Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A beginning.

Once upon a time, a baby was born to a proud mother and father. The mother was a simple woman, reported to be round, short, and kind. She had been a servant, in the home of a wealthy hosier. She could not sign her own name, three letters long, without the help of another guiding her hand. She would be exalted from her station, by disgrace in her station, for the same hosier would bless her with a child, and then a wedding, and then six more children. This particular baby was the last—the child of their old age (not unlike Abraham and Sarah). While they might not have known it, this was also their child of promise. He too would make the journey to Mt. Moriah. He too would place the object of his love on an altar before God. While the father did not accompany him, the child carried his memory with him. Indeed, he carried the father’s weight on his back, and his sadness. (How many days was his journey? Perhaps more than three, and as silent.) The child learned of God from this father, including the sad familial tale when the father was himself a son, and young shepherd, standing on a hill in Jutland. Hungry and cold, the small shepherd threw up his arms and cried out against his Maker, before spending the rest of his life trying to undo his cries. (Is it any wonder that the shepherd’s son felt anxiety and guilt before God?) He took communion with this father. He was baptized and confirmed in the presence of this father, in the church of his father. He would learn of piety before God, and self-denial. Through all of this, he developed faith in God, a faith so strong, that no matter how many times it was expressed, could not be fully revealed. These same things could be spoken of his love for the object of his sacrifice. And unlike Abraham, who was asked to sacrifice his son, this son, would sacrifice his betrothed. He would do it not with a knife, which is dull as a sword, but with the mightiness of a pen, and a breaking of an engagement, in a time and place when engagements were not broken. The son as we know is Søren Aabye Kierkegaard, the father, Michael Kierkegaard, the betrothed, Regine Olsen.

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