note to a friend…
what do you know of peter mulvey? (as i write this note, i have turned to my well-worn “peter mulvey” pandora station.) he’s from milwaukee, i think, right? and so, as i write, i am wearing those electronic grooves ever-deeper on that virtual vinyl that spins, ever-wobbly, ever-tinny on my laptop speakers…
just wasting time. trying to push my bedtime back on this night of magically-lengthened time. Daylight savings ends with the lives of leaves that flutter gutter-side and “2 am” mysteriously becomes “1am” and re-appears as itself an hour later.
a friend of mine (author of the infamous n–.blogspot.com) sent me a link to a newyorkreviewofbooks link of a conversation between Barack Obama and Marilynne Robinson (who I always manage to get confused with Marilyn Nelson). This is the third random reference to Marilynne Robinson that i’ve been put into personal contact with in the last 3 days.
My life is full of conspiracies – workings of a hidden world weaving itself into mine. (Or maybe my own constructed flesh peeling away so that I am made more and more aware of the woven divinity that lies, striated, red-and-white, pulsing and contracting, underneath.)
Speaking of “peeling away,” my dreams have become much more tolerable lately. I’ve told you that for the past several years, my dreams have taken on the terrible nothingness of a first-person story of a soul lost in a terrible Escherian landscape of deserted buildings and flesh-rancid slums. Occasionally, I escape on a shark-harassed sailing ship lost at some corner of the globe, on its way to a prison island. A few nights ago, though, I dreamed that my limbs were thick as 30-year-old birch trunks and were delicately dropping away their paper-thin bark. Reminded me of my favorite spiritual reading to date. A reading of gentleness. Of practice and patience.
And so, I am encouraged. My dreams may still drag me through oil-slicked streets of a no-man’s land of addiction and self-hatred, but I know that my salvation is perfectly slow and “ok.” And so am I. And so am I.
Incidentally, I was interested by what else I may find on the newyorkreviewofbooks, and was somehow directed to an article on a series of various books recounting the thought-life and times of the apostle Paul. As I read, I found a thumbnail of Caravaggio’s depiction of Paul’s instantaneous conversion. And, I laughed (“why can’t I be blinded by the light and made perfect in my wretchedness?!”).
I turned then to see my daughter asleep on the couch behind me – out here with me in the dark-and-late hours of Halloween because of a bad dream that stirred her into a sweaty and unknown childhood terror so common in the dim, night-lighted corners of kids’ bedrooms. And I looked at her there now on the couch, and again, I was reminded of my continual and slow practice of the divine. She is so perfect, lying there, asleep, made comfortable by the opportunity I had to carry her out here, where the music is soft and tinny from my computer speakers. And she sleeps well here, next to her goofy-talking, and sometimes night-shift-cranky, but always brokenly loving Dad. And tonight, she is my blinding light – her small head poking out of her blanket, her mess of red hair, her eyes the perfect marriage of exhaustion and trust. She sleeps soundly now. And that is a Gift to me – someone given to me for no other reason than that I may help her to learn to love. And, myself a gift to her, given so that she might have someone to teach how to love.
And, tonight, I stay up so that I might be ready for another night shift tomorrow. And here in this dimly-lit house, I wait for the mysteriously-lengthened hour. And the rain has stilled itself outside. And the leaves have grown heavy in their own beds out beneath the maples. And the moon makes its progress across the sky. And the dreamers drift deeper beneath this roof in their own blessed dreams And I am grateful. And I am grateful that I am able to be grateful.
from the collection of: d. heidel