- I used to define myself in oppositions...
- I used to have to assert my faith...
- I used to think of this thing as stone tablets...
Faith used to be a capstone that needed holding up; now it's a cornerstone that needs building on.
"A might fortress is our God," we'd sing, "a bulkwark never fai---ling." Our God, I suppose. My faith was a nice castle - a cathedral I'd built up over the years, bolstered by all my half-read and half-understood theology.
In its every detail what I'd built beggared the cathedral of Chutreaux, which had taken its fictional village more than a century to build (and David Macaulay rather less than that to draw.) On its floor, overlaid by the most lavish of carpets, was a labyrinth pattern set into the stones that I had no idea how to walk. Painted over the mortared stones of the ceiling were red patterns, obscuring its seams even though none of that was visible from where I stood on the ground. Lavish beautiful works of art were ornately carved and painted; what they were varied from hour to hour and viewing to viewing.
At the top of it all, of course, was nothing really substantial, except fear.
Fear of what would happen if there wasn't anything there to hold it together.
And like an inverted Wile E. Coyote, eventually the time came when I looked up and discovered what's painfully obvious, and always was. That there was no capstone holding it together.
And the walls came tumbling down, down, down, down, down to the ground.
In a way it was liberating, then.
Once things fell down, it was possible to plan the cookhouses and cathedrals of tomorrow. To read all the theology and stuff and wonder what my next cathedral might resemble.
Oh, the things it could be!
For I (unbeknownst to myself, who'd never actually read Hegel all that far) was a beautiful soul - one recovering from the curse of moralism, to be sure, but only to be replaced by irony.
In the last few weeks, I realized that recently I'd been able to say "Here I stand; I can do any other."
I thought, at the time, that this had been the realization that triggered my crisis and sent me to deconstructing. The fact that I'd realized there was no capstone holding up my faith.
Now I'm not so sure. Now I'm starting to rethink this.
Because "Here I stand; I can do any other" isn't the sound of a missing capstone. (When my capstone was missing, I couldn't do any other. I was too busy holding it up.)
That endless flexibility is because all that's there is the cornerstone - with nothing on top.
And I want to - need to - raise something new and lasting.