“It’s your road and yours alone, others may walk it with you, but no one can walk it for you.”
Where are you going?
Where have you been?
Where do you want to be?
Who do you want to be all along the way? You? Or someone not quite you? Is it possible to live a life that is not really our authentically own but somewhat of a distortion? A misleading impression? Egos demand attention and constant boosting. Masks hide, marking us less genuine. Will your insides be congruent with your outsides?
“Then, I turned around and walked into my room and closed my door and put my head under my pillow and let the quiet put things where they were supposed to be.” – Stephen Chbosky
Sometimes, it just comes.
Uninvited. Unexpected. Unwanted. Unquiet.
A tenacious taunting. An anxious choking. An apprehensive worry. Uncomfortable unease. Especially in January, when the whole brand new year is beginning and we wonder what in the world it will bring. It will bring more of what it always brings. More joy. More sorrow. More laughter. More tears. More terrible. More beautiful. More daring invitation to live and love brave in every minute of every hour of every day.
“Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color.” W.S. Merwin
Fourteen years. Has it been so few? It seems like forever. I remember like it was yesterday.
I remember you.
I can hear you laughing. How you held your head in your left hand; thumb on your cheek and fingers on the top. As if to hold the glorious weight of all that joy in your head and your hands and your heart for all it was worth.
“I remember, and my soul melts within me: I am on my way to the wonderful Tent, to the house of God, among cries of joy and praise and an exultant throng. Psalm 42:4 The Jerusalem Bible
The most beautiful story ever told.
I wonder what George Frideric Handel, born in 1685 in Germany, would think about his all-around-the-world famous Baroque-era oratorio being played loud from my iPod all over the house. In the car. Anywhere I want to. It seems a long way different from his first live performance of it as an Easter offering in Dublin in April of 1742 – a benefit for local hospitals. Ladies were asked to not wear hoops in their dresses in order to make more room for people.
“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” Albert Einstein
Or. That tiny two letter word with the weighty implication. Choose. Either. Or.
Can you feel the tension?
Which are you likely to rely on the most? Your head, or your heart? Is one, indeed, more reliable than the other? Perhaps you, are more reliable if you engage both. You are both. Aren’t you?
“The real and proper question is: why is it beautiful?” Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
I’ve been remembering my childhood friend Tillie and wondering how she is.
I miss her.
I met Tillie, short for Matilda, Hunsdorfer when she was about twelve.
I was about twelve too.
Tillie became one of my favorite friends. She was quiet and thoughtful. She got teased a lot at school. I think one of her only other friends was her science teacher, Mr. Goodman. He gave Tillie a pet rabbit. She named him Peter. Peter was her friend too. An especially comforting one.
“You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you don’t just live in a world, but a world lives in you.” Frederick Buechner
It just keeps happening.
Young people dying.
I know of several young people who have died in the last several days. One of them was my cousin. I know that it happens all over the world in every culture every day.
“On a grass roots level we say that man can touch more than he can grasp.” Gabriel Marcel
Marcel believed, as do I, that more than just the physical world exists. How might the physical world be distinguished from the nonphysical world?
In my most ecclesiastical moments I might be pulled into thinking that life in this physical world is merely to be tolerated or endured considering the ongoing atrocities all around the world. In more glorious moments I want to wring it for all its wondrous worth. What is the meaning in life, exactly? What is the meaning in death? Life and death are not merely meaningless. What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? Haven’t we all at some point wondered what the most real meaning is? What we are here for?
“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
It would be the day my treasured friend for thirty-six years, my entire married life, would spend dying. It was not possible to physically get to her. I am so thankful for telephones. As her daughter held it to her ear, though she could barely speak, she eked out “I love you.” I spilled out a stream of wondrous ways her love and joy in the telling of God’s story, in the context of her living brave and beautiful, had so importantly impacted my life.
“One of the good things that come of a true marriage is, that there is one face on which changes come without your seeing them; or rather there is one face which you can still see the same, through all the shadows which years have gathered upon it.” George MacDonald
Not lonely in the sense of being isolated or deserted. Not friendless with no one in the world to turn to. Not estranged or abandoned. It is not that I am uncomfortable being alone. Lonely seems to be a theme over the whole of my life. I just thought that rattling, nebulous nagging sense of something still missing deep down inside would dissipate. I am coming to discover I am not the only one.