The Mighty Viking

Conquering those things we must, one story at a time

Archive for January, 2019

Tonight‘s Viking Sacrifice: The Future

When I lay down to sleep, I plan on a future in the morning. When I begin a journey, I plan on a future destination. I work for a future of food, of shelter, safety, and if I‘m lucky, future freedom to amuse myself.

And these things, in their time, are good things. Dreaming of our future can bring us joy.

But, we can only dream of our future in the present. Indeed, there is nothing we can do outside of this moment.

But for some reason, we spend an inordinate amount of time with thoughts of the future filling up our awareness. Sometimes it‘s because we‘re dwelling on the mistakes of the past, and hoping to make something better out of them. Sometimes we‘re worried about the wrongs of others, and our fears of what might have been, and we conjure up dark fantasies of what might be, if!

But this moment right here is where things work. This moment right here, this is the world of verbs, of action for better or worse. Playing the future is a chess game against an unseen, unknown opponent. The past is the realm of the dead.

And yet, when I sit quietly by this fire, feeling the warmth and life of these two dogs beside me, and listen close to the thunderous sound of my inner thoughts, I hear myself attending almost entirely on precisely that which I cannot address in the present.

And thus, my present becomes a swamp of lies, fears, and fantasies. And the present is left to fend for itself, to become tomorrow‘s lies and failures of the past.

There is a time to think of the future, and a time to study the past. But inside each present task, each present moment, is a gift to be opened, cherished, and to be grateful for. For now, this very moment, I will practice just being in this sphere of Present. Here my senses are at their best. I cannot hear the future. The future has no touch.

So I will feel these dogs, and the warmth from the fire. I will be grateful for the crisp night air, and hear the night sounds as if they were a part of me. I will set aside the intrusions to my experience of the Now.

Now is the time for fighting. Now is the time for loving. Now is the time for healing.

Now is the only thing I truly have.

My heart hurts

For two weeks now, my heart has sat idle, numb, stunned, boggling without comprehension at the swirling maelstrom of tears that flowed out of the hole your life‘s departure left in me.  How can it be that you‘ve gone?

You always were such a happy, mischievous wanderer.  

But how is it now, that you can find a place to wander, where I cannot search and find you?

Your whole life was spent finding places I‘d never been, physically and metaphorically.  Your laughter at each new trick, each new hiding spot, every road you‘d disappear down, waiting to be found, still rings in my ears.  Even when your body failed you, you found a way to stretch my horizons in search of you, to fix what you could not, to understand the language you didn‘t know yourself, to bring you in again in a safe place.

How can it be that you‘ve wandered too far for me to find you?

My heart has been stopped now, for nearly two weeks.  But today, it hurts.  

It has healed some from the shock, and re-awakened with an awful hurt.  And the tears that flow through the wound drip down my face, down this cliff with the rain, and into the Sea below.

And so, as I have in the past, I look beyond where they flow into the Sea for an answer.

It was in the Sea, and under the Sea, that I learned to search for the unfathomable.  Here on the shore, where the sand turns to foam and the foam to green waves and spray, and where beyond lies dark, brooding storm-swells, I am awakened from my languish by the sting of the wind-driven rain, and by that peculiar combined scent of life and death that a sailor knows best.

I know this Sea.  

I know that beneath it, wind and rain don‘t matter much.  And so maybe I‘ll stand here all day, letting the wind and rain wash my wounds, watching them return quietly to their own Father, looking and listening for signs of your passing.

I know you.  

I know that when I find you, you‘ll dash off with your arms swept back, with a squeal of laughter trying to make one last escape.  We‘ll laugh together as I snatch you up and we tumble in a heap, at yet another great game.  And you will be safe again in my arms, my son.

But I don‘t know the Sea into which you‘ve gone.  Not yet.  It is not for we with bodies to know it yet.  

And so today, and until that time comes for me to slip away from this body and enter that Sea, my heart hurts.  

Until I know you‘re safe, it will hurt.

Sean‘s Mom

“Hi, I’m Sean’s mom”

The words carried the kind of lilt that only a mother can give them. A precisely indeterminate kind of lilt that sweetly invokes your middle name and implies unspecified doom if you don’t pay careful attention to whatever comes next, all at the same time.

The doctor smiled back, knowing already two things before he had finished closing the exam room door: first, that Sean, whoever he might turn out to be, was someone special and second, that the wee lad had a special mom.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s mom”

In the next weeks, and months, again and again through a maze of specialists, technicians, and departments, she spoke in that space where Sean’s voice should have been, but could not be. There were no text books for Sean, and he had no words of his own to tell them.  And so, she simply became his voice.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

The words pushed back against a wave of busy educators, who mistook Sean for a child without a Voice.  The determined invitation of her voice caught each one, so they listened again, and looked again, and what they discovered in that second look at Sean changed them – that beautiful Being that had almost been overlooked, simply because he couldn’t speak for himself.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

Over the years, Sean met the grocer, the baker, the teachers at school.  He met folks at the local pizza joint, bowling alley, the Church and the pool.  And each person, when they heard her voice, saw Sean afresh, as a person.  They learned to converse with him with other senses than their lips and ears.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

it was a plea, a demand, a push – sometimes gentle but always firm – that drew people in to experience for a moment a kind of person they’d never witnessed before. They learned how to skip over the choreographed lies of social interaction and just be together with someone.  People experienced Sean only because of her.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

Doctors said they didn’t know anymore what to do for the seizures that took from him strength and years, and paid him in pain.  She spoke at once as Sean, and as a dedicated mother.  She told of his symptoms, and interpreted his movements, made him real to the doctors and nurses.  And once they had truly met Sean this way, most would try a little harder to feel, to see more in their patient than flesh, bones, computer blips and beeps.  Each one of them uncovered themselves a little bit, and re-learned what it is to be human.

“Hi, I’m Sean’s Mom”

In the hush of the night a prayer escaped her heart, as it had ten thousand times before, for the relief that Sean could not pray for.  And at the insistent voice of her grief at his failing body, Heaven wept.

“Hi, I’m Sean”

A young man walked innocently into the brilliance of a new Spring Morning.

And the Good Lord smiled back, and said, “Yes, I know.  You’re Dianna’s Boy.  We’ve heard all about you.”

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

The peal of Sean’s laughter radiated with that Morning light across the heavens like through a prism, setting them ablaze with color.