Friday, February 27, 2009

You, regular reader. Tell me...should I keep my blog up and public? Do you enjoy reading it? Comments, s'il vous plait.

Lectio AM

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged..."

--Joshua 1:9

Monday, February 23, 2009

Lectio PM

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

--Jn 16:33

Poem for the Morning

Joy and sadness
congeal in the heart
like gin and bitters.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lectio AM

"We have finished our years like a sigh."

--Ps 90:9

Saturday, February 21, 2009

All Play and No Work...

A peach is nice, but if you keep it off the tree too long it starts to rot. The same might be said about work.

I once met a woman in my bicycle club on a training ride in Bucks County a few years ago. I was just out of college and trying to figure out what to do with my life. As we rode along, she told me "be grateful for your time," or something to that extent. She had gone straight from college to med school to residency to full time work only to realize she never really had any significant time off from working, and probably never would now that she had reached this stage in her career as a doctor. Once the ball gets rolling, its hard to stop.

After four years at the same company, I decided I would try not working for a change. I didn't want to be like that doctor, having no time to live her life, do the things she always wanted to do. I saved up my money, and resigned in July. I haven't worked since.

It was nice at first. I found plenty of things to do. I worked on my bikes. I remodeled a schoolbus into an RV as a project in eco-sustainability (http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/articles/17554/news). I traveled. I did whatever I wanted, and went where I wanted. At one point I decided to try to live a quasi-monastic life, getting rid of most of my possessions. I was happy as a clam, and free.

Or so I thought. As time went out, and volunteering and writing did not fill enough hours of the day, I began to appreciate more and more the daily rhythm of working, the sense of meaning and purpose it provided, and realized how absent these things were from my own life. St. Benedict warns against the kind of monks (Sarabaites) who are “approved by no rule, experience being their teacher [...] Their law is the satisfaction of their desires. For whatever they think good or choice, this they call holy; and what they do not wish, this they consider unlawful.” Laziness was one of the greatest temptations of early monks, and St. Benedict saw how dangerous such lack of discipline can be. I also saw how it was creeping into my own life, in subtle and not so subtle ways. I grew listless. I did not want to do even that which I needed to get done, daily responsibilities.

I figured all this was justified, since I had essentially "bought" my time, and it was mine to spend however I wanted. This was true, I suppose. My father has a photograph of a wild river in Yosemite or some place like that with the words written: 'Nothing is ours, but time.' Since retiring, my dad appreciates every day. He has plenty to keep him busy, even if they are small things, like running errands, painting the house, etc. He can do this after working for thirty years at the same school. Essentially, he earned it.

But I have not put my time in in this way. I am like a spoiled child that wants what he wants without having to earn it. St. Paul said, "he who does not work, let him not eat." There are various Zen stories that follow the same line. There is something dignified about work, and it is especially important to men. Men glean so much of their sense of self from working, so much so that when that is absent there is a disturbing hole that is more than just a proliferation of free time. A lack of work contributes to a lack of meaning, and a subtle feeling of humiliation.

I once read a quote in Andrew Solomon's book, An Atlas of Depression, something to the effect of work being a distraction from the meaninglessness of our own lives, and for that reason alone it is valuable for preventing depression, if for nothing else. I am beginning to think, if work only kept us from dwelling on this black pit of meaninglessness and our own isolated existence as human beings, then it is a good thing, even if it is merely a distraction, a curtain that veils the unsightly. Some people identify too much of their sense of self with their work, so that when that work gets taken away, they have no idea who they are or what to do. Some people, like myself, I think, do not identify enough with their work.

I realize in writing this that many people do not have the luxury of not working. Bills don't stop when you want to rest, and most people would not really do well with so much free time on their hands. I can't say I am much different, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to perform this little social experiment. If anything, taking time to not work has taught me the value of work, how meaningful it is to me as a man, and how it contributes to my growth, not to mention my financial security.
This has been a year of experiments, doing things I have always wanted to do, and finding what works and what doesn't. Building my own home has always been a dream, and I have accomplished that, even though living in the RV did not work out. Retiring early has also been another fantasy, and one that I can say I have now etertained, albeit for a limited time. Because of this I will never say, "I wonder what it would be like to..." to those things which are important to me. If it were only to teach me this lesson alone, so I can look back with no regrets at having not done something I always wanted to do, I think it was still worth it. I hope to find meaningful work doing something I love, and I will not stop putting myself in a position to find that. In the meantime, doing something I don't love for the sake of working is not looking like such a bad thing. I have an interview on Tuesday for a case management job for the aging in Philadelphia. Wish me luck. It's time to take this rotten freedom fruit and make a delicious smoothie with it.

