Love costs. Like dreams cost. Real dreams—not these which do not immediately degenerate into hard work, these which do not hold a promise of a better day—not idle wondering, but those dreams that make men brave. (And which vindicate the woman.) I imagine a ledger where all experience is chronicled in its most basic form, where strange coinage is put as the line items to the great sum of how all this matters. What love is such that one does not sacrifice something? Like an easy honor, that which is untested, the tensile strength of which is no more than a wink.
After my little performance in following directions from the vision—about the naked run to Pittsburgh—apparently then the rules changed. I still have trouble in believing it, how just that 5 minutes could change everything. No running from NYC to Pittsburgh, not in the birthday suit; instead I booked train tickets there for around when the elements of that vision were to show up and change everything. But it was no longer the Apocalypse. We still maybe expected something, still, to show up. I called it the Weirdness [that was to come]. I was locked away by then. I never got to go to Pittsburgh.
The day forecast in the vision came and went, then the next day (this had been the initial updated date, right after my 5 minutes). Before they said that everything changed. No weirdness. I should maybe have still kept looking. The Olympics came and went, while I was in the employ of the Cause. This year was especially strange, if for nothing else than a lot of famous people died in it. A clue? And then the Cubs go to win it all—not weird? And come election day… and what in the actual fuck? President Trump? And then I understood.
Donald Trump becoming President of the United States: here was the weirdness. Looking back, I can’t imagine how anyone else could have won. He is the avatar of what the US has now become; America is now a caricature of itself: this was when ordinary villainy turned into cartoonish super-villainy—that concept taken from the Simpsons, when Mr. Burns unveiled his plan for blocking out the sun. And Trump? What’s that humongous wall he wants to build? True, the nihilist in me secretly wonders how this will all go down, but the rest of me dreads of evil things.
Verily, what is meant to be? Generally understood to mean something that happens which is meaningful. Not all things that happen are meant to be—at least, not to us. Certain thresholds will hold. But looking at “meant to be” might mean to you, I recall one co-worker of mine complaining that computers never did what you wanted them to do (as opposed to what you tell them to do). He had a certain intent which did not translate into the specific instructions that made sense of it to the machine. It did not do what he meant for it to do. One wonders what it would be like, for everything to happen like we meant? Like there would be no more need for apologies? That’s Heaven, that’s New Jerusalem. It’s never that bad things are impossible, physically impossible—something will distract the one who wanted a catastrophe, something will be remembered, something will be calculated—it doesn’t come up, all the actual pieces needed to wreak vengeance just never come together. Serendipity and all his brothers seem to run the scene.
high in the frost where giants dwell, the sky was lost in snow
the rainbow bridge crossed the silver divide, sprinkled upon with stars
the shade of silence through midnight, far above the dream of the machines
do androids dream of electric sheep?
Things seem to be falling apart, at times—at least, to some of us. But ask someone who has eaten many years about the state of the world, and they will tell you that everything has always been falling apart. Even the most apocalyptic wild man will admit that the world has a tendency not to end. Where there is light, there is hope. And sometimes in the darkness, too. Like waking up God knows where, but her suffering has somehow evaporated, saying an aside to a friend who had been accompanying her (at least, in the previous world). Awakening in New Jerusalem from the midst of the Holocaust. Catching a glimpse, maybe? of the lay of the land—and Herr Hitler is here? This must be good. Everything, I think, is mixed into that equation. It is a sign.
Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find. Do you have ears, but do not hear? Shall we pray twice and if God does not answer us the second time, we give up? Have you asked, and it was not given? Did you seek, and it was found to be nowhere? Understood, we understand how that can happen (and you can be sure Josh knows, too), but if you did not ask, will it be given you? If you did not seek, how would it be found? Get with the program. If you feel courageous, try it from the other point of view: when you are asked for something, give it; and then, find yourself what someone else is seeking. Do it like Josh, do it like justice: not to go by the letter of a request, always to understand the spirit in which it is asked. Be a part of what is meant to be.
To the Christians reading this, let me insert this quote:
The most critical issue facing Christians is not abortion, pornography, the disintegration of the family, moral absolutes, MTV, drugs, racism, sexuality, or school prayer. The critical issue today is dullness. We have lost our astonishment. The Good News is no longer good news, it is okay news. Christianity is no longer life changing, it is life enhancing. Jesus doesn’t change people into wild-eyed radicals anymore. He changes them into “nice people”.
Remember? John the Baptist said to the people, do you think because you are sons of Abraham that you will be spared? God can from these rocks raise sons of Abraham. Yes, looking around to the number of Christians in the world, apparently God did just that. What shall we say now? We have become sodomites: “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” [Ezekiel 16:49 NRSV] “But Lord, when did we see you hungry, and did not feed you? When were you naked, and we did not clothe you?” “Even as you have done it to the least of these, you have done it unto me.” If you have it in your head that being a Christian gives you an excuse to do stupid or evil things, you have it in reverse. To be able to look down at people, to exclude them from the finer things: you have it backward, friend. That’s what the losers do.
There was a light, but it faded. It was not faith.
There were visions, but they twisted. They were not faith.
There was a feeling, but it was illusory. It was not faith.
Faith was to hold on, when all those things went wrong.
Because I saw that light, had those visions, felt what I felt.
The narrow way is a journey, and rest may only be momentary.
It is a life that leads to life.
I know something about love… God is love. (You don’t even need to believe in God to believe that God is love.) This is that transcendent love that is more than what is merely categorized as affection. So here is what it is, really, the actual Theory of Everything: love, try, learn. In everything any of us experience—there is love for every bit of it. Not a sparrow fall is missed, after all. I understand that that kind of answer was not what Al Einstein was looking for when he was looking for the Theory of Everything. Let there be a lesson in that. As E. E. Cummings put it, “thou answerest them only with spring”.
We have always already won, Philip K. tells us. This is what happens when you’re on the side of the Beginning and the End. Remember: light is not a dream, darkness does not exist, and the game of life can be won when we decide never to be defeated. All that we know about this world are imperfect ill-fitting sections, but that does not mean they are useless by being flawed.
Look: we had God with us, and we threw Him away, denied Him with prejudice. Phil said that God was to be found in the trash layer of the world (“God in the gutter” someone put it)—blessed be the Janitor of God. And I know something about love: there is a why that escapes your most subtle grasp: love costs. Try anyway. Learn what love is. Try to have something to lose, learn what makes something real. For this is the Accounting of reality, seen and unseen; and all the prophets; and all the law: love always returns. And wherever you go, beware the love that comes out of nowhere—because it is everywhere.
If you’re Jewish, Josh told me He looked around, and said the Jews have done a fine job being the Chosen People. Heh. Did you almost forget? I’m crazy. I have eaten the body and drunk of the blood of our Savior.
Joshua the Messiah.
Get used to it.