Had we not so stumbled

August 3, 2013

What though, wedded, we would have had annulment’s
Consummation early, and though in darkness
I can see that glimmerous rim of folly
Lave our condition,
Had we not so stumbled on grace, beloved,
In that chanced day brief as the sun’s arising
Preternaturally without a shadow
Cast in its presence.

Odi Barbare XXVIII (Geoffrey Hill)

And somehow, without my realizing it, the year of living on two continents has been over for two weeks. Perhaps it is a precise quality of grace to pass by unnoticed. It is not simply that we stumbled on grace this year, but, as Hill points out, we so stumbled. Grace is uniquely opposite what we would have had. We saw clearly the glimmerous rim of folly that we were risking, or rather, we thought we saw it. And it turns out that even in the midst of it we were spared. There was no shadow, no sign of the sun’s presence, but the mere revelation that we are still wedded. The humiliation of grace is its utter lack of reliance upon our floundering steps, our stammering words.