An old poem

This is an old poem I found in my email files.  Not my best, but interesting nonetheless.

I am loathe to canonize these musings leaking from my pen!

Before the closing and the sealing — all the words were fluid then,

when all at once the wax was hard and thought immortalized,

yet dead within the very texts I sought to canonize.

I know when I am laid to rest and rotting in the ground,

your arguments will rock the earth; your bickering resound,

You forget that I am living in the very words you say;

forget the past is present in the rites performed today

I ask for your indulgence and your reader’s acumen

when you seek to read the thoughts that once were mulling in my head,

for you must not merely read and say, “The writer said this then,”

but say, “This writer lives and is my very wine and bread.”

“A Prayer” Revised

After Eric’s helpful comments on my last post, I was able to revise this poem into another draft.  Here is the result.  Again, the formatting of the words is messed up, so I am not entirely pleased with the presentation, but here it is.

A Prayer

Gabriel and Michael exchanged

worried looks.

The cherubim blushed and

Bent ruffled plumage

Across their hundred busy eyes,

As the Son’s cry echoed, shrill

And ungainly, across the heavens.

They braced themselves for the mighty

Reply but heard

Nothing.

At last a reticent Gabriel flew

To the oaken door of the lapis room

Where the Father sat slumped

On a three-legged stool,

Gripping the world in this right hand

And a bottle of Laphroaig in his left.

A long, wilted sigh came from the

Linen curtains which rippled

Behind the silver throne as the Spirit

Sulked.

The Father did not even

Look up.  “I heard,” was all.

Gabriel left as quietly

As he had come.

But as Gabriel shut the door,

The seraphim began to snort and

Paw the clouds, furiously pumping their

Wings

like hummingbirds that do not burn,

And the hundred eyes flit

Dizzily over the earth,

Searching for any small

Something.

But there was

Nothing

save a short, raspy cough as

God shrugged and gave up

His spirit.

Poetry help

I need your help because I have been having a terrible time writing the end of this poem.  Whenever I try to add more, the description seems trite.  But I am also not sure if the ending (as it is now) is sufficient.  So I want your opinions as fresh readers of this poem.  Does this ending feel “unfinished” yet add an appropriate sense of anticipation for whatever the reader might imagine comes next?  Or does it feel “unfinished” because it really does need more?  Or something else?  I welcome your thoughts.  Alas, as usual, wordpress does not allow me to format words of the poem to my liking, so this rendering with dashes substituted for spaces will have to do.  I am trying to win a poetry scholarship, so please do be as critical as you think you need to be — I’ve torn it apart and put it back together so many times, it can stand more tearing and rebuilding.

A Prayer

Gabriel and Michael exchanged

worried looks.

The cherubim blushed and

Bent ruffled plumage

Across their hundred busy eyes,

As the Son’s cry echoed, shrill

And ungainly, across the heavens.

They braced themselves for the mighty

Reply but heard

Nothing.

At last a reticent Gabriel flew

To the oaken door of the lapis room

Where the Father sat slumped

On a three-legged stool,

Gripping the world in this right hand

And a bottle of Laphroaig in his left.

A long, wilted sigh came from the

Linen curtains which rippled

Behind the silver throne as the Spirit

Sulked.

The Father did not even

Look up.  “I heard,” was all.

Gabriel left as quietly

As he had come.

But as Gabriel shut the door,

The seraphim began to snort and

paw the clouds, furiously pumping their

wings

like hummingbirds that do not burn.

The Gospel of Mark: a poem

Mark

for they were afraid,

afraid, their minds racing

back to the Jordan and the

brown-toothed prophet

crying in the desert,

the loud-mouth leper

starting the rumors,

the slack-jawed scribes

muttering in their hearts,

and the burning question

from the Lord of the Sea,

for they were afraid,

afraid, remembering the

unshackled tomb-dweller

and the wild pigs

shrieking into the sea,

the dreadful walk

up to Jerusalem, and

the Lord coming into

his temple,

for they were afraid,

afraid of the darkness

that had come upon them as

they watched from afar

the man they had followed

back in Galilee – watched

him crying into the black

for a dead prophet,

for they were afraid,

afraid that no one

would roll back the

impossible stone.

