Uppermost House: Standard, anchor and light


PeterLewisTreehouseCMYKBy S. Peter Lewis

BN Columnist

Un can be an awful prefix.

As in unrecognizable, unconscionable, unbalanced, unglued, unhinged.

Hard to watch those things happen to a person. Harder when it’s someone you love. Hardest when it’s someone you love so much it’s almost unbelievable.

Can’t believe that it could happen. Can’t believe that it is happening. Can’t believe you still love them so much in spite of them allowing it to happen.

Self-inflicted? Self-destructive? Most of it. Although there are some purely organic ingredients, too.

Regain balance? New glue? Repair the hinge? Probably not. Sometimes old habits get older and worse and then die hard. A boulder rolling down a bottomless hill. Bounding ever faster. No place for moss. Not even the desire for moss.

Now what? Can’t just watch. Must act. As a sage (if imaginary) alien once said: “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” But do what? Unclear. Uncertain.

EP w48 peter lewis column copyAll this has got me thinking about balance lately. Balancing life and keeping it balanced — equilibrium for the heart, if you will. Stasis for the soul.

And so, I take long walks and wonder; and while I wonder I conclude the obvious: that such equilibrium is both possible and available, and that three things are needed: a standard, an anchor and a light.

A standard because nothing can be measured and found true or wanting inside the vacuum of self, or even within the fickle volition of society — unless compared against an outside scale, no goodness or badness of a thought or word or deed can be truly known.

And an anchor is needed to hold fast to that standard, to restrain us from bounding ever quicker down the hill toward the lost abyss. And more than that: an anchor to free us (as odd as that sounds) the way a kite is freed to soar only by the tautness of the anchoring string.

And a light to see by. A light, like the standard and the anchor, from an outside source; for from us no good illumination comes.

An outside standard, an anchor, and a light, and the desire for all three. No, the longing for all three. And even that very longing sourced from without rather than from within; for we find no such longings inside our self except the wretched longing for more self.

The situation that my family now faces, and that I have only cryptically alluded to here out of respect and courtesy and embarrassment, seems desperate, and my heart beats cracked and bleeding; but below the sadness and pain I yet still find a foundation of joyous hope. For I know the standard of which I write, and I know of such an anchor, and I know of such a light — and I know the author of all three and the strengthening and transforming power. And I know what to do. And I know where to turn.

“In the beginning was the Word…”

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