On Coincidence and Fate

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house:

Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

I got on here with every intention of writing on something else. I still will. But in order to get my (not MacBook) to (yes) understand anything related to the internet I had to hit that nifty little “inspire me” button at the bottom of the text entry. To be honest neither my computer nor I had the faintest idea what that panic button would bring about. It brought about this. And it surprised me. Perhaps the people of WordPress are my spirit animal or something, but is not everyday that someone is like “write about Italo Calvino,” because its not everyday that people even know who he is.  Unless that person was in my “Topics in World Lit class” last year or like an Italian Language major with an interest in French New Wave Film or a Pixar fanatic or a Communist. Joking. In fact I started reading “Cosmicomics” begrudgingly. “Oh, this was translated into English? Oh, it’s science fiction? Oh, he’s an athiest? Cool. I wasn’t planning on actually doing my homework anyway.” But really, science fiction? This professor was clearly expecting too much out of me. I couldn’t even make it through Star Trek and Anton Yelchin’s yummy self is in that. However, what I read intrigued me, moved me, inspired me. Rarely do I go into a book written by an Atheist expecting to feel so taken aback by the beauty of creation. I dearly hope I kept my copy somewhere because I kept all my note in the margins and they basically all looked like my jaw dropping. One of my favorite quotes was online and goes a little something like this:

“a true outburst of general love, initiating at the same moment the concept of space and, properly speaking, space itself, and time, and universal gravitation, and the gravitating universe, making possible billions and billions of suns, and of planets, and fields of wheat, and Mrs. Ph(i)Nk0s, scattered through the continents of the planets, kneading with floury, oil-shiny, generous arms, and she lost at that very moment, and we, mourning her loss.”
– Italo Calvino, “All at One Point,” Cosmicomics

And for some reason I read this and was like, “Jesus Christ.” As in like literally Jesus Christ. And maybe that’s not at all what Calvino meant, but I cannot see it any other way. Because maybe it was the Big Bang or quantum physics but more importantly, it was love. Mrs. Ph(I)Nkos literally created the universe, the sun, the stars, the very ability for humans to conceptualize the vastness of it all, out of her love. Out of her love, she died, settling upon the Earth. The first thing that came to my mind was the Trinity: God’s creation of the universe, how He so loved the world He gave us a Savior, who loves us so deeply he died for our sins, but loves us even more so by never leaving us alone but sending the Holy Spirit among us. Boom. Like even me and the Athiest are like “Creation stories. None of this is logical. But no matter how it happened, it was love.”

As far as the picture goes, I do not know the ghosts that it contains. I know that not far from the rural area where I live there are many more like it. And the impression to me is always the same: these people clearly don’t know what Craigslist is. I jest. But really, look at all the stuff they left behind- “curb alert” that you crazies. But the images we do not see clearly in the photo, the remnants left behind – those are the ghosts. It seems as if we all want to move up in the world. We praise “humble beginnings” but goodness forbid we have a humble end. It is ingrained in us that life isn’t just in progress it IS progress. If we are not making something of our time here on earth then we are using it inadequately. The flipside of progress is that the farther we move forward the more we leave behind. Light loads make for fast feet. But light loads don’t have room for people, or places, or things. Moving forward requires leaving behind, and then what we know longer have in our hands, we have in our heads. Memories. Sometimes haunting. We fear what we give power. We give power to what we value. We value what we love. The things we love, or once did, seem to haunt us most of all. The house has the artificial ghosts we give it. The fantasy of who and what and when we project upon its empty walls and abandoned beds. But the true ghosts do not torment our bodies, they torment our souls. When we close our eyes and ears they remain. Because it’s not the abandoned that are haunted, it’s the abandoned that haunt us.


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