The Story I Tell Myself

One day a man was out and about, minding his own business, tending to his own affairs. when life showed up in a foul mood, with obviously ill intentions. The man ducked into the nearest doorway, hoping to lay low until life passed by and took its wrath out on some other unfortunate soul. To his horror, instead of passing by, life pulled open the door and started bearing down on the man.

Quickly, the man retreated further into the building he had tried to take refuge in, hoping that perhaps life had other business there and would not train its sights on him. But it quickly became clear that life had indeed trained its sights on this one man and was not about to let him off easily. The man attempted to find an escape, to return to what he had been doing before life, in its unfathomable wisdom or malice, had turned on him. But life is not so easily out-maneuvered.

Finally, life had the man trapped down a hallway, many floors up, with all exits cut off. As life bore down on the man, he quickly dove into the door to his left, slamming the door in life’s face. He locked the door and quickly began moving whatever furniture he could in front of the door, hoping to at least slow life down while he regrouped and came up with his escape plan.

To his surprise, it worked. He could hear life banging on the door, yelling, but it seemed unable to breach the barrier he had erected against it. Quickly, the man began calling through the contacts in his phone for help. To his dismay, none of those closest to him answered. He left frantic messages, assuming they would call right back with plans, supplies, swat teams – whatever it took to get him out safely. When no one returned his calls quickly, he began calling his other contacts to explain that life had him trapped. Most said with a weary tone, “yeah – that’s life alright.”

Meanwhile, he could hear life breathing heavily right outside the door. Sometimes it would growl and the man would despair of ever escaping. Finally, the man stopped and looked around the room he was in. He was pleasantly surprised to discover that the room was comfortable, well appointed and had everything someone in a siege situation might need while waiting for rescue. While the man would much rather have be allowed to carry on with his day instead of getting trapped by life, if he was going to be trapped, this place was as good as one could hope for.

At first he kept waiting for rescue. Some days passed and his near-and-dear finally returned his messages, but far from being willing to mount a rescue effort, they too responded to his plight with “yeah – that’s life”. Only they felt the need to then castigate the man for all of his supposed failures which had caused him to become captive to life. And, as if things weren’t bad enough, they proceeded to explain why the comfortable, well appointed room the man had found himself in was no better than a hovel and how he was now doomed to misery and pity. Soon enough, he began blocking their calls. Continue reading “The Story I Tell Myself”

The Injured Easter Bird

Once upon a time, there was a farmer who decided not to go to church on Easter Morning. He’d been going his whole life, but a few years earlier he had decided that he was old enough to stop pretending that what went on in church was important enough to get up early for on his only day off.

This year his wife had harrumphed when he announced that he wasn’t even going to keep up the bare minimum of appearances required to be a Chreaster (a person who attends church only on Christmas and Easter). The whole thing was ridiculous, he said in his calm, practical way. If there was a God, which there could be, despite the utter lack of evidence, why would he or she care so much what we did? Why didn’t God just show up in the sky every few years to confirm his existence and provide some clear, practical instructions for us to follow? Why all the drama? Why ask us to believe that some guy who probably didn’t bathe regularly was actually God and that his gruesome death provides for our salvation? Ridiculous.

He suspected that his wife thought much the same, but held on to religion almost out of superstition. Sort of like knocking on wood when you say something that could come back to haunt you. You know it can’t really do anything to protect you, but it’s such a small gesture to make. Might as well not take the risk in case there is some truth to it after all.

So his wife rolled her eyes at his little outburst and got up for Easter service all by herself. She didn’t put any particular effort into being quiet about it, though. She knew he was a light sleeper and had been awake from the moment threw back her covers with a little extra force while getting out of bed and went to the shower humming loudly. He said not a word through her entire performance, but she knew he was only pretending to be asleep when she left. And came back in to grab something she forgot before leaving again. Just to be sure he wasn’t actually still asleep when she left.

After the third time his wife had left, the farmer waited a long moment before peeking out the window to watch her car pull out the driveway. He’d said his piece and the conversation was over. But he knew that sometimes his wife needed a little time to adjust to not getting her way. Better to feign sleep than get drawn into a pointless argument over it.

