Monthly Archives: June 2016

THE CAVE: Getting lost in the darkness of a failing marriage

“You’ve been married for eleven years?” someone asks me.

“Yeah. Eleven years. It’s a long time. We’ve been together for fifteen.”

What? Did you get married when you were twelve? How old are you? You’ve been married fifteen years? What’s that like?”

I suspect that they anticipate me to tell them that marriage is beautiful and wonderful and that I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.

But I don’t.

Instead I tell them the truth.

“What’s it like? It’s, uh… Marriage is like this dark cave. And when you get married you both go into the cave together. You take hands and you step into the darkness. That’s the unknown – this new part of life. You walk next to each other for a while and then one day your hands get sweaty and so you let go of each other but it’s all good because you can still hear them next to you. You’re still talking and you know that they’re there. It’s dark. It’s black. But you know they’re next to you.

And then one day you’ve talked about everything and so you get kind of quiet and you decide that just spending time in one another’s company is enough. And so you just keep walking in the dark, next to each other, in silence. And it’s okay because you know that they’re still there. You can still hear their footsteps.

And then one day you ask them a question. And you get no response. And you realize that they are gone. You realize that you’ve gotten separated. You’ve drifted apart. And you are alone. And somewhere, they are alone as well.

You call out to them. You shout their name and you get no response. And so you go looking for them because you know that they’re there… somewhere. You know that somewhere in this cave they’re wandering around. They’re doing their thing and you’re doing yours.

You call for them and in the distance you hear them. And you keep shouting and you keep calling and you keep walking and you try to get back to them.

And you hope that you find them.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

Some people are walking in the cave and they’re like, ‘I’m done walking in the dark with you.’ And those people turn around and they walk back towards the light. Sometimes they walk back towards the light and out of the cave together. And sometimes they do it alone.

And sometimes that’s okay.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

One day you wake up and you’re thinking, ‘This is not the person that I married. This is not the person that was standing next to me at the altar.’ And, if you’re self-aware enough you may realize that you are also not the same person that was standing at the altar and that your spouse is experiencing you in an entirely new way.

You’ve both changed. You’re both completely different people. And then you wonder if you can keep making it work. Because those other versions could do it… but you’re not sure these new versions are a fit.

How do you put together a puzzle when the pieces keep changing shape?

Now drop kids into the mix. Oh, shit. Things are getting complicated.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

You have a dream of having a career. A specific career. And so you educate yourself in that field. Maybe you go to college. Maybe you go to a tech school. Maybe you read books and watch YouTube videos. However you prepare for it, it is, at its core, a preparation. An education of self.

So then you get that job and then the industry changes – new technologies or practices emerge. So your boss sends you to receive additional training. You learn new ways to process information. You learn new techniques. The career field changes and so you must adjust.

So we apply hours and weeks and sometimes even years and sometimes even decades of preparation to a job (say hello, doctors!) and yet, when we discuss marriage, when we prepare to live with another person full time and make life changing decisions with them… we… do… nothing…

The church that married Jade and I encouraged us to take three 30-minute classes.

90 minutes of training for the task at hand is not enough.

I’ve been married for just over a decade and the training I’ve received on-the-job has not been nearly enough.

But marriage is not like a job. You just get thrown in first day with no idea what you’re doing and nobody encourages serious training. Nobody tells you to re-educate yourselves after five years or ten years. Nobody tells you that your marriage career is going to change and you’re going to have to make it work or get fired. And if you suggest education – if you suggest marriage counseling you get this taboo sense that something is wrong with you.

You know that feeling I’m talking about. That unspoken weirdness that everyone thinks but does not speak. This idea that is perpetrated in our culture that marriage counseling is for the weak and broken and… my personal favorite…

If you have to go to marriage counseling you weren’t meant to be.

Because if you have to ask for help it is because you are stupid. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that everyone else knows how to do this? Don’t you know that it comes easily and naturally to everyone else? Marriage is simple and straight-forward and if you need advice it is because the pieces do not work together and there is no hope anyways. Don’t you know that? Don’t you know that it’s better to live miserable little lives than it is to seek counsel? Don’t you know that?

What if we applied that logic to other areas of our lives? Son, if you need to ask a question in class, you probably just aren’t smart enough to begin with.

If you need to look at the recipe for how to make chili, you probably weren’t made for chili. Sorry. It’s delicious but you don’t get any. Shoo-shoo, Oliver Twist.

Listen. Seeking education does not make you stupid or wrong. Seeking education makes you self-aware. Education and intellect craft a stronger individual, crafts a stronger family, crafts a stronger culture, crafts a stronger world.

Do not allow the uninformed to inform your thinking.

Do not be engaged and dissuaded by a society that has a 50% failure rate in marriage.

Set your own rules. Live by your own standards.

Education is not a swear word.

***   ***   ***   ***   ***

I’m broken.

That’s a fact.

I’ve got a bunch of baggage that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I’ve got baggage about my family. I’ve got baggage about my parents. I’ve got baggage about my faith. I’ve got baggage about my body. I’ve got baggage about my personality. I’ve got baggage about my grades and my IQ and my creative abilities. I’ve got pride issues. I’ve got insecurity issues.

And my wife gets to adopt them.

And I get to adopt all of her bullshit.

And then we have to figure that stuff out together.

We say things we don’t mean. We do things we know we shouldn’t. We raise our voices and we walk away from conversations and sometimes we hurt each other with nothing more than our intent.

Thank GOD people have not heard some of the stuff I’ve said to my wife in the heat of an argument. Shit has come out of my mouth that I think about today and cringe. I have said things to her for no other reason than to hurt her. And that speaks to who I am (or hopefully was) as a person, at my core. At the time I would have said it was her fault. It’s her fault for being a specific way and I was just bringing it all to light and if it hurt her it’s because it was true.

These are the words and thoughts of someone that is selfish and arrogant.

The vows tell us that we’re going to be together through sickness and health, for better or worse but what they don’t tell us is that it’s sometimes going to feel like you’re dragging along a dead marriage, fighting uphill to make it work. They don’t tell you that there will be periods of time – not just days and weeks but entire months – that drag on through the gray drizzle of time and you’ll wonder just what is wrong with your spouse because it’s not you. It’s not you. It’s never you. It’s always them. Making mistakes.

“I’m trying. You’re not.”

“There’s nothing wrong with me.”

Getting married is like a light to all of your shortcomings as a human being. Your spouse will illuminate all the problem areas. It’s painful and it’s terrible and it hurts to look at yourself and see all the flaws. And it’s just so much easier to turn your face to one side and not look at that pile of problems that create you, as a person, and it’s so much easier to deflect blame to the other.

