…And I will show you something that is different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
~T.S.Eliot from “The Wasteland”
This shadowland we live in
is not all there is
nor will ever be.We are tangible dust
arising from the ground
and settling back into it
when the soil reclaims us.
There need be no fear
moving beyond shadow to the light
that created it.
Morning, as always, sets fire to doubt.
By the sweat of your face You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return. Genesis 3:19
(Eliot’s Wasteland echoes the brokenness of this day in Boston)
Burial of the Dead April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain. Winter kept us warm, covering Earth in forgetful snow, feeding A little life with dried tubers.
What the Thunder Said After the torchlight red on sweaty faces After the frosty silence in the gardens After the agony in stony places The shouting and the crying Prison and palace and reverberation Of thunder of spring over distant mountains He who was living is now dead We who were living are now dying With a little patience ~T.S. Eliot from “The Wasteland”
What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man, You cannot say, or guess, for you know only A heap of broken images, where the sun beats, And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief, And the dry stone no sound of water. ~T.S. Eliot from “Burial of the Dead” in The Wasteland
We are created from perfection yet born broken, like a new toy flawed right out of the box already destined for the rubbish heap. Out of our detritus there rises a thirst quenched only by hope and promise, coursing through roots that reach deep, surging into branches that rise higher despite a drought of faith.
This promise becomes glue for the brokenhearted, a sticky grace that can’t be shaken off, clinging to us though we are dry and undeserving as a stone.
Broken no more, silent no more, parched no more. The living water now flows through us, a river of relief and shelter.
I will show you something different from either Your shadow at morning striding behind you Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you; I will show you fear in a handful of dust. ~T.S. Eliot in “Burial of the Dead” from “The Wasteland”
We do not want to think of ourselves as the dust we were and the dust we will become. There is too much of us living right now; we cast shadows before and behind us depending on the time of day and time of life. We are substance with our shadows only ephemeral reflections of our presence on earth.
Yet the dust we were and the dust we become is a fearful thing.
Nothing but dust…
until the Creator lifts us up in the palm of His hand, and blows on us. Now we breathe and pulse and weep and bleed.
We become something different than mere shadow.
We become His, awed, to the last grain of fearful dust with which we are made. We become so much more. So much more.