Having spent three days in bed sleeping, coughing, napping, blowing, sleeping, and drinking enough water to float an armada, I was understandably buoyant at the prospect of leaving the house. The fact that my grand adventure was taking me a whole block and half to the drugstore did nothing to prevent the whole ritual of readiness– a good hot shower (gift from God to my sinuses), clean jeans, warm cozy turtleneck and fleece. Along the short route where I could have had my nails done and wardrobe dry-cleaned several times over, I met a story I’d forgotten over the last days.
This story lives much of her time tucked into the pay phone partition between here and the next block over. She is surrounded by the well-ruffled pages and seemingly broken spine of her life. It is all gathered in around her so no words are lost or paragraphs plagiarized. She is the only one who can tell her story.
Everyone has one, this I believe. Everyone in each office building, in every shop, condemned project, and street corner. There is a unique story of how circumstances came to be what they are. And no one else can presume to know what it is. The authorship is within the story itself. Or, I wonder, should that be Story?
Someone once presumed to tell me that my father had “wasted his mind” by selling cars and eventually living into his own multi-chaptered tale of searching and never finding. The presumption of the judgment rendered prompted the following:
Somehow I just can’t imagine God- at the end of it all- looking at someone, no matter their straits, and saying
“Well geez, you wasted it all, didn’t you? All that I gave you, PIFF…gone.”
No… I think God’s going to say
“I’m so glad, I’ve been waiting, and here’s your coffee, just the way you like it. Welcome back, it’s been a long time. The flowers have grown some and the world has changed, but people haven’t really, have they? They still want for things they haven’t, get angry, say things they don’t mean, sigh at sunsets, and blow dandilions to kingdome come. Never have figured out where that is. Yes, they love and they fight, they create and they kill.
I didn’t set out with that broad a scope of activity in mind, but there you have it. Loving, creating, honoring, imagining, hoping, toiling, caring, building…that was the basic plan. Then one day, not one of the seven–a little while after that- the wind blew up into a fit causing a great agitation among folks.
‘That’s it day after day??’ one of them asked me. Can you imagine asking me that?
‘Will there ever be any choice?’
In the spirit of generosity and freedom, I said ‘Sure.’
Now, sometimes what people choose…it isn’t part of the prototype, but that doesn’t make them bad… not to me anyway. No, I’d say it makes me all the more thankful to see them again. So we can walk, and I can show off the flowers. I do love making flowers–all those colors and textures and smells– heavenly!!
Go ahead, laugh! Laugh and kick up your feet. You are home now. That’s what you do here.”