Poem for the morning

Untitled

3 am
is a quiet hour;
all I hear
is the scuffing of boots
and swaying of trees.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Due Fucking Time

Feeling sick as all hell in class last night, I left early to catch the train back to 69th St. Waiting in the nad-shattering cold and wind, I felt incredibly low. It has not been a good winter for me, and I guess I have plenty to complain about. But I don't really feel like indulging that noxious self-pity, and in essence it really all comes back to where my mind is at. It is not "here," and that always causes suffering.

Winters are always tough for me; This year I am waiting to graduate, waiting for my body to heal, waiting to hear about jobs, waiting for love to walk through the door, waiting for a car, waiting for Spring, waiting to be happy. Some days I feel like I am waiting to come alive. So much of Christianity is based in the waiting (thanks largely in part to Paul the Apostle, the Eternal Anticipator), and last night the train became a symbol for my Christ who takes his sweet time in coming to move me.

I look out into the darkness, the tracks curving into the woods. Nothing. I walk in circles and curse, looking back again, waiting hoping. I am freezing. God is Silent. I want to go NOW, and why is my Train not cooperating? Silly Rob. I hop on my feet like a sparrow. The wind bites and claws at my jeans like a spastic gremlin. I pull my hood up and look like a surly monk or someone mothers keep their children away from, in my brown Carhartt. My eyes become bleary. I recite the morning's Lectio through my teeth: Turn O Lord, how long? I should have waited for Chris to get out of class. I feel like I have been waiting all season.

I am not a patient person. It is one of those stubborn virtues that never yields a good crop, like great bushy leafed potato plants swelling pea sized tubers below. You dig up the soil impatiently, and despair at the sight of these little turds that you had put so many months into feeding and nurturing. I have ripped up more than a few plants just because I got tired of them not growing fast enough. It could be my imagination, but they don't seem to grow back as well after you try to replant them.

In one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite books, Zorba the Greek, Zorba talks about the greatest sin he ever committed:


"I remember one morning when I discovered a cocoon in the back of a tree just as a butterfly was making a hole in its case and preparing to come out. I waited awhile, but it was too long appearing and I was impatient. I bent over it and breathed on it to warm it. I warmed it as quickly as I could and the miracle began to happen before my eyes, faster than life. The case opened; the butterfly started slowly crawling out, and I shall never forget my horror when I saw how its wings were folded back and crumpled; the wretched butterfly tried with its whole trembling body to unfold them. Bending over it, I tried

to help it with my breath, in vain. It needed to be hatched out patiently and the unfolding of the wings should be a gradual process in the sun. Now it was too late. My breath had forced the butterfly to appear all crumpled, before its time. It struggled desperately and, a few seconds later, died in the palm of my hand.

That little body is, I do believe, the greatest weight I have on my conscience. For I realize today that it is a mortal sin to violate the great laws of nature. We should not hurry, we should not be impatient, but we should confidently obey the external rhythm."


I forget that the first characteristic of love, according to St. Paul, is that it is patient. It is "kind, never envious, arrogant, or conceited". But "Love is patient" first. God is so patient with me; I hope I can be more patient with God.

"Fucking train!" I yell in my head. Sigh. I take out my phone to txt Chris, to tell him to meet me in the church on campus after class, I will be sprawled out before the Lord like an unsightly mud stain. Then in the distance, I see the dull, bouncing yellow light, moving closer, screaching into stereo. I put my phone back in my pocket, blushing from tender embarrassment, and get on.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lectio AM

"Turn, O LORD! How long?"

--Ps 90:13

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Existential Children's Tales