It is so much easier to look at someone’s shortcomings and it is so much easier to nurture resentment for a million little things and a handful of big things.

It is so much easier to judge others.

And it is simple to judge our spouse.

And so you choose.

Those three thirty minute classes didn’t prepare us for cancer at 26. They didn’t prepare us for lay-offs. They didn’t prepare us for invitro-fertilization. They didn’t prepare us for twins. They didn’t prepare us for a miscarriage. They didn’t prepare us for the day-in-day-out minutia of life and they didn’t prepare us for the fact that Jade likes things done a certain way and I like things done a certain way and those ways typically are not the same but are, more often than not, quite opposite.

Those classes didn’t prepare us for anything.

I wish I could say that everyday Jade and I choose to hang onto each other in the darkness of the cave but the reality is that we don’t.

Sometimes we are cold and calculating.

And sometimes we are terrible.

And cruel.

But we try.

We choose.

We choose to continue to stumble blindly through the dark, seeking each other.

And sometimes we choose to talk about walking back into the light. Sometimes we talk about what a divorce looks like.

And sometimes we have fun together and we find each other and we remember why we do this. We remember why the search is worth it.

We remember that we love each other and that our family is amazing and that we’re very lucky and it is only our own selfish shortcomings that are destroying us and we realize that if we can choose to be better people, we can choose to be the best for each other.

And when our spouse shines a light on our problem areas – our selfishness, our arrogance, our pride – we can choose to get angry that someone noticed our darkness… or we can thank them for being close enough to us to point out our flaws. And then we fix them together.

“But, man…” I conclude. “Marriage is really hard.”

The guy across the table looks at me. I notice he doesn’t have a ring on his hand. I wonder if he’s thinking about proposing.

“But it’s also amazing. Marriage is beautiful and wonderful and I’m married to my best friend and everyday is a marvelous adventure.”

 

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The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender [seq. 8 – 10]

The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores faith and reality. Below is part 7. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

To read part 5, click here.

