Everything Christian Wiman says seems to resonate with me. He has a rare form of cancer. He has an incredible insight into life.
What is the difference between a mystery in which, and by means of which, one’s whole spiritual and intellectual being is elated and completed, and a mystery that merely deflates one’s spirit and circumvents one’s intellect? The latter, you might say, occurs in quotes. Nothing is more frustrating than listening to an inept or unprepared preacher (or poet!) defer to the mystery of existence and God when more mystery is the last thing his words need or can bear—nothing, that is, except perhaps plowing through some twelve-volume Teutonic tome explicating every last letter of the laws of God. I begin to think that anything that abstracts us from the physical world is “of the devil,” as we said in the baked—and sometimes half-baked—plains of west Texas where I was raised, though there we were more inclined to blame Satan for tempting us too close to the sweet stinks of the earth. What I crave—and what I have known, in fugitive instants—is mystery that utterly obliterates reality by utterly inhabiting it, some ultimate insight that is still sight.