Letters to a Young Newlywed: Letter One

Dear Friend,

As is all of life, marriage is a gift.  This gift comes to you in a distinct shape because the person who has been given to you is distinct.  You must bear in mind that the gift you have been given is reality and not some phantom or wish.  Remember that “…to accept the given as it gives itself, and to allow it its existence as such, in its own truth, goodness and beauty, is the precondition for learning anything about it.”[i]  You must allow your spouse to exist as he has given himself.  This is the very heart and purpose of your marriage: to create a space in which you can both become who you are.  You stand in the tension between the reality of yourselves as you currently are and the selves that you will be.  You are at home even as you wander in the wilderness.  This relationship is your Sabbath rest, your place of renewal, until the coming of Him who is our Sabbath rest.

This gift is given to you in a world which perpetually vacillates between reality and unreality; it hovers always between being and nonbeing.  How will you live in this suspension?  You will live through memory and sight.  By ‘memory’, I do not mean the kind of recollection which results in exaltation of the past and denigration of the present.  As Qoheleth warns, the question, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” is not born of wisdom.  This question is folly precisely because it is not a question of remembering, but of forgetting.  The fool ‘remembers’ the former days as better than his present lot, but forgets to recollect them in their fullness: the painful and pleasurable aspects of the past.  He was not satisfied with the ‘former days’ even when they were present to him.

What, then, do I mean by ‘memory’?  One of the primary blessings and curses given to humankind is the ability to reinterpret the past.  Because human vision is partial and selective, human memory will also be selective.  Both what and how you remember is vitally important to your marriage.  As time goes by, you will continually reimagine – remember – the beginnings of your marriage and its movements since that first beginning.  You must take care to remember in such a way that revivifies and renews your marriage.  These memories will fill your present with life if you will only pause to remember the details.

I do not of course mean a false remembering that glosses over hardship or erases pain suffered throughout the years.  You must never trivialize suffering or try to dull your memory to it.  Rather, you must learn to remember without bitterness and interpret every event as the work of an Artist.  Remember the past events and sensations and reinterpret everything as God’s own shaping hand, filling the earth with light and life, for that is what it truly is.

This remembering is the daughter of sight because sight is the beginning of memory.  By ‘sight’ I do not mean simply the physical eyes or capacity of vision, but perception – awareness of the persons and objects around you.  Sight, however, requires not just awareness, but love.  To gaze is to gaze with love; sight without love is neither loving nor seeing.  The words of Rainer Maria Rilke describe well a kind of sight that considers, values and trusts the small, seemingly insignificant things:

If you will cling to Nature, to the simple in Nature, to the little things that hardly anyone sees, and that can so unexpectedly become big and beyond measuring; if you have this love of inconsiderable things and seek quite simply, as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become easier, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory for you, not in your intellect, perhaps, which lags marveling behind, but in your inmost consciousness, waking and cognizance.

The distractions of technology and the busyness of contemporary American life will conflate your memory and pull your gaze away from the details of your recollection.  The distinct shape of your marriage and the person you married will become blurred in your mind if you do not pause to remember with delight and dignity the contours of your beloved and your life together.  But if you pause to notice the ‘little things’, life itself will become easier to embrace because of your own trust in its reality and how vast and large and wonderful are these ‘simple’ things.

You will, however, have to fight for your memory.  The temptation in our age is to rely on photographs and films as the sole aid to memory instead of writing letters and keeping journals.  I urge you to keep a journal or make a habit of writing down a few reflections about the details of important events and daily life.  This is not to denigrate pictures or the ever-popular home movie, but to acknowledge that this kind of memory keeping has its limitations and sacrifices (as all technologies do).  Writing itself is a technology that was destined, Plato tells us,[ii] to make us more forgetful because it enables memory to be located in a space outside ourselves.  Thus, instead of remembering from within, we rely on external text to remind us of thoughts and events.  Today, we most often locate our memory only within photographs and films.  But these particular visual reminders affect us differently from the reminders of writing.

The act of writing will help you to think and also shape your own thoughts.  Someone said something.  An event occurred.  What did you think about what was said?  How did the event affect you?  What are the details that are most important to you presently?  These are reflections which are difficult to render through a photograph or homemade film.  A skilled film maker could express these in various ways – but the leisure, training and resources to create quality films about our memories is not available to most of us.

