Because I’m rereading The Iliad and stopped in my tracks again and again by all that I don’t understand, can’t grasp, the shower of fragments and guessed-at allusions. Is this as far as I can get? Are no closer readings possible? I find the classics scholar and poet Anne Carson wondering about another inaccessible tradition.
No. I think of myself as being particularly baffled on the one hand, by the whole question of God and the relation of humans to God, but also, possibly because of lots of empty spaces in my life, open to exploring what that might mean. I have open spaces where I put that question and just see what happens. Going to church is one such space, though I don’t go with any expectation of fulfillment or illumination. I just go because I have gone, and my mother went and her mother went and there’s something there that happens to all of us. A kind of thinking takes place there that doesn’t take place anywhere else. No matter how unattractive the service—and nowadays the mass is rather unattractive in its modern translation—no matter how brainless the sermon, there is a space in which nothing else is happening so that thinking about God or about the question of God can happen. So I go there and let it happen. Nothing changes, I don’t become wise about this, I don’t become ethically better or more interesting. I’m just the same person, I’m that person with this space open and I do think that for me, in this life, that’s as far as I’m going to get with spirituality.