To read part 6, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

[SEQ. VIII] 1I see a giant black orb floating in a sky of absolute white. Small streams of red pulse through the white like rivers of blood. It reminds me of photos I’ve seen of Earth taken from outer space. The white stretches to the horizon. 2A rushing wind hits me and tears my skin off, peels it back until I am just muscle and blood myself. 3My skin flaps in the breeze and disappears like a pair of lost pants. 4I hear a voice that is a loud and booming whisper. A spring breeze that will destroy a city. 5Voice says, “Look upon me and be in awe.” 6And it is in this moment that I realize I am not looking at a giant black orb and the sky is not white and the red is not rivers. 7I understand that I am looking at an eyeball. A singular eyeball. An eyeball that is so large that I am dwarfed by the pupil. 8I look down and see that I am standing on a platform made of flesh. “You do not see my true form, human. You see what your brain perceives. Your curiosity is not a weapon. 9Your curiosity is the path without end. Do you desire to continue down this path?” 10I fall to my knees and weep. 11I have been chosen. I have been Spoken to. How do I ever respond? How do I accept? I am so inadequate and unworthy. 12The magnitude of this creature is so great that the word creature is a box that cannot contain XXX. As time is a box that does not and cannot define Uncle Andy, there are no boxes that can define the greatness of this XXX. 13XXX is not a being. XXX is above XXX. Words are boxes and names are boxes that cannot contain the unstoppable rolling power that is this. 14The only word that keeps coming to mind is IS. 15IS. To be present. To exist. To be within. PRESENT. SINGULAR. FIRST PERSON. TO BE. IS. 16I see the word and I see a field of meaning stretched out behind it and I see that the knowledge is too great for my brain. 17I understand the shortcomings of my brain. 18No more could I teach a grasshopper meta-physics than could I begin to understand what IS is beyond what I see. 18My brain does not have the understanding to transcend into this. 19The fabric of reality is a blanket that can be folded and it can wear away and the blanket can be placed on many beds and it will take the shape of the bed and I am just a stitch on the fabric. Or yet… I am a pattern. A color. A shape. A simile. 20“You do not understand and you will never understand until it is time.” 21“Yes.” “But still. Walk towards me always. Do you believe that Little One?” 22I bend my head down and the sobbing takes over again. 23The great hand lifts me and places me inside the great mouth that is a black hole. 24I scream out, “Consume me, Master! Make me of value to your purpose! Allow my energy to feed your being!” and I drift in space and I am swallowed up and I feel myself being gently shifted down the throat until I am in a dark stomach that smells of roses. 25Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and someone has set out a dinner table with candles and wine and the floor is made of fine red meat. 26Six people sit at the table, all women, all mature. 27None of them have faces. They have heads but instead of features they contain swatches of flesh. 28Their hands lie on top of a pork roast and it dissolves into their flesh and I am reminded of Venus fly traps. 29The women stand up and begin walking towards me. One lifts up her hands and I see a clear toxin dripping from her palms and leaking onto the floor. 30“Stay back.” They continue marching towards me. 31I see a hole in the wall and run towards it. Jumping through the hole I find myself in the upper intestine of the IS. 32I run through a labyrinth of pliable purple flesh and find people lying about, eating from the walls and licking the floors. 33“Worship IS. Worship IS. Fall to your knees and worship with your mouth.” 34A man looks at me with flesh hanging from his teeth. “We are the great parasites of IS. We are meant to eat the cancer. Are you the cancer?” 35I run and then I’m in the small intestine and the ceiling is lower. Bats swoop down and claw at my face and blood runs down my cheeks and vines shoot from the earth and grab my feet and my legs and the vines have mouths that bite me. 36My shoes fill with blood and I scream and I bite back and I won’t give up. I bite the vines and they scream and I keep running and then I am in the color, filled with books. 37The Great Library of Knowledge. I pull a book off the shelf and open it. Inside is a language I have never seen but I read it anyway, feeling the words through my very being. 38Chapter 1: Always look left and right. Always say please and thank you. Always be a gentleman. Show compassion. Be empathy. Reflect sympathy. 39Chapter 2: Everyone has a voice. Everyone has a heart. Everyone has a brain. Everyone has a past. Everyone is comprised of innumerable memories and emotions. Everyone is a tangle of ideas that they don’t understand. 40Chapter 3: Happiness is just an emotion. Happiness is simply drug excretions from your brain. As is anger. As is love. 41Chapter 4: Nothing is impossible. 42Chapter 5: Trust everyone and fear losing nothing. 43I close the book and drop it on the ground because I don’t care. Someone else can pick it up. 44A trapdoor slides open under me and I hit my jaw on the way down, biting my tongue. 45My mouth begins to bleed and it tastes like cinnamon. 46The walls around me narrow until they are pressed against my shoulders and it feels as though my arms are on fire. 47I slam into the ground on top of a pile of hot coals, embers and wood. 48Crawling out of the fireplace [SEQ. IX] 1I find myself in my earth house circa four decades ago. I see myself opening a present. An action figure. I love him. 2My dad checks his watch. My mom takes a picture on her oblong camera. 3Where is this? A voice next to me says, “Prime time, baby.” 4And when I turn around I see that I am in a theater of people all watching my life. 5“It’s the 2pm showing. Everyone loves the next scene where you pee your pants, haha.” “Why are you watching this?” “Because your life is a TV show and you’re the main star. We all watch you. All of us. Every one of us. Our entire planet has watched you your entire life. Time is relative. You are a theatrical feature film. Your life is our entertainment. 6Your death makes us feel something we can’t feel. 7You create in us the sense of being alive. 8I have watched your life six times. Your teenage years are my favorite. Watching you discover the world from twelve to sixteen is a truly astounding experience. 9Do you remember your first beer? Hannah stole it out of her dad’s fishing cooler in the garage and you guys shared it and then made out for forty minutes, laying down in the boat while that screw dug into your hip. But you didn’t care. Hanna. 10But I have to know – something we never knew – did you like your dog when you were a kid? You always seemed ambivalent.” “I liked my dog, yes.” “It seems like you should. Let’s give Claude a big round of applause, everyone!” The room erupts into applause. 11Lights come on – rows of lights. Row after row after row and I watch the auditorium light up and it continues to go, further and further. 12I’m in a stadium, two stadiums, a small town. A city. I’m surrounded by a hundred million lights and they’re all looking right at us and I say, “Hey, we’re going to need flashlights if we’re going to go this way,” and everyone laughs again because it is so bright in here. 13I say, “Thank you all for coming. It was quite nice and uh, I guess thank you for watching! I hope I didn’t do anything that embarrassed myself too much…uh…” the audience lets out a groan of sympathy. Oooohhhhh. 14I have them by the throat. They all love me. 15“Were you all there when I found that odd shaped mole on my back? “YES!” “And you were all there when Laura broke up with me?” The audience nods. 16Some of them have tears in their eyes. 17Their race and shape seems to change. They seem to be something else until I move my eye toward them and then, as I do, they seem to shift to humans. 18Moving, shifting little creatures. 19What are you? What are you really? Just projections. You too. Me too. All of us part of something bigger. Struggling to get home. 20“Could you sign any autographs, sir?” “Oh yes,” I reply with far too much accepting glee, “I would be delighted to!” 21The audience erupts and rushes the stage. 22The manager calls for order, which is finally attained but it takes three and a half days and during that time, I am forced to sleep on a cot on the stage. 23People take pictures with my sleeping form and the images later become the most valuable possessions of this realm. They are hung in churches. 24Finally, the autographs start and I sign everything – I sign books and posters and mugs and pencils and I even sign a lady’s arm and I kiss two babies and one man. 25Then Michael approaches the table and his jaw drops open, unhinges, snaps, pops. I hear it break. I hear the bone snap in half like a dried twig and for some reason the first thought I have is about how expensive it’s probably going to be to replace that. 26His tongue sprouts from his mouth and then splits and wraps around my face. It sizzles and then melts through the flesh but I can still see. 27My eyes are blocked but my cognitive understanding is clear. 28He says, “All is vanity,” in a high pitched woman’s voice and then melts into the floorboards and I follow him. 29The auditorium flashes past me and I see the feet of a crowd of people and I remember thinking how dirty each of their shoes were. 30Don’t they care about the clothes that they wear? And where have they all been that their shoes were so dirty? 31One man has the face of a lion. It’s fantastic and majestic. His mane is enormous and golden and I want to touch it. 32Something inside of me wants to run my fingers through his mane. 33He stands against the bar and he wears a tuxedo. He holds a martini glass in his hand and the liquid sparkles. There is an olive on a toothpick in the cup. His sleeves are rolled up, which is an odd look to have with a tuxedo but somehow he pulls it off. 34Clearly a confident man. His shoes are brown loafers but man, they shine. 35He is the only one that can save me and then he is gone. 36My heart cries out for him and as I fall I see him look over the edge of the hole and he is wearing a red robe with white trim and black dots. The shoulders have strands of gold and His eyes are so blue. 37“Why do you look like that?” “This is what you think God looks like, isn’t it, Aslan?” “Hold me.” “No longer.” “Did I make a mistake?” 38“You failed to love,” and I keep falling and then I think I hear him say, “…anyone but yourself.” And [SEQ. X] 1my truth sits out in front of me and I am naked. 2My clothing is on but my brain is exposed. My deepest thoughts are laid out in front me. 3The lights in the darkness of this slow motion fall flash on and I see them all. The greys. 4The creators, encircled around me like a very intimate Roman Coliseum. There are two hundred of them. 5Each wears a different colored robe. Each means something different. 6Who are they? Who are you? 7And then I feel their presence. It reaches out to me, stronger than a language. No body speaks.

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THE SPIRALING CORNUCOPIA OF PALE LAVENDER [SEQ. 7 – 8]

 The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores faith and reality. Below is part 6. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

