Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Surprising and Distressing Things

This Pillow Book entry is inspired by The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, translated and edited by Ivan Morris. Sei Shōnagon was a courtesan in 10th century Japan who kept a diary of the goings-on at court and concealed it in her wooden pillow. She made lists under various categories of specific, often quirky things.

Surprising and Distressing Things:

My son asks a question to which I do not want him to ever know the answer.

Not knowing.  My mind seeks out the answers. I am bursting with curiosity. I know the revelation will not come until the end.

A dark thought. What lies in the depths of our minds? If I can think these things, what is truly in the heart of the stranger that smiles when I pass.

An argument. I hold my tongue, but ache to say the things which I can never unspeak.

Spoiled plans. Excitement withers into disappointment at the drops of rain that speckle the unearthly green grass.

A prayer unanswered. Why? Why not this one thing? I long to know the secrets of God's heart. Would I be satisfied? Will I whine, beg, plead? Am I just a needy child, tugging at her mother's hem, begging for that piece of candy in the checkout line, wanting nothing but the immediate fix of I must have it right this minute? I know there is a plan: grand and unfathomable. Can I hold my breath that long?

I look across the courtyard and see the flicker of bluish-white light in the upper window. My heart aches for lost souls. For hearts with unfillable holes. For evil that has crept inside, masquerading as happiness, as love.