Friday, May 28, 2010

If I see three oranges, I have to juggle

"Why do we always want answers to the impossible questions. Why do you love her? Any answer to such a question is usually ridiculous. Because she is beautiful? Because she is intelligent? Because she has a funny pimple on her nose? Nothing makes much sense. Why did you become a priest? Because you love God? Because you like to preach? Because you don't like women? Why did you become a monk? Because you like to pray? Because you like silence? Because you like to bake bread without being bothered? There are no answers to these questions.

When they asked Philippe Petit why he wanted to walk on a slender wire strung between the two tallest towers in NYC, everyone thought he did it for money, for publicity, for fame. but he said, 'If I see three oranges, I have to juggle. And if I see two towers, I have to walk.'

We don't believe the most meaningful answer.

His is the true answer. Why do you love her? When I saw her I loved her. Why are you a priest? Because I must be a priest. Why do you pray? Because when i see God, I must pray. There is an inner must, an inner urge, or inner call that answers all those questions which are beyond explanation. Never does anyone who asks a monk why he became a monk receive a satisfying answer. Nor do children give us an explanation when we ask them why do you play ball?' They know that there is no answer except, 'When I see a ball, I have to play with it.'" The Genesee Diary, Nouwen

I often feel the urge to explain, re-explain and over-explain everything. I MUST be fully understood. There can be no chance for miscommunication. But, I have to wonder, how much that striving to tie things up in a nice (albeit generally messy) package actually looses authenticity. We don't need reasons. We don't need nice, tidy packages. We need those unexplainable, beautiful, meaningful answers!

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