Writing letters (or even short notes) to your spouse will not only communicate that you love him, but remind you of the ways in which you love him and make those memories concrete.  The words we use do not just express what we already are, but shape who we are and what we think.  Recall to mind the intricacies of your first days together; of your hardships and moments of delight.  Let your own words give your memories the shape of thanksgiving and, when you can, use the words of others as tools to fashion a doxology of praise.

For the words that you write are the song you will sing; the song that you sing is the life you will live.  This song will illuminate your present and set the tone of thanksgiving for your future.  In a lonely remembrance, a single song, you will find the existence of the world gathered together and set before you as a love offering.  The moments of your marriage (these movements in Time) will become the place of renewal where you will glimpse what you are and what you will be.

Yours,

Rebekah Michelle Devine


[i] Hans Urs von Balthasar, Foreward to Josef Pieper: An Anthology (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), x.

[ii] ‘Among the ancient gods of Naucratis in Egypt there was one to whom the bird called the ibis is sacred.  The name of that divinity was Theuth, and it was he who first discovered number and calculation, geometry and astronomy, as well as the games of draughts and dice, and, above all else, writing.  Now the king of all Egypt at that time was Thamus, who lived in the great city in the upper region that the Greeks call Egyptian Thebes; Thamus they call Ammon.  Theuth came to exhibit his arts to him and urged him to disseminate them to all the Egyptians.  Thamus asked him about the usefulness of each art, and while Theuth was explaining it, Thamus praised him for whatever he thought was right in his explanations and criticized him for whatever he thought was wrong.  The story goes that Thamus said much to Theuth, both for and against each art, which it would take too long to repeat.  But when they came to writing, Theuth said: “O King, here is something that, once learned, will make the Egyptians wiser and will improve their memory; I have discovered a potion for memory and for wisdom.”  Thamus, however, replied: “O most expert Theuth, one man can give birth to the elements of an art, but only another can judge how they can benefit or harm those who will use them.  And now, since you are the father of writing, your affection for it has made you describe its effects as the opposite of what they really are.  In fact, it will introduce forgetfulness into the soul of those who learn it: they will not practice using their memory because they will put their trust in writing, which is eternal and depends on signs that belong to others, instead of trying to remember from the inside, completely on their own.  You have not discovered a potion for remembering, but for reminding; you provide your students with the appearance of wisdom, not with its reality.  You invention will enable them to hear many things without being properly taught, and they will imagine that they have come to know much while for the most part they will know nothing.  And they will be difficult to get along with, since they will merely appear to be wise instead of really being so.”’ Plato, Phaedrus, trans. by Alexander Nehamas and Paul Woodruff (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1995), 78-80.

Plato and Particulars

Implicit in a Christian theology of creation is the idea that the details of the created world matter.  To say that God generally created the earth implies that he also created its particulars, just as God’s love for the world as a whole includes his detailed love for each individual person within that world.

In her treatment of Plato’s Phaedrus, Catherine Pickstock defends Plato against the accusation that his thinking is so otherworldly that he undervalues the material earth and loses sight of its details.  Pickstock writes:

As well as demonstrating that Plato did not wish to drive a wedge between form and appearance, the strongly positive view of methexis (participation) in the Phaedrus frees him from the charge of otherworldliness and total withdrawal from physicality, for the philosophic ascent does not result in a “loss” of love for particular beautiful things, since the particular participates in beauty itself. [Catherine Pickstock, After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy, (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1998), 14]

Whether or not Pickstock’s reading of Plato is sound, her words speak to a problem in our age: a belief that participation in the divine must lead to a loss of concern for participation in the human realm.

For example, in Christian communities, we often speak generally or abstractly about loving God, but are sometimes at a loss when it comes to loving God in particular.  What does it mean to love God particularly?  As John tells us, it is impossible to love God and hate our neighbor.  We may say that we love God, but if we do not love the details of God as expressed in our neighbor, our love is lacklustre.

These details of the Creator God, however, are not limited to humans, but extend to the whole of the creation and also the specifics of human activity.  As with our love for God, we may also say that we love our neighbor, but if we do not pay attention to and involve ourselves in the details of her life, that love is flat.

