A Fruitless Endeavor

I’m SO glad I finally “balled-up” enough to join in with this group, and including this intro, I believe I’m more than maxing the 500-word count allowable for this week’s Write On Edge challenge. 

Please click the link above to learn more about the prompt and the community, and as always, I hope you enjoy…

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Watching him zip up the last of the three bags he’d hastily thought to pack, she became further irritated as he tried to compress its contents – with one shaky knee held hard against the fabric lid – while fiddling with the steel slider which protested loudly as he tugged it along the plastic teeth that were its mate. Timing it to where the entire endeavor appeared to be at its most fruitless, she waited before asking snidely, “So that’s it? You’re leaving then?”

Wha? Oh. Yeah.

“Just like that?”

Yes.

“Just ‘poof,’ and you’re gone?”

For God’s sake, YES! Why?

“She’s not going to be waiting for you, you know.”

She will.

“She won’t.”

She might.

Emboldened by his moment of caution and pause, she leapt forward unmindful into the din of her verbal castration of him, stressing, “Listen. There is nothing waiting for you out there anyway. You know that, right?”

There’s nothing waiting for me here either.

“Oh yeah? What about your career?”

Not for nothing, but I’m fairly certain that they have those where I’m going as well…

“What about the house?”

It’s not in my name anymore – it’s not my house anymore. It’s… it’s not my home.

“And what about me? What about your poor mother?”

Well. I’m sure the ole girl will understand. I’m sure you’ll get it, why I need to do this… Maybe some day.

“Well don’t be so certain of that. And what about the children? What about your children?”

Having finally secured the zipper – now groaning under its newfound charge of keeping all the baggage safely contained within, he sat back for a moment and wiped his haggled brow before almost whispering, and almost to himself, “Yes, there is them. That’s true.”

What…?

“I said that yes, there is that to contend with.”

See? You can’t leave. You need them.

“I do. But don’t you see? I sleep alone every night, while they sleep in the same house as her latest fling. No, they’ve already been taken from me. A long time ago. And besides, they’re almost adults now themselves.”

You can’t leave. I won’t let you. They need you.

“You know what? I’ve always told them that we’d all someday get out of this dump. I just never thought that I’d be the first to make the break. They do need me, but they need me to continue to lead by example. I think I’m doing the right thing here.”

She’s not going to be waiting for you, you know.

“She might.”

She won’t.

Rising on steady legs, he casually pulled the over-stuffed, yet self-contained third bag from the floor, and slung it across his back. Ignoring the still-protesting zipper as he did so, his step matched his smile as he strode enlivened towards the front door and the gate that lay beyond it, while saying much more to himself then to anyone within earshot, “She will.”

•••

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Dear me…

There is a shameful secret that I have held for many years now, and it goes a little something like this: At one point in the bible, Jesus advised that we should “love others as we love ourselves.” To me, there had always been a sense that there could be no greater insult delivered upon another of God’s creatures. To me, this was a blasphemy beyond reproach.

This week, The Blogging Lounge tasked us with writing a letter to our younger selves. What follows is that which poured from my mind to mine…

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Hey.

Do me a favor, OK?

Look into the mirror.

Yeah, that one.

Now, look into the eyes you see in that reflection.

Go ahead, look deep in. Gaze deeper than you’d like, deeper than you’ve the strength to. Deep enough to see what truly lies behind.

See the being that resides within those eyes? He’s beautiful, right?

No?

Well, then I guess our little chat here is over.

OR…

Or, you can look again. And this time, you could try it with an honest and open mind.

See?

He is beautiful. He’s beautiful, and he is YOU.

Now, I’m going to tell you something. Something that you won’t believe. Something that almost sounds insulting on the surface – partially because it is. I’m going to tell you that you will spend a large portion of your life trying to avoid this Truth, relying instead upon the retarded opinion of those around you who’ll want to deny it themselves. Those few whom you seem hellbent on assigning a credence they simply never have earned, nor even now deserve.

In fact, I am going to go so far as to tell you that you will willingly seek out those who will greedily clip your wings, simply so that they (and you, to a certain extent) can deny you your flight, use you to their own ends, and then simply discard you as they would the bone of a fatted calf, after they’d sucked its marrow dry.

And you? Well, you’ll allow it happen of course – both professionally and personally – you’ll almost hand select, and give your unwavering allegiance to, those best poised to fulfill your erroneous prophecy of self-defeat. And you’ll do so simply because flight is scary.

Because beauty is scary.

Because Truth…

Well, you get the point, I’m sure.

Hey. Do me a favor, OK?

Please, don’t let your Beauty scare you.

Don’t let Truth – your unique Truth – scare you.

Please, don’t allow your fear to corner you into simply accepting What Is, instead of What Could Be.

Take flight. Don’t stay grounded merely for “safety’s” sake, for another’s sake.

I’ll tell you something else. You will realize your dream of being a father, of being a dad.

And even though certain wing-clippers – those untrustables whom you did anyway – will try to steal even that Joy from you, your Apples will need you to be a strong tree. A tree that truly loves itself as it does others.

So look into the mirror again.

As long as you can look into the eyes reflected there and acknowledge the Beauty that truly resonates within, then those cherished Apples of yours, along with the others you love – they who already see your Truth, and love you in return – and even you yourself will come to find the perfect space.

I promise.

