First paper from a Fall 2016 course. Self-reflective essay, formatted for this blog.
The Time I Spent in Rain
Waterloo Lutheran Seminary
What do you think of the rain? Is it a cleansing agent, a foil to your plans, something to run into shelter to escape, or necessary for vegetative growth? It could be all these, it could be none of these. For me, the rain is a physical manifestation of this class’ introductory lecture, which opened with a discussion on the concepts of home and choratic space. Rain is an open invitation to pause and reflect, like and unlike autumn when nature in these parts dwindles to prepare for hibernation, the deep darkness, and the winter. Yet human life prepares for an influx of students as the city gears up for a new academic year. For me, rain is choratic space, the betwixt and between, the margin, a place where liminality can be seen, can be perceived.
The title of this paper is quite misleading with the word “spent,” when more accurately; it should be “spend.” The past tense casts the illusion that I once dwelt there, when in actuality, I have been in such a place for long enough that I consider it home. Within the confines of infinity, even liminality can take on form in the realistic, idealistic, and transcendent. It is there, in the betwixt and between, where I find hints of God.
My initial published compilation of prose and poetry, Forever’s Interval (Tejai, 2014), was cobbled together after years of intensive withdrawal from the physical world. However, to tone down the puissance of what were my actual experiences, I presented the work as an expression of imagination intersecting with mental illness (Tejai, 2014, p. 3). This method of simplifying what was a very complex network and inhabitants of many colours and shades of colours recently came under heavy scrutiny. Persons within the fields of literature, arts, psychology, and psychiatry have collectively noted the atypical nature of such full sensory visions (K. Tejai, personal communication, October 27, 2015), including the observation that they began in early toddlerhood, and consistent lack of organic evidence to support a neurological problem (K. Tejai, personal communication, October 7, 2016). At family’s request, I changed many details, flattened the multidimensional nature of the text’s characters, yet managed to preserve a sense of the otherworldly with the lack of so-called proper narrative structure. The narrative is equated with storytelling (“Narrative,” 2016), the core of which is a “report of related events … arranged in a logical sequence.” I am not recognized for novelist talent, rather, it has been pointed out to me that I structure more in terms of a dramatist with scenes and characters (A. C. Labre, personal communication, July 27, 2016; Tejai, 2016a), rather than placing emphasis upon linearization.
This is the basis for my argument (personal communication, September 27, 2016) during a class discussion about the teleological approach to God. I proposed that “theology isn’t a simple linear process. It demands recursion … Why must there be an ending? What if there is no ending?” To declare an end is to place a limit on the infinite. One peer countered this by claiming a cyclical method to time, yet I wished to respond that a circle is still a line, only curved. Parabola upon parabola, smoothed out into acceleration. What is perceived is constantly changing velocity, but reorder the basic formula, and acceleration is linear. To calculate the acceleration of acceleration, it can be done, yet the result will eventually reveal linearity. Recall that such formulae are based upon classical/Newtonian physics. To extrapolate ever further leads to curvature whose basis is fundamentally linear. Sets of graphs plotted on a Cartesian coordinate system, particularly in the positive-positive quadrant, will reveal the pattern I noted here. I cannot comment on quantum/Einstein-based physics, as my physics education was limited to secondary school science education. Effect implied by cause, stretching further into two directions of time – this is the basis of Newtonian physics. I allude (2016b) to the observation that despite paradigm shifts into the realm of quanta, people stubbornly cling to linearity (N. Belas, personal communication, 2007).
This is the fundamental problem I have in defining God. I experience God in liminality, not in linearity. Within complementary duality, a realized expression of complementary dualism (Derry, 2015, p. 72), there do I see glimpses of God, yet as a person who speaks in the nonverbal yet listens in the verbal, to communicate an idiosyncratic conceptualization of God is riddled with many confounds and imprecision (Tejai, n.d.).
Drawing upon my lecture notes from my bachelor’s degree, I call upon the case for linguistic relativity in my defense (Tejai, n.d.). Language frames thinking due to the power of context. To translate from one language to another, or in one modality to another, a perfect synthesis cannot be possibly created. In a chemical reaction, whether a catalyst is employed or even required, the reaction does not occur within a closed system. Energy and/or matter are lost, though not destroyed. Likewise in translation, modality and language upon transformation/translation lose potency. I would argue that the loss is a requirement. A more concrete example of this is totem poles (Derry, 2015, p. 57). The word “totem is derived from the Anishinaubae word dodaem, which has been variously translated as ‘heart,’ ‘nourishment,’ and ‘kinship group.’” The text goes on to explicate the irony by claiming that the Anishinaubae did not create totem poles, and I agree with the follow-up of totem taking on many meanings depending on context (Derry, 2015, p. 58).
In my sense of fashion, I dislike drawing lines to connect the ever-moving dots for the reader. In the paraprofessional realm of ANGEL THERAPY®, I have repeatedly clarified to peers and possible clients that I prefer to act as a guide instead of a seer. I choose to assist others in usage of their own faculties, becoming empowered rather than seek me as an authority figure. In this way, the client and I are engaged in reciprocal learning and true charity – caritas – a state of vulnerability on all parties in the exchange (Copeland, Hopkins, Mathewes, McDougall, & Saracino, 2005, pp. 113-116). Then, and only then, do we see the clearest partaking of identity and alterity (Copeland et al., 2005, pp. 80-82).
To God, and to the reader, I close with a verse from a song that both comforts and breaks me, yet the combination is beautiful like the rain. From the virtual songstress Luka Megurine, “Even now, I can still hear your voice. Quivering is my heart, pouring out in torrents. You know, even now, I’m still dreaming of you. Quivering are the memories engraved in my heart” (Hazuki no Yume, 2016).
REFERENCES + BIBLIOGRAPHY
- (2016). Narrative [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://literarydevices.net/narrative/
- Copeland, M. S., Hopkins, D. N., Mathewes, C. T., McDougall, J. A., & Saracino, M. (2005). In S. Jones & P. Lakeland (Eds.), Constructive theology: A contemporary approach to classical themes (pp. 77-116). Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress.
- Derry, K. (2015). In W. G. Oxtoby, R. C. Amore, A. Hussain, & A. F. Segal (Eds.), A concise introduction to world religions (3rd ed.), (pp. 31-89). Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press Canada.
- Graham, E., Walton, H., & Ward, F. (2005). Theological reflection: Methods. St Albans Place, London, [Great Britain]: SCM Press.
- Hazuki no Yume. (2016, March 26). Kokoro, yurayura [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://hazukinoyume.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/kokoro-yurayura/
- Tejai, K. (2014). Forever’s interval. [United States of America]: America Star Books, LLLP.
- Tejai, K. (2016, August 15). The music box [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://merlight.wordpress.com/2016/08/15/the-music-box/
- Tejai, K. (2016, August 16). Paradigm hidden in plain sight [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://merlight.wordpress.com/2016/08/16/paradigm-hidden-in-plain-sight/
- Tejai, K. (n.d.). About [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://merlight.wordpress.com/about/