This problem in Christian communities of non-participation is manifested in many different ways, but here let us use the example of what is often referred to as “worship” in evangelical churches.  Evangelicals often use this word to refer to whatever kind of song or music their church happens to play during the Sunday Service.  Now, if we asked a churchgoer what is worship, most would own that worship must of course extend into the rest of daily life; it must not just be something one does on Sunday.  Some more reflective churchgoers may even tell us that worship is an opportunity to focus on God.

This answer is beginning to illuminate the question, but it brings us to another question: what does it mean to focus on God?  How does a worshipper focus on God in the details or particulars?  To look into this question, let us turn to a story, turning our eyes from the question to see it afresh in another place.

There once was a man who loved music.  He studied its details, learned to play his instrument well and listened to music constantly.  He also loved his wife very much and turned his attention to love, respect, enjoy and serve her in any way he could.  Together, they kept their house clean and created a peaceful space in which to work, rest and play.  The man also loved teaching his piano students and set his mind to thinking up creative ways to encourage his students’ love for music.

But one day this man’s love for God was called into question, for he never did the sorts of things one expects lovers of God to do.  He did not raise his hands to the heavens during the Sunday church service.  He was cordial to strangers but would not go out of his way to make small talk if there was nothing to say.  He was not prone to profuse verbal expressions of his love for God, nor did he care much for spontaneous prayer.

One day the question was put to him outright by a well-meaning, but distracted friend: “Do you love God?”  The man looked at his friend for a moment, perplexed.  After a long pause, he said, “I love music. I love my wife. I am thankful for good wine and the rain that falls on the just and unjust alike.”

If  earthly life is created by and suspended from the divine, then loving the divine entails a loving the earth; love for God is expressed through participation in the earth.  While God is transcendent and distinct from his creation, he is also within his creation, pouring  himself into it and sustaining it by his life-giving spirit.

We love God because he first loved us.  We love the world because we love God — but loving the world is the means by which we love God (and God is the means by which we love the world).  To focus on God does not mean that we withdraw from the world or avert our gaze.  Rather, our vision is sharpened by the realization that earthly life is divinely created and sustained.

As much as I appreciate the expression of rapture implicit in the exhortation to “turn your eyes upon Jesus,” that popular song has, for a long time, left me unsettled because of the last line: “And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.”

The things of earth will not grow dim as we gaze upon the the divine-human Jesus.  The earth will be shockingly illuminated — all shall brighten, not fade, and our eyes shall trace its lineaments more readily than ever before.  When heaven touches earth, earth does not pass away but is renewed, transformed, revealed. The divine will does not overpower the human will — the human will is caught up into the divine and is transformed into what it really is.

We do not lose our love for the particulars of the world, for it is in these particulars that God expresses himself.  And as he is expressed in the world, so we too learn to love him in these expressions, knowing that when we welcome a child or entertain a stranger, we are meeting with God himself.

The Anti-Liturgical Liturgy

Anyone who has grown up in a church that is structured anti-liturgically is familiar with this exhortation issued frequently from the pulpit to the congregation: do not be simply passive receivers, but active participants.  Don’t just show up on Sundays, the preacher says.  Be involved.  Be part of the community.  Don’t just smile and shake hands with people during the greeting time.  Join a small group.  Be the Church.

This exhortation is needed because, regardless of the good intentions of the congregation, the shape of such anti-liturgical liturgy conduces passivity and teaches congregants to be unmoving recipients rather than active participants in the service.  The order of service, architecture and spatial layout of the church are often designed like a theatre or rock concert.  The majority of the congregation sits facing the players: the rock band (which delivers ‘worship’) and the pastor (who delivers instruction to a passive audience).  Though the congregation may be told verbally that they come to church to worship God, the shape of the service tells them they have come to church to be entertained.

One of the primary values of a pro-liturgical tradition is that it demands participation.  Everyone who enters the house of God is a player in this divine-human drama: the officiant, the parishioners, God himself.  Each person must participate intentionally in the litugry or else be a hypocrite who refuses to let these motions shape the inner self – there is no middle ground.  If one does not participate, it is clear that (s)he is an outsider.

The pastoral exhortation to be the Church by participating in community life outside the Sunday service reveals another, related issue faced by anti-liturgical churches.  The pastor and congregation appear to view the Sunday gathering not as the main event, but as an event anterior to the “real” work of God in the community, the work evidenced in smaller, more intimate gatherings through the week – “real church.”  The Sunday service is a kind of preface to the real reality of community life.  Put differently: the “real world” is the world which the congregants encounter outside of and after Sunday worship.  The Sunday gathering becomes nothing more than a kind of rejuvenating respite from the real world of daily living.

