Thursday, January 27, 2011

our rabbis

Their skin is softer. Maybe because the elasticity of the skin left years earlier and the crevices add a squishy texture. Their eyes may be less clear and their teeth usually model their years of exposure and usage. I look at them and do not tire at marveling at their resplendency.

We walked down the side walk, our arms linked, at a slower pace respecting the results of her stroke. The ice cream she relishingly licked found its way down her small fingers, palms, and shirt. Throughout the stroll I walked in different restaurants for more napkins to keep up with her sticky delight. Her eyes widened and her tongue savored the flavor left in the foldings of her lips as we washed her hands in the water fountain. We made our way to a bench and sat there as I listened, amazed by her memory. I questioned and she sheepishly answered, "My memory is fine, but then there are moments that I become an idiot." Her eyes avoided mine as she admitted to her loss in short term memory. "It happens to us all at moments." She smiled. "What day is it today?" It was her third time asking the question.

I ran in late to mass, a mass remembering the death and life of a friend's father. I took my seat in the back and recognized the hunched back and the fine white hair. I spoke with members of the family and through the silhouettes I spotted the familiar man with the cane patiently waiting for the conversations to subside to make his way through. I walked towards him and hugged him. Three years had passed since I last saw him. He stood elegantly, as his nearly century old muscles unwillingly shook and his gaze stayed firmly in mine. He shared his stories and there we spoke in the empty chapel, laughing, and finding the beauty in the other.

They shoved one another in order to sit in the back first. One with the older of the pair losing the discussion and sitting regally beside me in the front, I was the chauffeur. First pick of the places to go was the bookstore. As we arrived a display with the latest e-book device and an employee selling it held it towards their aged and still curious eyes. "And what might that be?" one said to the other. The employee proudly explained the apparatus and her polite response was, "I prefer the paper, but thank you." They laughed, caring one for the other, buying gifts for the other behind the other's back. I laughed and indulged in the pleasure of their humor and presence.

They enrich us with stories, laughter, and wisdom. They help us remember to not take ourselves that seriously. They remind us of the past and what will come to us in the future, to better live in the present.

May we remember to walk slowly, forget ourselves in the gusto of an ice cream cone, look the other in the eye, share stories with one another, ask questions without shame, and speak honestly in the same manner. May we remember them, delight in their presence and give of ourselves to them.

With you,

Monday, January 17, 2011


Late last night I decided to take the back roads home, while allowing the heater to thaw out my toes. Thoughts swam through my mind as I slowly swerved through the paved curves. Interrupting my monologue of to-do lists and hopeful thinking, a red light from the dashboard appeared. As my eyes adjusted, I realized the little words read BRAKE! I hesitated at believing the sign since I didn’t sense the car dragging nor did I smell the brakes burning. I checked the emergency brake and it laid there in its expected position. I jiggled the brake a bit, pushed the button at the end of the stick and the light continued to shine, differentiating itself from its blue and green counterparts. Then I got it. The little guy lit especially for me. It, or Jamaima (the car I gladly drove in), or better said, the Beauty of Beauties wanted me to brake, to stop all the shenanigans diving in and around my mind and simply be. Be in the deep blue of the sky, the long sheer clouds smeared through it cradling the chubby moon, and the silhouettes of the pine trees framing my passage. I smiled and decided to listen and be. I stopped Jamaima, temporarily relieving the headlights of their duties, and allowing my eyes to rejoice in my surroundings. I looked up at the moon and felt her manifestation in me. I allowed my eyes to wander through the vastness of the moonlit sky and my soul to be humbled, and at ease, with its place in the vastness. Then I turned my head towards my left and saw more splendor. A lake lay embraced by pines, mirroring its tree frame in its unruffled waters. The lake reflected the moon, the silhouettes and the clouds above. I allowed the chill of the night to fill my lungs and listened to the unseen flow of the lake. It lay placid and seemingly motionless. All the life, and with it, death, it carries within, and all the peace that it transmits for simply being.

The cold began to chill my nose so I cuddled back into Jamaima, turned her on and rode the rest of the way home with the little red light still shining for me. I am perfectly aware that it may simply be another glitch in the car bought from a junk yard, and I am tremendously grateful for that glitch and the other glitches in life that remind us to brake and truly be. To sense, to smell, to see, to listen, to stop and be. "For the kin_dom of God is at hand." Mark 1:15

With you,