Monday, November 19

The Elegance of the Hedgehog

"Now you make me think, it's not just about the lamps. In fact, there aren't two of anything in Monsieur Ozu's apartment. Well, I must say it makes a pleasant impression."

     "Pleasant in what way?"

     She thinks for a moment, wrinkling her brow.

     "Pleasant like after the Christmas holidays, when you've had too much to eat. I think about the way it feels when everyone has left...My husband and I, we go to the kitchen, I make up a little bouillon with fresh vegetables, I slice some mushrooms real thin and we have our bouillon with those mushrooms in it.  You get the feeling you've just come through a storm, and it's all calm again."

     "No more fear of being short of anything. You're happy with the present moment."

     "You feel it's natural-and that's the way it should be, when you eat."

     "You enjoy what you have, there's no competition. One sensation fater the other."

     "Yes, you have less but you enjoy it more."

 Not the most pleasant of themes, but quite full of oddly profound thoughts, Elegance of the Hedgehog has me deeply questioning my priorities. Deep, deep thoughts cloaked in inconsequential characters in an inconsequential fiction, I find myself contemplating things that never would have occurred to me otherwise. I'm able to finish thoughts that were previously too much for my mind to hold onto long enough to fully form. And this section...this section has me reeling.

"Have our civilizations become so destitute that we can only live in our fear of want? Cane we only enjoy our possessions or our senses when we are certain that we shall always be able to enjoy them? Perhaps the Japanese have learned that you can only savor a pleasure when you know it is ephemeral and unique; armed with this knowledge, they are yet able to weave their lives."

Even my love of books stems from a fear of being unable to pick up a friend when I want it later, unable to share a lesson with my children when they come to it in their studies. I'll be frighteningly honest: I have no immediate plans to do a craft with toilet paper tubes. And yet, I have bookmarked fun activities and crafts that call for toilet paper tubes. Worse yet, I have shopping bag hanging in my hall closet that is full of toilet paper tubes. No, I am not currently in need of them, but perhaps we'll have time for the craft next week or the week after and suppose I don't have them? I'll have to wait a month to collect enough to do the craft.

Is my clutter motivated by fear of lack? Is my lack of pleasure in my possessions motivated by fear?  Do I think that that reassurance of always having things will make them more enjoyable? Is it not the opposite? Should I not enjoy them all the more because they are here. now. at this moment.

I'm having a week of profound Eucharisteo, bombarding me from unexpected corners, trying to teach me something that I haven't quite grasped.

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