4am. Suddenly wideawake. Deep winter darkness. A hushed silence broken by one word echoing through the field called body:
I sat up. Lit a candle. Renounce? How curious that this unlikely word arose in mind here, at exactly the same time in the morning (it was a Saturday, too) as when she exhaled her last.
Pedant that I am, I reached sleepily for the dictionaries. I’m aware that my native tongue often hides subtle meanings beneath its everyday usage. First I clarified the breadth of meaning; as I did so the word took on skin-prickling relevance to my life, as it plays, nowadays.
Well, I thought, this is worth a scribble.
The dictionaries elicited an unarguable take on the life of this unofficial renunciate – I’ve inserted the gist into the pasted dictionary text:
Renounce – (rɪˈnaʊns)
v.t. & i., & n.
1. Consent formally to abandon, surrender, give up, (claim, right, possession).
– abandon, surrender, give up, all claims of personal doership, all stories of trauma, blame and fault, all rights to fruits of actions (especially those applauded), all possessions that are subject to change…
2. Repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association or disclaim relationship with, withdraw from, discontinue, forsake, (~ treaty, principles, person’s authority, all thought of, design, attempt, friend, friendship; ~ the world, abandon society or temporal affairs).
– repudiate, refuse to recognise longer, decline association AND disclaim relationship with all that does not enliven, beautify, arouse gentleness and kindness; any phenomena (including people) posing as the Real or the agent of the Real. (The Real has no agents. Unless you include everything.)
– withdraw from, discontinue, forsake all conditioned assertions which deny the actual intimacy and interdependence of all Life.
3. Refuse or resign right or position esp. as heir or trustee.
– refuse to take any hierarchical, authoritative position, or allow others to sign one up. (Which is not to abdicate responsibility, but to be perfectly placed – in choiceless awareness – to act in the instant.)
4. Give up some habit, pursuit, etc, voluntarily, e.g. to renounce smoking.
– give up the habit of pretending to be an unawakened ‘me’. It’s entirely dishonest.
5. In Card Games – to failure to follow suit because one has no cards of the same suit led.
– and in the Life Game, fail to follow, always. Repeat – fail to follow. The lifemap wearing one’s name is unique – a one-off – its unfolding exquisitely designed according to Life’s unknowable agenda (and being a groupie is always a self-betrayal).
[From Old French renoncer, from Latin renuntiāre to disclaim, from re-+ nuntiāre to announce, from nuntius messenger – Collins English Dictionary and The Concise Oxford Dictionary]
Five times I say: I do, I do, I do, I do, I do.
And another twice, because I’m fond of sevens (and so was she):
I do. I do.
Painting by Sophie Ploeg