The Doctrine of Total Depravity (a love letter)

My eyes are trained to assess the consistency with which strangers use serial commas, obey the rules subject-verb agreement, and such. The particular stranger at hand has the eighteenth-century habit of capitalizing everything: “The Doctrine of Total Depravity.” I lowercase and insert comment: “Per CMS 8.116, doctrines are usually lowercased.”

I admit I have half-abused the notion of Us and perhaps even the notion of Love by occasionally dreaming of Others. But it is often in Temptation and Chance that I find the Strength to move forward. If there’s anything I’ve learned in recent years, it is that Temptation is not the same as Sin.

Here is the ocean and there are the boats, and I forget why I’m here. And then there is the tiredness that involves wondering whether the world is tender-hearted.

I do and I do and I do, but this thing I do doesn’t make me happy exactly. It’s not the same as watching Spanish soap operas or eating Breyer’s mint chocolate chip ice cream out of the clay bowl. But, in truth, it is much better than before, because before all this, I was ostensibly happiest when asleep.

I suppose you are wondering what it was like for me to forget, to forgive? 

But, you see, I haven’t a clue in the world.

All I know is that a couple nights ago, we were walking at dusk through a park in Westerly, and you were scared of getting lost and I was scared of getting mugged, but instead, we found a pond full of blooming water lilies. Now that’s what I call Luck.

to JG in celebration of nothing in particular
[[Originally published online in a slightly different form at Dossier Journal]]