Sunday, May 21, 2006

Walking on water

From Songs of Experience
“Ah, Sunflower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun,
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;

Where the youth pined away with desire
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go.”
(William Blake)

Isn't it just a wonderful globalised world, we're living in? who'd expect to find the photo of a Dane by the side of a Dallas freeway. Globalisation makes it possible.

On the other hand, how do you "find yourself"? On a billboard beside a freeway outside Dallas, Texas? That is highly doubtful. Witness the agony of Blake "finding himself". "Pining away with desire" is sometimes an integral part of the human condition, and some people may even find life's satisfaction or fulfilment in it. But "to aspire where my sunflower wishes to go" is something else, - and maybe overshadowing the other! - Where does a sunflower wish to go? It's yearning for the Sun and all that the Sun may represent - life giver. - Divine energy. Blake had a vision of the divine that was far away from commonplace Christianity.

Anyway that's how a young Dane could "find himself". A Christian Church in Texas used his photo, taken from a collection on the internet, to advertise for their church.

His girl friend wrote to them, and the minister of the church wrote back:

To Oak Cliff Christian Church.
My Name is Lena Rangstrup-Christensen and I live in Copenhagen, Denmark.
I just wanted to write you to tell you that the picture of a blond man withblue eys that you use on your roadbanners and on the homepage is my boyfriend.
I often laugh of the thought that his picture is hanging by a road in Dallas Texsas. It is a small world we live in.
I wish you a Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
SincerelyStud. Med. Vet.Lena Rangstrup-Christensen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Og som alle høflige mennsker, så svarer de selvfølgelig (As all polite people, sure they answer).
COOL! I have wondered who the person is. His likeness has helped direct a few people to the church, and we have baptized three adults since the beginning of the campaign. We got his picture through a stock photo service. If you are ever in Dallas, give a holler.
Blessings of this holy season to you as well!
Steve DigbySenior Minister

See, this is really a story of international understanding and coming to terms with the inevitable. Quite apart from the fact that the more interesting story of how we find ourselves has not been resolved. In America money and the higher meaning seem to be united for a common purpose, luring common folks into the trap.

Charles D'Ambrosio has written about the search in "Her Real Name":

When they headed out again that morning, going west seemed inevitable -- driving into the sun was too much to bear, and having it at their backs in the quiet and vacant dawn gave them the feeling, however brief, that they could outrace it. It was 1977, it was August, it was the season when the rolling fields were feverish with sunflowers turning on withered stalks to reach the light, facing them in the east as they drove off at dawn, gazing after them in the west as the sun set and they searched the highway ahead for the softly glowing neon strip, for the revolving signs and lighted windows and the melancholy trickle of small-town traffic that would bloom brightly on the horizon and mean food and a place to stop for the night.

Where that search takes them, I'll not reveal, but, however, there seems to be some Blake-inspiration in the description of the sunflowers "turning on withered stalks to reach the light".

They meet billboards on the way, new signals of the eternal quest:

Outside Spokane, on an illuminated billboard set back in a wheat field, a figure of Jesus walked on water, holding a staff. Jones considered the odd concession to realism: a man walking on water would hardly need to support himself with a crutch. The thought was gone as soon as the billboard vanished behind him.

This man Jones, or is it perhaps D'Ambrosio, seems to have a certain sense of reality. If you don't believe in Jesus walking on the water, what is there to believe in? How about man (or woman) walking on the water?


Blogger Sophia said...

Dear Cosmic,

I like this post very much. Finding oneself has become the number one value in our modern societies. However, there is no moral space, no guidance, no orientation to the good life and to the Self. I am not against finding oneself in religion because not all people can bear the solitude of the thought that we are alone without God. But the problem with religion nowadays (specially christianity as it is practiced in the US, communautarist and dogmatic) is that it lost itself and it is not knowing how to adapt to the modern man and woman, so how can they advise people about how to search and find themselves ?

''How about man (or woman) walking on the water?'' I adhere 100% to this proposal but I am afraid not many people would. Many people hate their moral solitude because it implies a greater responsibility.

5:19 PM  

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