Here’s how this week’s arts and culture piece begins:
“Now he comes to be born in the narrowness of our lives, to be incarnate in us, to give his love to the world through us, through our flesh and blood. That is one meaning of the Incarnation.
The reason why we are where we are this Christmas, in this house, family, office, workroom, hospital, or camp, is because it is here in this place that Christ wants to be born, from here that he wants his life to begin again in the world…We did not choose this place–Christ has chosen it. We did not choose these people—Christ has chosen them.”
–Caryll Houselander, The Mother of Christ
I’m not sure I ever chose LA. When I moved here in 1990, I was newly married. My brother, a contractor who lived in the South Bay, had given my then-husband and I tickets from Boston as a honeymoon gift. He’d offered Tim, a carpenter, a job.
LA was the last place that, as a lifelong New Englander, I ever thought I’d end up. Yet bit by bit the city, in all its unfathomable, sprawling mystery, grew on me. I underwent so many dark nights, so much searching and suffering here—not because LA is an especially harsh place; rather, because I’m human—that over time the very city came to be incorporated into my bones and blood, and vice versa.
In recovery programs, I’d experienced the fascinating phenomenon that I was not healed by people I had hand-picked, but by whoever happened to walk through the door on any given day.
That rough concept of the Mystical Body prepared me well to come into the Church, which I did in 1996. So did the traits with which I seem to have emerged from the womb: my love of nature, my propensity for the outcast, the hypersensitivity that has made for so much pain but also for so much consolation and joy.