In liturgical traditions, however, the real world is the Sunday liturgy, for it is here that the church enters into heaven itself.  All earthly life, all other trysts, flow from this heavenly meeting and are enlivened – made real – by participation in the celebration of communion.  Sunday is not a supplementary communion which simply enriches the “real” church experience during the week – it is the reality that makes other activities real.  All existence stems from this union.

This is not to imply that anti-liturgical churches cannot thrive or worship God or be a place of real, genuine community and growth.  (Indeed, for some Christians, it may be just what they need, particularly if they have grown up in a liturgical church that demonstrated all the outward signs of piety without a genuine faith.) Rather, the shape of such liturgies often makes the journey an upward climb, a battle, when church should be a place of rest and relief from our toil.  If church is a struggle, it should not be because of the structure, but because of our own unwillingness to devote our hearts to God.  The structure of church should support us on our journey towards God – we should not be constantly fighting a structure that supports the entertainment values of American culture.

Of course, God can and does meet people in different places and in many different ways.  Yet this is in spite of – not because of – an anti-liturgical structure.  Often God meets us by breaking through a barrier of noise, puncturing the din with a sudden moment of silence.  God will speak to us in the busyness and tumult of life – but it is easier to hear him in the quiet place.

Doxology and Scholarship: on the marriage of criticism and thanksgiving

How blessed is the marriage of Criticism and Thanksgiving!  Come, let us celebrate the feast, which is our inheritance.  The world – its death and malice, its life and goodwill – is placed into our hands.  Let us eat with thanksgiving the food which has been given to us.

***

The intellectual life is often one of exhaustion because it is a life of awareness.  The intellectual is aware of many painful and pleasurable things: the joy of giving and receiving, the sadness of the world’s hunger, the tacit communion of quiet aloneness and the facile din of the busy workday.  Most of all, however, the intellectual is aware of the world’s own dullness: its inability to see itself, to criticize and give thanks for all that is.

The intellectual learns from an early age that criticism and criticism alone is the way to interact with the past.  She is not permitted to see the ancients with a critical eye of doxology that gazes with heavy joy upon the truths and falsehoods of her forebears.  She must not only discern the problems of the old, she must disdain it and disentangle herself from this embarrassing legacy.  This is one extreme.

The other extreme is the unmitigated acceptance of her ancestors, gazing with the uncritical eye that sees only what it desires to see.  This, too, is blindness and is born of trust in a false image of the world, just as a critical eye sans doxology sees only its own haughty reflection and not the world itself.

The medium is the message.  Her body bears the message of the ancients and she must be careful to faithfully hand down what is good, giving thanks for the good and mourning the bad.  If she perpetually turns to the ancients with a disdainful eye, she will have nothing but disdain to offer her descendants.  Until she has let the imperfect ancients inhabit her own imperfect body, she cannot hope to bear good news, for she can speak only of the world’s deformities.

***

How blessed is the scholar who sings a doxology!  Come, let us celebrate the world, which is our inheritance.  The world – its death and malice, its life and goodwill – is placed into our hands.  Let us live with thanksgiving the life which has been given to us.

How to Treat Your Secretary Well: a guide for the well-meaning

Self-awareness and awareness of those around you is one of the most important aspects of any healthy relationship.  Working relationships are no different.  Clear communication can only take place when both parties are aware of and receptive to one another.  In the interest of promoting self-awareness and healthy communication amongst coworkers, here are some tips on how to treat your secretary well.  While each person and office has its peculiarities, there are a few basic principles which everyone working in an office should keep in mind.

Though this list is tailored specifically to an office setting, the principles can easily be applied to treatment of anyone working in customer service.  As the person requiring service from another person, it is incumbent upon you to communicate by your words and actions that you appreciate the service being done for you and do not wish to take it for granted.  You must be aware of what you are asking, how you are asking it and how it is likely to be received.

