Sunday, September 8, 2013

the cost of a tower


Portrait of a Pining Woman
There was a girl in class who was clearly not focusing on the assignment at hand.
It wasn't a very difficult assignment--it was to make music in unison with her classmates.
She shook the wooden shakers with limp hands.
Her eyes stared off into a corner where nothing was.
She smiled mysteriously, and I watched her, trying to find out what her secret was.
She sighed.
She sighed again.
And then she listlessly turned her eyes back to the instructor, who was dramatically re-creating the neolithic man's ritual reenactment of The Hunt--the Root of All Performance.
The girl smiled at nothing.
And then sighed again.
Her ears perked up as she heard the door behind her open.
With a studied, calculated nonchalance, she turned around to see who entered. If you were watching, you could see every muscle in her body tense, as it eagerly hoped that the next person who entered would be The One.
For a long time, she was disappointed.
Then, He entered.
Her eyes were diligently glued to the professor for the rest of the class.
From the radiance of her smile, you would have thought nothing brought her a more incandescent and luminous joy than The Hunt--the Root of All Performance.

~
I ran towards the chapel.
"Ran" being a relative term. My overstuffed bag impedes graceful, gazelle-like running.
My overstuffed bag is one of those book-bags decorated by a zen-like quote:
"Life is not measured by the number of breathes we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away."
According to my book bag, that quote was said by "anonymous" which is code for: no poor fool wants to own up to the fact that they said this quote.
There are a lot of moments that take your breath away.

Choking on a piece of birthday cake in a sunny courtyard.
Seeing scars on your sister's arm.
Almost missing your flight.
Being lost in the dark.

If these are the types of moments that Anonymous has decided make up the measure of a life, I'm going to opt out for the "full life" option, and instead go for the: Sit in A Blessedly Silent, Peaceful Cave and Be Fed By God's Ravens, and Never Once Have a Breath-taking moment not-full-life option.
There are also the days where you barely have a moment to breathe, and I'd like to know how Anonymous would fit that truth of life into his or her little breathing-moments-living equation.

In the chapel, I ran into Luke.
Hi, we said.
And chuckled a bit.

And it's those little moments that I think make life very beautiful.
They are not gigantic, breath-taking moments--they are quite small.
They are very tangible little experiences of the present.
It is so easy to get pulled into the future--to follow your desires where they lead--which is further up and further in. I long for the next moment, which I know is just beyond this one, I want to crest the ridge of the horizon, and start living the life that's on the other side.

But a collision like running into familiar face in a familiar spot will bring you back to the present.
It will remind you that life is lived here.
Your desires may pull you up into the clouds, but life is lived on the ground.
They tell you to keep your eyes always 5 seconds ahead of you on the road to avoid collisions. But life is more tangibly lived in handling the small collisions that inevitably occurred, than always looking off in the distance.

~

Two little voices rose up together, singing the alto part to Aaron Copeland's Zion's Walls, in imperfect unison.
But it was perfect, nonetheless.


Patience attains all that is strived for.
-Teresa of Avila

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