Monday, November 18, 2013

dance around the kitchen in refrigerator light

The Christian in the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars.
― Francis A. Schaeffer, Art & the Bible

I hate the days when your teeth feel like chalk; when the inside of your mouth feels perpetually dry, and no matter how much water-avec-electrolytes you chug, there is no hope of ever satiating the yawning, unquenchable desert of thirst within you.
Dehydration is quite annoying, because it persistently reminds you of its presence.
You feel the water slide into your mouth and down your throat, without leaving its mark, as if it had never been there.
About a month ago, I checked in on my imagination and noticed it was looking a little dehydrated.
It had just run a marathon, and was simply exhausted, so I understood.
But, still, it made me a little sad to find my interior landscape looking so barren.
In a place I am accustomed to finding stories: stories flying through the mind, colliding up against one another, little snatches of potent phrases floating through the atmosphere, and ideas sprouting, weed-like, out of the rich loam faster than I can tame them, it was a bit jarring to find a world that looked like my father's garden in the fall.
In the fall, the garden, which was so full of vibrant life, bearing fruit after fruit, bursting with sprouting life, falls dormant, and the stalks shrivel up into an unbecoming dusty brown, they wilt into a fragile layer of dead foliage encrusting the earth.
I felt like the garden had been in this state for several weeks, I just never noticed.
Because, in the midst of this miniature organic disaster zone, I found many little gems.

For example, one day, I saw the most beautiful sight I have ever seen.
I was in Hobby Lobby, looking for kaleidoscopes (which, surprisingly and unexpectedly, are very difficult things to find), and instead happened upon an ocarina.
I went up to the front counter, to purchase my ocarina, of course, when my peripheral vision espied a man behind me.
He was an elderly man.
Not a short man, but he had lost a bit of that cocky stature that young adulthood carries with it.
My trusty peripheral vision again surveyed the scene behind me, and noticed his one purchase which he had laid down on the counter.
My eyes stopped their roaming, transfixed by that one small little piece of wall art, a small little canvas which read, and I quote:
"It is never too late to live Happily Ever After."

I stared at the sign; I looked back at the man.

I checked out my ocarina, sliding from feeling like a powerful young adult to a foolish child in mere milliseconds.
I felt my youth very palapably. For me, "Happily Ever After" is something, despite brief moments of despair, self-pitying wallowing, and angst, that I take for granted.
Because, for me, it is off in The Future, and The Future, comfortably shrouded in the midst of dreams, hopes, nebulous plans, and castles-in-the-clouds will take care of itself.
To me, the words "happily ever after" have no meaning, they are a glib cliché, one I can laugh off, dismiss, and ignore as I explore and delight in the happily-ever-here-and-now.
And I assume one day I will arrive into a Happily Ever After, whatever those words actually mean.
I wonder what it means to believe in Happily Ever After, from the other side of life's disappointments and failures.

I wondered then what it means to believe in Happily Ever After when you find yourself past the endless horizons of youth.
It must be quite another thing to believe that your Happily Ever After is still possible when everyone around you sees you as someone who is done. Finished.
It must be quite more courageous to say: "And they all lived Happily Ever After," when one just simply has to live out the rest of their days in whatever state of life in which one finds oneself.
When complacency is so easy, you could choose not to participate in happily ever after.
But this man decided to still participate, which takes insane amounts of courage--amounts of courage to a degree which I do not possess.
Just this simple act of checking out a cheesy piece of wall art was a witness; a witness of this man's strength, and faith.
You still hold onto hope and onto faith, which by their very nature beg us to hold onto love.

By faith we can consent  to being loved, because by faith we know what his love means. 
In his loving look upon us, and our loving look upon him, everything that faith can say is said.
--Douglas Bushman

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