Frog Learns to Sit


Frog said to Log, "Get up. It's raining!"
Log was apathetic and full of chagrin.
"Why can't I lie down and die, like the rest of my rotting family?"
"Ah, you mustn't talk like that Log," said Frog.
"Why don't you hop away and go play with Bunny and leave me alone?" Log replied.
"Friends don't leave friend's alone!" Frog cried.
"Ha!" Log grumbled. "I have been a corpse my whole life. Sat on and never noticed, slick with moss."
"A corpse cannot smile"
"Exactly!"
"Log, I will teach you to hop."
"Why don't I teach you to sit?"
"Yes," cried Frog," why don't you?"
"Ah, you could never learn!" Log retorted.
"Oh yes! Please show me Log." Frog begged.
"Well," Log began, "the first thing is you have to learn how to frown."
"Oh!" Frog said.
"Yes. It is imperative that you wipe your smile away. There is no cause for such pride."
"Pride?"
"Yes, pride in being able to move. That which does not move has no need to smile."
"Oh my!"
"Oh my indeed. Next, you must renounce the Days."
"Renounce the days?"
"Yes, and the nights. When you are Log, these things have no meaning."
"No?"
"No. Time is a seamless garment,a vulture that picks at the flesh. Or in my case, the bark."
"My skin is so smooth!"
"That's because you cannot see your warts, friend."
"Whar..."
"Now, your legs. You will be tempted to use them, to bound away in terror of the lack of day and night. Frogs are most susceptible to this. It would be proper for you to sever them. Maybe you could talk with Rock about this."
"No, I don't want to do that!"
"What is wrong with Rock?"
"No, my legs!"
"Yes, they will need to go. You want to sit like me, you will need to cut them off like dead branches. You could offer them to Human as a gift, a del-i-ca-te-sy they call it."
"Log, did you ever have legs?"
"What kind of silliness is this? Do you see above you? I used to be a Tree. This was my family. We had legs that stretched to the core of the Earth. Our arms...spread like rivers through the sky. But once I fell..."
"Fell?"
"Was pushed, rather. By the Wind. I wouldn't have gone down willingly. But my roots, they grew soft. My body, brittle. All it took was a push."
"Now you are a Log!"
"I become Everything. And everything is in me. You will learn this. Perhaps."
"What fun, this sitting!"
"Yes, fun. Now, about those legs..."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

021009 travelogues

Running into Jeannie at the airport, same 7am flight, doubletake straight out of some bad rom-com. What can this mean? Perhaps it is pure...Absurd. Poor Duncan, what a trooper picking me up in Oakland in the little Coop yesterday with two broken elbows and a sprained shoulder, squinting heroically with every shift from first to second from his bike wreck. Badass...we look like a couple of street fighters. Went to the Wharf for lunch and North Beach for coffee,City Lights, Vesuvio, then to bowery Bayview to check out Officer Gillies' bike beat. Back to the house to see Cathleen and build up the 66cc bike engine, pick up some 2 stroke oil tomorrow and get the badboy on the road. Grateful for my little SF hermitage back here, 10'x30', sliding glass front, little bathroom, little bedroom, heater, a perfect place to oray and meditate and write and drink tea, sitting in 4am darkness, sleeping houses and gray washed sky, waiting to be born with the dawn...

Monday, February 9, 2009

Poem for the Morning

The Need to Swallow


Kafka with a dry throat,
dying of starvation.
How absurd.


--RPM

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Updates

I caught myself jotting down some dialogue in class the other night, not realizing that I was the one speaking: "I fully expect to spend the rest of my life alone, and would be pleasantly surprised if it were in fact to the contrary." Oi. Honestly, it is one of the greatest mysteries to me how people find each other, fall in love, live together, stay together, raise children, grow old together, not kill each other, not kill themselves...in short, how we survive, together, as well as alone, and be healthy. I am sure Providence is at work.

I am able to type with my healing hand now, though the fingers are still shifted to the right and my hand looks more like a claw. The scars are wicked. I saw my doctor this week for my shoulder. She says it is healing well, despite my stupid ass moving a refrigerator by myself a month ago and pulling loose the screw connecting the clavicle to the shoulder. It is a big screw, and I can't wait to have it taken out, but that's won't be til the beginning of March, since I am going to San Francisco next week for a week. My friend Duncan out there also just crashed on his bike and broke his elbow and sprained his shoulder, so we will be a couple of gimps together. He and his wife have a guesthouse so I will have my own place to just drink coffee and write and nap and relax. Duncan ordered a 80cc bicycle engine kit on my recommendation, and I am going to build it up when I get out there. 35+mph, 120-150mpg, EPA approved, $130. How could you not get one of these things?

I got called back for a second interview at Niagara University in New York for a position in campus ministry, and so will be traveling up there in a couple weeks. It is a small school, and I'm a little nervous about that. But I need a job, and campus ministry is really where my heart lies. I feel like its time for a move, but this is not exactly the area I had in mind (Niagara Falls). We will have to see. I am still hoping something might come through at Rosemont, so I could stay in Philly. I also applied to Ohio State for an opening there, which would be just like days at PSU. That could be a good or bad thing.

