18 October, 2007

The Cure for Everything

I saw this quote today:

"The cure for anything is salt water --
sweat, tears, or the sea." Isak Dinesen

You have to think about it a second, and it's brilliant. That's the best kind of quote. I was quite immediately impressed with it.

But, as is my wont, I thought about it some more.

Sweat was a part of the curse of sin on the land.

Tears are a result of sin, and will be erased in the coming age.

Sea is the symbol of death, the final foe vanquished by Christ.

So, really Isak is saying the cure for sin is in its curse. Sweat opposes everything sin takes from us in labors. Tears oppose everything taken from us loss. And the sea takes from us all the poisonous that can be soaked out by rest.

So maybe she's actually right, outside of Christ. It's certainly a powerful insight.

Just thinkin'


karen said...

Sweat is the result of hard and virtuous labor. Tears can come from absolute joy.
The sea is ever moving, flowing, life-giving.

Thanks for the thinkin'.

tari said...

Love those thoughts, Karen!

Love this quote as well. :)

MIlly said...

Good stuff

They can all wash us clean.

Kansas Bob said...

Maybe it is all about Blood,Sweat and Tears.. for you oldies they were a band and they Made Us Very Happy.. for everyone else.. you can fill in the symbolic meanings.. aren't you glad that you brought it up CP.. not all thinkin' is good :)

pearlie said...

Good quote.
Sweat - cure for the body
Tears - cure for the spirit
Sea - cure for the soul

KB, not all thinkin is good -- oh dear, but you are right :)

Bill said...

maybe she's actually right, outside of Christ

Fascinating. There's definitely something there. Sweat, tears, and the sea... inside the fall. Howabout before the fall?

Not to get too 'truthy', but lemme have a go here:

In the beginning, God made... the seas. (Actually, he seperated the seas, didn't he?) Either way, there was saltwater before the fall. Now, the garden was far away from it, and the river of life was not of it. The water flowed to water the garden and the man and the earth, but whatever water wasn't absorbed didn't get to pass on it's Life... and must have flowed down into the sea. Now, perhaps all of that River was absorbed (before the fall) and perhaps it never carved a bed as far as the Sea. But the Sea was still there.

There was no death in the garden, before the fall. But there was the potential for death. Just like God said, "on the day you eat... you will die."

So there was salt water in the sea before the fall. Now, what about tears? We don't know if there were no tears before the fall, but we might imagine that was true. Still, unless we imagine God 'added' tear ducts to Adam & Eve's physiology just before he set the flaming sword... and for that matter, why is there salt at all in Adam's physiology?... then it semms Adam also had the potential for tears, before the fall.

One left, then. Sweat. John Milton's Paradise Lost had Adam working and working like a dog, all day every day - Milton's reasoning was that the garden was so abundantly overflowing with life, and God told Adam to tend it, so Adam must have needed most of his daylight hours just to prune it, with Eve's help, presumably, on some days at least.

But that's Milton. We don't know for sure whether Adam had to work. We have to imagine. But the question is, did he sweat?

This is interesting. At the fall, God didn't say, "now you will sweat". He said, "by sweat, you will eat". In other words, Adam used to eat without working. (Not unlike certain Thessalonian idealists tried to do, for a while!) But even if food was freely found on trees, Adam had other ways to work... and to sweat.

Again - unless we imagine Adam's physiology to be drastically, radically different before the fall - Adam's body had the ability to sweat, in Eden.

Biology wasn't my best subject, but I'm told we sweat to cool our bodies against overheating, through exertion or from outside heat. In other words, we sweat in order to stave off death.

I can imagine Adam doing many things in the garden that would cause his physical body to sweat. If so, that sweat was death's potential being drained away. (Or maybe there's a better way to say that, which I'm missing.)

And by the way, is there salt in our blood? Then how close is the old cliche 'blood sweat and tears' to Dinesen's obersvation?

Anyway... what is the deeper insight here?

I'm just imagining God creating the Garden, with great hope, care and love, even knowing how much great potential there was for death.

Also, just as Adam was inferior to the Second Adam, Christ, so the garden was inferior in significant ways to the new Jerusalem.

There's probably quite a lot more hiding here, but that's all I can see for now... Praise the Lord.

Thanks, Kevin.