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.

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