I have senioritis. I have a twenty page paper to write on sex-trafficking in the former Soviet Union, and have a lot of prep to do to prepare for my comprehensive exams. But I don't want to do any of it. No good excuse, either. In the words of Daniel Johnston: "I'm laaazy....oh yeah."

I have been taking a break from the book. I have writer's constipation...nothing is coming out. I am working on some side projects...wrote a fiction piece called "Endless Kinhan" and a 3 act play called "Breaking" which I may try to send off to some literary magazines (ah, lit mags) so they can tell me they aren't interested.

This has been a rough winter. I can't wait for spring.

AM Lectio

"Remember how fleeting is my life.
For what futility you have created all men!"

--Ps. 89:47

Friday, February 6, 2009

"Desolation Road:" A Play in __ Acts

Characters:

Tom
Jimmy
Ron
Andrew
Brian
Sally

Scene I
Setting: Tom's living room. South Philadelphia. April.


Ron: Threes.

Brian: Again?

Jimmy: That's the third hand. What the fuck?

Ron: [smiling] Lucky threes.

Tom: What you got, Andrew?

Andrew: [goofy smile] Lucky twos.

Jimmy: You're an idiot.

Andrew: What?

Brian: Um, threes are higher...than twos.

Andrew: Oh.

Jimmy: Ron, what do you call this game again?

Ron: Your mom.

Jimmy: Seriously, man, you're still...?

Ron: I call it, "Dropping deuces."

Brian: Ah.

Ron: "...on your mom."

Andrew: Ho0ah!

Sally: [entering] Oh! Gross!

Tom: Hon, get us a beer?

Andrew: [puzzled look] Wait, I thought deuces swept?

Ron: Deuces sweep on even rounds, champ.

Tom: Well, it's a rubbish game in any case. Completely nonsensical.

Ron: Hey, remember "Apples to Apples?" You want to talk about nonsense...

Brian: I loved that game.

Jimmy: Yeah, that's where Andrew made a name for himself.

Ron: Go figure. The most retarded, bass-ackwards game I've ever played and Andrew is the undefeated champ. It's like a Bizarro world.

[Sally brings Tom a beer]

Brian: How was Africa, Queenie?

Sally: Good!

Andrew: That country scares the shit out of me. Have you ever seen 'Blood Diamond?'

Jimmy: Africa isn't a country, champ.

Andrew: Wha? No!

Tom [rolling eyes]: 'Fraid so buddy.

Jimmy: Andrew, your deal.

Ron: Fuck this. Let's go to Mom's.

Tom: Now you're talking some sense...

[end, scene 1]

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

AM Lectio

"How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere."

--Ps 84:1-2, 10

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking: Act III

Setting: the living room.
Characters: Michael, Danielle
Danielle is sitting in an armchair, looking out the window. Michael is making coffee in the kitchen nearby.

M: You're quiet.

D [distant]: It's quiet outside. I was just following suite.

M: Mm.

D: May I have a cup?

M [Michael brings the french press over to her and pours her a cup of coffee]: Here you go.

D: Thank you. [Pausing] I'm sorry if I was short earlier, in the car. The snow always...I don't know. It is so light, and empty, and deceptive.

M: What do you mean?

D [solemnly]: It melts.

M: Yes?

D: I am a unique snowflake...absorbed in a seamless blanket...I liquefy above freezing, and evaporate when the sun comes out. Three states of being...and not one to lay claim to. I'm nothing, Michael.

M: [silence]

D: So much white. What an aberration.

M: Hon, you're not nothing.

D [putting down her cup]: Ah, but I am. I melt. I evaporate. On the ground, each snowflake has unique company. This sea of white, like drops in the ocean. Is it one thing? Is it a million separate things? Oh, I am a part of this human family. You. Me. Your mother. Papa. Isabelle. That bag boy at the Acme. The whole lot of us. One seamless blanket. We form separately in the sky, and fall to earth, and become One. We don't even see each other anymore. We are so close!

M [putting his arm around her]: That is what family is. A blanket, as you say. That's a good thing, Danielle. To be close.

[Danielle stares out the window and brings her finger to her lip, and says nothing. She lifts the window slightly, and pinches off a few flakes of snow from the ledge, and places them on the radiator.]

D: And here we are.

M: Close that window, please. It's cold.