To read part 5, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

42The Painter says, “You have to do this part alone,” and I turn around to find him standing at the top of the steps. 43“I’m afraid.” And he says, “I know. Everyone is. You are not alone.” 44And then he shuts the door and I’m left in the starlight. 45I witness a shadow descend from the ceiling – a shape about my size but darker – its features a shadow. Not cloaked in shadow. But actual shadow. The form of a man. 46His clothes are baked of darkness. 47I can see Him but I cannot contain him with my brain. 48I see a figure but not a form. 49His structure is both tall and narrow. He slowly descends through the air until he lands on his hands and knees. 50I watch his face rise and think that the lack of light must be playing tricks on my eyes. “Who are you?” I ask but there is no response. “Hello,” but still nothing. 51HE stands up and says, “Don’t think of me like that. I do not deserve capitalization.” 52He walks to me, cracking his knuckles as he does so and I see that a silvery stream is being left in his wake. It fades. His shoes are black and 53his socks are red. “They are not red. You only perceive them as such.” I perceive his shoes to be black and his socks to be red. My mind also perceives him to be wearing a soiled black suit and a white shirt that has been covered in dried sweat. 54He speaks, “If you mean to converse with me it is because you have come a long way. You have come a long way to find me and so you deserve certain truths. 55First, understand that you do not see me. Understand that this is a form your consciousness gives you in order to process my vastness. 56Understand that I am not a HE or a she. Understand that gender binaries are beneath me. 57To be a singular male is to have weakness for you cannot repopulate alone. 58Your species is destined to die without your counterpart. 59Likewise, I am above it as well as you would place value upon it. I am not an it, lacking in sexual orientation. 59I am above sexual orientation because it serves no function to me as I live outside of the parameter of time, your greatest enemy. 60Time plays no role in my existence. 61Day and night are just different points in one long stream of consciousness. Time holds no value for me and as such, I will never die.” 62The question comes tumbling out of my mouth, “Are you God?” and the creature stops and smiles. “You always ask the same question. And I always answer the same way. 63Why do you wish to know? When will you cast aside your simple curiosities and step forward in conscious decision? 64What would you do if I said, Yes. I am God and you are my great ejaculate, formed in my image to wander the earth seeking truth. 65Does this help you? Does this give you forward motion? Why are you here?” and I tell him (it) that I want to know the truth. 66He laughs and says, “There, there. You’ve made it. Great job.” And he places his hand on my shoulder and I cringe at how much emotion radiates from it. 67I feel the complete spectrum in one complete charge. The happiness and the fear are tangled and braided together. But I can also sense something else. Something bigger. 68There are emotions beyond my spectrum. I can see them at the edges of the color wheel. I can see that the spectrum continues on but it all goes black and white and then it starts to fade. But it’s right there and I’m on the edge of it all. 69I almost ask what it is but I know what he’ll say. He’ll tell me that I already know and he’s right. 70Everything is coming back to me. Whatever I knew before. Whatever I used to understand, it’s all coming back. 71I know that I used to know something else and I know that I’m hatching into it. 72Have I been here before? When this creature said that I always ask the same question, did he mean me personally or did he mean all humans or did he mean everyone / thing that has ever come up here and the man says, “That is right. But I am not a man.” 73I look at him and think to myself, “Who are you? What do I call you? How do I think of you?” 74“My name is not important and what you call me is not important. 75For the sake of our exercise, you may call me Uncle. You may associate that term with the male side of your species but understand that I do not. I tell you all of this to help you understand. 75First, elevate your perception. 76I am beyond sex. 77Second, your language lacks proper words and I would like to be represented as closely to my true form as possible. 78Your personal emotions are very closely tied to the word ‘Uncle’. I see why but I would like to hear you tell me. 79I find your voice pleasant. Do you ever go to the park to listen to bird’s chirp? It’s quite nice.” 80“My Uncle Andy raised me when my dad left.” “Uncle Andy. I appreciate the transgender element of the name. Would it help you if I were to dawn the glamour of Uncle Andy?” Uncle Andy asks me, sitting in front of me, in his leather recliner. 81I try to pull back what The Shadow Thing looked like before – before he was Uncle Andy. Did I see his face? 82All I can bring to the surface is pock-marked skin the color of fabric softeners, a scar of red lips and black, featureless eyes that hold universes within them. 83“Does this help you, son?” Uncle Andy asks me and pops a small powdered donut into his mouth. 84“We can talk about ultimate consciousness if you think it sounds cool.” 85“No. I don’t want this. I don’t want the pony show. I want the truth. Not a version of it. Come back to me as you are – as close as I can understand you. Help me understand you more.” 86“Oh, lonely boy. You will never understand me. The Big Bang was earlier in my afternoon. I have seen the rise and fall of cultures before brunch. I have witnessed countless evolutions. I have seen life crawl from the seas and descend from the heavens and I have watched it grow and breed and destroy itself over and over in many places, in many realms, on many plateaus. 87And now you’re wondering if god created you in his image and I’ll tell you that god did create them in his image but “they” are not “you” and “you” are just a nucleic acid in the petri dish of a greater intelligence. 88How does that make you feel? How does that answer make your heart cry out?” 89and I feel hopeless and tired and everything turns grey. 90“If not for god, what is my purpose?” and Uncle Andy says, “But what has changed? Do you not feel your simple curiosity for the zest of life any longer? 91Does your compassion for your earth bound brothers and sisters dissolve into mud? Do you no longer desire your favorite foods or yearn to take part in your favorite past times? 92Do you not desire to have a career that feeds your soul? 93What difference does your origin truly make to you?” 94I stare at my hands and at my feet and realize that I am a cosmic joke. 94I stare into the sky and wonder if a technologically advanced microscope is staring into this lighthouse and if it sees me and I wonder if, worse, it can actually see into me? Can it peep into my brain? Can it stare into my soul? 95Do I have a soul? 96“What do you mean when you say soul?” “I mean something inside of me that makes me live.” “Like your heart?” “No. Something deeper.” “Your brain holds many mysteries.” “Not my brain. My soul. It is the thing that makes me tick. It’s the thing that brings me life.” “But your organs bring you life.” “But what brings them life?” “Your blood.” “And what gives me blood?” ”Your bone marrow.” “But – ” 97“What is it you want me to say that will put your silly curiosity to sleep? 98If I told you that I were god and that I created you, would you next ask me…” “Where did you come from?” 99“And if I told you that I were burped from a black hole you would say…” “Who put the black hole here?” 100“Yes. And at risk of sounding rude I am going to tell you that your simple curiosity is stupidity cloaked in false intelligence. 101Do you know what I am? That is a rhetorical question. 102You have come to my realm and crawled up the steps of my tower and you have found me and you could ask me anything and you waste your time with trivial brain vomit.” 103I apologize and tell him or it or THAT or THE CREATION or Uncle Andy that I am sorry and feel insignificant for wasting his time or its time. 104“You are not wasting my time. Time has no bearing on me. It is a box that does not confine me. Time is an element that I do not have to acknowledge. 105Do you understand that you are a projection? 106“What? No. A projection of what?” 107“You are a projection of your true self. This place – this world – this level of consciousness – is defined by laws and rules. Time being one of them. Gravity. The elemental forces. These are things that are unique to this level and your being – your present form – is being projected onto this surface. 108Who you see is not who you are. Who you see is just the version of yourself that most accurately suits this realm. 109I will tell you what you need to ask because it is clear to me that you are drowning in a sea of thoughts and anxieties right now. 110What you need to ask me, while you still have time is who is your projector? What is your projector? What and where are your projections coming from? 111If this is just a version of yourself that is meant to fit into this world, then what is the true version of you? 112Is it in your brain? Is it in your heart? Is it in this soul that you speak of? 113Do you exist on another realm? Is your real self aware that it is projecting an avatar onto different worlds? 114Are you being controlled by someone else? Is your projector a part of you? 115Or are you just a tool that someone else mentally controls to complete tasks? Are you a defunct program? Have you gone rogue? Are you a virus? Are you a cancer? What are you?” 116A heavy silence falls across the room that causes the windows to shatter. The breeze blows in and brushes my blonde hair out of my eyes. 117“I just want to know the truth.” Uncle Andy shakes his head slightly. “No. You don’t.” 118“You don’t know what I want.” The words sound childish coming out of my head. 119“If everything in this world was breathed into existence by The Painter then aren’t you and your Eternal Power also subjects of another’s creation?” 120Uncle Andy smiles and asks if he may touch me. I don’t answer but he reaches out regardless and places his palm against the center of my skull. “Are you ready for a glimpse?” 121A tear runs down my cheek and my stomach and heart fill with fear. 122I don’t know what’s about to [SEQ. VIII] 1I see a giant black orb floating in a sky of absolute white. Small streams of red pulse through the white like rivers of blood. It reminds me of photos I’ve seen of Earth taken from outer space. The white stretches to the horizon. 2A rushing wind hits me and tears my skin off, peels it back until I am just muscle and blood myself. 3My skin flaps in the breeze and disappears like a pair of lost pants. 4I hear a voice that is a loud and booming whisper. A spring breeze that will destroy a city. 5Voice says, “Look upon me and be in awe.” 6And it is in this moment that I realize I am not looking at a giant black orb and the sky is not white and the red is not rivers. 7I understand that I am looking at an eyeball. A singular eyeball. An eyeball that is so large that I am dwarfed by the pupil. 8I look down and see that I am standing on a platform made of flesh.

