This haunting aphorism, together with an old scripture verse, have been nagging me at quiet moments lately.
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?”
Is it our soul that enables us to “bathe in” beauty, as Lewis says? Is this why so many people, who are surrounded by beauty each day, who drive the most beautiful cars and live in breathtaking houses, are still depressed?… Because they have somehow lost the ability to be “united” with the beauty they see?
At this very young, very American season of my life, this season of hoping and dreaming and aspiring with so much energy,
it is difficult to understand how one can have everything and still, nothing.
And yet, despite that wistful syndrome when the fall/winter Pottery Barn catalogue falls out of my mailbox in all its perfection and Benjamin Moore-colored creation of envy… My heart is full.
I know we will always cherish the memories of “perfect” weekends like this last one… Eating too many made-from-scratch warm, mocha brownies, lying on the carpet upstairs late Saturday night to watch Clemson play Florida State (our only tv is hidden in a small upstairs room because it’s a very huge very old hand-me-down, and unfit for any rooms in which company is ever entertained lol. But the result has been some delightfully cozy evenings, especially in the cooler seasons)…
Snorting with laughter and elbowing each other as Mr Baby spent all of Sunday reiterating his new word with gusto: “No!”… The little morning date that sprung from showing up for the 9 o’clock Mass at the cathedral and realizing it was entirely too late to slip in, even for us – and deciding to just kill some time at Starbucks before the 11 Mass instead (a lovely decision that resulted in 2 unfortunate hours of shaky limbs from my liquid weight in coffee on an empty stomach)… A high of 74, with mornings in the fifties!…. A twilight run on the trail in which my legs got deliciously chilly toward the end as the light faded… A perfect weekend.
James Taylor, Carolina crooner, sings softly, “The secret to life is enjoying the passing of time.”
The saints add that it is only in the present moment that we can see God.
Learning to embrace the present moment, to see and appreciate its unique beauty, is, I believe, to gain everything, without losing your soul.