Wednesday, July 1, 2009

On Perfection and Loneliness

Appealing though the thought of perfect pitch has been at times to me as a musician, I've realized since childhood that it would be more of a curse than a blessing. My present ability to go a tiny bit flat with the rest of the choir and not realize it is quite a boon to the creative, relaxing element of singing. I can hardly imagine how bitter and angry a person I might be if I always heard the imperfections in others' pitch; the beauty of so much music would be so easily overwhelmed by the minuscule errors that would stand out like a sore thumb to me. If I had perfect pitch, I would be interiorly separated from all but the best of musicians, no matter what musical experiences we might have.

As I've come to terms with the fact that I am truly an intellectual, I've been repeatedly shocked by just how dumb people are. And I've seen a similar pattern: the more I understand about life, the less I am able to share of myself with those who are on a different philosophical plane (let alone those who hardly understand what a philosophical plane is).

So it makes sense that the same would be true of holiness. The closer Our Lord brings me to Him, the less I resemble the rest of humanity, and the less the people around me will be able to understand me. They'll understand parts of me, facets of me, but never the entirety of my being as I so thoroughly desire to be understood. This "holy loneliness" is a natural part of our longing for God, and has been experienced acutely by many saints throughout the centuries. I should consider it an honor, not a nuisance, when I am left without human understanding.

Bring on the loneliness, Lord, if it's a side effect of the holiness You desire to bring me to. My heart is restless, O God...


  1. Anonymous1:21 PM

    marvelous thoughts

  2. great post. reminds me of how i realized that i wanted to stop learning about the liturgy so i wouldn't notice every single little abuse.


  3. Thanks. It's too late for that for me, so instead I'm diving in headlong and learning as I go how to bear those abuses as Christ bore the abuses hurled at him on His way to Calvary. God is cool. :)

  4. you know I used to get really annoyed at abuses and now that I bring a baby to Mass I don't even notice anymore...


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