“Offense is 90% taken and 10% given.” — Anonymous
Along with much of the imagery in the book of Genesis, we put the devil in a storage closet, to be sorted through at a later date. Maybe when Halloween comes around. We can get behind the New Testament “neighbor” talk, and even loving the lepers, but the “devil” seems to be a poorly drawn cartoon character, an ill-willed fast food mascot that belongs with the Hamburglar and the like. Our college education interferes with belief in an evil tooth fairy.
“The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.” – Annie Dillard
Clarity arrives in reverse. The picture created by the puzzle materializes fully only when the pieces configure in final combination. When scattered and strewn upon a table, the fractured picture is not a picture at all, but instead a chaotic mess of meaningless shards. Although it carries the potential for something whole, in its uncompleted state, it remains something of the not-yet.
In the 1990s, a prominent New York NBA player complained that the players in the league couldn’t feed their families on the average NBA salary, which was $ 1 million a year in 1991. He couldn’t feed his family on six zeros? Was his family a small nation?
This thought stays with me in my more enlightened moments: nothing is mine. To that end, or to move toward that end, I try to avoid saying something is mine. I try to say, “The car I drive,” rather than “my car”, or “the place I stay,” rather than “my apartment”. This comes fairly easily, since the computer I use belongs to my employer; the apartment belongs to the landlord; the car belongs to a bank; and the clothes I wear have mostly been given me. I don’t even own my bed or desk.