Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Thinking About Trembling

A favorite seminary professor of mine has begun a blog which I'm enjoying. Today she posts a quote she found of Frederick Buechner:

The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt
(from The Hungering Dark, 1968)

Her post on interconnections is lovely and thoughtful (and that she mentions our awesome theology class, the high point of my last quarter at Iliff, is a bonus). But the quote has me thinking about my own life, and call, and my struggles to live authentically and boldly in a world which values neither particularly much. The questioning if what I do -- who I touch, and how -- makes any difference whatsoever.

There are days, such as these, when the wondering gets the better of me. When my imagination feels exhausted, when the work to heal and be whole (myself, the world) seems endless.

Or perhaps the sentence should read like this: When my imagination feels exhausted the work to heal and be whole (myself, the world) seems endless.

Days when my best attempts for best touch meet only the immovable.

Or at least that is how it feels to me. Because Buechner is probably right: I have no idea. I have no idea what impact my life has in the world.

Who knows where the trembling stops? I want to think on that, ponder that possibility that in the trembling, there lies the way to hope.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I'm with you...and I think you're on to something with hope and trembling. It reminds me of Derridas, actually, and his _The Gift_ (though I imagine this is not where you were going...but I'll share anyway!). He says that each person is so infinitely her or himself--so other--that each time we are given the gift of another's self-disclosure it is infinite. It is not repayable except by the gift of one's own self-disclosure. He talks about "holy trembling" that should accompany the reception of such a gift. When we try to touch the world by giving of ourselves, I believe it is an infinite gift, with infinite, mysterious repercussions--like the butterfly wings that flap a thousand miles away and somehow affect the weather here. Your touch matters.

    Love you, friend.

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