D: No, Michael, look! Two snowflakes...you and I. Clumped together with our friends, our family. The rest of pristine humanity freshly fallen on the asphalt outside. Watch with me, please.

[Slowly, the small clump of snow begins to melt. Water dribbles down the side of the radiator. Danielle stares intently at a few drops remaining on the top. After a few moments, these shrink, and disappear. Danielle gets up suddenly, knocking the porcelain cup against the saucer.]

D [panicky]: Where am I? Where am I!?

M: Jesus, Danielle, calm down. You're right here.

D: No, no I'm not. Don't you see! I was there. My white gown. My flesh. Boiled to blood. Dried to ash. Blown away!

M: Come on.

D: Michael, you tell me I am something, I am a unique snowflake, and I will walk out this door and never look at you again.

M: Jesus!

D: Where is it...I...you saw it! Disappear. In the span of seconds. How much more, my life? Our life! Like they say at funerals, "ashes to ashes, dust to dust..." What does dust become? Will it burn?

M: D, I have no idea what you are talking about.

D [pacing, talking to self while biting fingernail]: I was here, and now I'm not. You are here...now...

M: Honey, sit down. You're here.

[Danielle suddenly rushes over to Michael and embraces him, kissing him with force, as if to consume him, then pulls back.]

D: I am a snowflake, Michael, and God is rubbing me between his fingers. In a split second, his heat consumes me. I lose my composition. Nothing stays the same. Reincarnating! No. One life. Yes...this...is it. If you put a snowflake under a microscope...and watch it melt...does it change shape? You know, molecules and what not? God is rubbing me between his fingers, Michael, I know it. I feel so close to annihilation. I can feel the fire behind the door. Remember, the Dark Knight? "In their last moments, people show you who they really are." I am a broken link, Michael, a coward. And I am being consumed...

[Michael pulls her close, and strokes her hair. He thinks she is crying, but her eyes are dry, and unblinking. She looks out the window at the snow falling gently outside.]

M: Listen. You're not a coward. You're the bravest woman I know. And you're here. I'm here. This is real! We aren't snowflakes...we're human beings. Flesh and bones! That doesn't melt so easily. Will we die? Maybe some day. But not today. No! We're here.

D: Here. I have no idea, Michael...where that is.

[CURTAIN]

Breaking: Act II

Setting: in the car
Characters: Michael, Danielle


M: Careful!

D: You careful! I know what I'm doing.

M: I'm not driving.

D: No, you certainly are not.

M: Sorry. Ice scares me.

D: It wasn't ice. It was the trolley track.

M: Right.

[silence]

M: I was thinking...

D [laughing]: I'm glad to hear it!

M [smiling]: You're an asshole.

D: Oh? Is that why you married me?

M: I married you because you were the most beautiful woman I had ever seen.

D [mock scoffing]: "Were!" What am I now?

M: You are still the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

D: Oh, come off it.

M [rolling eyes]: And why did you marry me, I should ask?

D: No, you shouldn't.

M: Excuse me?

D: It's nice to have secrets of one's own.

M: But you've told me before!

D: I've told you lots of things before. Besides, if I've told you before, why must you hear it again?

M [disgusted]: Forget it.

D [smiling]: If you must know, I married you...

M: Let me guess..."for the comfort?"

D: Oh, Michael. Yes!

M: And what is it about me, pray tell, that is so comforting?

D: Not you, Michael. Love.

M: You mean "conditional" love, don't you?

D: But of course!

M: So, let me get this straight. Unconditional love, in your opinion, is a farce?

D: I didn't say that. The love of a parent for her child...I think that's as close as it gets to unconditional love. Even that has its limits.

M [silence]: Danielle, do you even want to be a mother?

D: How dare you.

M: It's a fair question, I think.

D [laughing]: There you go again...thinking! Oh Michael, thank you.

M: For what?

D[leaning over to kiss him]: For not throwing me to the abyss...

[close]

Breaking: A Play in __ Acts

Setting: an urban coffee shop, February.
Characters: Michael, Danielle

M: The Joker is a real people person. Listen to this, "You see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?" What type of shit is that?

D [speaking without looking up from newspaper]: The self doesn't mean much when it can be recanted in a moment at the end of the barrel of a gun.

M: Or a knife.

D [sighs, bored]: Or a knife.

M [laughing]: So, if I really want to get to know you, I could...

D [looking up]: Are you sure you want to finish that sentence? You might not be "knowing" me for a while.