1. Provide context and details when you make requests or inquire about an old request.  Vague instructions are bound to result in a job unsatisfactorily done.  Keep in mind that your secretary is the stillpoint of the multifaceted and swiftly turning world.  S/he is following multiple threads of conversations and playing in multiple overlapping narratives.  You must not assume that your own personal narrative or task is foremost in your secretary’s mind.  Most likely s/he has written down notes on the task somewhere and must be reminded of the task to which you are referring.  When you follow up on an earlier conversation, provide details to jog your secretary’s memory as to the specific task or scenario of which you speak.  For example, the question “Did the student come to see you?” is inappropriate because it is unspecific.  Try something more detailed like, “Remember how we spoke earlier about that student who is coming to make up a Literature and Arts exam?  I told her to come in on Wednesday and I am wondering if she came in to take it.”

2. Be aware of how much time certain tasks take and give your secretary ample advance notice to complete each task.  For example, if you know that your office has a hearty copier with a stapling feature, then you can feel no guilt in asking your secretary to make numerous stapled copies of an article because all s/he has to do is press a few buttons and refill the paper when it is out.  Your secretary can work on other projects while the printer is stapling your copies.  If, however, you want each of these hole-punched, remember that this activity is much more time consuming if the office only has one small, temperamental electric hole-punch.  This is not to say that you should not request hole-punching, but it does mean that you should consider how much time the task will take, whether it is really worth all that trouble, and make sure your secretary has enough advance notice to do the job without feeling flustered.  Be clear about when you need a task completed so that your secretary can prioritize efficiently.

3. Consider if it would not be more efficient to do a task yourself.  For example, if you have a detailed communication to convey to someone, it may be more advantageous to not involve your secretary as a third party.  Eliminate the middle man and it will save you and your secretary a good deal of time and avoidable frustration.

4. If you leave papers or other items on your secretary’s desk, provide (preferably written) instruction as well.  A brief post-it note of explanation will save your secretary from time wasted on guesswork.  On the post-it, put your name, what is the item and what you would like your secretary to do with it, as well as a deadline (if applicable).

5. If you have regular office hours, put them on your schedule so that your secretary can make appointments confidently instead of wondering when you will be available.

6. Respond to your emails.  Nuff said.

7. Don’t be afraid ask your secretary to do things.  Everyone wants to feel needed and if you never ask your secretary to do anything, s/he may feel unnecessary or get the impression that s/he is a scary, unapproachable person. Your secretary wants to see you succeed and help you accomplish your goals.  If your secretary knows what you are aiming for, then s/he will be better equipped to help you realize these goals.

8. Remember that gifts are no substitute for clear, respectful communication.  However, gifts can be meaningful expressions of appreciation and gifts which complement your clear communication are always welcome.  Organic chocolates, copies of Plato from the Loeb Classical Library and/or a copy of Catherine Pickstock’s book After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy would all be appropriate, thoughtful gifts.

 

Aside

Atheistic Madness

I spend quite a bit of time in Panera and thus have ample opportunity to ponder the food propaganda plastered everywhere in the form of photographs, “paintings” of bread and depictions of intently focused artisan bread makers.  The tagline above the photo of a steak-and-egg breakfast sandwich reads: “Grilled like no other” and I cannot help thinking of the Deutero-Isaianic refrain that there is “no god like God”.  But of course, Panera doesn’t really believe that there is no steak-and-egg-sandwich like their Steak-And-Egg-Sandwich — they just want me to buy their product.

Does advertising have the capacity to be meaningful art? I don’t doubt the skill of the photographers or cleverness of the food artists — it’s well-wrought propaganda: it works.  But its end is manipulation — to persuade consumers of the desirability of a particular product so that the consumer will give something in exchange for what is advertised.

Does this telos transcend the photograph’s aesthetic qualities and render it a sophistic ornament devoid of content — a meretricious adornment to an otherwise false and vapid image?

Though perhaps more problematic than its power to persuade (for propaganda is not always fallacious — it may be used to persuade us of something true) is the fact that the thing advertised does not have the power to deliver the happiness or contentment promised.  It may be a damn fine steak-and-egg and I may eat and enjoy it with thanksgiving, but the sandwich is not the maker or bearer of joy.  My thanksgiving to the Giver of good gifts consummates the eating and transforms it into doxology.

Without thanksgiving, my desire for the sandwich is a dislocation of reality, for I look to a god that cannot deliver; mine is an expectation of nothing from no one.  I eat and am not satisfied, for I am only being-within-myself and not being-beside-myself; possessed of atheistic madness.