Monday, January 26, 2009

On Sacramental Worlds

So before I was a Christian, the angst-unit that I was perpetually dealing with went like this: "Here I am, full of potential and surrounded by innumerable possibilities for self-expression and having adventures and experiencing pleasure of all kinds, but...what's the point?"

Even if I had a life that was maximally fulfilled with amazing friendships and a husband and children and...Pottery Barn furniture, and writing, and striding through airports in Europe on my way to, um, maybe an International Women of Mystery conference, and even if said life went on (hypothetically) forever, and even if my neurotransmitters were all hopping to attention and saluting such that I was never ever depressed and in fact in constant low-grade ecstasy...

...what was the point? There was this disconnect between all of the above-- the "is," the stuff of experience and matter, both good and bad, and the Other Realm.

The Other Realm was the place that existed in stories, especially quest stories, where good was really good and not just the maximum pleasure for the maximum number of people, and bad was really bad and to be defeated. That Other Realm was where "ought" lived, and actually the BEST kind of other-realm stories were the kinds where "is" and "ought" intersected in some way, so that a physical thing-- a ring, say, or a baby, or a place that you got to through a door in a hedge-- was actually charged with real meaning, real good or real bad.

I wanted a reality that demanded something of me beyond fulfilling my potential.

In other words, I wanted a sacramental world.

And whatever else I have now, I have that.