Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Andre Dubus: "A sacrament is..."

One thing that I love in Catholicism (and in progressive strains of spirituality more generally) is attention to the small stuff.  In small things, one sometimes discovers hints of God's love and crumbs of God's grace.

Here's the wonderful short story writer Andre Dubus (1936-1999), a bit of an ambivalent Catholic himself.  This is from his piece "Sacraments" in his second essay collection, Mediations from a Movable Chair:
"A sacrament is physical, and within it is God's love; as a sandwich is physical, and nutritious and pleasurable, and within it is love, if someone makes it for you and gives it to you with love; even harried or tired or impatient love, but with love's direction and concern, love's again and again wavering and distorted focus on goodness; then God's love too is in the sandwich."
I am reminded to savor and be grateful for the small joys of life.  Within those small things, small moments, there is a rich experience that could have passed me by but did not.  There is food for the soul, grace aplenty, crumb by crumb.

Warren Zevon, too, had a similar (sandwich-themed) observation when he appeared on David Letterman's show in the fall of 2002, when he was facing what his doctors told him was a deadly case of lung cancer:  "Enjoy every sandwich."

Excuse me while I get lunch ready for my son, allowing in the possibility that maybe a sacrament is waiting to happen, notwithstanding all the flaws in the sandwich maker.

1 comment:

Robert Hilldrup said...

Every sufferer, Christian or not, should read Dubus.

Robert P. Hilldrup
rphilldrup@webtv.net