 

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Part 7 premieres next Monday the 27th. We become a food source of God, travel through the holy G.I. tract and find ourselves evacuated into a living memory.

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THE SPIRALING CORNUCOPIA OF PALE LAVENDER [SEQ. 6 – 7]

 The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction that explores faith and reality. Below is part 5. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

To read part 4, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

68Tell me, what color would you say my shirt is?” “Red.” “I really don’t mean to be rude – it truly isn’t my intent – but I must say that your view of things is fascinating. I wish I could see life through your eyes for a singular human day. I bet it would give me quite an appreciation for my own problems.” 69“What color is your shirt? What do you see?” “Even if I told you the word, you wouldn’t understand it. 70Your eyes and, by proximity, your brain, lack the ability to even think about this color.” 71“Tell me what it’s called. I want to hear it.” “You want to hear me say a word that you can’t understand just for the sake of your ears hearing my sing-song voice?” 72“Yes. I want to hear the color that I can’t understand.” 73“But you won’t understand it. It’s meaning is entirely lost on you.” “I want to hear it.” 74“No. I won’t say it because the exercise lacks any true merit. Your simple curiosity is not enough to elevate the purpose into action.” 75“If your people –” “They do not belong to me. They are not mine.” 75v2“If the race of individuals of which you are, lack simple curiosity, what drives you forward? How did you invent this world?” “We invented it through study and hard work. And we did both of those things because we understood that it would be for the greater good of the survival of the species. Our thinking is based upon what you would call merit. Our merit is much deeper and selfless than what you think of it as but the heart of the matter is as close as we can get to understanding one another. We believe that curiosity is for simple-minded creatures that get themselves killed. Curiosity often times leads to death. 76Why did your Pandora open the box?” “She is not mine. Pandora does not belong to me.” 76v2“You see, now you’re understanding. But the story belongs to your race.” “Yes. She opened it up and all the trouble came out.” “Of course, and if she had wanted to destroy the world, this would have been a very wise thing to do. 77She could have done the same thing with a more pure intent and gotten greater results. 78But instead she was controlled by something as simple as curiosity and the unexpected and unwanted happened. 79The unexpected and unwanted do not happen here. We set our lives in a direction and that is the direction they go.” 80I step away from the painting and look at the sad and hopeless and happy cows and I tell the doctor that I want to meet the painter and he says, “Yes. Now you are thinking properly and clearly. What will you ask him?” and I say that I want to ask him what is in the lighthouse.” “Very good. You are learning again. You are learning it all over again. And much better than last time. 81I will reach to the painter for you. And then I feel a vibration pulse through my body and I know, deep inside, that it is the transition of purest thought, being cast through the ship or building or world or wherever I am. 82Everyone receives the same thought at once. As the thought bubble spreads from this central ripple, everyone in every room receives the same gentle request. Painter [I cannot experience his true name] to this area [I cannot experience the name of the room]. There is a human here that wants to inquire about the contents of your creation. The human is inconsequential and the priority is very low. If you are in the middle of something, please finish. This is no rush at all. Thank you for your attention and I look forward to sharing time with you. 83And then the feeling is gone and then the room unzips and a small man steps through the fabric of reality and washes it away behind him. “How do you do that?” I ask but both men ignore me. 84The doctor looks at me with his black eyes and sharp teeth and looks at the painter, who looks like Kurt Cobain, although I can’t remember why Kurt Cobain was important or what he did. 85The doctor says, “You may remove your vanities. There is no purpose for it here,” but the painter says, “I am not yet ready to speak his tongue in my birth form. Although I have been practicing, I still find the practice clunky and unnatural.” 86“Of course. Human, what would you like to ask The Painter?” 87The Painter turns towards me and I see that his right hand is missing along with three fingers on his left hand, retaining only his pinky and thumb. 88“Are the cows hopeless or happy?” 89The Painter approaches the painting and gazes at it. “I think this one is content but this one looks as though he has a stomach ache.” I say, “Do you not know how you painted them?” and he says, 90“I only made them. I do not control them. In this moment they appear to be upset but perhaps they will one day change their outlook.” 91“What is in the lighthouse?” The Painter gets very close to the picture, almost nose to nose, and tries to squint. I say, “The mouse hole is not inviting to humans.” And he says, “Did you try this?” and I say, “Yes,” and then both the painter and the doctor begin to laugh. 92The doctor’s laugh sounds like a bird choking. 93The Painter says, “Let’s go there.” “Inside the painting?” “Well, yes and no. First, it is a painting but as I’m sure the doctor has explained to you, it is not a painting in the same way that you understand paintings to be. 94The word and art and meaning are lost in translation.” 95“Did you paint this?” “Yes.” “Then it is a painting.” 96“Your brain only contains three parts and it is very obvious when you think out loud like that.” 97I have been chastised and I feel humiliated. 98“I painted this but I didn’t use paints and I didn’t use a paintbrush. I created it. I breathed it into existence with my imaginings. I placed it there, not on a canvas, but in time and space. I brought it forward into existence. There was nothing and now there is something and I did that. Do you understand? I did that.” 99“These cows… they are… real?” “Real? Are you real, little human?” “Yes, of course I am. I’m here, aren’t I?” and then both of them start laughing again. 100That choking bird sound makes me uneasy. “Oh, yes. Little Human. You are real. You are here. We can see you with our eyeballs and so you must be standing here with us.” 101I want to leave but I have nowhere to go. “Come, Little Human, let’s go see this painting. You should cover your eyes so you don’t get sick.” 102I lift my palms to my face, blacking out my vision. The Painter blows on the back of my hands but then I realize it is the wind and he says, [SEQ. VII] 1“My breath is the wind here.” 2I smell the ocean and grass and I hear a cow and when I lower my hands I see that we have arrived. 3“We’re in the painting.” “No. We are not inside the painting. This exists on a separate plateau. 4Time, in the chronological sense, moves much slower here. The painting is not a painting at all. It’s more of a slow motion telescope. You can glance through and see what it happening. 5The portal is left open as a kind of art.” 6“You can watch people?” “We could if we so chose but it is used more for appreciation and less for observation.” 6“But what is the merit in that?” “The merit of appreciation? 7All good stems from the thankfulness of a gift. 8You might understand it more of a living photograph. Or live television.” 9I say, “You mean a security camera?” and The Painter smiles and says, “Always feeling suspicious of others. Always seeing the worst in them. 10There are controls on the painting that allow us to navigate through both space and time. I believe The Doctor fancies the lighthouse and what it evokes in his patients and so he leaves it there. But with a few simple sliders we can be looking at a different part of the world, or rather, a different part of this world. 11It is a moment depicted within a frame and, given enough time, that image will change as time progresses. But it will move too slowly for us to watch. It will be years and years – years is your word, not ours – until that cow even lifts his foot for the next step.” 12“Can you make it go backwards?” “Ah, quite astute of you. Yes. Time is the fourth dimension, a dimension which you are below and which I am above. We – myself and others like me – can view all aspects of time as simply as you would twirl a cube.” 13We reach the lighthouse and outside I see a man with no arms sitting in the dirt. He looks at me and asks if I can help him. Asks if I can give him anything. Anything at all. Food or water or money and I tell him that I’m sorry but I don’t have anything. 14The Man smiles at me and then closes his eyes and tries to drift back to sleep. 15The Painter holds open the door of the lighthouse and we step inside to find a wide room made of dark brick. 16I tell The Painter that I did not notice the beggar when I looked at the picture in The Doctor’s office. He says, “Most don’t.” 17In the center of the room there is a table and on the table there is a small lantern and by the lantern there is a piece of paper and an old fashioned quill and some spilled ink and in the ink there are some dead bugs. 18I pick up the paper but can’t read anything on it – the spilled ink has blotted everything out and has dripped onto the floor. My eyes follow the ink down and I see that the legs of the table are very intricate and ornate. 19In the corner of the room is a red curtain. I walk towards the red curtain and pull it back. 20Behind the curtain I see stairs that lead up and stairs that lead down. When I turn around, The Painter is standing right next to me. 21“Which way?” I ask and he says that it depends where I want to go. 22Do I want to see what’s at the top of the lighthouse or do I want to see what’s in the basement? 23I slip past the red curtain, letting it fall behind me, and begin taking steps up the spiraling stairs. 24“How high is it?” and The Painter asks, “How high is what?” and I say, “The top,” and The Painter says, “Why do you wish to know?” and I say, “Just –” and I catch myself but not before the word slips out, “-curious.” 25Yes, I am curious. I want to know how far it is to the top but for what purpose? Why does it matter how many steps stand between the top and myself? Will I not climb them if he tells me that there are too many? I am goal oriented. My goal is to reach the top. The quantifiable number does not matter to the goal. 26My curiosity is a moot point. 27I tell the Painter, “Never mind. I don’t care.” And he says, “Do care. This world is the only one you have. And I say, 28“I don’t believe that. We just came from another world,” and he says, “Yes, but this, now, this moment, is currently your whole world. And 29in this moment you get to choose everything. 30In this moment you could choose to continue walking or you could choose to turn around. 31You could choose to walk to the ocean or find that man outside some food. 32It is all the same. We are all the same. 33Because we were in a very different place, does not mean that we were not connected to this place. 34Because your toes are far from your eyes, it does not mean that the two are disconnected. 35We are all part of one great body, no matter who we are, what we are or where we are. 36That step is part of you.” We reach a door at the top that is made of heavy wood and banded iron. On the door is a gargoyle head with a pierced nose. 37The gargoyle token is not evil. It is simply a crafted rock, carrying no malevolent will itself. The token acts as police tape. 38Caution wanderer. Stay back. This ground is strange and dangerous. 39I lift up my hand to knock but The Painter stops me. “Go inside.” “Just walk in?” “He already knows that we’re here.” 40And that is when I received part of my answer. Who is in the lighthouse? HE. 41I open the door and, although the room is full of windows facing the outside world, everything is dark. 42The Painter says, “You have to do this part alone,” and I turn around to find him standing at the top of the steps. 43“I’m afraid.” And he says, “I know. Everyone is. You are not alone.” 44And then he shuts the door and I’m left in the starlight.

