60 years ago, my mom sat at the dining room table writing in her 1955 Year Book OHIO calendar. She didn’t write much. She was the mother of a 12 year old boy and a 3 year old little girl. With such a busy day ahead, she just jotted a line in the Morning box. “Boy Scouts going to Columbus – ” Dawn broke the horizon and she was off into her day.
“For all that cries for consolation, For every law that we have spurned, For sins that stain our generation, For evil deed our Fathers learned, For all our country’s bitter passion…”
The 25th was a Tuesday in 1955. Why my brother’s boyscout troop went to Columbus, I don’t know, but it was important enough for mom to note it. That night and for the rest of the week, my father worked, with a bunch of other volunteers, on finishing the new Youth Building after he had worked a full shift at our local bus factory. As I grew up, that same Youth Building served as the place where I learned to dance on my father’s feet, sweep the sand off the floor at the end of the evening’s dance, go to girl scouts meetings, work on projects, celebrate birthdays, and, much later, take my children to get their childhood vaccinations. Memories brought forward by cryptic lines written in haste.
“Pray ye with tears the while we live, O God of Might, of thy compssion, Mayst Thou forgive! Mayest Thou fogive!” ~Khomyakov, 19th century
The neat thing about reading historical journals is finding buried treasures amid the daily recordings. A newspaper clipping, a quote that inspired, a poem that touched deep within the spirit. Who knows where Mom found the poem that I quoted here or whether she knew exactly who Khomyakov was. But then again – this is the lady who I found reading my green Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia when I had awakened from a one bad dream or another. Maybe she did know that Aleksey Khomyakov was a 19th century philosopher/theologian/poet; I certainly didn’t until I Googled him.
This poem called deep to deep in me as well as it did my mom. In fact, it sounded as if it could have been written today. Oppressed by Tsar Nicholas, Khomyakov never grew rich from his pursuits or writings. A retired calvery captain, his greatest contribution was something he referred to as sobornost which basically means “togetherness” or “symphony” [Aleksey Stepanovich Khomyakov. (2015). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/316824/Aleksey-Stepanovich-Khomyakov] He felt the church was missing the point when it did not concentrate on the faith and love that Christ embodied. We haven’t progressed much since the early 1800’s, have we?
In 1955, Dad had been home from WWII for almost 10 years. It makes me wonder what was it that touched Mom’s spirit as she copied this poem on to her journal cover? I know why it touched mine today as I read it. Khomyakov believed that, “…the task of the church was to teach mankind how to live in unity and freedom.” (Ibid) So many years later and claims of so much progress, the church and mankind seem even further away from that philosophical viewpoint. It made me wonder… if we pray in love, practice the faith of Peter… partake of the His bread each day… percieve the Spirit of God within us… we will… just maybe… find sorbornost of which Khomyakov wrote. An idea my mother discovered in 1955 – an idea that re-appear into my world 60 years later – an idea that one day – could become our new “DAWN”:
A timeless borderline you are
That God twixt night and day put down;
He clothed you in a scarlet gown,
He gave you a companion in the morning star.
When in the heavenly azure
You give off light and calmly fade,
I look at you and ruminate:
We are like you, the Dawn of day—
A mix of blazing flames and cold,
Of heaven and the underworld,
A blend of light and shadows grey. ~Khomyakov