Saturday, April 4, 2009

Renouncing Vows: The Day After

I had fantasies of waking up the day after renouncing my vows and feeling like a whole new person, "living free" as it were, as unrealistic as that might have been, given the enormity of this passage.

I wrote in my journal: "April 4, 2008. Today I start a new life. Today I start a new life. [Yes, I wrote it twice--like "a thought to be rehearsed all day"--see below.] 

"I am so, so tired--deeply exhausted in my bones. I feel like I've been run over by a truck, or as if someone very dear to me has died. [That's pretty close to the truth.] 

"I need at least a day to let it sink in, to recover, to sit by the tomb and wait, like Holy Saturday on a Friday, the space between death and new life."

I cancelled any plans I had for that day and curled up on the sofa under a blanket and napped.

Later I remembered the beginning of a poem by Wallace Stevens and looked it up:

"After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends.
No was the night. Yes is this present sun.
If the rejected things, the things denied,
Slid over the western cataract, yet one,
One only, one thing that was firm, even
No greater than a cricket's horn, no more
Than a thought to be rehearsed all day, a speech
Of the self that must sustain itself on speech,
One thing remaining, infallible, would be
Enough. . . ."

And it was.


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