"As kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame; / [ . . . ] Each mortal thing does one thing and the same: / Deals out that being indoors each one dwells; / Selves -- goes itself; 'myself' it speaks and spells, / Crying 'What I do is me; for that I came'." --Gerard Manley Hopkins

23 January 2009

Under the Mercy

Classes started last week on Wednesday; we had Monday this week off. But I feel like I've already run a marathon. I should be grading homework, but instead I'm watching television and avoiding thinking about the conference presentation I'm giving tomorrow (only vaguely planned, of course), or the prep I should be doing for my four Monday classes . . . or the article I had hoped to ready for submission by now, which languishes in its ragged folder under stacks of the urgent.

Yet, while I feel tired, and a bit harried, and can't help wondering if I'll get anything but grading done for the next fourteen weeks -- I seem to be less distressed than usual for two weeks in. I wish I had the energy to do more, but the most needed things seem to be getting accomplished helpfully and hopefully. And I love my classes -- all of them; I am delighted to expend the energy to teach them well.

I don't understand it; I'm just living along trying to keep my head above water, no more "spiritual" than usual in habit or mind . . . yet here's a gift of grace -- an unusual sense of well-being -- from my loving Father.

Stanhope says to Pauline as she sets off to London for the beginning of her new life, "You'll find your job and do it and keep it -- in the City of our God, even in the City of our Great King, and . . . and how do I, any more than you, know what the details of Salem will be like?"*

Under the Mercy, indeed. Under the Mercy.

* Charles Williams, Descent into Hell

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