The trees defer to the wind, and the wind brings them to life. The sighing and breathing are the only sounds I hear, until a fallen maple leaf skates purposefully up the ramp like the planchette of an ouija board, viciously raking the concrete with curled, withered edges, causing me to look over the top of my philosophy text, from my perch on the stone wall.
A Saturday afternoon on guard duty, high atop Mt. Auburn.
The only people on campus today are the ones that have to be here.
I guard, in between short bursts of Kant and Locke, and grow ever more comforted by what I read. By Kant, not Locke. Locke leads a pack of uninspired empiricists who find no meaning in life aside from finding no meaning in life.Kant, on the other hand, and Descartes. . .whisper words of comfort forged by mental anguish and tempered by time, a lullaby of rationalism to soothe my troubled dreams. They see beyond the veil of empirical data, to something at once more abstract and more concrete, a giant premise with mind-blowing implications.
Ockhams's Razor . . . .a fearsome double-edged danger to some, but to me a security, a formidable weapon against the forces of doubt and uncertainty."All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best." or, "Entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity."
Hence, God exists. Furthermore, God created.
Stockpiling rationale like it were canned goods and tomorrow Y3K.
Being prepared to give an answer for my faith.(Discreetly laying the cold steel of Ockham's blade against my cheek for comfort.)
Not having the option of trust, having cast away my confidence, I picked up apologetics and brandished it at doubt. Remembering my past draws with the devil, I vowed never to go unarmed again. Had Daniel an AR-15 or Gideon a nuke surely they would've used it and saved God all that trouble.And speaking of nuclear options, that is exactly what faith had become for me.
Samson's last gasp.
I was terrified of trust. Such intimacy with my Maker had burned me, pulling me into a Sisyphan perpetuity of pathetic whimsy, an unbroken string of compulsive contortions to prove my love for God. Having left myself open, the enemy of my soul moved in with a blitzkrieg of scorched-earth maneuvers. Before long, the lush Eden of my salvation was gone and I cowered in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, never having moved, but unsure of where I was anymore. I re-built my spiritual sanity slowly and clinically, brick by brick, never asking for help from above. I knew He was there, but was afraid to look, afraid to ask. What if I heard no reply?
My conscience, once a love language for God and I, had been compromised and I used it no longer. It couldn't be trusted. I fumbled my way through several years, protecting the wounds.They healed, but there is a stiffness left in the joints.
All this may sound extremely melodramatic, but I assure you that no such comforting thought entered my mind at the time. I spent a year or more scared absolutely to death. My mind was twisted and wrung out. I wasted to a pale ghost, looked like death and felt like death. Could I have died with assurance of passage into Heaven I would have gladly done so.
I look at it now in shades of grace. God allowed it, after all, so I belatedly embrace it all, knowing there was a reason. It left a mark on me; a reserve and an awkwardness.I alternate between feeling that it strengthened me and suspecting that it stunted me.I feel a little tougher but a little wizened. Trust is still that nuclear power that is reserved for defense and not tapped for an energy source. I try not to think about whether my Christianity is based on love for God or fear of Him.
The distance is what sends me seeking for reassurance in philosophy and apologetics. Mind you, it is a superfluous pursuit. I don't dream that I would lapse in my faith were I not to find the justification I seek in philosophy and apologetics.
But it's like having the munchies. You just can't stop because it's available.
And palatable. And it spoils your dinner and weakens your immune system.
Would you rather arm yourself with Kant or that which pierces to the marrow?