Monday, August 11, 2008
I Am Mrs. Lot
Fallen Sparrow has a wonderful post up about a few of the things that interest me most: New York City, memory, and the mysterious grace of God. Among other observations remarkable for their beauty and honesty, he notes that "Lot's wife, in looking back, became pure, distilled tear-stuff, the physical manifestation of sorrow." Fallen suggests that the lot of Lot's wife was the result of an ultimate failing of trust in God's grace. But perhaps her backward glance was actually a tribute to all those beloved ones she was leaving behind, those many souls in varying degrees of darkness who would perish in God's destruction of the cities of the plain. For even in their darkness, those souls must have shone out sometimes in fragmented moments of goodness and beauty.
Or perhaps Lot's wife was a sort of bodhisattva, in Buddhist tradition a soul who vows not to attain its own enlightenment until it has assisted the liberation of all other souls. Or perhaps she was like Simone Weil (above), who, though she had received remarkable proof of the Holy Trinity in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, refused baptism in solidarity with all the suffering souls who would never reach heaven.
Conversion demarcates a life into the time of the old man and the time of the new, setting up a dividing line, a fulcrum upon which personal history pivots. But how many of us have not balanced uneasily on that fulcrum, our sensibilities drawn in grief and compassion towards the darkness we leave behind?