Sunday, March 5, 2023

Training Ground for Resurrection

I came across the same concept twice in one week in two different books I have been reading. So, I figured I better pay attention.

The concept is negative capability.

Coined by the poet John Keats, negative capability happens when one is "capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason."

Another description I read says, "The idea [of negative capability] ... centers on suspending judgment about something in order to learn more about it."

Sigh. Feels impossible! Yet necessary!

And, doesn't it sound like a good Lenten practice as we prepare for Resurrection?


Poetry is often one of the best routes for me into the world of negative capability.

While I was going for my walk today, I listened to what might have been my favorite episode of Ezra Klein's podcast yet...with the poet Jane Hirshfield. (And if it does come in second place, it would only be to the episode featuring another poet, Ada Limón.)

I won't try to paraphrase or summarize the episode with Jane Hirshfield; it was too good, too comprehensive for that.

These poets do such an excellent job in their conversations, aided by Ezra's wonderful interviewing skills, to articulate the ways that poetry lifts us from ourselves and takes us into a fuller, more illuminated vision of the world.

Another way to practice Resurrection.


I often want to find some meaningful or evocative photo to post here, so I was looking through my camera roll this morning for any with potential. I found this one that I love.

And this one, too...

But, while I was out walking and listening to Jane and Ezra, trying to find something else noteworthy enough for a photo on this blog, everything felt so mundane, so human, and even a bit melancholic.

Gray skies on a nondescript road...

A pile of random wood and other refuse...

Decomposing milkweed pods fallen to the ground...

Pretty earthy, indeed. But, humanity is where Resurrection happens. And these milkweed pods are empty...their seeds are out in the windy world somewhere, landing in time to plant themselves on earth again, ready to resurrect and nourish the metamorphosing monarchs sometime, somewhere down the road.

Let us walk in the holy presence.

The Many Shapes of Grief or, a Little Bit of Everything

After my last post , one of my sisters stopped me by the community room and told me about a podcast from Anderson Cooper. In the eight-episo...