# 320: Transcending Space


St. Augustine, translated by Edward B. Pusey, D. D. (1999/AD 400). Confessions, Book III, Chapter I.

Story behind the Passage

Yesterday someone reminded me of St. Augustine’s Confessions. I will forever be grateful to this person for mentioning this book. I did not actually deserve it because my text that triggered this clue will never compare to what St. Augustine wrote. But I would not have learned about him otherwise. Well, I am just starting to learn more about him, that is actually closer to the truth. The little I did find out about him yesterday already had great impact on me. It is a shame that I never actually read his Confessions. Since I used to do biography research, I, of course, knew about the work because it counts as the historical prototype of an autobiography. I even wrote about it in outlines about the history of life writing. In research we do this all the time. We quote honestly and truthfully and formally correct. But we have no idea what the hell we are talking about.

That is a sin.

Because we do not give justice to the thinker.

I experience this all the time

that people do not read my words.

And if they do,

they do not understand.

They still thank me for the texts,

which is not a gratification.

In any case, I am not whining about anything here. I want to share what moved me. When I got up this morning to take my run, the first thing that I had to think about was the pain St. Augustine had felt about leaving his relationship to a woman he obviously loved but never married. He also felt pain about actually having that relationship. But there must have been great magic about it because, otherwise, he would not have loved the woman. I know this feeling. But sometimes you have to leave the people you love. It is because you are who you are. The only choice is to hate yourself instead of leaving them. That is not a solution either in the long run.

My Learnings

You taught me love,

True and magical love.

Had I known back then,

Things would be different now.


There was no space between us,

Because we were one.

For just a few weeks.

These weeks changed me forever.

I did not understand that.

But I sensed it.

This was not enough.

I was not there yet.

You showed me love,

And I could not deal with it.

I never told you what happened to me then.

I never told anyone.

I thought it was normal,

When you love.

Maybe it is,

And I just philosophize too much.

Philosophers make things complicated,

And simple at the same time.

You were the true philosopher among us.

I admired you.

I respected you.

I appreciated you.

I truthfully loved you.

And I told you.

But you did not believe,

You did not trust me.

I understand that now.

I did not either.

Because I did not trust myself.

Thought I was getting crazy

Because of the things I saw.

And love was endless then.

There were no borders.

I loved everyone,

People, plants, animals –

The entire world looked whole.

And I was part of it.

You were part of it.

But I was not ready.

Just ready to see the truth.

But not ready to share it.

I was afraid of myself.

No, not afraid,

Horrified by my own insight.

Disgusted by the power of love.

I felt I had no space.

Could not breathe.

It was the same for you.

I think.

Thinking does not help,

I know that now.

We thought too much together,

Wrote endless texts.

They were beautiful,

They were poetry.

I have never looked at them again.

I saved them all.

I miss you.

I wonder what you do

And if you are happy.

I know you probably are not.

People like us are never “happy,”

Maybe this is only my projection.

Maybe that is the evil side in me.

Whenever I drive by your town,

I see your face in my inner eye.

I remember the day when I quit.

It was a terrible thing I did to you.

I hated myself for it.

I still hate myself for it.

At least, I can admit it now.

One needs to get over things,

Create space between then and now.

That is right.

But I still claim the need,

The obligation,

To learn from the past.

I wonder what you learned.

I hope it did not break you.

And if it did,

Maybe in a healing way.

God, I would give everything to be able to tell you,

But I can only share it with the public,

Not with you.

That is cowardice,

Still it is necessary.

I would be violating your space,

I would never dare.

Actually, I did once in a message,

I was ashamed afterwards.

I loved you more than anybody in time and space,

I still do.

Never loved anybody since then.

We have to move on.

I wish you are in a good place.

No matter how silly, dumb, and selfish this is.

I wish our paths will cross again.

So that we may be able,

To transcend space again.

Reflection Questions

1) How important is it to you to be geographically near to loved ones?

2) Did you ever leave someone even though you loved him/her?

3) Do you think you could spend a year in a monastery? Why/not?