I don’t believe that life is supposed to make you feel good, or make you feel miserable either.  Life is just supposed to make you feel.

Gloria Naylor

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I have concluded after many years that the greatest discord in the human person is the result of not experiencing life.

What do I mean?

Well what I mean is somewhat illusive and requires your contemplation as much as my own.  I suppose I mean we are not especially good in tasting life, in feeling life.  We are selective in our life experiences.  Fear selects our menu, limits our tasting.  And there are many, many other distractions that narrow our experience.  Consumption does.  Consume everything and nothing has taste. Fads and taboos limit us as well.

The acquisition of images which the culture would have us believe are what a person is supposed to resemble also minimize the human experience.

Images are especially significant.  The eye is an expressway to the brain. Images are costumes.  They make us viewers of ourselves. Make us moviegoers.  Yank us out of experience and into observation.

If you have read Walker Percy’s award-winning book The Moviegoer you recall the young adult Binx Bolling who is aimlessly adrift, capable of seeing but living at a distance from experience, an observer.  Walker makes you wonder what precisely is a lived life, how one experiences life.

Do we experience life by merely seeing, observing?  No, that is what a voyeur does.  Indeed, seeing alone does little but isolate one from life.  Is pornography intimate life or intimacy removed from life, life removed from life?

In Percy’s book you wonder if curing the blind does not value seeing more than it should.  Is seeing overrated?  Would it not be more to the point of experiencing life to feel life without seeing it?

In Holy Communion do we not “taste and see” the goodness of the Lord in a small morsel?  Is it not true that Jesus often announces that it is one’s faith which cures blindness?  Is not faith a way to experience life?  Indeed, the way to experience life?  In a barren culture is not Christ the avenue to lived experience?

We live in a highly visual culture.  But do we experience life?  Or does our seeing alone fall short of the lived experience?  I think you know the answer and if you do not, I ask this: Is a email of condolence for the lost of a friend’s mother the same as a personal call or visit to the aggrieved?  Is not personal presence giving more of self?  Is presence integral to experience? Feeling integral?

Experiencing life requires a life be given to experience.  Anything less creates an arm’s length or longer transaction and beckons Binx’s despair, his emptiness and unspecified want.

Shalom.

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