Darkness, the absence of Light
My father loved poetry, he used to recite poems all the time as he walked around the house. “To Christ crucified” was one of my favorites, it always managed to move me to unspoken tears … In spite of being too young to comprehend how deep those words were, I always had a profound feeling of respect and sadness at the same time every time I heard them. The tone of his voice, the intensity and the feeling he had behind those words were powerful… My father was an agnostic or so he said… I think he wanted to be and tried hard to make others believe he was. There were some moments like those ones when he recited this poem that lead me to believe later on that he was just trying, as strange as it might sound, to protect himself of hope. Many of us try hard to stop believing so we can’t be hurt anymore. We try to stop believing in real love and decency, in human integrity and character, we try to stop believing in fairness and possibilities, even in God. We feel all grown up and too smart to believe…even though there is something inside of us that needs desperately to do so and never, ever stops searching, even in all the wrong places, for that light that seems to start inside of us and needs to connect to it’s source, a much bigger and powerful light, in order to continue to exist. It is then, when we cease to believe, that we become broken, empty lanterns without a fire, without a purpose… It saddens me to accept that I, as well, had walked away from the light inadvertently, not completely, not that far, still far enough to experience such darkness… I love little Albert Einstein’s explanation to his teacher about darkness not existing and been impossible to be proven scientifically, he said it is only the absence of light. Researching the story a while ago I found out it was an urban legend… I was heart broken and refused to believe it wasn’t real so I decided right there and then to hold on to it, for as long as I could… too much beauty and truth in it to let go.
My father lost his mother when he was a little boy, I can only imagine how hard it must have been… I think that had a big influence on him trying to live his life without faith or hope. He never said it but it makes sense to me now… it’s made sense to me for a while actually, specially since he died in September of 2011. It’s helped me greatly to believe that he actually, deep, deep down, in a dark, quiet corner of his heart, believed… the way he recited this poem with such sorrow and passion… There were a few things and moments during his life where we were able to see signs of his lost faith since he went to Catholic school. Those moments had given me hope that he has finally reunited with his Mother and that I will see him again, joyful and in peace, without pain, the way it was intended to be… and he will hold me and comb my hair and tell me how pretty and smart I am again…
Here is the translated poem and the original.
I am not moved, my God, to love You
by the heaven that You have promised me
and I am not moved either by hell so feared
as the reason to stop offending You.
You move me, my Lord, it moves me to see You
nailed to a cross and your flesh destroyed,
what moves me is to see your body so injured,
what moves me is your suffering and your death.
What moves me, finally, is your love, and in such way,
that even if there was no heaven, I would love You,
and even if there was no hell, I would fear You.
You don’t have to give me for me to love You,
so even if what I hope for I did not hope,
the same that I love You, I would love You.
—Translated by José Leo O S
A Cristo crucificado
No me mueve, mi Dios, para quererte
el cielo que me tienes prometido,
ni me mueve el infierno tan temido
para dejar por eso de ofenderte.
Tú me mueves, Señor, muéveme el verte
clavado en una cruz y escarnecido,
muéveme ver tu cuerpo tan herido,
muévenme tus afrentas y tu muerte.
Muéveme, en fin, tu amor, y en tal manera,
que aunque no hubiera cielo, yo te amara,
y aunque no hubiera infierno, te temiera.
No me tienes que dar porque te quiera,
pues aunque lo que espero no esperara,
lo mismo que te quiero te quisiera.
This week, as we remember Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, I better realize what happens when we extinguish the light. We are surrounded by what we perceived as darkness, we are surrounded by the absence of THE LIGHT.