sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Shelter: A Sermonette

Blessed be those who against all good judgment, give simple wayfarers like me shelter from the storm. In my life there have been a few and their kindness is never forgotten.
“There is a proverb which Su Shi scribed. Once upon a time, there was a blind man who does not know what the Sun is. So he asks other people to explain.” 
“One man said, ‘The Sun is shaped like a copper plate.’ So the blind man banged on a copper plate, and listened to its clanging. Later when he heard the sound of a temple bell, he thought that must be the Sun." 
“Another man said to him, ‘The Sun gives out light just like a candle.’ So the blind man held a candle to feel its shape. 
Later when he picked up a flute, he thought that this must be the Sun.”

“Yet we know that the Sun is vastly different from a bell or a flute; but a blind man does not understand the differences, because he has never seen the Sun and only heard it described. Friendship and trust are the same. You can describe it to everyone but it can only be understood by those who somehow experience it.”  --White Powder: A Novel of the CIA and the Secret War in Laos, p. 109

Time for a little Dylan:

'twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood
When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud
I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

...Suddenly I turned around and she was standin' there
With silver bracelets on her wrists and flowers in her hair.
She walked up to me so gracefully and took my crown of thorns.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

...Well, the deputy walks on hard nails and the preacher rides a mount
But nothing really matters much, it's doom alone that counts
And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

I've heard newborn babies wailin' like a mournin' dove
And old men with broken teeth stranded without love.
Do I understand your question, man, is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

In a little hilltop village, they gambled for my clothes
I bargained for salvation an' they gave me a lethal dose.
I offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn.
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm..." -- Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm