Learning.

First, I know it’s been a month. My only excuse is that I’ve been aggressively attacking my French studies after neglecting them for six months in favor of Chinese. I already miss the Chinese studies, but there are still only twenty-four hours in a given day. Yet, I still am not doing the one thing that would really help me to learn French quicker, better, and much more ready to communicate with actual people. I sometimes ask myself, why do I want to learn French. I’ve yet to hear anyone speak it, out and about and such. Most of the French I encounter is in written form, that’s everywhere. Grocery stores, books, even in the restroom at some places (on the towel dispenser.) But I’ve yet to hear someone speak it. I hear someone speaking Mandarin Chinese every once in awhile, sometimes as often as once a week or two, and I do not get out of the house much. A lot of Spanish, but I’ve not studied Spanish all that much, well at all actually. Still, despite that, I am glad to be studying them. It is worth the effort, and I was quite excited to be able to make sense of twenty minutes of French while watching a movie, with relative ease. That’s not the point however.

I’ve discovered something in all this, something I should have suspected, I have a passion for languages. I should have suspected it, because I believed myself to hold a passion for words, but for my part I thought my passion was about the arranging of words into something I deemed to be beautiful, and I suppose to an extent that is true. But, when I started to learn languages, I began to realize, it’s not so much the words, it’s the ideas.

I still delight in words, and while I don’t believe English to be a particularly fair language in and of itself, though that may simply be the result of a lifetime of hearing it used for complaints, and so forth. Which is true of most languages. When I watched a Shakespeare drama, I was enraptured by the words he had chosen. They were English words, but it was beautiful. Another example, was reading Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, which, as fine as The Lord of the Rings is, exceeds that one in its heights of linguistic beauty. Every once in awhile I still find something in the English art’s that is beautiful, it becomes hard at times to believe that a language capable of such beauty and wonder, is also the same language used by a vulgar tongue that speaks the language to curse, and those who use it for propaganda, to manipulate, or to abuse. It is the same language as the words that delight.

English is still my primary language, and I enjoy speaking it. True, but it is amazing how much more I am learning, I’m not just learning thousands of new words, and dozens of new grammatical rules, and so forth, though that is part of it, to be sure, I’m learning about cultures, and people, and what it is to be a human on this planet Earth. I am learning a great deal about myself. In many ways it is like discovering a whole new way to be human, but at the same time, there are aspects of it that are familiar to you.

As I seek to write my own stories, I hope that I write something that is beautiful, it is one of my primary reasons for writing after all, to find something beautiful. I cannot deny however, that I feel I lack an understanding of the English language to tell it as it ought to be told. I feel most often, I cannot do it justice. In many ways, for me, writing is more about exploring the world inside my head. I’m not telling a story, I’m discovering it.

It is something I find I enjoy.

Even though I haven’t posted in awhile, I’m going to keep this short, I have to leave the coffee shop I’m writing this up in now, after all.

-Shane

Mysteries.

There are many mysteries in the world, and many mysteries regarding humanity.

It must be asked, is love in the obtaining of something, or the seeking of it? Is happiness in life, in all matters of the heart found in the possession of something, or in the desire? I believe it is in the desire. A man may be an heir to the world itself, which is to say that one has the possession of the world already in their hands, yet without the desire, they do not enjoy it.

Furthermore, it is in the longing for something that I find it interesting, but never in the attaining of it. This, perhaps, is foolishness, as it leads to discontentment, not in what I don’t have, but in that which I do.

If I might possess the world, but do not delight in it, yet delight in the name, Avalon. I take more delight in that which I do not have: The name Avalon, than that which I do, in this example, the world itself. Why should that be? Now, Avalon is an example, a fictitious person and a name from my stories, and is a girls name, which is important for some of the things later in this post.

Now, there is no doubt that Avalon the person is by far, more valuable than the name, Avalon. What is in a name? She might hold the name Avalon but by no means does that name hold her. Whether she holds the name Avalon or not is irrelevant to who she is as a person. What is a person? Are they a name only? Would not Avalon remain as she is if she was to be named, for example, Alyssa or Amy? She would be as she is, would she not? So, how is it that person is to be defined? What makes a person a person?

Firstly, we are comprised as an image, a symbol, a reflection. Therefore, we are an image of something other than ourselves. A triune God. We hold the image of God. In what manner? We also are a triune being, but in the way of an image, or a symbol. We but reflect a greater reality. You might say that we are Spirit (true self), Soul (mind), and Body (the sacred vessel). In our example, Avalon is a being that is comprised of these three elements. She is a spirit being, eternal, immortal, and almost god-like in comparison with the rest of her being. (Which is not to be confused with being like God, or being a god. I don’t know how else to explain this than to say that if this part of us where to be made manifest in this world, we ourselves in our current state of comprehension, would find it to be a being so glorious and so above our current imaginings that we would be inclined to think of it as a god, not that it would be. But our view of it would incline us to describe it as being such.) She is Soul. Avalon is one who possesses a brilliant mind and a unique personality. Finally, she is Body, and even this is sacred. Altogether she is spirit/soul/body. Altogether, she is a human being, an image of God, and we call her Avalon.

