‘If you lose your faith, babe, you can have mine
And if you’re lost I’m right behind
Cos we walk the same line…’
Another morning, another two miles, in (heat wave!) 3°. Feeling especially susceptible today, set off by reading a column Margaret sent me: Simcha Fisher on almsgiving, who concludes the short essay by observing ‘There is no such thing as a wasted act of love…’. That just opened up a large old can of feelings — grace has a way of affecting me. Now I want to write a book about Wasted Theology: Excess, Utility, and Love, working with ideas I’ve written about here before concerning the direly pernicious effects of the idol of efficiency, the presumption that everything worthwhile is useful, and the counterexample of a love that yields, squanders, dawdles. As I think I’ve said here before, You can’t steal anything from Jesus…
Then hearing a few of my favourites come past on iTunes Shuffle (someday I want to adopt a digital music player that sorts according to a pseudorandom pattern weighted by how much I love a particular selection, how often I want to hear it, how much I ought to hear it (break out of lazy listening habits, you old coot!), and so on. Nothing from iTunes seems close (though its old star-weighted system was at least a gesture), nor am I aware of another player that permits complex shuffle patterns) — as I was saying, hearing a few favourites it occurred to me that I’d like to write something on ‘playlist theology,’ as it were, a personal spirituality of the music I love and how it weaves a pattern of truth-telling about the world from strands of imprecise but insightfully spot-on songs (yesterday I heard ‘How A Resurrection Really Feels’ for the first time in a while, and I thought I’d donate an important body part to have written that vivid first verse…).
This burst of writing-motivation may be just my subconscious trying to console me for the fact that I can’t seem to get a job: too academic for ecclesiastical work, not academic enough for the academy, too old for almost everyplace, just not right for parishes I’ve known, and various other rationales I’ve been offered by search committees that want to draw the sting of rejection (as if that were going to work; honestly, someone with autism is the very last person you should try to buffalo into accepting soothing words about why you’re rejecting them — rejection sensitive dysphoria is a real thing, and our relentless candour cuts through anodyne self-justification). Maybe forced retirement is how this will play out, in which case, hey, lots of time for writing, if not much pension to live on.
But it comes back down to my heartfelt connection to so many very dear people, and my unhesitating certainty that I have more work to do, and my trust that when my faith falters, I’m enveloped by a throng of souls who’ll offer me theirs. We walk the same line.