Et hoc evanuerit.
Sometimes God speaks to me through Latin. I don’t mean he speaks to me in Latin, although that would certainly be cool. I mean that sometimes I translate things into Latin and then understand what God is trying to tell me.
Don’t think I’m saying that God speaks exclusively Latin, or that he even prefers Latin to other languages. Rather, he knows I like Latin, and so I think he lets me find him in something that I like. That sort of mercy is his joy.
By which I don’t mean that God would be unhappy if people didn’t need mercy. He would of course be joyful even if there were no people at all. But as there are people, his joy is expressed through mercy. Or perhaps mercy is what his joy seems like to us, in our current state.
I could quibble all night long.
Also, I know that I’m in the middle of a few conversations. A few topics. A few other things too. This is a bit of an aside, and I appreciate your patience. Particularly let me thank William, if he happens to read this, for being as patient as he has been.
Back to the Latin thing.
Not long ago I wrote a sonnet about… Well, about feeling old and lost and directionless. (It’s possible that the meaning did not come through. It is, at least for me, difficult to write a sonnet in thirty minutes without deleting anything. Also, it is difficult to write a sonnet in more time with more liberty. That’s one of the reasons I like sonnets, but more on that another time.)
At around the same time as I wrote it, I finally found the right translation of the idiom, “other things being equal.” (Idioms are difficult. My Latin is somewhere beyond rusty. It’s dust.) Ceteris paribus. That became the title.
I originally meant it to say something akin to, “Unless something changes, this sonnet is my life.”
Alas, the Latin came to be something entirely different for me. Suddenly, seeing it in Latin, I understood something about the expression “other things being equal.” There is always one Other that is inestimably unequal. He is unchanging (so in that sense he satisfies the basic meaning of the expression), but he changes everything (so it’s very difficult to use the expression at all).
I’m not really explaining this well. At least it doesn’t seem to me that I am. Perhaps I should not have tried to type this while also trying to show my daughter “The Sound of Music” for the first time. As usually happens in such situations, she’s not interested, but I can’t look away.
Also I’m out of time again.