Richard Burton: The Power Of Internal Combustion
"No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermilion."*
Ann: Hi Richard, I gather you have something to say on this Thanksgiving Day,
Richard: Indeed I do. Although I was not of the nationality to celebrate Thanksgiving, I always felt that it should be a universal holiday. Not of course to celebrate its genocidal roots which attempted to destroy the very reality of native peoples, but to take a moment to give thanks, not just for what we have, but for the lives we have been given.
Even I, a wasteful profligate who squandered almost every atom of the many gifts I had been given, knew that I was the luckiest son of a bitch living. Though I had no truck with poverty for the better part of my life, early on, I knew what lack was, what it was to have reams of people crammed into a house, a shack really, that would not have safely housed a single person and what it was to live with the constant grind and terror of forced horrific labor in the mines.
But I also knew their opposites. We Welsh took pride in our abundance, our families, our gatherings, our sports, and always, always the music ringing from whatever rafters sheltered our motley crews living with a plentitude of the many contradictory elements in our lives.
It was a study in contrast, to be sure, hot tempers, jealousy, and fear gallantly taken on with faith, laughter, and a spit in your eye mentality.
I bring this up, not simply for a trip down memory lane, but to suggest that our main mission here is to knit the disparate elements of our lives into a cohesive whole which is acceptable in the eyes of God. It is for this that we came, leaving memories of other lives and times at the gate of incarnation and accepting the challenge of incorporating dark and light into a new entity that we can celebrate as our own triumphant and expanding part of God’s great creation, a creation powered by the friction of opposing forces rubbing against each other to combust into something new and wonderful.
Each of us has the power to convert flat dark power into creative energy by combining it with the God given light inside our own hearts. It is this transformative process that we celebrate today, the elemental, God given power to convert the disorganized pieces of our lives into a force for expanding light.
Look about you and acknowledge all the difference pieces of your lives, psyches, and souls. How can you combine them to create your own masterpiece?
It is there, I promise you, if you will take the time to inquire.
November 26, 2020
*The Windover: To Christ Our Lord, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, May 30, 1877.