No Exits

“My heart only has entrances. It doesn’t have exits. Whoever enters remains there. Whatever he may do, I love him the same as I loved him when he first entered into my heart. I pray for him and seek his salvation.” [Link]

I was just thinking about this the other day: that sometimes it seems love turns out to be temporary, and it has always seemed so strange to me. This was written by an Orthodox monastic elder, and has a Christian context, but my own consideration of it is more pedestrian. How is it that friends drift apart, that intense romantic relationship break up? Even marriages end, after years. How does the heart go cold?

Maybe it’s our misbegotten tendency to judge others, not just harshly but at all. Maybe we expect other people to make us happy, the way we expect our toys and money and food to make us happy, instead of vesting our happiness in the only place where it has hope to live. 

all men created equal

An 86-year-old veteran in Maine explains what he fought for in WWII: for freedom of equality, that everyone should have the right to marry.

As a Christian man, I believe that marriage is a sacrament of the Church, beyond the reach of politics and public policy. The practice of that sacrament is a subject for the conscience of the church. The government has no right to influence that sacrament in any way. The function of the government is to ensure that all citizens have equal rights and access to due process of the law.

A Long Time Gone

On June 10, 1991, a man in the Lake Tahoe area watched as his 11-year-old daughter hurried to catch a school bus, at a bus stop just a block from their home. He heard her scream. He looked up to see her grabbed and dragged into a stranger’s car, and for 18 years he did not see her again.

I read the story of her abduction in the newspaper, here in Santa Barbara. I remember I thought it was shocking, terrible, that her family must be heartbroken, destroyed. I remember thinking other things, including that the poor child was probably already in Heaven.

Back in those days, I kept an icon corner in my home, as many Orthodox Christians do. I cut out the girl’s photo and placed it with my icons, to remind myself to pray for her. This is the photo I had, I think, though it was grayscale and grainy. In time, I lost it or tucked it into a book … I don’t know.

I wonder how many other people out there – besides her family – were praying for little Jaycee Dugard.

I hope her road of recovery will not be too hard or too long, but I suspect the rest of her life, her children’s lives, her family’s lives, will be dedicated to that journey. And that’s not fair.

The news that’s coming out, about the 18 years that have passed since then, and the horror … I understand that there will be outrage, anger, as well there should be. There is no prison cell deep and dark and dank enough. I hope the kidnapper lives a very long time in the worst we’ve got.

But also, I’m thinking God is merciful. I am not a man of sufficient wisdom to say that I see or understand a necessary plan at work in such things. Such ponderables are beyond my ken. Just thank God she is alive today. As for tomorrow, I suppose prayer is still needed.