Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It is Good

"Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence."

Sometimes a sentence is laid down letter by letter. It is an arrow, pointed, sharp, stretching toward utility. Sometimes a life is laid down letter by letter. It is an arrow, pointed, sharp, stretching toward reverence.

A sentence can bend at the break, and so can a life. Words can submit and fall, do the bidding of the hand that crafts them. A life too, can tremble and quake, submit and fall, in joy or in desperation and grasping.

I love sentences, words like filament, and I love this life. I bend them at the transition; I bend at the waist, the knee. I work with the tools of my trade, I have ink on my fingertips, beneath my nails. The evidence of my faults is written in my creases, the toothed grains that have collected in all of my edges. They broke off from someplace.

When it comes down to it, I wonder if I do not know how to live, do not want to live. I know the things that spark, that propel me toward the water to cool my burning skin, my flaming eyes. Yet I run. I play cat and mouse. I am a child striking sticks when the burning bush is flaming at my feet. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. As if it is all a show.

Only glance out the windows. I spend most of my day trapped inside, so for me, the windows are the thing. The natural world is practiced in extravagance, in heaping wild civility upon wild civility, in the great giving. I hold on to this, take it up in both arms, let it take root and expand. Maybe trees will grow from the palms of my hands, I can carry them with me and never forget that goodness is real, abundance is promised, that God is near.

I close my eyes in church, the music a pressure and a release; I see his hands, and universes are spiraling from his fingertips. Wouldn't it be good if I got to know this place where my feet have been planted? This far-flung planet of ours, whirling around an invisible axis at over a thousand miles an hour. It is a wonder we haven't flown right off. I've heard the rumors—turn it up a few notches and we're all goners. Is this love then, that we are arcing through space at impossible speeds, yet are held fast, roots twining down to the very center, he will not let go. I too, should become practiced in this kind of extravagance, this great and ebullient giving.

Thoreau set out alone to live deliberately, to learn what this brined and thorned world had to teach. Living is so dear, he said. Living is so dear. Should I say it again? To myself, to you? There is no other life, only this one unraveling before us, a clockwork of days, unpracticed, elusive, ephemeral. We are gone in an instant, carried across the threshold into eternity, I don't think we get a second chance at this. It is good to be alive, I have whispered in my daughter's ear as she sleeps. It is good, it is good, it is good. I have clung to the thread of hopelessness, been on the wrong side of a loosed anchor. And still I can say it is good, it is good to be alive. She stirs beneath my whispering. I pray that she hears me.

I will lay out this life, letter by letter. My arrow is small, I might need a microscope to see it. But it is sharp, stretching upward toward reverence, speeding toward the things that flame. And the man behind the curtain? Pay attention to him. He is real, he is good, he is just, he upholds and restores. And if it is just a show, preposterous entertainment for the masses, well, he sure can tell one hell of a story. And I love a good story.

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