 

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Part 6 premieres next Monday the 6th. We will have a conversation with Darkness and get eaten by a giant whose name is God.

 

 

 

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HUG CONTEST

I’ve got this thing that I do.

At night, after I’ve got the kids in bed and settled down, books read, conversations had, questions answered, minds settled, I announce a Hug Contest.

One by one, they each get to give me a hug and then, at the end, I announce a winner. And yes, I announce an actual winner. I tell one of them that they gave the best hug. I try to mix it up but I also try to be fair because, honestly, not all hugs are created equal.

When we started doing this, Rory was more of a quantity over quality type of guy. He would jump at me, throw his arms around my neck and squeeze so hard that I would begin to see black dots in front of my eyes. I would fall to the ground, he would wrap his legs around me and wheeze into my ear while straining, “Is… this… a… good… hug?” Instead of answering, I would tap out.

Bryce is always a welcome competitor afterward as she likes to gently but firmly wrap her arms around my neck and squeeze. It is as though she often times actually embodies the hug. Becomes the hug. Her hair nuzzles up against my cheek and tickles my nose.

Quinn likes to mix it up – she’s kind of a mixed martial artist in that capacity. Little bit of technique from here, little bit from there, put em all together and what have you got? I never know what’s going to come at me. Sometimes it’s quite nice. Sometimes it is exceptionally painful. Sometimes she takes the Rory route, sometimes she takes the Bryce route and sometimes she just gives me a quick squeeze, almost an accidental brush-by and says, “How was that?” like she’s gaging my reaction in order to perfect the technique.

But here’s the thing about naming a winner in a Hug Contest… more important than the execution of the hugger is the need of the huggee.

Sometimes I want a warm hug. Sometimes I want it to linger. Sometimes I want Rory to put me in a rear chokehold until I black out. The kids are aiming at a moving target but they don’t know it. Which is great because they just try their best every single night.

And every night there is a new winner.

And the winner is always so happy. The winner always goes to bed smiling. Because the winner won.

