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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

279: Innocence was not just all you knew but all you could conceive

Day 279: December 20th 2020

Innocence was not just all you knew but all you could conceive

- a reflection by Dan Vrooman

"THE FIRST TIME you died, you had been alive forever. You didn’t know this at the time, but you had been living in a cave, surrounded by water so perfectly warm, it was always fine to swim in, and so perfectly balanced, you could even breathe it. It was a lovely cave.

Before the day came, you’d been in the cave for as long as you could remember. In fact, from the perspective you now inhabit, I’m not sure "remember" is an applicable term for the way you thought about the world. There was no past or future. You were just hanging out in the cave, defining the archetype of being cradled, periodically bouncing a little or kicking a lot, but for the most part sucking your thumb and ruling the universe.

You were a benign ruler, of course; no concept of conflict or harm filled your mind, no Machiavellian textbooks on How to Be a Bad Baby found their way into the library of the particular womb you were enjoying. Innocence was not just all you knew but all you could conceive.

And then, an earthquake. The water you were breathing suddenly dispersed beneath you, a rushing silent whoosh being the last thing you didn’t hear before you were squeezed down a tunnel that got narrower as you neared its exit. You didn’t understand then what suffocating was, but you could certainly describe it now, your lungs coming under immediate and brutal pressure to exchange the amniotic fluid they had been breathing for the past nine months for the oxygen they would receive for the next whatever number of years.

At the time, you didn’t know what a lung was, never mind a year. But both were ready for you, entirely secure in their identity as years and lungs. You would have a breathing apparatus and time to use it. But you didn’t need to think about that now.

You were too busy being sent through the tunnel of doom, the walls collapsing in- ward like the trash compactor in Star Wars, the gunk of your prior eternity left behind, nothing to hold on to, an unstoppable roller coaster that apparently could only end with your destruction. You’d had a good ride, I suppose - a whole life consisting of nothing but having your needs met and sleeping, so complaining would have been churlish. Still, you were probably irritated. You had just gotten used to the cave, and now you were dying, unable to breathe, accelerating in anxiety toward who knows what.

This happened to me too.

In the end, our first death was quick: a few mighty thrusts on the part of the cave builder, and we were expelled like a bank’s pneumatic money tube, out into piercing light, revealing no warmth to our infant eyes. (We should note that for some of us, it was even quicker and more dramatic: the roof of the cave was suddenly torn open, and giant hands reached in to pull us out.)

A being the size of Godzilla picked us up, slapped on our backsides, and with a pair of scissors almost as big as we were, cut the cord that connected us to all we had ever known. It was cold and dry and lonely, and we were surrounded by giants.

You bet we cried.

- Reflection by Dan Vrooman

If I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces,

I’d still plant my apple tree. —Anonymous


Go into this week

with the attitude that

your peace,

your health of mind,

and your heart

mean more than

getting everything else done.

That your smile matters,

That feeling rested matters.

That holding the hand

of your loved ones matter.

So pause lots,

function at a pace

that doesn’t pull you apart.

Honor the things that

make you feel good inside,

the things that make you feel alive.

Give time to those things this week.

Make time the gift it is,

by giving it to what really matters to you.

— S.C. Lourie of Butterflies and Pebbles


The Spinners – Sadie

The Commodores - Jesus is Love

Some Children See Him – Sixpence None the Richer


Here are links to reflections by Jim Fredericks and Geoff Wood on the 4th Sunday of Advent. Enjoy

Jim Fredericks Homily 20 December - 4th Advent
Download PDF • 148KB

Geoff Wood So I’m driving home through the Springs – along Highway 12 – in the direction of Agua Caliente Road
Download DOC • 36KB

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