I promise, and I look forward to meeting you there one day, high above the fray.

Love,

t

•••

Briefly…

Keeping within my seemingly new methodology of no longer using pages for these entries (fewer clicks equals more clicks!), following is this week’s 100 Word Song

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He would ofttimes find himself sitting idly by the dock, dipping his toe cautiously towards the tide, wondering if it would ever hold him again.

He could still feel the water beneath his feet. Or rather, himself weightless above the waves, as one minute he realized himself rushing towards his friend, the next drowning in trepidation.

How could he have faltered?

He was the only man who would ever know the feeling. It had been a simple, albeit brilliant mistake, one that would eventually serve for the remainder of his days, as a nagging reminder of his lack of faith.

•••

This week’s song was chosen by Linda:

8/29 a rather utilitarian view point

My best friend is an atheist (he’s also gay, but that has nothing to do whatsoever with this post, unless of course it might at some point. We’ll have to see). He and i never talk about religion.

We never argue about which one of us is “right” and we never exchange ideas in the hopes of convincing each other to “switch teams”. We don’t, because we know it’s pointless to do so. We don’t, because we love each other for who we are versus who we could make each other into. And we don’t, because although we may feel differently about whether or not there is a God, we totally agree that each person has their own journey to make, their own road to walk. And regardless of whether the task was handed down to us on high by some Superior Being or simply by Chance – in the final analysis, each person must take full ownership of their own journey – a journey that they began, and will end, alone.

i mention this simply as proof that it can happen. There can be instances wherein two or more people with widely different ideas about life, the universe and – well, everything – can get along quite well, even to the point of being best friends. As such, the question i have is why can’t this simply be the norm? Why can’t we all take up on our own journeys without feeling the need to bump into each other so often along the way?

From the point of the religious, i understand that many feel they have a certain “calling” from their God to “spread the word”, and since my only real knowledge and experience is that of Christianity, i’ll keep my comments confined to this particular ideology. Understanding that Jesus said to “Spread the word”, i don’t recall him ever saying that anyone was supposed to “beat the word” into the head of every living soul who decides to not believe it. i also don’t recall him saying anything about taking unbelievers, kicking and screaming to the altar, for a redemption they didn’t ask for and don’t believe in.  i DO recall however, his being pretty specific about people staying out of other peoples business (yes, i’m alluding to that whole “judge not” deal – possibly his most ignored teaching). i also seem to recall his mentioning that to gain your life, you first have to lose it. i wonder how many wealthy Christian suburbanites are willing to stop beating atheists over the head long enough to take that particular challenge?

To my mind, “spreading the word” is much more like an invitation to believe than it is a mandate. And as with any invitation, you have the right to say “yes” or “no”. Should God exist, would they really want a relationship with someone simply because that someone fears punishment otherwise?  I can’t imagine so. Sort of negates the whole point of “Free Will” if you think about it.

Now if the followers of Jesus are working from somewhat of a misunderstanding regarding instructions he left, then i’m even more perplexed by the atheists. For in their instance, there were no instructions given, and no God to promote. But to listen to some of them, you’d swear that atheism almost is a religion itself.  While there is no bible in hand, there sure is a lot of thumping to be heard. And why?

As i asked another not too long ago, if i do believe in something that doesn’t exist, then what’s the harm in that? Why do you feel you need to make me believe otherwise? What drives you to force me to see your Light? As long as i’m not hurting anyone in my belief, why not just let me wallow in my ignorance? We’re both worm food at the end of the run at any rate, so what difference does it make if one of us will be totally surprised by the fact when it occurs?

i understand that religion has caused much pain on this world. But no more than money has. Or political beliefs. Or hunger. Or power (the lust thereof at any rate). In short, almost everything humans get their hands into ends in some sort of damage. Do the atheists who try convert the believers work as hard at convincing the rich that they need to share their wealth? Or those with an abundance of food that they need to share too? i don’t know, maybe they do. i’m really asking (seeing as i’m likely never to be on their radar in these regards if they do…).

Now i’m trying desperately hard not to use any Rodney King quotes in this, but it really is boiling down to exactly what he’s most famous for saying. And i too wonder why it is that we can not simply agree to disagree on certain things. Not all things mind you, just the ones that don’t matter in the larger picture. For instance – we should be spending much more time working against world hunger than arguing about whether its existence proves or disproves God’s as well. But as for the rest, we need to keep in mind that we each do have our own unique journey. And it is ours alone to make and we need to get there, not as others would have us go, but in best way that we see fit.

(to those on both sides who will now decry my line of thought as being too simplistic, naive or ignorant, i have good news – you’ve more in common than you know in that you’re both angry with me for the very same reason. i recommend you make use of that commonality to better understand each others stance on other matters. It still won’t sway either sides beliefs – and that’s quite alright – but hopefully at least a mutual respect of ideas other than “our own” will begin to grow.)

i’ve told my children that when i die, Jesus is going to have a LOT of questions for me, but none of them will have to do with what others did or why. I will have to answer for myself and only myself. And for the atheist, no one is waiting to judge or question whatsoever. In the end, one of us will have ended up being right – or both of us will have ended up being slightly wrong – and we’ll both be dead regardless. So until then, why can’t we be a little more utilitarian in our thinking? Until then, why can’t we love (or at least respect) each other for who we are, versus who we wish we could make each other into?