Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sorting books and the journey inwards

I spent most of the day cleaning out my study before the floor refinishers arrive Monday with their sanders.

While sorting and packing, I found joy in rediscovering books I had let slip from my consciousness. It was like a day of encounters with old friends.

One, a favorite during my Peace Corps training at Columbia University, caught my eye and drew me in — again.

It immediately reminded me of the recent revelations from Mother Teresa’s surprising, questioning journals.

Dag Hammarsjkold was also a prominent figure of his time, the Secretary General of the United Nations. His “Markings,” a remarkable and similarly surprising book when it was published in 1964, was consisted of his poetic journal entries.

Today, when I picked up “Markings,” it fell open to this:

The longest journey
Is the journey inwards.
Of him who has chosen his destiny,
Who has started upon his quest
For the source of his being
(Is there a source?).
He is still with you,
But without relation,
Isolated in your feeling
Like one condemned to death
Or one whom imminent farewell
Prematurely dedicates
To the loneliness which is the final lot of all.

Between you and him is distance,

He will see you withdrawing,
Further and further,
Hear your voices fading,
Fainter and fainter.

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