Just as his wife’s car drove past the mailbox, a bird flew right into the window he was looking out of. The farmer was so startled, it took him a moment to realize what had happened. He looked down and saw a small downy woodpecker laying on its back on the ground below the window. He tried looking to see if the bird was breathing. He was too far away to tell, of course. But just as he realized that he’d have to go down and look if he wanted to know, he remembered the barn cats. He quickly put on a shirt and rummaged around the top shelf of the closet until he found an old shoe box. Continue reading “The Injured Easter Bird”

The Diamond and The Bride – Pt 2

3819736-124842-clear-diamond-in-the-green-grassThe man picked up the beautiful diamond and carried it out into the bright light of the sun. The diamond had not experienced the unfiltered light of the sun since that brief moment it was falling from the sky so long ago. Now the diamond found the intense light shining on it too much to bear. It was too bright and too hot after the cocoon of darkness the diamond has resided in for so long. Sensing the diamond’s distress, the man carried the diamond to a spot under a tree and set it down.

“You need to rest. Let the sun warm you and the breeze refresh you. Watch the animals and learn from them. The passing clouds will bring cleansing rains. There is nothing to fear here. And when you are ready, come and join me walking in the light.”

The diamond could hardly take in the man’s words. Without the muting of water or the covering of filth it was accustomed to, the words seemed to boom painfully loud. As had become its habit, the diamond panicked. Did the man really mean to leave it here alone, exposed to the dangers of the world around it? Did he not know that an animal might eat it as had happened before? That a great gust of wind could blow it away? Was he not worried that it might drown in the rain? And what was this nonsense about walking in the light? How can a lump go walking about like a man? Continue reading “The Diamond and The Bride – Pt 2”

The Diamond and The Bride Pt 1

how-diamonds-migrate-surface-kimberlite_47202_600x450Once there was a diamond dropped from the sky. As it fell, a large crow swept down and knocked the diamond off its course and into some water. The diamond landed on the soft bottom of the pond and panicked, “oh no! I don’t belong in the water! Some fish will see me and eat me and then all will be lost.” So the diamond began to gather moss to itself, in the hope that it would provide camouflage so it could remain hidden and unnoticed in its sad, watery home.

The moss grew on the diamond and soon small fish began to come nibble at it. Some days it seemed that the diamond could hardly gather moss around itself quickly enough to replace what was eaten away each day. Every day was filled with anxiety.

One day, while the little fish were nibbling away at the diamond’s mossy covering, a much larger fish came along. He dove in to take one of the little fish for a snack and swallowed the diamond in the process. The diamond again began to panic. “I don’t belong in a big fish! How will ever get out? At least before, I could spend my days in one comfortable spot. Who knows where this big fish will carry me off to?”

In desperation, the diamond began trying to get back out the way it had come in. Soon, it was lodged in the large fish’s throat, causing the fish great discomfort. As the fish thrashed about trying to dislodge the lump in its throat, it became unmindful and swam too near the surface. An eagle circling high above swooped down and grabbed hold of the fish, carrying it back to its high perch in a tree.

The diamond, who had been hoping only to be regurgitated back near where it had been taken from, sensed itself being lifted higher and higher. “Oh no! I knew that being eaten by a big fish was a disaster. Who knows where I am being carried off to. If only that crow hadn’t knocked me off course, none of this would have happened.” Continue reading “The Diamond and The Bride Pt 1”

Mountain Climbing

Once there was a climber who set out to climb a mountain.  The word from those who had gone before was that the guru at the top of the mountain was God himself and that the closer you got to the summit, the more spectacular the views and the more satisfied your soul became.  At the bottom of the mountain, there were many paths to start from.  Different paths had different challenges and enjoyments.  The mountainside was dotted with cafes, inns and gathering places and many people enjoyed exploring the trail they had started from.  But as the elevation got higher and the air a little bit thinner, the trails all converged together into one narrow, difficult path.  This was the way to the summit.  This was the path our climber was determined to take.

The road to the summit was not as well traveled as the other trails lower down.  Everyone on the mountain claimed to be trying to reach the top, but few actually ventured onto the daunting path towards the summit.  The accommodations along the higher path were functional, but sparse and the travelers even sparser.  It was not uncommon to meet someone nursing a strong drink at a gathering spot along one of the lower trails who had been defeated by this arduous journey to the summit.  The few who made it to the top tended to be harder to locate, but when asked they all said the same things:  “Stay on the path even when it looks foolish and dangerous.  If you think you are lost, stop and wait until the path becomes clear again. Gather any food and supplies you find even if they are a burden to carry – you will depend on them later.  And don’t quit.  It’s worth it.”

Our intrepid climber knew it was a foolhardy journey to undertake.  But she had never found a comfortable spot on one of the trails lower down that satisfied her heart.  The amusements found there seemed unworthy of her full devotion and the people were often kind but they were not God.  They could not satisfy her heart.  So, she determined to climb the summit to meet God and satisfy the longing in her soul which would not allow her to make peace with lesser things.  Continue reading “Mountain Climbing”