And the best thing? Even when you lose, you’ve still gotten a hug.

I started by just rotating winners and that worked for a bit. Rory, Quinn, Bryce, Rory, Quinn, Bryce. But it quickly became too predictable, even for a three year old. I wanted to keep them on their toes. I didn’t want them to think that they were trapped in a thankless system where they just won every third day.

So then I started actually judging them. And then I told them why. I would tell them why they won.

So then. Quinn had proven herself victorious in the Hug Contest two nights in a row and then Bryce had won the following evening which ended with Rory saying, “I never win!” and then on the fourth night, just as I was getting Quinn into bed, she says, “Can we do the Hug Contest tonight?” and I say, “Sure! Let’s do it,” and then Rory says, “I want to be the judge,” and I say, “You want to be the judge in a hug contest that you’re competing in? Do you know what conflict of interest means?” and he says, “No.”

So I tell him that he can’t be the judge and I tell him this because I know. I know. I know what this little scoundrel is thinking. He’s thinking that if he is the judge then tonight he could rig the competition in his favor. He will nominate himself as best hug giver. He will reap the plunder.

But I’m a parent.

I’m smarter than that.

I’m smarter than him.

And so I say, “No. Sorry, man. You can’t be the judge. You can’t do it. Not if you’re in the contest. It wouldn’t be fair,” and he says, “PLEASE!?” and I say, “No, dude. It isn’t fair,” and he says, “Ug, doood.”

And so we round robin this thing and at the end I’m feeling quite loved and quite wonderful and I tell them all, their six eyes staring at me, “You guys… this is a first time ever, history making event, in the annals of Hug Contest history…”

They wait with baited breath.

We have a three way tie!”

I applaud and then Quinn says, “Yippie!” and Bryce echoes her and Rory moans. “But who won?” he asks and I say, “You all did!” and he says, “I want to be the judge,” and I say, “You want to judge?” and he says, “Yes. I want there to be a winner. Not a tie,” and I say, “Alright. Let’s all give Rory a hug and he can decide who wins. A second Hug Contest in one evening! Another history making event!”

And Rory gets serious and he says, “No. No dad. I don’t want to,” and I say, “You don’t need any hugs?” and in my head I think, How convenient. You don’t even need to see the competitors. You already know who the winner is. You’ve got a lot to learn about being shady, bub.

And so I say, “Okay. Let’s hear it, Rory. Who’s the winner? Who is the winner of your Hug Contest? Who… have you named winner?”

And Quinn and Bryce and I sit and stare at him as he holds a finger to his lips. He says, “Hmmmm…” and really mulls over the options. Decent form, I think. He’s obviously fooling the little ones but not me. I’ve got your number, pal. You think you’re being shady? I invented shade. I am the tree that casts it.

And then he smiles, completely aware that now is the moment he is unveiling his master plan. He looks at me and says, “You are the winner, dad! You give the best hugs!”

And then my heart breaks. And then my stomach turns inside out. And then my eyes begin to fill with tears.

Ah, shame. Guilt. Stupidity. Give me your best because I deserve them all. I am insignificant and putrid and vile. I am disgusting and full of loathing. I am selfish and stupid and, worst of all, obtuse and ignorant.

Aren’t I a humble parent? Aren’t I a humble person? No. Not at all. You think you know so much but you know nothing, Johnny Snow. You see the worst in people. You expect people to act selfishly. You anticipate people to act in a specific way. You think you are better. And this is one of your greatest faults.

The mirror is a painful place to look. Oh, there’s a shortcoming. And another. And another. And another.

It is one thing to look at yourself, examine yourself, and come to terms with certain facets of your personality, slowly turning them over and slowly revealing them. There is something soothing in that process – the process of growth, which we are all on over many, many years.

Oh, but the pain of having a child reveal the entire ugly picture of yourself to yourself, all at once. It’s like the coroner pulling back the blanket on the corpse of a loved one and seeing them diseased and rotting. But it is not a loved one. It is me. And it is not my rotting skin but my heart.

I leave their room with my head down, the weight of my pride dragging me to the ground.

 

 

 

***Subscribe for updates. New blog every Wednesday – friends, family, life, death, kids and adventure. And on Mondays we’re currently releasing a fiction in 10 parts called The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender. Part one linked to the left and the intro is linked here. It’s a tale of evolving consciousness through many different plains of reality. If that sounds weird enough to check out, you should.

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The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender [seq. 6]

 The Spiraling Cornucopia of Pale Lavender is  a 10-part series of fiction. Below is part 4. To read the introduction of the project, click here.

To read part 1, click here.

To read part 2, click here.

To read part 3, click here.

Otherwise, begin scroll.

 

