Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I Climbed into a Clearing

Another evening and the mission looks pure, open; silver skating down alleys and tinkling under pink mimosas. We don't know where our ocean goes from here. We don't remember coming here. We wait on the edge of the world, patient for someone to tell us the truth.

Boheme. No bad flashbacks. No jealous memories this time. Just talking to Mario from Argentina, stumbling between broken English and Spanish and Latin. How hard it is to tell what one ought to say. I asked him why he looked so sad, I got a life story, and then he pulls a bottle of nyquil from his bag.

The other Argentinians, with blue eyes and gray hair, play chess, four to a table. I was here before. I'm suddenly clear on how rich my life is, how much I love the boy I was with before, how much I'll love the people to come. Paul writes, "I know what it is to have a little, and I know what it is to have a lot."

I know what it is to be welcomed into someone else's world -- stories from the nanny, trips to dinner parties and construction sites, the full seasons of another person's rotating ambitions and manoevers -- and I know what it is to be kicked out.

I had another vision on Sunday. Christ stretched out on the cross barring the way. To some people Christ on the cross screams in his passion; to some he opens his arms so wide as to embrace the world. To me, he stands in the middle of a road I don't need to take, and tells me not to go any further. All the ambitions of others in which one gets entangled receive this reply: no more. I was wondering how far to go down this road, looking into their lives, wishing that the lovely boy or the advisor would approve of me, waiting always to hear. Suddenly Sunday, I hear this voice instead: What are you asking them for? What do you want them to do about it? Don't ask them, ask me. Now every time I see a cross, I see not the hallmark brand of an organization, but a road block. Don't ask them, ask me. Christ turns me away from the way I was heading, and I start from another route, deep into the heavily-scented night, making time down the long roads. When I wake up again, I won't know how I got there. This is one fruit of faith.


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