“God has put within our lives meanings and possibilities that quite outrun the limits of mortality.”
Harry Emerson Fosdick
As of late I have been thinking about death, not so much mine, yet not generalized. Perhaps it’s because I am more aware of it, perhaps it’s because it is part of life. I don’t know. I could say it’s because I am getting older, yet by todays standards I am very young. Perhaps it’s because I am afraid that if were to leave today I would have little to show for my existence. Perhaps. Yet who knows?
What I do know is that one day I won’t be here, my family as I know it won’t either… what will be here is the next generation. If one day I have kids I will live in memory as my father lives in mine. If one day my words travel beyond these pages they will live in the minds of their readers… if.
If not, there is still infinity, there is still life, there is still the wind carries the air… if I am forgotten, as my father will be once I am gone we shall make the sun shine and the moon glow… we shall whisper in the wind as so many of the forgotten do… yet there is still that which does not forget…
What would you have me do
Sit here simply and dream of you
While my dreams lay broken on the floor
Never to fly
Never to soar
What would you have me do
Get on my knees and beg of you
To unveil your eyes and hear my tears
They are only tears
What would you have me do
As I know I have all of you
Despite my mind
I know my heart
If ever should part
It would be a start to loss
Perhaps she failed you, perhaps you failed me…
Perhaps I placed all my hopes in the most fragile of jars… watching, waiting as they teetered on the edge of the shelves in my mind
Perhaps I placed all my desires upon the wild flames only to have them cooled by the beautifully soft winds. Lightly and ever so gently she reduced them to embers and ashes which she carried delicately in her invisible arms
Perhaps all my dreams have vanished to another realm, another world, another place where they can dance and laugh and be free… for they do dance, laugh and are free somewhere… I can remember this for a second as my eyes smile to the morning light then slowly give passage to the reality of the day. The seeming finality of what is real… but what happens to that second, that glimpse… why must it be erased so quickly… when all I want to do is be there… why must it pass?
Why must she take them to her hidden reality.
She made you be present, disenchanted, aware.
If indeed you are, then I have failed too. For to break such hopes, to extinguish such desires, to forget such dreams… is sad.
To do these things is sad. It weighs heavy on my heart. I pray you understand.
She failed me too.
Yet I know not if you understand. To hear of your disappointment brings the fire to my heart… it is one of shame and disillusion. I dreamed you always by my side, guiding me, and now I want to hide as a child who is afraid of her shadow.
Why now? Why must I see this failure now? It is a failure to see reality and turn away, so for now I shall wait with my shadows and ask of you, my victor… is it too late?
Why must I save you from her, if she is me and I am you?
What does she know that I do not?
Perched upon her throne. Silent. Watching.
What does she see that I do not?
For I know she sees far and great visions. I envision such wonders which others would have to travel oceans and mountains to have but a moment of her clarity… what is her sight?
What does she feel that I do not?
For I have seen her still, statuesque. I wonder at the emptiness. Yet at times, when she smiles, it is magnificent, it melts the ice from within my frozen chest. It is almost a wonder within itself to see her change from distant to present. When she acknowledges you, she comes alive. Then there is only you in this universe.
Once I sat before her, in private audience. Seeking her secrets, wanting her ways. I watched and waited. Finally after what seemed a silent eternity she regarded me.
“Yes. You want to be what I am. Yet you desire something which I can not grant. It would destroy you. Bring your mind into chaos. Perhaps your soul into darkness. It is something which you must journey for as a child and as a soul”
“You see me empty, for this beauty is simply a shell. When I smile it is my soul you see. When I laugh it is the sounds of silence you hear”
She sighed, “You want to be what I am for the wrong reasons. You are a child. Envious of attention and greedy for knowledge. Knowledge is free my dear. You must simply try.”
Then there came a new day in a different year in an all together different life. I sat beside her. It seems so long ago, yet it was simply another yesterday, or perhaps it is another now. Time seems to change in her presence… she spoke to me in words so simple, yet I knew. What I thought I knew… I dreamed in my mind with her listening…
“I know you horde your ways. I know you hide your visions… You can not grant sight for it is too much to bear… yet you do it beautifully… it simply isn’t fair”
“Try. Simply try.” I thought stubbornly, mockingly. “Why try when it seems so close? You are there. I am here. I want to know!”
Then thunder silenced my mind. I turned in awe as the throne shook and the grounds beside her quaked. There she was with eyes as she regarded me in the minds space.
“I have listened. For years. As you wanted to know. As a child. You are stubborn. Yet I see you need this.
For I regarded you and gave you your path. I taught you my ways and showed you my light. I tried for you, for I saw myself in you.
Once there was a girl. That was me. I followed the path. Followed the ways. It broke me. Silenced me. Made me collapse and blinded me.
Yet as I lay on the earth dying. I was reborn. Reborn with sight and solace.
It was my journey which made me. It was my will which taught me. It was my mind which molded me. It was my soul which guided me.
You simply wish to reach the destination with no journey. Is this the truth?”
With the thunder subsiding from my mind. I built up my courage and said, “Yes”.
They say silence is deafening… I believe the same for her laughter… the next moment she was beside me. our universe seemed to be shadowed. For we were there, yet we were in the shadow. I regarded her, then my other self. I was still and empty.
“Do you see?”
Then she reached her finger and touched my third eye, my mind’s eye. I felt it open. Instantly the pain over took any other emotion. It was not physical. It was the sounds, the colors, the millions of people, millions of emotions… possibilities, realities, searching, journeys, truth, deceit, lies, happiness, sadness, joy, sorrow, death, birth, life, knowledge…. it was infinity. It was too much…
“STOP!!! PLEASE MAKE IT STOP!!!”
“Have you seen enough? I showed you less than anyone has ever even begun to see with eyes open. I let you feel all which you could have begun to feel on your own had you journeyed the life… Had you have had your way. I would have left you with my sight, my knowledge, my emotions and you would have gone mad. It is more than holding infinity… it is the manner in which you seek and obtain it.
I know not how long I sat in silence. I was alone. She was there, yet had returned to her silence. I was ready to return. The question is now… would I journey the journey. Would I wish to have her sight. her knowledge, her emotions? I began to walk away from the throne. Staring at my feet, as I was in deep thought. I heard her through my mind’s eye. I turned and stared at her. She looked so sad. So empty. So alone. I was humbled and ashamed. Yet I knew.
I would journey the journey.
With that she smiled. It was inward, yet I saw it shine.
From the Editorial Page of The New York Sun, written by Francis P. Church, September 21, 1897
We take pleasure in answering thus prominently the communication below, expressing at the same time our great gratification that its faithful author is numbered among the friends of The Sun:
“Dear Editor–I am 8 years old.
“Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
“Papa says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’
“Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?
115 West Ninety-fifth Street
Virginia, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the scepticism of a sceptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no child-like faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if you did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.
You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.