From where I am sitting, I can see windows lit in the parish church, an outline of branches stretching up to juggle the stars, candle shadows dancing on a white painted cinder block wall and crumbs from cinnamon graham crackers sprinkled across the scrap of paper towel under my glass of milk.
I can hear my own heart beating, the smoky groan of an airplane, the bay of a dog remembering his ancestral lineage, and a motorcycle exercising bravado.
It has been a long couple of days spent witnessing the extraordinary ability of the human mind to create the world in which it wishes to live, even when it bears no relationship to reality. The ability I witnessed was not exercised by choice or induced by action…it simply IS. What has been lost over time, thanks to action and choice, is the ability to walk the line between the two landscapes–the one of the mind and the one of the feet. On the one hand, I find this tragic…on the other, it makes me gasp in awe of such a capacity.
It is the mix of this tragedy and awe that comes together in my heart’s sigh this evening. And I find myself wondering aloud to God whether that ability to leave the world most people know and go elsewhere is another way God is with some people, protecting them from what would otherwise be too much, what would hurt too profoundly, what would leave them paralyzed with fear and perhaps cause greater harm to a larger number of people.
If I believe that, though, it doesn’t really make it any easier to understand how to respond. And I am still left wondering what my responsibility is as a human who loves and who believes that justice is lived where all are safe, all know love, and all have enough….enough clean water, shelter, food, healthcare, etc… and who also believes in free will…I am left wondering what my responsibility is when I see someone heading off into the brambles and briars of fantasy and delusion…without a compass, map, or promise of return…and I might be able to do something to help them live justly.
If I don’t believe that, then how else is it that such alternate realities are so intricately woven and worn as truth?
Regardless, believing that somehow God is a part of it all and knows intimately and profoundly where we all “are” is the only way it all comes together for me… and I want that to be certainty enough…wherever the “are” is and however we got there.
So maybe in the sigh is just that–a prayer for that to be enough to know. The rest is discovered on the way.