This was a kind of prayer (containing some things from another post, Wind River . . .) from our class today at a church in Portland, Oregon. This church, called Imago Dei, is one of your best hopes for seeing and experiencing authentic Christianity. And at this church is this sort of class called “ReImagine”. It could be your best hope for feeling welcome, regardless of who or what you are. Where you have been. What you have done. You will be welcomed . . .
Good morning Father.
It’s another day, day One, but time really is nothing, is it? It is all eternity.
I am aware of Wind.
It’s my very first memory. I thought I was two years old, so I called Mom. I described standing beside a picnic table, walking under it. And Dad was building a fire. And you, Mom, were puttering around the picnic site, getting lunch ready.
And I remember wind, with us and up with the trees. Aspens, stirring swishing shushing whispering leaves shifting and shaking. Because of the wind.
And a river. Rushing crashing falling. Water flowing. Fiercely.
Yes, Mom said. It was Memorial Day, 1960. No, you weren’t two yet, you were only one. It was at Sinks Canyon, near Lander, Wyoming where we lived. It was so cold, Mom is saying, that she wrapped up in the table cloth; and Dad was trying to get that fire going, I remember.
Yes, no time. It is always today. Here’s a crowd in class. Some dads, some moms. All puttering around, trying to build a fire?
And right now . . .
Wind. The Wind of your Spirit, true Father. Your spirit breath, whispered in a kiss of life sometimes, still shakes and stirs and shifts!
And River. The River of your Love, true Sacred Source. It does crash and rush and fall, and it flows. Fiercly!
Oh, and now I am 17 years old in high school. I will graduate in a couple of months, and then I will go to pasture to hall hay and work at my dad’s sawmill for the summer. And there is Mr. Holcomb, the senior English teacher. He is revered in these hallways. And he is despised by all who are not seniors because he recognizes no existence, other than his own students, only the seniors, and only his English classes. He grades harshly, unfairly so, is the perception, but we seniors know. He gives maybe maybe a half dozen As. Lots of Bs and many Cs a few Ds and a rare, rare F. I wrote a poem. The first line is “I walk alone, among shadows of the past . . .” It was my T.S. Eliot phase, so it began with that tiny Timothy pronoun. An infant i. A minuscule me.
“i walk alone . . .”
I got an A from Mr. Holcomb, and knew that I would. But, it was only a letter on a piece of paper to me, because I left there, a graduate, walking alone . . .
And I have, Father, walked alone really, but not, of course. I don’t even walk. You carry me.
Oh, and now I am 58. And it is yesterday. Time, no there is no time. I am one, and 17, and 58, and I am walking—alone—into work, as you carry me. And on Saturdays, your holy sabbath, the radio is always blasting classic rock. It’s Queen Freddie Mercury singing his personal Rhapsody, and I smile a Bohemian smile and walk right over to the radio while the clerks sort early mail, and the newbies who have to work early too are moving boxes around, and I stand in front of the radio. I’m early, but not to work yet; it is because of the week-end bus schedule.
And then I lay my head on a tray of mail there by the blasting radio, with 400 names and addresses, hundreds of souls in that tray. And the voice of dead Freddie washes over me.
I see . . .
A little silhouetto of a man.
Thunderbolt and lightning.
I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me.
And then, oh his voice! A pure tone, in an isolated octave. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see, nothing really matters . . . to me . . .”
And that is what I had felt, walking alone into that song, into work. What does it even matter? But, you were carrying me, Father. I knew that and i know it. And I raised my head off those pieces of people paper, and Freddie sang one more line, the last of a hopeless, beautifully empty, everyone-knows it-can sing it-does-sing-it song. The last words, “Any way the wind blows . . .”
And that is it Father. Any Way. All ways. You carry us. Into hope.
It is your Wind that blows. Your spirit spring that wells up from within, never-ending, and whispers into and out of us.
And, I wish Freddie had known this. I pray that he does somehow.
I do know it. Your Wind, yes!
But your River, too. How it flows! The River of your Love . . .
My first year I knew it. Felt it. Lived it breathed it walked under a picnic table inside it.
And then, with my A, I walked alone . . . and only remembered it.
How I longed for it, your Wind/River.
But now, I am one all over again, born again, and it is your wind. And your river. Again.
The Wind of your Spirit.
The River of your Love.