Week Three

I survived my week in hell, but not before making an utter fool of myself before God and a couple of brothers. Of the thousands of movies I’ve seen, and the tens of thousands of quotable lines in them, the one that struck a lasting chord of perfect pitch in me came out of Steve Martin’s mouth in Father of the Bride. He said, “I come from a long line of over reactors.” When I heard that for the first time I underwent a catharsis of hysterics. Suddenly I was no longer totally responsible for my emotional tantrums; my ancestors helped me to carry the blame. I laughed out loud in the heartiest most joyful expression of relief, and since then from time to time I remember the line with no diminution of joy.

It is when I need forgiveness the most, that of course I deserve it the least. Being haunted by my own weakness, as I approached the cleansing purifying Chalice on Sunday, I wondered if I could forgive myself. Weakness is the wrong word. It tries to erase blame. There was no weakness, it was a voluntary and intentional performance staged to express the tumult I felt, like a pinball being jettisoned not just by flippers but in a sea of currents screaming to bust through the wall of conflict, when I should have been a meek and faithful lamb. It doesn’t help at all that I am reading Mark Twain’s Recollections of Joan of Arc. Worse yet, I am at the part in the book that describes her at her trial. Here stands young Joan firm and strong before the most evil opposition. The contrast is humiliating. Please reader of mine, read Twain’s book for the most inspiring tale of a true immortal.

I look ahead at this week with renewed commitment to find my way into the very heart of Christ so I can consciously join Him at the moment when He reunites humanity to God to make the new Eden possible, even here and now. To listen to the echoes of my failure is to deny the power of the Blood. This is a new day in a new week and I have only to experience what is true and real and before me now. I mustn’t look back, but rather set my hand to the plow.

During this Lent in my writing, I am intentionally not on another journey likes the ones you have joined me on so many times before, such as when we walked the Exodus together, or rode in the bubble during Creation (that was fun!). Nope, no journey this time. I know that most aspiring immortals call Lent a journey, but not me, not this year. I don’t want to go from here to there; instead in stillness I want to become aware of being in Christ and He in me. Awareness is no journey, it is an awakening. It is truth revealed in the midst of powerful lies, distortions are like wavy mirrors at the carnival that tickle us with our false reflections. Awareness of truth is the first speck of sunrise over the ocean illuminating what had sat in darkness.

Of course I need help to become aware of being in Christ, the help one can only get from a friendly immortal or an aspiring immortal. I started Lent with one such man, Nicholas Cabasilas, but then needed to put him down for book club assignments and the occasional treat, Joan of Arc. I am almost finished with my book club assignment, Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a beautiful book about how the true Christianity of both Negroes and Caucasians helped to overcome and ultimately to extinguish evil slavery. After the meeting tomorrow, I hope to shed the scales from my eyes and tell you what I see. Till then, adieu.

Death for Dinner

As should be expected during Lent or any other time of a special push toward holiness, the Divider has appeared to challenge me. You know him, the Diabolo, the spirit-guy who assigned himself, or was assigned, to mislead and trip those on the path to the land of immortality, lest riffraff be allowed into Kingdom Come.

As my beloved mom would say, “you know it’s not always happy-happy.” Well it sure ain’t happy now. I have been pushed away by someone I want most to be united with because I unintentionally offended her. I have been caste into outer darkness. I am dumbfounded because what I saw as small, she sees as huge. What I would laugh off, she is using as a hot twirling sword to cut me off. So now I am in hell during Lent.

If the Orthodox theologians have it right, there are no parties in hell. All the faithless people who like to imagine physical death to be either an eternal dreamless sleep or a big party in a hot place, all those people should make some room in their equations for the saintly prophesized probability that a non-stop severe loneliness is behind the curtain they have chosen. Hell is being cut off from others, especially those we love, and now I get to feel what that is like. Sometimes I want to weep and sometimes gnash my teeth but mostly I weep!

One thing I should know is to stop eating what el Diabolo is feeding me for dinner. This is Lent; I am supposed to be fasting, so why do I gorge myself on thoughts of the pain of separation. Worse yet, why do I chew and chew, taking these thoughts to fantastic hellish conclusions or relating them to past tumultuous nightmares like a kid picks at an old scab until it starts bleeding again, a fresh new wound to inflict upon myself as if the enemy wasn’t bad enough. With fervor, I join el Diabolo to pierce the heart of Evangeline and watch her slowly bleed to death.

Silly child, it is time to stop wolfing down the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of evil and cling to God for life.

The film Forrest Gump was rich in symbolism. My favorite scene was when legless Lieutenant Dan shimmied up the pole in Forrest’s shrimp boat and was yelling at God in the storm. He clung to that pole for dear life. Poor Dan had confused life with death and death with life, clinging to a dead pole yelling at Life to be damned. It’s a normal mistake.

Life is union with God because he is the Creator of Life! In or out of this fleshiness, death is nothing more than separation from God. Love is union with others made in His image and likeness which is why most everyone wants love so much and why we pursue it in any old form. Life = love = union. God unites, the devil separates.

Ah math and philosophy help me feel better!

The pain of rejection is a dinner of death and as if I was starving I am eating it.

