Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Mere Mortals: Swallowing Sand.

As I did with the second installation of this series, I'll again refer you to this entry so you know what in sam-hell I'm babbling about with this third portion. 

Track Three: Swallowing Sand.

I can't explain to you how fucking scared I am of being right. With my own eyes I've seen horror perched in the corner beckoning my soul. With my own ears I've heard the whispers of the lost, wishing they’d only listened to me. The clerics are weak, the scholars blind, no one will seal your fate, no man, nor mind. Believe with me and we can be free. I need this relief. Together we’ll dismember clocks and burn the calendars, smash the hourglass and scatter Time’s sands. We’ll walk into the sunrise hand in hand. We’ll walk into the sunrise hand in hand. Deep down you must feel some of what I feel. My blood is yours, you must somewhere inside know this is real. I can't lose you. Believe with me and we can be free. I can't lose you, believe with me.

As I've surpassed ten years now at my job, I've seen many faces come and go. Whether it be coworkers, managers, or simply customers, I've seen a lot of faces, and I've seen a lot of changes. I'm not the kind of person who is out to meet new friends at every turn, but sometimes customers stand out just enough to warrant a genuinely warm greeting and inquiry into their life every time I see them. Jane (not her real name for reasons you already know) is one of them. She complimented my organizational qualities during our interaction and said she sought me out because my, what I would call OCD-ness, impressed her. One day she asked me if I was a church-going man, I told her I'm not. She explained that she got a "sense" I was, and I was only one of a few she got that "sense" about at our store. Hearing something like this is always strange to me. I suppose I might hold myself in a manner that echoes my upbringing, or that perhaps in some sort of pseudo-clairvoyant way, she got a "sense" I was of her tribe. I get that in theory. I have "senses" about people here and there, which I then quickly scold myself for having because what do I really know about this stranger? Judging books by their cover is a dangerous practice...but the gut is also wise at times. Over time she started to ask me questions about whether I'd experienced anything supernatural lately, an itch, or a inclination, because she'd been praying for me. I always chuckle and say: "not yet." 

Soon after she developed a comfort with me, perhaps because of my temperament, or perhaps because she needed an aspiringly patient ear, she explained her daughter is dying. Not only is her daughter's complication untreatable, but she's also a non-believer in the afterlife her mother ascribes to. She is not 'of the faith.' Which means Jane will, in a matter of time, lose her daughter physically and metaphysically. I now try to keep conversation light, but can't un-know the things I do about her faith and her daughter, so I ask how she is. Nothing is ever better. Nothing is ever easier. But she still has faith that it will get better, that it will get easier. 

Years ago, when I was still in college, my grandfather passed away. I was still a faithful guy, but becoming skeptical of certain aspects of Christianity. Mainly, that everything had an answer and a reason. I remember, as we were gathered for a family dinner amidst the funeral arranging, my mother saying something along the lines of "I'm just happy to know he's in a better place." In my arrogance, I challenged my grieving mother as to whether that was true. It was an ugly utterance and a miserable time to voice such sentiments. I still beat myself up for it. The idea in those moments that the person you just lost is no longer with you and that you'll never see them again in any capacity is an unbearable thought, surely even to those without belief in an afterlife.

The weight of believing your beloved, the fruit of your womb, your one and only child will leave this world prematurely and be banned from the heaven you aspire to, perhaps even condemned to the very opposite, must be crushing. While I don't share Jane's faith, I feel with her, I imagine the impending loss she's coming to terms with, I mourn with her. In my own way I pray her faith moves mountains and she receives the miracle she's waiting for. I hope Time's sands will scatter and she never has to let go or say "goodbye."

(photo stolen from: http://www.strangehistory.net/2013/05/04/12136/) 

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