"It took me a lot of time and hard work," he said pausing, head rhythmically nodding. "But I did. I put to death my ego and my shadows." He was speaking something about me, something he knew I needed. This over the clink of forks, over the top of salt rimmed glasses and fried plantains. For some it's a gift. Greg creates this unexpected intimacy from whole-cloth, from table-cloth. I found it in his story, not the long life one that bleeds for hours. Not the one I do not yet know. Just the three-minute scratch. The good word that speaks of himself, recognizes himself in you, recognizes you in himself.
"One day life, this skin, is going to do to me what it was designed to do. It is going to be scourged, sanctified" he said. "And when it does I'm going to need people. You can call it community, tribe, who cares. But I know that life doesn't ask you before taking back what it gave you. It doesn't ask before giving you something new. Life does what is willed and if I'm going to make it, I need people. I need God in you."
It was all ordained, predestined, whatever, this night we all shared. In the middle of this God-centered room we orbited, some of us slowly and steadily like he. Others a bit wobbly, almost off-kilter, maybe like I was. We were fixed upon alternating awkward axes of radiant joy, reverent silence, and eternal gratitude. But in all, we were part of a grand experiment to live life well together.
We sat around the table on the Mesa and ate the last supper. A couple of the girls moved to the side for a bit and shared recent wounds, the living Word bandaging the raw areas. By the end of the night our wives were healing, laughing, unworried. You could see them considering the lilies of the field, how they sleep in the fall, but return in the spring.
Arkansas lilies are magnificent in the spring.
When supper was over, or when the waitress kicked us out, anyway, we left with implicit promises--to bear God's image one to another, to bear one another up, to bear crosses and joys, and to be filled with the hope of Christ.
Peace be with you all.