On being moved to tears
Just a brief note today, as it seems the hours and minutes run past faster and faster as the sun shifts back to the north. Thursday I was busy proving theorems - oh yes, one has to do that sometimes, even when they are not assigned as homework - and then there was bread-making... we're a full-featured system here, as you ought to expect.
But there were two instances in the past few days which illuminated that old phrase about being "moved to tears" and I want to tell you about them.
The first was on Friday, when a friend from what we Yankees call "the Sunny Southland" ( in this case, Kentucky) read a portion of a new story to me. It was a profound insight into an episode from the end of the "Late Unpleasantness", known to some as the War Between the States, or the American Civil War. It wasn't any one thing - not so much, perhaps, as the striking juxtaposition of a gentleman of the Old South reading to me of how a hero deported himself in that agonizing moment of surrender... It takes a special skill to call such scenery into being with words.
The second was today, at the end of Holy Mass, when there was something about the motion of the altar boys to fetch the crucifix and candles as they processed down the center aisle to the tune of "Lift High the Cross" - and I was thinking of the bit in "Grinch" about what one does when one is not able to find a reindeer... something about that (joined with the thing from Friday) was almost too profound to write about.
For what does one do when one does not have a crucifix?
One makes one, from whatever might be available.
And telling that story well - so akin to the idea of surrender - that is the sort of special skill which can move even a grown man to tears.
Did you misunderstand?
Did you forget I am a Chestertonian? Behold:
O crucified Jesus, have mercy on the heroes, our fallen brothers, of both South and North - and on all the souls of the faithful departed.
"The cross cannot be defeated," said MacIan, "for it is Defeat."
[GKC, The Ball and the Cross]