A Soothing Abyss

Beginning the 3-Day Weekend in the Quiet of My Study

Beginning the 3-Day Weekend in the Quiet of My Study

Tillich loved the “experience of the abyss,” or what he also called the “holy void.” . . . These terms refer to Dantean realms of semidarkness filled with chaos cloaked in mist and vapor, but–and this was most important–a chaos crying, like clay on the sculptor’s bench, to be made into form.

Rollo May, Paulus: Reminiscences of a Friendship

Though my blog has lain dormant for the past week, my mind has not.  Daily it has surged with ideas, but a hectic schedule, accompanied by the tragic murder of one of our high school students, has kept me away from writing and composing my thoughts.  Now, the three-day weekend begins (Martin Luther King Day on Monday) and I’m ensconced in my study with no other interest but to think, to write, to blog.  Thank you, readers, for your patience with my hiatus.

At this point, I wish I had more substance to post.  My night of reading and reflection has not been linear.  All I can say is that my Philosophy class today focused on the work of the Presocratics, and ideas brought up in class clung to my memory, plunging me into an intense reading of T. S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” as soon as I got home from school to begin this three-day weekend.  Eliot’s poem led me to the Presocratic fragments of Heraclitus, which then led me to an essay by Martin Heidegger, which then led me to the Book of Ecclesiastes and translations from the Septuagint, which ultimately led me to this book on the life of Paul Tillich.  I previously thought that I would paint tonight–the watercolor brush has not been picked up in a week–but the ideas have been so rich and the search so invigorating that the hour is getting late, the coffee is tasting better, and I feel that I won’t leave the study to enter the art studio until sometime tomorrow.

I have had a rich correspondence the past couple of weeks with a blogging colleague whose work I greatly admire, Corey Aber (http://coreyaber.com/), and he has provided rich inspiration for my recent attempts to develop a clear philosophy or aesthetic summing up what I am trying to accomplish through my scholarship, painting and blogging.  If I don’t get something on the blog tonight, then I’m confident that I will get my words to fly in formation by tomorrow.  For the time being, all I can say is that I’ve been floating in a foggy abyss of ideas tonight and haven’t felt anything negative from the experience.  It’s nice not to have deadlines pending, and no school until the following Tuesday.  The contemplative life has been very pleasing to me tonight, and I am confident that it will continue.  I feel that there is something in this formless environment of ideas swirling about me this evening that I will be able to manipulate into some kind of meaningful formula.

Thanks always for reading.  I’ll return soon . . .

I paint in order to remember.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.


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