January 6th, 2014

Mitchell's silver lining


I'm reading Phil Cousineau's book, Burning the Midnight Oil: Illuminating words for the Long Night's Journey into Day.  It seems appropriate this time of year as we celebrate the stars and dark.

I take from his book these words of Mark Nepo.  I set intention to carve my heart to provide refuge from the storm.

The Throat of Dawn by Mark Nepo

What if I'm the son of a 92-year old man who can hardly walk from the kitchen to the couch in the home where I grew up, which is flooded by a storm whose wet arms covered a thousand miles. What if I can't reach him because the phone he can't find is wet and has no power. What if a month later I traveled to Cambodia on the trip that took five years to save for, and out of breath I stare for an hour at a thousand-year old face carved at Angkor Wat.

What if that eyeless face makes me question what I've done with my life. What if I can't stop thinking of my father struggling to pick up a spoon. What if on the plane home the woman next to me dreams of her mother's mother picking lemons in Sicily.  What if the thousand angels, who never rest, work in each of us, the way immune cells rush to the site of a wound. What if all this keeps me from sleeping.

What if I fear that I will never sleep again.

What if, as the plane slips through the throat of dawn, it comes to me that we're not supposed to find something new all the time, but weave each truth we find into a strong, beautiful rope that the next generation can climb.

What if I admit that I found nothing to bring home to my father, except the heart of a son carved out by time. What if everything we do and everywhere we go is for this end. What if the heart carved out is what can shelter us from the storm.