Betty Duffy

(Amateur)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Something that's been on my mind...

It began as a conversation with a friend about sex; she said that her guiding principal in the bedroom, and elsewhere, is to live entirely in the light. There would be no lies or deceit in the bedroom, no words said that she didn't mean, no acting in ways that she didn't act naturally, to make the gift of self, the gift of humbly and wholly being herself as God made her--not as some magazine told her she should be.

Likewise, she would expect truthfulness from her husband, even though she doesn't have control over another person's honesty. She wasn't going to contemplate the potential ways he could hurt her, because living in the light allowed her to give others the benefit of the doubt. No one is suspect in the light, and as a consequence, conflicts dissipate.

As I chew on this concept of living entirely in the light, it has expanded and come to mean more to me. I want to grasp every overture of grace. Chasing the light, one grace leads to another.

There are foods to consider, the pleasures of eating things that are not shrink-wrapped or sealed in plastic and boxes. The light doesn't cheat and stuff face before the food is on the table, or before the kids are fed, but it also doesn't turn away from cherry pie at bedtime. It says yes to life, and no to sin, and it knows the difference, because sin hides and doesn't want to be counted.

I want to open the windows even when it's hot, because the house and its closed doors and windows have a way of tricking the mind into thinking that inside the house is all there is. I need to know what other people are breathing--If it's dry heat or wet heat. If it's mercifully cool, I want to feel it too. I want a climate that isn't fabricated and paid for and protected by a wrapped and sealed membrane.

The light tolerates other lives, junebugs and flies, the dog seeking shelter under the kitchen table, the kids running in and out of the screen door. The light allows passage between worlds, the mingling of various species--or at least, of species that play well together. It would say no, however, to rats in the attic.

The light doesn't see every article of litter on the side of the road as a sign of the apocalypse. In the morning, the wind blows a swallowtail through the cottonwood leaves and down to the ledge of the bridge where the White Castle boxes have been sitting now for several days. Blow harder, and leaf, insect and box will all fall into the river. Maybe I will too.

A grizzled woman drives past me as I walk on a country road. She mouths profanities at me through the windshield for being there, but I would rather die, frankly, than yield every byway to cars. Rather sweat to death than hide from the sun, work to death than coddle my body, would rather pray at risk of zealotry than withhold my heart from God. In the light there's nothing to fear.

The light is free. It doesn't require saving for, it's not for some other time when circumstances are different. It doesn't steal time from the family, it's makes no demands. I want to choose the light, not because I'm afraid of the dark, but because I am free.

10 comments:

Lizzie said...

Stunningly beautiful.

So when can we start our Catholic commune because I'm totally with you on this one?!

I've been thinking about the windows thing as we have just moved and quite a few of the windows can't be opened and I feel SO claustrophobic without that connection to the outside world.

BettyDuffy said...

The whole front of our house is sealed off because the windows are over a hundred years old, and someone thought not using them ever again would be good preservation. They're actually nailed and painted shut and can't be opened without completely destroying them. I can't sit in our living room without thinking about the ghosty cross breeze that might exist if we could just open those windows.

Caveat, I did write this originally when it was about 75 degrees outside. Now it's about 95, and well...

wifemotherexpletive said...

haha. beauty-full writing...and desire... the light and the heat... same? :)

Kimberlie said...

I, for one, do not want to sweat as I have in Oklahoma for the last three weeks. No ma'am. I would love a "cool" 95 degree day. Alas, those days are still 4-6 weeks away. At least. No open windows in our house.

However, I miss the Wisconsin summers we used to enjoy where the air conditioner kicked on about 4 times per summer, windows opened to allow the breeze, and the cool, crisp night air would send me blissfully to sleep. Those were the days...

It's good to have you back!

Dwija {House Unseen} said...

I came over from Calah's blog...this is such a beautiful post. Thank you!

Karly said...

Another friend glad to have you back...I saw the movie "Tree of Life" last night and, though it was little over the top, it seems to connect to your words here. It is about the idea of universe as pure godless nature or filled with grace, which is represented throughout as light.

BettyDuffy said...

Karly, Joe and I went to see Tree of Life recently, and I have to admit, that it contributed heavily to my thoughts on this post. I agree with the over-the-topness of it, and parts of it that only worked because of the moment in history in which they were placed. For instance, I wonder if the ethereal mother would have held as prominent a place in the boy's memory if she ever left the house, if she ever wore pants, if she preferred quiet time alone to pillow-fighting with her sons. In fact, the mother, though she was meant to be a grace figure, made me a tiny bit depressed. Perhaps because I realize how far I am from embodying the way of grace.

Melanie B said...

This is beautiful and speaks so clearly to what I've been pondering recently. I am becoming aware more and more of the moments of grace that I let slip through my fingers. All the opportunities that I am given but refuse to accept.

Though I am not so willing to accept flies in my kitchen and especially swarming in my bathroom. They've been a plague this summer and the one blessing of the extreme heat has been that in keeping the doors closed we've also been keeping the flies out.

Trish Bailey de Arceo said...

Sigh... so beautiful! I'm glad you're back!

Betty's back!

Rae said...

This is so beautiful, though I have to admit that I'm just not there. It is a sticky high 80s here right now and I was overcome with thankfulness when I walked into our coolly cut-off apartment a few minutes ago.

And yet you are right. When I have the cool comfort of the perfectly controlled indoors it is so easy to forget that most others do not enjoy the same. Not that that is really what you were getting at, but I do appreciate the fact that you are far, far ahead of me.