Saturday, March 19, 2011

Also, the fat jokes.

Friday was a heart-breaking day.

My Friday started at 12am, there I was, furiously writing the assignment I had forgotten was due in just eight hours. And when I arrived in class that morning, my mind was too deadened from tiredness to feel any dread in the realization that I had also forgotten about the test. I blew through it in twenty minutes, not knowing any of the answers, having not studied a wink. I was left with time to kill before heading in to work, so I sat in the library and watched videos of people eating bugs.

It was there I saw my friend, who snuck up behind me and made me shriek in an unseemly manner to the whole library. We talked about little nothings, and just before we parted ways I asked him about The Veritas Forum. "Yes, I'm going," he told me, and I was delighted. Even more gratifying was what he said next, about the Q&A time, that he was interested in discussion. That's what the event is all about. But what sobered my glee was when he said, "I believe in the 10 Commandments, but Jesus Christ is not my savior."

I left the library shortly afterward with a lump in my throat. It was just that, I'd never heard anyone deny Jesus, never had a friend come out and draw such a line in the sand. There was no wishy-washy theorizing, and no waffling justifications. It is clear where he stands. There is really no question. And while it gratifies me that he is not deluding himself, I feel with some great urgency the clear divide he faces.

I trudged through the day, making like I was busy through a humiliating linguistics class and a mind-numbing five hours at work. I waited with unbearable anticipation for quitting time, for that walk through the warm sunshine to my car, and the exciting car ride through the woods of Exetor. After arriving, chasing the cats, heckling Peter's basketball skills, tickling Prudence, watching Georgia's card tricks, and generally making myself quite at home, I prepared my impatience for the short ride to Beavertail.

It really was a crime, how beautiful it all was, "elemental", as Lilly described it. The wind was blowing so hard it was a roar in my ears; I shouted and not a soul could hear me. We clambered all over the rocks, Peter and Aidan were nearly washed away, Luke barely saved me from meeting a similar fate. Our shoes stayed dry, for the most part. We talked, and laughed, and bemoaned our lack of a camera. Notwithstanding that photo op gone awry, due either to Aidan's skills or Peter's phone. Not sure which. We watched the sun set, all lavender and gold, and there was nothing but humility in the five fallen people standing on the broken, crumbling rock. His creation testifies to His glory and to entropy. The rise, the fall, the resurrection.

On the way back, we passed a playground, and Luke and I begged for the car to make a quick stop. Uncharacteristically, I ran around the course that looked so much like the playground near my grandparents' house where I used to play make-believe with my cousins. With immature mimicry, I crawled on my hands and knees through sandy tunnels and fell on my back off the slides. Entirely shocked by my sincere enjoyment of something I thought I'd lost interest in [this foolishness was for other people, never for me] I thought, here it is. I've turned a corner. The childishness is truly over. I am permanently growing up. It was a measure of closure, as I failed the monkey bars and pwned the balance beam, it was just as it had always been.

That night we parked ourselves in front of the television for three hours to watch some Jason Bourne action. And we talked the whole time, which is the best when you've already seen the movie, and the worse when you haven't. [Sorry, Luke.] I frowned at the car chases and the gunfights and the collateral damage. All these shades of gray in people and organizations that were not completely good and not completely bad. And how easy it is to make value judgments, to become callous, to "criticize a judgment made in the field from your office chair." All the hurt was entirely cold-blooded . . . I could not understand, and it really frightened me.

That household, it's an overwhelming sensory experience, with so many people talking at the same time and so many things going on concurrently. But I love it all. I love the mooing of the poor hungry cows and the spelling lessons in the kitchen and the long winding driveway. I love Ingrid's singing and Harold's crazy grin and Connie's approach to exam-taking. Each time I visit I leave so tired and so full. It makes me a little bit sad, I love it all so much, and just falling asleep above Lilly's bed staring at her book collection, it filled me with such thankfulness that I am blessed to know these people.

In short, it was a really good day. Possibly the best.

These people, these adventures, these creations: "I hear in my mind all of this music and it breaks my heart."


Nicole said...

That last line. Oh my. I know that feeling so well.

Micah E. said...

God. I miss people so much.

L.E. Fiore said...

Last line- grabs my heart and breaks it, too. Life, Hayley. Life. Yes, yes, and yes.

High King Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

It was such a fun day! I thought it was a great way to start our Spring break.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for enjoying our family so much. I don't think the children will appreciate what we hoped to do for many years after we are gone, too late to share the joy with us.