The only way to fight the divider, el Diabolo and fight I must, wimp that I am, is to cling to God like Lt. Dan clung to the pole in the storm.

The only way to cling to God is to think and behave like Him. Go the second mile, love my enemies, unite whenever possible rather than divide further.

Oh geez, I am having such a craving for an ice cream cone right now. That was a bad joke. It means to fast from food, especially during this volatile period of the Great and Holy Lent, is effective if it can make me strong enough to fast from death in all of its familiar diabolical forms.

It is not in my power to bring my beloved back. I can’t control her heart. There must be something about this separation that comforts her. So instead I should reject that death sandwich and focus on loving God, then perhaps He will grant my wish and bring my beloved back to me, because He can control her heart. This is a difficult challenge but our God won’t have wimps in Kingdom Come.


Goodbye world, I have to go to Lent now. Well, I admit I don’t have to go but I want to, I really want to go. It’s not that I don’t love you; perhaps I love you too much, the way you sit right smack in front of my face day and night so I can barely see God or sometimes even our Mother [the Church]. I have gotten used to that. I don’t like it, but I must say you have grown on me, like a tree that grows wrapped around a rock.

I won’t miss your brashness though. I must say good bye and I want you to respect that. I may have to fight you to get you out of my line of sight, so that’s why I want to have this talk right here and now; why I want to say good bye and I want you to leave me be.

My Mother needs me so I can’t play with you. It is our family holiday. All of Her children come together and we focus, we really focus on our Father and our own family. We will visit with our invisible brothers and sisters; we will sit at the feet of the sages and listen to their words of wisdom. It’s so wonderful! Maybe if we are lucky, really lucky God’s light will shine on us and in us. Some of my brothers and sisters light up like flood lights, it’s so cool to see! Our Father makes us feel so warm and loved. He plants us in His garden and waters us and shines on us and watches us grow up high towards Him. We become like a field of tulips, but we are still people, His very own people, His children and no one else’s.

No! You can’t come with me. That would wreck the whole thing! Don’t you see? It’s you that we need to separate from. You have no idea whatsoever of what I am really talking about. You are blind and ignorant and mean and busy and arrogant and stupid and selfish and shortsighted and I am really and truly sick of you. I can’t tell you in strong enough words how happy I am that my family goes on this vacation together every year…away from you!

I suppose being angry is not a good way to start this trip. I am sorry. I know you can’t help being what you are.

Okay, I’ll try again. Goodbye world. I must leave, but whether I like it or not, I will return and you can have me back. Before I go I want to thank you for all that you have done for me. Thank you for money because it has taught me so much and helped me to mature when I had none of it and when I had enough for anything I wanted to buy from you. It has helped me to be generous and if it wasn’t for you I couldn’t have used money to love people with.  I also want to thank you for the entertainment, books, movies, music, natural catastrophes, politics -- all those things you do so well to mesmerize us. You have very successfully enticed me, as I said before, probably too much. Oh, the food and drink, anything I want whenever I want it! Good job. The flavors and textures and the intoxication—all terrific. I can’t hate you for that—just for sucking me in so much with them. Not your fault, my fault.

That’s why I need to leave and I am so glad for the family reunion.

Listen body, I know you probably don’t want to go because you and world are so tight, but just cooperate for fifty short days and I’ll send you back. I need you to help me to get to the reunion. You are so much like money you should be considered twins of the world the way you help and hurt with equal enthusiasm, and how equally you can help me reach either the heights or the depths of life on this planet.  But it’s only with your cooperation that we can find our way to the reunion. You can be a real hero! Please don’t put up a fight, say good bye and let’s go.

Oh, two last things I want to say to the world before I leave. First, I want to tell you how cool it is that you are celebrating Valentine’s Day today, this day before I start my trip away from you. It shows me that you can see a glimpse of where my family and I are going and what we will do there. How sweet. I wish you could celebrate Love more often. But I gotta tell you, it’s much more than chocolate, roses, and body stuff. And lastly, I need to say, you will see me during Lent but please DON’T EVEN SAY HELLO.

Good bye!

The Secret Christmas


I don’t know what is more thrilling, the weeks before Christmas or the weeks before Lent. Funny I should compare them because on the surface they seem to be opposites. Christmas is jammed packed with sights and sounds and Lent is relatively empty.

But I am almost as excited about Lent coming as I was about Christmas coming. Maybe Lent is the other Christmas, the secret Christmas of the soul. Instead of preparing with almost everyone else in town, I am preparing for Jesus’ re-birth inside of me all by myself. No songs, no gifts, no sparkling trees inside or out.

Phase one is just watching myself live and think and notice the things that I am doing now that I won’t be doing during Lent. I know I could just stop doing them now, but that would be like opening my presents early. Nope, I’ll just wait. If I am fully in this time and place now, then the contrast will be better and perhaps it will be easier to hear God then, like suddenly turning off the radio.

Meanwhile I can start packing. Pick out books I want to read, decide what to cut out and what to add in its place. And wait, just pure waiting, like for my turn at the doctor’s office or for the airplane to board. Waiting is a whole other space in time that, like pockets, can come in handy.

I hope I will get lots of terrific presents from God this Lent. How about you? What are you wishing for?