no such thing as Santa Claus.
All thirty minutes are worth listening to.
Peace like a river. (more…)
Filed under: Deseret Review | Tags: afterlife, all things before my face, eternity, forever, LDS, memory and experience, Mormon, Mormonism, remembrance and memory