[SEQ. VI] 1I open my eyes and I’m underwater, inside of a narrow tube and I can’t lift my arms. 2A creature has been placed over my mouth and my first thought is that it looks like a starfish and its “arms” have suckered to my face but it does not hurt and I realize that this thing is giving me oxygen and allowing me to breathe as we exist in some kind of symbiotic relationship in this water or liquid and I wonder what it is taking away from me. How am I paying it? 3Small creatures or blurs or people move outside of the tub and I can see them observing me but I can’t speak or motion for them. 4I blink my eyes and one of them points at me. It reaches up and opens its chest and pulls out a small trinket that looks like a slug and the creature places it on the counter and the water in the tank begins to drain and when it does, I feel myself poop but I do not feel any shame in the act. 5When the water is gone I see that there never was any glass and that the water was more like a jelly that was somehow held perfectly still, presenting its expected form. 6The jelly is spread out on the floor but it immediately begins to coagulate and then it pulls towards itself as though drawn by internal magnets. It gathers itself up to one another and then slides and slithers back to its cage. 7Is the liquid sentient? 8The starfish drops from my mouth and pulls a long proboscis from my throat, longer than I would have assumed. I feel it pulling up through my stomach and intestines. 9The thing licks it’s lips and says, “Thank you,” before dropping to the ground and scurrying towards the gelatin, it’s abdomen plump with my bacterial stew. 10It crawls into the cage with the gelatin and then crawls inside the gelatin and goes to sleep. It will live off of my secretions in hibernation until next it is needed. 11The creatures are greys of some kind but they’re not from outer space and they’re still watching me and now I’m back here and I just stare at them and they stare at me and I am so very sad because I can no longer sense what they’re saying. 12I have lost all form of communication with them. 13Something has been pulled away from me and I can’t remember anything or how to speak to them but I’m certain something is missing. 14I want to feel their thoughts and I want them to tell me that it’s going to be okay but they don’t [SEQ. VI2] 1and then I am lying in a bed, staring at the ceiling and a woman is standing over me and she is my wife and all of my memories come rushing back to me and I say, “Please don’t ever allow me to wake up again. It’s too painful to remember who I am. My journeys are eternal” [SEQ. VI2] 15instead they just stare at me and is it pity that I see in their eyes or is that just my imagination? 16Instead I speak out loud and say, “Where am I?” which is such an elementary question and I’m embarrassed that I have to ask it because I know that I should know and instead of answering the greys take a step back because the raw quality of my voice hurts them. 17One of them lifts up a finger and makes a motion through the air that opens up a small doorway in the air itself and we step through it, displacing ourselves. 18In the other room I see another man, a human man, who is Caucasian, what we would call European with gray hair and blue eyes. He has on a sweater and wears a kind smile that draws me in. 19The other greys are gone and there is no doorway and I say “Who are you?” and he says, “You don’t remember me?” And I say, “Am I crazy?” and he says, “What do you mean?” 20And I say, “Is this real?” And he says, all of this audibly, of course, out loud, which is why I think the greys left – because the sounds somehow hurt them or at least made them uncomfortable. 21He says, “What do you mean by real?” And I say, “Is the place I was at real – the land with the scarecrow and the fishermen? Or was it a kind of hypnosis? Did I experience it in the Dream Tank?” Dream Tank. Where did those words come from? 22I continue, “Was the rock a drug? Was the ship real? What is ultimate reality and what is false and where am I right now in all of this?” 23And the doctor says that everything is real. 24“All realities, even fake ones, are real. 25Aren’t we all processing things? Aren’t we all reacting to stimuli? 26If you are afraid of a ghost in the dark and you feel fear, isn’t that fear real even if the ghost is not?” 27And I think he is right but it seems like he’s avoiding handing over the information. Information that he has. Knowledge that he won’t share with me. 28I ask him how long I’ve been here and he tells me a few hours and I say, “In this room?” And he shrugs and says “Parts of it.” 29I go to his bookshelf but don’t recognize any of the titles. They look like they might be written in Danish or Dutch. I reach out to pick one up but the doctor says, “Please don’t do that,” but I do it anyways and inside I find that all of the pages are blank and I say, “Who are you?” and he says, 30“There are no answers in my name,” 31and then he says, “Who are you?” but he does not inflect his voice as though he is repeating a question. He doesn’t inflect at all. His voice is void of nuance. 32He’s trying to copycat me or all of us. Humans. 33He’s not like me. 34I turn inside of myself, reach inside of myself, looking for my letter but my letter has been stolen from me by the abyss and I find only hints of something that used to be there. Dust. There are warm feelings but I can’t attach them to an action or a memory. Just an empty room with a concrete bench. 35He tells me that he gave me something very important and I lost it and that I lost it stupidly and carelessly and now, he tells me, he has to talk to me in this primitive series of grunts and moans like a common animal 36and then he reaches up and he peels off his face like boiled skin from a tomato and underneath I see that he is a grey with sharp teeth. 37Like roasted kale, he eats the face and I hear it crunching between his teeth like tacks. 38He says, “Life is delicious,” 39and then he tells me that I’m doing it wrong. 40I’m viewing life from the wrong perspective. 41Here, look, he emotes to me and I turn to look at the painting on the wall when his emotions brush past me. Has he gifted me back with the communication? Can I feel him? 42“Look at the painting and tell me what you see.” And I tell him that I see a field with a light tower and I see two deer but I wonder if there are deer wherever this light tower exists and the grey sends to me: “What do you think of this painting? Tell me what you see,” and I begin to explain the image. 43There is a lake in the background, white water heads, a little bend on the horizon. The water disappears in the distance. 44In an eternal sunset. 45The cattle in the foreground walk off frame. Cattle? Deer? I’m not sure. Could it be both? 46He says “What do you see,” and I tell him again and then he says, “But what else do you see? Look beyond your own eyes. Stare at it with the artist’s own heart. When he painted it, what was he thinking about? As he painted the black strokes in the now dried paint, what was he thinking about? Was his mind set on the brush strokes or were they set on something else at hand? Was his heart in it at all? See it with those eyes. Feel the letters and the tools and bring them to me to feel and I can feel the breeze and I don’t see anything change at all but suddenly everything surrounds me and I can see into the amazing beautiful because that is ours and it belongs to nobody except us and I am insanely aware of the fact. 47“Tell me what you see in the painting,” and I tell him that I see a lighthouse and he says, “Yes. That is what your eyes see. But what else?” And I say that it makes me feel calm and he says, “Yes. It does. But why?” and I try to look deeper into the painting and 48I look at the eyes of the cows, which are black and bleak and I say, “The cows seem sad. They are surrounded by beauty and freedom but they look so hopeless.” The doctor nods his head and says, “That’s very interesting. I’ve always felt as though they looked calm because they had everything.” 49And I say, “If you have everything and need nothing, you no longer require goals.” 50The doctor says, “And?” I think and then say, 51“And if you don’t have goals, you don’t have a path.” 52“And if you don’t have a path?” “Then you are hopeless.” 53“So do you believe that being hopeless and being fully content, which most believe to be polar opposites, can actually co-exist in the same moment?” 54The question is not meant for me to answer aloud but to wonder at. 55He asks me what else I see and I tell him that I want to know what is in the lighthouse and he asks me why I care and I tell him that I don’t care but that I am curious. “You want to know what is in the light house simply for the sake of knowing what is in the lighthouse?” “Well, yes,” but I immediately feel inferior for requesting it. What is the purpose of my curiosity? 56“What if there were nothing inside?” “Then at least I would know.” “You would know what?” “I would know that there is nothing.” 57“And what if I told you that god resided in the lighthouse? What would you do with that information?” “I would go to the lighthouse.” “How? It is just a painting.” 58My eyes begin to sting. The air is very dry. I blink a lot. 59The doctor asks if I am okay and I tell him that I am fine. 60“I cannot go into the painting.” “No, that much is obvious. It is just the perception of colors and shapes on a canvas. So how do you find out what is in the lighthouse?” 61I take several steps towards the painting and I squint, trying to look inside. 62“The mouse hole is closed to humans,” the doctor says and then laughs. 63“I cannot know what is in the lighthouse. 64I can never see God. 65I can never know God. 66I can never know if He exists. Is that what you are suggesting?” and the doctor says, “No. You can know. You just have to stop looking at things like a human being. You’re so short sighted and your perception of the world around you is so limited. 67Often times I wonder what it must be like to see the universe through such flat eyes. 68Tell me, what color would you say my shirt is?” “Red.” “I really don’t mean to be rude – it truly isn’t my intent – but I must say that your view of things is fascinating. I wish I could see life through your eyes for a singular human day. I bet it would give me quite an appreciation for my own problems.”

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