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Do you feel that you can never go back now, if only because you want to retain even the possibility that you and your daughter MEAN something in this world?This is all utterly absurd.
All of it: the Target stores and the mittens and the minivans, the parking lots and credit card applications. All of it: penises, dandruff, feet. Bowel movements. Camus and his Sisyphus and Sisyphus's motherfucking rock.
They are all utterly absurd.
You and me. The pope. Everyone. Weird and messy and human and ultimately without intrinsic meaning.
The bible says, "You are dust and you will be dust again." The bible says, "Everything is vanity." If St. Jerome had read Camus, might he have crossed out "Omnia vanitas" and written "Omnia absurdum" in its place?
Here is what God does; here is God's best trick, better than bees, better than black holes: God redeems all of those things, and makes them mean something. Out of the chatter and static of quantum uncertainty and human frailty comes meaning, rich and pure. Elegant, potent meaning.
In C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, the fantasist George Macdonald, in a thick scottish brogue, tells Lewis's fictional narrator that to those in Heaven, everything that they have ever experienced, when viewed from their perspective will be seen to have been Heaven all along. Likewise, those in Hell will find that they have resided there from the start. It's not just "how you look at it." It's the central meaning of things, the meaning by which we reckon everything around us. Untransformed it is cruel, lonely, hostile, indifferent, chaotic. Transformed by grace it is kind, purposeful, loving, infinitely meaning-full.
What that central meaning truly consists in, I am not given to say; I am merely a hissing tongue of flame in a vacuum; lucky to burn at all. It is like asking "What is spirit made of?" Where are the words even to begin? Words could only alienate it. Better to go taste strawberries, or lay on your back at night and stare at the stars until they leap out from their bowl of pinpricks and take on the full dimensionality of the cosmos.
In a purposeless world, I am standing in Target with my daughter for an instant and then that instant is gone forever, and is nothing more than the foam on the wavefront of molecules and flapping limbs and consumer culture, vapid, banal, meaningless. In God's world, however, it is the most precious moment of all; it is a decision point, a crux, a point at which great things might have begun or ended. In God's time it is eternally present and full of life, rich with significance and the scent of sweet humanity. Two of God's creatures, singing in their hearts to God and to each other of their love, while pretending on the outside to argue over mittens.