이별

This month’s theme in my life is 이별, or farewells. I spent the last evening in Korea — for this stint, anyway — with a couple of the closest friends I’ve ever had, and saw them off this morning. A few weeks ago, a very different 이별 made entirely of words and of emotions so enormous I cannot speak them in so frail a voice as bodies have.

A few weeks ago I wrote of grace, and of having grace in partings and in changes. I wrote lovely words, and strangely I have learned that when one speaks in pretty words, the universe listens, and readies a test. The universe smiles and asks, “How shall this little bold thing hold up to a test of his finest words?”

When there are tears, it is not a failing of grace. A quiet hour in thought is a necessary component of grace, and so is a few minutes alone with that most human experience, sorrow.

Not failings. They are symptoms of being human, is all, is all. Partings, longings, the vicissitudes of time and change. We are creatures that are brim-full with eternity, but breathe so very few breaths in our time here, and spend much of our brief lives tumbling through one change after another. With any luck, we find a grace and balance along the way, direct the fall, soar a little.

And smile, into faces that are leaving, and smile, and smile, and hope.

Time laughs, time swerves, and makes us dance in our descent. Time takes things away, the things and people we love, one by one.

Thus we are human. Thus we love so very hard, while we have strength and time to do so.

5 thoughts on “이별

  1. There’s a great Peanuts strip where Charlie Brown and Linus are talking in front of Rerun (Linus’ little known younger brother). Charlie Brown is talking about how Rerun’s life will be sad because it will be full of saying goodbyes to everyone he meets and cares about.

    The last panel – CB and Linus have walked away, and Rerun is there alone – he is looking at the reader of the comic strip, saying “Hello There.”

    I’ll see you next semester, and this time, let’s set a definite day and time.

    If the brew doesn’t need to be refrigeraed, you can leave it at the Economics Dept. office.

    Have a nice summer.

  2. Hey man,

    Yeah, that’s the spirit of it — saying hello there to the new people. Well, sort of. Um, we can talk about it later. I will say that I was more prophetic than I imagined when I wrote that thing about the universe devising tests for our prettiest words!

    I’ll try drop a bottle of the brew for you tomorrow or Friday at the office. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated until you want to have it… and I recommend keeping it at room temp (ie. less than 20C or so) for another couple of weeks, in a dark place, before having it. It could use just a bit more conditioning, though it’s fine now too. (But more time, within limits, is better.)

    I’ll want the bottle back, though — the swing top bottles are NOT cheap. But I can get it back in the fall. :)

    Have an excellent summer, and yeah, let’s set a time and place. Actually, I may be hosting an SF-people party at my place when I return, once I’ve successfully done up another batch of brew, and you’ll be welcome at that. A chance to meet some other SFers and even some Korean Trek fans!

  3. Gord,

    Interesting post, and one I identify with a bit.

    Still, when I read this I wonder to what extent it takes a bubble of safety and privilege (CRAP! I hate using that word because of it’s political meaning) to have this kind of concern/belief?

    This is particularly interesting to me because some of your work seems to quite consciously prick the notion that we can believe in these bubbles of safety..

    Charles..

  4. Charles,

    I dunno, man. It seems to me that while it may be unspoken in a bunch of places, this sense of the world is even stronger in places where privilege and safety are harder to come by.

    While I’m interested in the transience of bubbles of safety, I also think we need them in order to function as human beings. Which is why SF is so interesting: it’s all about how we collapse them, construct them, and deal with them being collapsed by new technologies or discoveries.

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