M [faux alarm, waving hands]: I take it back! I take it back!

D [smiling]: That's more like it.

M [settling back in chair]: Seriously, though. We haven't been through much together, when you think about all those people at Auschwitz, or in Rwanda, or...

D [abrupt laugh]: Yes?

M: I mean, you love me, right?

D [sighs]: True love is unconditional. Everything else is true comfort.

M [furrows brow]: I love you unconditionally.

D: Please! That mouth...

M: It's true.

D: You don't know the first thing...

M [tenderly]: Hey...I will always love you.

D: Oh! I'm touched. I will remember that the next time your mother asks why I'm not pregnant yet and I'm holding her by the ankles over the Hudson telling her "this is why!"

M [frowning]: Oh, you're full of it.

D: Yes. I'm full of it. I'll remember that when I'm holding you by the ankles over the Hudson. Then we'll talk about unconditional love. Or would you prefer waking up with some cold metal in your mouth?

M: I...

D: Or maybe your best friend, what's his name. Getting to know him. How about then? You do go away on business quite a lot these days...

M: When...

D [leaning forward]: No, Michael. Love is comfort. When we first met...you know the saying...you fell in love with your self. I was simply a mirror reflecting the dazzling image of your manhood in full swing. You, too, made me look quite good. We were perfect for each other!

M [laughing]: You admit it!

D: Then we got tired of looking at ourselves through each other. So we tried looking at each other, putting the mirror down. Needless to say, you were not the man I "fell"--that is, stumbled--in love with. No, you were something quite different.

M: How different?

D: I don't know how different. Just more real. It was very nauseating. But like motion sickness, you get used to it. I got used to it. Seeing the real you. Isn't that where love starts?

M: "Love begins when the eyes meet the soul and do not turn away."

D [laughing fitfully]: Oh! I could nail you to a wall. I can see where the Joker gets his motivation!

M: What do you mean?

D [rolling her eyes]: Let's be serious for a moment. You've heard the expression, "a chain is only as strong as its weakest link?"

M: You're calling me weak?

D [sighs]: No. But think of our lives...yours, mine, the coffee boy behind the counter, the blond your eyes keep flitting to behind me....

M: Oh!

D: It's enough. Think of our lives like a chain. Each experience is a link. Our integrity as a chain...our ability to tie up and keep out and lock in...can be compromised by a single weak link. A link that bends under stress, when we are pushed to the edge of our "love." That link is us...you, me, everyone...our weakest self. When the link breaks...the "unconditional" chain is no more. Every link will snap...with enough force. That's what I think our marriage is sometimes, all marriage....a weight that increases with time, meant to strain links and test our integrity. Make us our true self...the weakest link. The man I married is not the same man before me. Who, then, do I go to bed with?

M: I'm still the same man.

D: Men change too, Michael, believe it or not. Everyone changes. You've heard we fully reincarnate every seven years. "There's not one molecule...not one...that is in you that was there when you were ten..."

M [scoffing]: Ah...

D: Can you deny it? If ten year old Daniel walked down the street, could I say, "Daniel, come to bed son." I would be arrested!

M: What about you at ten? You were...

D: I was bad, yes, a bad little girl with the good little boys. [Laughing] Have I changed much?

M [smiling]: Not much.

D: It is okay to be a broken chain. We are all broken. Some chains are like paperclips linked together, some are like titanium. But with enough force, any metal will bend and break. The thing is, can you admit we are not unconditional chains with unconditional love? Can you stop pretending we have more integrity that we really do? After all, you just haven't been pushed hard enough?

M: So I have integrity?

D: As much as anyone. That isn't saying much. You're certainly no martyr.

M: No?

D: Um, no. You and I both...we are no better than apostates that haven't been tested. Look at the Christ. Now there is a strong chain. Not one weak link. Unbreakable. Even nailed up there, he never betrayed...

M: That's a hell of a standard to set.

D [sitting back]: Well, you are the one who loves so "unconditionally." You should at least accept what comes with such a boast.

M: I do.

D: Michael, please. It's okay. I didn't marry you because you were real.

M [offended]: How should I take that?

D: However you like.

M: Why did you marry me, then?

D: Oh, Michael. For the comfort! Isn't that what conditional love is? "As long as you don't...x, y, z...I will always love you?

M: You're awful.

D [staring]: Yes, I am. I am...

Monday, February 2, 2009

AM Lectio

"And David shepherded them with integrity of heart;"

--Ps 78:72