waiting for a friend

waiting here I am sitting on a log beside the edge of the woods. It is a cool, clear morning and I am waiting for something … the day? … a friend?

Yes, that’s right, I am supposed to meet a friend here, a good friend. As I remember, my heart warms and quickens. It is so easy to forget the comfort and completion friends can bring. They own a piece of you – take it with them when they go. It’s not that you begrudge it. It is a free gift and they leave a bit of themselves in exchange, but from that time forward, you are a little empty without them. Daily activities fill the void, and as you grow and change, that void may even fade, but a deep friend’s hole remains and only their voice, their smile, their presence can fill that particular hole.

So, who is the friend I am waiting for today? Whose presence will delight my soul?

After a moment’s quietness, I realize that the friend I’m waiting for is me. I’m a little embarrassed by the thought. How conceited to be waiting with such anticipation for myself! But deeper in, I know that there is reason to look forward to this return. The harried hurry of my days have emptied me of my better self, the one that had time to think, to contemplate, to let an idea rise and form itself before expression, the one who was connected to others and devoted to purposes which had depth. In dashing day to day I have lost that better self, have operated on scraps and vestiges of being, until this shell of me sits empty on this log.

At last my friend, this deeper self, approaches in the company of the Holy One. I find that I am sobbing, realizing how deep the hole has been. The Holy One and my friend stand beside me and place their hands upon my head. Their strength and silent power flows into me and suddenly I become one with that deeper self, standing beside the Holy One. The Holy One looks me in the eye and lightly brushes my cheek.

“There is time to be. Take it. Do not neglect your purpose here with busyness.”

Then she is gone and I am left alone – alone with myself, my full self – at least as full as I have come to be – and I rejoice.

4/8/95

[photo by Seth Wilson per cc 2.0]

a Narnia encounter (2)

peaceful giant[a continued meditation … part 1 is here.]

Suddenly I wake. I have dropped off to sleep beside the giant. He is breathing softly, at least softly for him. I find that in my sleep I have moved toward him, edging toward the warmth of his bulk, though I am a bit fearful that he might roll over on me.

I look toward his face and see that he is awake. Lying on his side, with his head propped up on one hand, he waits for me to open my eyes. He sees me look at him and smiles. “So you wake up, do you? You are ready to start our day?”

I smile back and scramble to my feet. I walk over and stoke the fire, still burning, quietly, slowly. Just barely more than glowing coals, the tiniest of flames dance in the inner chambers of the fire formed in the spaces between the logs. With very little work the fire is strong and warm. I pull up a waiting log for a seat and warm my hands and stretch the soreness out of my body. Some logs were added since last night. I wonder about that briefly, but the giant’s movements catch my attention.

The giant reaches toward the oilskin bag in which he carries his provisions. He pulls a piece of manna from the bag. It is wrapped in a cloth, which he unfolds onto a stone beside him. He breaks a corner from his large loaf and hands it to me. This act, this simple gift, seems very like communion. He shares with me this gift. We break bread, together.

He has a water-skin, too. But he is not sure just how to give me something to drink. I have no cup and this water-skin is far too big for me to lift. Finally, I cup my hands and he pours some water into them. I drink and then rinse my hands with what remains.

“Shall we go?” I ask the giant.

“Go? Why go? We are here, we are.” he replies. “Where do you want to go?”

“Yesterday you said something about taking me to a meeting….” I begin.

“That’s right, a meeting. That meeting is here. Here is where we hold the meeting.”

“Oh.” I’m really a little disappointed that we won’t be moving on. I am filled with a dancing energy from the bread and water, from the fading memory of the night’s adventure. (Was that a dream or was it real?) I pace around the clearing. I reach into my pocket and touch my lighter. “What is this meeting? Who will be coming?”

“I don’t know,” the giant replies. “They sent me to get you and bring you here. They said there was to be a meeting. They sent many to look for you, but I found you, I did, and I brought you here.”

“Who are they?” I ask. “Who sent you for me?”

“The voices on the wind,” he says.

I stop, struck cold. The voices on the wind? I rode in the pocket of this giant far from where I was, because he heard voices on the wind? I’m not so sure about this. But then I remember Aslan. He was here last night, wasn’t he? Sometimes it seems like morning makes things less clear.

I turn to the giant. “How often have you heard these voices?”

“Two times before I have heard them, I have. This time makes three.” He holds up three fingers and seems to be quite proud of himself.

“And who is coming to the meeting?” I ask.

“They didn’t say,” he shrugs his shoulders, “They just said to find you and bring you here.”

I’m a little frustrated by his satisfaction with these incomplete answers. “When is the meeting to begin?”

“Tonight I think…. or tomorrow. They will know when to begin.” He looks at me, curious that I should be so insistent on all these details.

“So what do we do till then?” I ask. I can tell my voice has a bit of an edge.

“We wait.”

We have reached an impasse. The only one who can give me any hints about this meeting is quite content to let it happen on its own. He rises and strides off toward the stream to wash his hands.

I am left to wait, questions unanswered, trying to hold my impatience at bay. I don’t much like waiting. But sometimes that is what is required: to wait.

The difference between me and the giant, here, is that the giant seems, somehow, to trust the unfolding of experience. It’s not so much that he trusts the plan. Indeed, he seems unaware of any plan – or even of any need for one. Instead, he trusts … what? The voices? Perhaps it is that he trusts the one who calls.

I manage a wry smile. Can I trust a call, rather than a plan? I think I’ll plan to do just that …

[this soul story continues, here]

[image cropped and adjusted from photo by Ron Frazier per cc 2.0]