My wife is, at this moment, in Malawi faithfully doing good deeds. The three of us who remain behind consider ourselves honored to be a part of it -- or rather, we do when we make the effort to be mindful of our circumstances. We are terrifically proud of her. But we are also not a little lonely. The two urchins get regular doses of their grandparents (my gratitude to all four of you -- thank you very much). As for me, I get regular calls from Blue Sky, Bright Son who is steadily working his way through Don DeLillo's Underworld.
It's probably been six or seven years since I last read that book, but when my friend calls it never takes long for my memory to warm up into a welcome glow that is able to resuscitate so many of my favourite passages. He and I consider aspects of the overall narrative, suss out connections and dismiss our personal agendas, and for a long stretch of time after I've hung up the phone, my existence is comforted by the presence of An Other.
Today, while perusing Terry Teachout's blog, I stumbled across this quote from C.S. Lewis's An Experiment in Criticism:
Literary experience heals the wound, without undermining the privilege, of individuality. There are mass emotions which heal the wound; but they destroy the privilege. In them our separate selves are pooled and we sink back into sub-individuality. But in reading great literature I become a thousand men and yet remain myself. Like a night sky in the Greek poem, I see with a myriad eyes, but it is still I who see. Here, as in worship, in love, in moral action, and in knowing, I transcend myself; and am never more myself than when I do.
My God, that's exactly right! Thank you Terry Teachout, and Clive Staples. And thank you Bright Son for the transcendance.