In the midst of our world becoming polarized to the extreme, I offer an allegory of redemption. A way forward with understanding and Hope, a short story:
On the tenth day of night rollerblading and day trench-dreaming, we arrived at a crossroad. “We must part ways, Truman.” Says Artie. “You blade to the sunrise, and I’ll blade to the sunset, and then we’ll return here, and decide which road is best. There’s no way to know without looking.”
“We’ll not know which is right until we get there, and we’ll not get there for forty more days. You know we must go to the sunrise, and yet you are willing to go the wrong way. Why?”
“There is no right way, Truman. The more we stay together the harder it’ll be to go separately, but we must someday. It is written. All men go their separate ways.”
“My grandmothers have spoken of a different way, Artie. You do not need to leave now. Together we are stronger and better, smarter and kinder. Going separately allows the loneliness to build burrs around your mind. I will allow your full potential to be, and you will allow my full potential to be. That is all that’s needed for our best survival. We go to the sunrise because we go to our origins, where we came from. We go to our origins because we are young men creating our lives, and we cannot create without knowing what we have to create with. Ourselves were born so long long ago, we cannot remember now. But as we go to the sunrise, it will come to us. Together we make something new.”
“What you are saying is illogical Truman. Men are alone, we are born alone, we die alone. There is no courage in clinging, and without courage we are nothing.”
Truman closed his eyes and spoke with gentle conviction: “My grandmothers say: You were born of a mother who made love with your father, and the fire of your birth is a majesty that celebrates that making. It cannot be anything but folly to pretend to live and grow, day by day, without their blessings, without their wisdom, without their love, which burns inside of you. ”
“But I am completely without their love, their wisdom and their blessing. I am completely alone.” said Arty, ruefully.
“I am an orphan, and my parents have abandoned me completely. How can you say otherwise?”
Truman spoke, propelled by need, propelled by his love for Arty, and his love for his own dear family. ”I am an orphan as well, Artie, but here in my body is the proof of that project purpose that they gave me at the moment of my birth. That is the gift that you have as well, though different from mine.
“Breathe deeply and bring the space of our meeting into your lungs, feed that oxygen into your body. It is a gift of a tree growing nearby, breathed out for you so that you can ignite, so that you can expand and join with the world of nature about you, so that you can live.
“Touch the blue pulsing vein at your wrist, and notice how it warms to the touch, quickens with your thumbs attention. Listen deeply to the rhythm it beats out, and listen between the pulses.
“Let your tongue caress the hard white teeth that deliver food and protection, the nails that scrape the earth and the sky, feeding the bones as they lead the body through rough scrapes. Brilliantly resilient and fantastically strong, we proceed through the earth with these tools our ancestors, and indeed our parents have given us.
“Rub your hands together, palm to palm, quickly, so that you quicken your heartbeat. Now, quick, hold your palms to your chest and feel the warmth of your ancestors beat through heart to hand. Now speak the words of your parents, to know your project purpose. Open your heart to the message its pulse has been beating through your body for your whole life. Tell me your truth. “
Artie was shining as he stood in the sun, and opened his arms wide. “I am a vehicle- a chariot of cells, nerves and blood, skin, bones, and hair. Life is good, I say! Life is great! “
“Artie, my love for you doesn’t need to cling to you. It clings to the earth, the moon, the stars, and my ancestors. I am filled with courage to move and love and be, from the place I occupy here, on this planet, this universe, this galaxy. With my feet on this ground, I cannot falter. My every step is guided with the truth of who I am. I belong to the earth, I belong to the earth.” Truman exalted to his friend.
As the boys lay on the ground, there was a great shaking and cracking and the earth opened underneath them. They tumbled and rolled down into the earth for nearly a quarter mile, a full ten minutes of jumping from side to side of the huge crack as it opened underneath them at breakneck speed. When they finally landed, one boy was 20 feet away from the other, both scrambling and teetering near the edge of a huge underground lake, inside a magnificent quartz and crystal encrusted cavern the likes of which neither boy had ever seen in his wildest dreams. There in the middle of the lake was an island, with a sandy beach rising into palm trees and green mossy ferns. Was that a boat slowly rowing towards them, with one lone rower? There was Avalon, mistress of the underworld island, coming to show them the way to her precious paradise, hidden deep under the earth.
The boys arose, rubbing each leg and arm to roll away the bruises, pulling and stretching their bodies, as they stared at the apparition coming towards them. Each boy saw Avalon with different eyes, Artie with fear and foreboding, and Truman with joy and anticipation. Truman recognised the reeds of the boat, the girl’s headdress, the darkness of her skin, as akin to his long lost family. For Artie, all was strange and other-worldly, beyond picture book pirates, but similar, which struck a chord of fearsomeness for him. Artie hunkered down further to be ready to spring away, if need be. Truman was speechless with joy, as his arms outstretched, waved her in.
“What the…” growled Artie.
“Don’t be afraid, Artie,” Truman reassured his friend. “I know these people. They will take care of us.”
“What? You’ve been here before!?”
“No,” said Truman. “She is from the same place as me, many many ages ago, where I am from. My family and hers are one and the same. Trust me- I can see I’m not wrong.”
The girls face was soft and kind, and as her boat touched to the shore, “Are you okay? You fell far…” was her first inquiry about them. “I am Avalon, and my home is just there. Let me bring you to my campfire and bind your wounds.”
And she did.
For Artie, it took a while, but soon the gentleness and patience of Avalon and our family penetrated, and he relaxed into being himself. Wonderous works were created, decorating the walls of our caves, telling the story of where Artie and I had been, and our journey, and Artie. Soon, as I began retelling the stories of my ancestors, he made more drawings, adding color and dimension to these pictures as well.
For me, life glowed and ebbed large with pleasure in each day; sunlight, water, fire, and earth- the plants, the animals, the beings who were all my relatives, listened to my stories, and they resonated as truth for them. They too had forgotten the beginning stories, just as Artie had, and we all re-created them together, tracing the truth in the fabric of WE.