I don’t quite understand it, but humanity may well be unique outside of God as Jesus in being both Spiritual and Physical beings at the same time, and the only reason, possibly, that God is with us in this attribute is because God became, and remains to this day, a human being. What is this mystery? Why would one so high become something so lowly? What is Man? Why should God descend so far, just to lift us up? The more you think about it, the more of a miracle you realize the coming of Christ was.

What is it that makes some men seem like beast, while others seem almost too wonderful to be human? What is the difference between one and another?

How can one be the same as those who would kill, steal, and destroy innocent life? Those worst of men? What is it that separates one from the other? Why is one so bright and another so dark? Are we not all like men? One race?

So how is it that one and another is so different one from another? What makes a man a man?

I do not understand how we can fall so far. What am I? Am I a monster or a sacred vessel? What am I? What are they? Why do some shine so brightly, while others fall so far? Why are not all men equal? Why are some as shining stars, while others are little more than ash and dust?

Could it be that our choices truly define us as what we are? That some shine because they choose to, while others are dark because they choose to remain dark? But are there not ten-thousand reasons why this cannot be so? So what is it about us? Why do some do good, while others seem intent on evil? What is it that makes these people different from each other? In terms of what we are, we are the same. So why, being the same creature, can we act so differently? Perhaps choice is a matter in it, but we must be careful not to blame the victim, as we might start to think that all who suffer are a result of their choices, when often times, it is because of the choices of others. Slavery is a whole system built around the suffering of one man for the choice of another. We must take great care with these thoughts, taken even a little in the wrong direction can result in blaming the wrong person for what is the fault of another.

I think I find the reality of Avalon to be a great and wonderful reality, because of how very extraordinary she is. At the end of the day she’s just a girl, just a girl, neither a goddess or a devil, just a girl.

I find in Avalon, hope, and faith, in humanity. I love them, among other reasons, for restoring to me the hope and faith in the race of men. People like Avalon restore my faith in humanity, which I confess in light of those that kill, pillage, hurt, and destroy, was beginning to be shaken. To see that there are people who exist, who are real, who delight in their own arts, gives me hope. Yet, they remain, and are expected to remain, strangers. My faith is in strangers, my hope for humanity is in people I do not know. I know, I keep referring to a fictitious person, Avalon, as real, but I have met such people as she is described to be before, but created a character to represent them, if you will. It is one of the values of imagination, to create beings as needed, to represent people that are very real indeed.

In regard to the people who actually are real, I can only pray that God will bless them exceedingly and abundantly, that he will reveal to them just how deeply they are loved. They, like so many others, are blessed creatures, I do not wish to see them lose that preciousness that they hold. But the continuous questions remain. Why are they precious? What makes them so fascinating? Is it that they are so perfectly ordinary? Yet so perfectly extraordinary? What is up with these humans? They are so, extraordinary in their ordinariness.

Why these? To be honest, I am fond of each and every one of these souls, love them, care about them, but why? Is it that I find both hope and transformation in them? Yet, I also find something of the darkness in them.

Why is it that sometimes it seems as though there are people who, for lack of better term,  it almost as if they seem like part of me. I mean, I know they are not, and that we exist as separate entities and all that, but It is like I find in each of these a part of myself. As if looking into the eyes of another, I see myself there, looking out at me. I suppose this is empathy, in a sense, but sometimes, empathy seems a great mystery to me, one that I am glad for the existence of, for a world without empathy would be dreadful, yet, I do not understand, why it would be that I would give a thought to the feelings of others, the thoughts of others, the hopes, the dreams, the aspirations of others. Why would I be this way? I do not know the answer, what is more, what would compel someone to sacrifice their own hopes, their own dreams, their own aspirations for the sake of seeing another succeed? What is this and why do we see it in people around the world, in every culture, regardless of anything that we might set up to divide us, any label we might give, we still find this in all but the worst of humanity. Ask any good parent, they’ll know what you’re talking about. I may not be a parent, but I know what a good parent looks like. One can understand by receiving if one has the heart for it.

Sometimes it seems as though we are of one mind, one spirit, one heart, one soul. Why this diverse group of friends, strangers, and enemies? There are even those who I’ve not gotten along with, in which it seems as though I can understand them, their feelings, and so forth.

Love is not love if it fails to conform to the greater reality of the fullness of love, the true love.  That which is not of love, is not love, if you will.

This too is a mystery.

A Work in Progress.

Me or the website? I can never tell.