Some time ago, I referred to Aldonza’s song sung when facing the ‘cruelest of all’–Don Quixote, after being stolen, carried off, and brutally and repeatedly raped. I associated it as that which I oft cried out to God (even when I feigned ‘proper’ polite and dutiful Christian prayers and actions, underneath my words and heart remained the same cry). If you haven’t seen it, or follow with what I’m saying, you can watch me speak here, or simply see the song clip here.
Recently—who am I kidding, repeatedly (to the point of almost being a constant) life has not been manifestingly kind. Where once excitement lay in change, in the bed now seems to be only despair.
As often as I’ve spoken—and even in symbol, representation, and connection referred to, the ‘mad knight’ Don Quixote, to seeing life as it should be and not as it is, to ‘dreaming the Impossible Dream,’ to the world being better for seeking, striving, fighting, reaching, all for the unreachable star, no matter how hopeless, no matter how far, no matter how beaten and battered, no matter how scorned and riddled with scars; I can (and truthfully must) admit to presently and consistently a loss of hope.
Of late, it’s as if I am not merely struggling to keep afloat, to press on through it all, to do what I must, what I ought, what’s placed before me to do; but instead like pieces of me are being torn away, ripped out, robbed, given away like a whore for a measly scrap to get by on. Of witnessing bridges—connections in joy, and hope and love, being washed away in a flash flood (of no apparent cause but nature itself), of roots steadily unearthed without any sight of fertile soil to replant. Of opportunities and purpose fading away like phantoms, of loss and of outlets and of passions dashed.
Having hope torn apart.
Having that ‘impossible’ dream turned to shame.
And life killing that dream I dream.
Put simply, from the sweet, exciting song on my lips being this:
To a guttural wrench provoked both through and out of me resonating thusly:
Change has presently rendered itself to be quite at hand both temporally and physically. I do not know what it will bring, nor where it will bring us; in fact I don’t truly know much of anything at all. What I am quite well aware of is that ‘change’ is not always neat, it’s not always tidy, and it’s not always kind.
And what I also know is myself.
And I know that where I have oft had excitement at the possibility of new, of uncharted waters, for in each, there was a bounty to be harvested, treasures and new realms and possibilities and hope and anticipation and all manner of beauty my imagination lended itself to, creating, scripting, writing my future role, the story, what could be done and would be best done; there now lay only void.
No imagined beauty.
Yet if experience has taught me anything (which it has, succeeding in keeping me foolhardy in never giving up), it is that there is an inevitable oscillation between hope and desperation. I’ve had change I feared that turned to wonder. I’ve had change I anticipated excitedly only to reveal itself to be nothing. I’ve hoped. And despaired. And hoped again, and despaired once more. I’ve discovered giftings and talents and truths about myself. Only to have no use of those which I reveled in, hoped to see manifest and used, longed to share and make known.
I’ve seen the simplest of me come out.
I’ve stared into the refining fire and accepted the face staring back at me, the reflection of my own therein, and the cruel, wicked, vile, dancing shadow I cast—growing larger and larger the closer I draw to that fire.
I’ve cried out in anguish and wretchedness that if God was whittling and pruning me down to nothing in this life to just take the last thing I have left, life itself—to just kill me off and be done with it, only to angrily hear a quiet whisper from my heart, “NEVERTHELESS, not my will, but yours be done.”
Still I dream.
Still I hope.
Still I believe in the sun, even in night.
Still I believe in the fixed guiding star that always remains, even behind the storm clouds.
And the more I fade, the more I lose, the more I witness the waves of uncertain, unknowable, untrusted, unsure change drawing closer and closer to my shore; of tethers to the here and now being cut, of friendships and opportunities and hopes and aspirations washed away; the more I stare at the fire all around me rather than the shadows behind me, the shadows of me, the more I lose sight of all which I place(d) importance in and I bear witness to the fire alone.
I used to think that what I longed for was what the fire could share, of what it could speak, and teach, and reveal, and change, and affect in and through me. I convinced myself (quite well, actually) that I desired more than anything for the fire to speak to me, to give me purpose, to answer my questions, and make itself real by proving to me that I am real.
But in a (foolishly) fleeting moment of truant honesty and flagrant, unmitigated transparency, I discovered that what I truly long for, what I have found myself in want of was the quite simply the fundamental, childlike desire simply for the presence. I didn’t find myself wanting the fire to tell me what to do, how to do it, where, and why; but merely to know its presence anywhere and at all times, to embrace me, to wrap me up.
Not for the fire to coddle me, but to swaddle me.
As easy as it would be for me to say that I don’t want someone to merely listen to me, to simply take me in as I am—to simply take me in, as easy as it would be to say that I want conversation, I want knowledge, I want activity and a place to shine and be me, I don’t.
I just want to know it’s there.
I just want to feel it.
To see it present with me in every moment and every where.
To hold me when I hurt.
Bounce me when I’m giddy.
Burn when I’m angry.
Correct when I stray.
To love regardless of my lovability.
This, I know, is undoubtedly foolish, childish, unwise. And I am indeed anticipating the time where this fleeting revelation, and bury it back deep within (yet this itself is hopeless, for as I said, I’m quite foolhardy).
For when life kills the dream I dream, I’m left with nothing but reality.
But it’s a reality that remains in spite of me, despite me. A reality which my dreams contain so many elements of. A reality any dream I dream is and can only be based on. A reality which even the best dream I dream proves itself in comparison to be just that, a dream in the face of a glorious reality.
(WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT HAPPENS AGAIN?
WHEN LIFE KILLS THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM AGAIN?
6 years later, and you get “Part 2”)