He said, “I get my meanness from the gutter and I get my kindness from God.” I sat down under the bridge with him and I said, “I think I could say the same.” He looked at me square in the eyes and I could see he was surprised by my response. He said, “You don’t look like you know much about the gutter.”
I smiled and said “looks can be deceiving don’t ya know?” Then he laughed. The sound of his laughter was one that made me smile. His laughter was like a nine month old baby’s belly laugh. The kind of laughter where nothing is held back and a sweetness of joy rings from it. I told him I had not laughed like that in ages and he said, “Oh you can only laugh like that when Fury and Thunder have cracked your soul and all the dark places have been opened up and cleaned out and all the pieces are strewn about and you cannot put them back together by yourself. I call it reconcilable purity. This laughter only occurs when you have lost your life to save it and when you were first but now you are last…”
I sat there in sober silence but something inside of me begin to tremble. “Who are you?” I whispered. He said, “I am just an old man who has been given a new heart and all day long I just like to go around and give my heart and life away to whoever might need it for a minute or two so that they can go about their day with some pure laughter…” The gorged veined, brown spotted hands palmed my face and the old man looked me in the eye and he said, “Go and be, not do. Go laugh and cry. Go and give your life away for someone else and you will see. You will laugh the laugh of “reconcilable purity.”
I am a writer. Writers love to read other writers. I can only speak for myself but I like to read to see if I can find that author who has written something I have never read before. I have always been an adroit reader and have read profound words but honestly they have been said before. I have read deeply meaningful stories but they have been told before because we know, according to The Preacher, that there is “nothing new under the sun.”
But what if, what if someone’s words drive a stake into the ground right where you are standing? Or what if someone’s story breaks the chains of your heart and your own story comes to life?
That is the treasure hunt for me. The words, the expressions, the Truth, and the lies…like looking for sea shells for hours and hours and days and days seeing each one as beautifully written. The broken shells, the beautifully colored ones, the plain ones, the big ones, the little ones…all treasures.
In the end of it all I still come back to the most profound words I have ever read and these words DO drive a stake into the earth where I am standing and they DO keep me grounded and rooted in the life I have been given. This author is the only One who has broken the chains of my heart and allowed my own story to come to life…
Just a handful of words you say…yea and what a handful of words they are!
“I am the light of the world. I am the bread of life. I am the Resurrection and the Life. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am the door of the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the True Vine. If you have seen Me then you have seen the Father. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the Lamb that was slain. I go to prepare a place for you so that where I am you may be there also…”
They think they know me…I walk among them and they turn their eyes away. Most of them want to see me stoned to death but Joseph has stepped up to save me. Even my father and mother doubt me. Some say I am a lunatic or have devils in me. I am ten and four years. I am a daughter of Abraham, a Hebrew girl. I was born, have lived and will die in this patriarchal world. I am to make a good wife and mother. I want to do that with all of my heart. I have known trembling fear these last few months and yet I have had an unworldly peace in my soul. I really cannot explain it but my Faith in the integrity of my God is so very real to me. I know that God is good. I know that He loves people. I know he created all things and he loves and does not lie. I know that he is just and gives life…this has sustained me. I cry out to Him most nights when all are asleep and I am alone. I cry to him that I don’t understand this miracle that has taken place and that I am so frightened at times that my legs buckle underneath the weight of it. Then I hear His voice and there is peace…I cannot explain it. What lies ahead only God knows…
Year 33 A.D.
This last year has been both glorious and a torment. He had to go. I had known some of what He was to do but did not really comprehend the complete and utter sorrow of it. I was not prepared for the crucifixion. How can anyone be prepare for that? My son, God’s son – so loved yet hated, so gentle yet a stumbling block, murdered they say but I know He gave his own life by his own volition. I was there. A part of me died that day as well. I begged Him to call down the heaven’s army, to save himself…oh yes I did that. Do you think me less holy now? I wanted him to use his God-ness and kill them all! Of course, part of me understood on some level what He was here to do. I had a lifetime to learn of it but when it came to the reality of it I was his Mother and he was my son…A son who stepped down from being God to become my child…of course people think it is all insanity and I can understand that they would but if they met him, if they listened to him and saw his compassion they would be changed by him. That day at the Cross there was SO MUCH blood as if it flowed for all the people of all the world. I realize now that is exactly what was happening! So much pain and loss but he kept his word and rose from the grave on the third day as he said he would…Oh my heart was so full when I saw him. I knew then I could go on and when he ascended I knew I would see him again when I die. He has saved the nations, even Gentiles! Can you imagine?
Now, people try to exalt me and some try to worship me. I run from them. They think they know me but they do not. I will have no worship of me. Jesus is my Savior and my King and He alone is to be worshiped. This I know beyond a doubt… I must live on until my time comes to go to the temporary grave. I must live with the thought that they may still come for me and imprison me or kill me but it will not stop the message of Jesus… In so many ways I still am that young child who became the mother of God in the flesh. I pray that no one ever thinks of me as Holy outside of the blood of that same Jesus that makes them Holy…I am full of failures and achievements like everyone else. I have had great joy and have been broken and insane with sorrow…and I am still simply a woman who has Faith in the Integrity of my God!
“Let it me done unto me as you have said…my soul still magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”
I can feel my self becoming removed from the conversation, from the room, from this place.
As though I have been here many times before yet am now born into “such a time as this.” It is easier to let my self be free when I realize this story is not about me. I do not have to carry the answer, the load, the laughter, the grief, the joy…I get to experience it but I am not the atonement… but I am worth a telling. I am the spring day when the daffodils and hyacinth bloom after Winter’s death and fill the world with the heady scent of new life.
I am the dark rich dirt that lies thick undercover in the deep forest with moss and fungus growing out of it. I am the bright orange fall leaf that gets to trip and twirl down the city street in front of two lovers taking a walk. They try to run and catch me but they cannot. I am not their love affair. I am the stark bare trees of Winter’s blast. I dance among the stars and sit upon the moon whenever I feel like it. It is really not a mystery yet remains mysterious. It is truly not difficult to understand.
I do not have answers regarding quantum physics nor the dimensions that I live in, for they are many and some are not of this world. I only know that my heart provides my body and brain with new oxygenated fresh red blood more than one hundred thousand times a day! Imagine such a miracle just for a moment or two. So then you must tell your story. It may or may not help someone. It most likely will but either way you are worth a telling.
I leave you with this final thought from a writer Hunter Thompson… “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”