Friday, 19 December 2014
SAWBONNA: T.S. ELIOT and the THOMASES
In delighting in reading Dorothy L. Sayers', Creed or Chaos, I bumped into one of my kin, T. S. Eliot. I seem, often, to bump into those named Thomas, for Merton, as well, continues to hound me, and it seems I might be Thomist afterall. And what is it you might ponder about this particular encounter with Thomas Stearns that has anything to do with Sawbonna? Here then, the two-fold answer. In quoting from T.S. Eliot's, The Family Reunion, Sayers selects a piece in which Eliot writes about a hound, The Hound of Heaven, to be precise. The line she uses is as follows, "Into the shelter of the unaltered past (there is) no refuge from the hound of Heaven." When I was the age of eighteen considering becoming a nun, the principal, Sister Lucille Corrigan, of my high school, Notre Dame, gave me this poem. I am not a nun; however, being pursued by Mystery never ceases. Sawbonna is an integral part of this "pursuit." The second part of how encountering Eliot is related to Sawbonna is this line, "I feel quite happy, as if happiness did not consist in getting what one wanted, or getting rid of what can't be got rid of, but in a different vision." There it is! A different vision. And, this is Sawbonna. A vision so "different" that we recognize its tremor ingrained upon our souls and spines. Bleeding and breathing our very Wisdom. And this vision takes us, via Eliot once again, to the knowing that, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started, and know the place for the first time." Sawbonna, sibling of Restorative Justice, contextualized and nurtured in the crucible of: Respect. Responsibility. Relationship. And Wonder, is not only a response to the hound of heaven, it is a vision so new it is old, old, old. Old as the hills, as my Mom would say, and Sawbonna speaks into our exploration, into our "new vision," as if for the first time. Sawbonna is our return to relationship, which we never left, and which never leaves us. Dare I end with that other Thomas? Merton? Who became the Trappist Monk, Father Louis? Dare I? Yes. I dare. That Thomas said, "No (hu)man is an island." This, too, is Sawbonna.