Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Journey

"Oh bless thee continuous stutter
Of the word being made into flesh..."

- Leonard Cohen
 I think a lot these days about the flesh and the spirit. I look at life gone by like it all happened yesterday. I remember when I was young. I thought when I got old, there would be this long, long corridor of memory. I would sit in my chair and think wow, how long ago and far away it all is. But, it doesn't work that way at all. Not at all. Instead, my childhood and my teenage years and my young adult hood and the present "crows feet" around my eyes all happened just yesterday. 
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;...William Butler Yeats.

I still look at life and feel wonder and excitement. I look at it more as one eternal moment than a series of separate moments.  I don't know for sure what comes after this part of the journey or what came before. I'm not one of those who find any comfort in oblivion.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.. Dylan Thomas
I also am not so sure that the light will die.As a matter of fact I don't think it does.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar; Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: -William Wordsworth
I knew a girl back in the day. She was not my "true love." But, she was a friend and a soul mate along the journey. She was the true love of a friend of mine though. I had a hard time thinking of her passing. But, we get older and the "Emperor of all Maladies" You know the C word tends to take the body out before it seems the spirit is ready to go. There are other things and circumstances and we don't all get that rocker on the front porch to look back at life from "old age" whatever that is.
I saw her not long after she left this mortal coil. Now don't call the men in white coats just yet. I don't mean I saw her at WalMart.
But, I had a dream and she was smiling. There was a glint of mischievousness in her eyes. She looked young and was moving around with the energy of youth. Just a dream? I don't know but I'll take it and raise a hope that it was more than "just" anything.
I was raised to believe in God and although I call myself a Christian Agnostic on my good days.  I still believe we are more than brain farts.
For all the years that I've traveled some signs still take me home. There's a cross that one of the church groups put up along my route to work. It's a simple looking cross and there is a purple swatch of fabric draped across it. I've had a long year and a really long "October." But, I look for that cross while I go to work. I see that simple sign of my faith. The faith that I don't quite fit into these days. I see that purple cloth and I hear in my head "It is finished." I think about that when I'm down or troubled. Somehow, I know that even any present trouble or anxiety is already finished. The outcome isn't in doubt. Not really.

"And then I saw Him in the crowd
A lot of people had gathered round Him
The beggars shouted the lepers called Him".... Queen
I developed an interest in reincarnation during my journey through life. It started for real sometime in the eighties if memory serves. It didn't develop into a dogma or a religion "Thank God" but it does have a certain resonance with my life experience and my journey. Who knows? I don't, but I suspect.

A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears ...Stevie Nicks
So, here I am. Not old enough to be elderly and to old to be young. I'm ready for the next part of the eternal moment. After all..

." I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? "..Tom Hanks in Cast A Way.
  I really do think life is an adventure. I also think there are signs along the way that touch us and remind us of something we've forgotten. Some part of our nature.

A gathering of angels appeared above my head,
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said,
They said come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads,..Styx
One day it will all come together.

Oh Wow!....Reportedly Steve Jobs last words "on earth"

I will make a pillar in the house of my God, and he will go out no more...Revelation 3:12

It's good to have hope. It's what gets me up in the morning and lets me sleep in the night time. 

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key... Eagles

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The occasional life of Steve Snead

Wake up! Hard to do since I've been asleep as long as I can remember. Hard to rouse myself up so why don't you just tell me what's real and what isn't. Early memory: Looking up from a crib and seeing a smiling face with a hat on. Later will find that to be granddaddy. Big building with revolving doors and people in big coats. Later it would be called Cleveland, Ohio. Went there to visit my biological dad as a toddler.

First grade: Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Alabama. Shiny and new desk and a big ole chart with the ABC Song led by my teacher. The desk reminds me of syrup and pancakes for some reason. It's the color and my imagination I'm sure. A is for the Apple that hangs upon the tree.
Phone call from school: Your son Steve just walks around during nap time. No, he isn't mean, but he keeps getting up.  Naptime. Put our towels and blankets on the floor. My friend Larry is laughing in the bathroom. "What's going on?" Well, he says I heard a word last  night that my parents repeated. They got real mad when I said it. Really? What was it? Well it starts with an "f" and well I'll tell you. ....Really? what does it mean? "I don't know but they got really mad at me."  Later in the occasional life. A big church bus comes through Walnut Park. Kids pack on. I'm getting Baptized at Cherry Street Baptist. Wow, I had a stuffy nose a minute ago. But, now I'm standing here wet and yet my head is clear. I'll remember this for a life time. That is on occasion. Later, there will be enough fire and brimstone and hypocritical adults that I can go back to sleep.

Sixth grade: Kids from all my childhood and the last year at my neighborhood school. My teacher is black and the first black teacher in this world where the only black people I've seen so far have been marching on t.v. Still, she has this way about her that just seems to exude a presence of acceptance and concern and even love. Not what I had been told that black folks were like.

General Forrest Junior High: It's so big. Who are all these people? Why are those black kids and white kids over there shoving each other? Where are my friends from the park? I just don't know about this. I think I'll keep my head down. That kid over there? He seems to really hate me. I don't know him but he seems to really want me to know that I have a scar on my face and he doesn't. I think I'll just keep down for a little while.

Emma Sansom High: We are going up to Sansom today to register for next year. I'll register for 10 grade. But, my mother has just said she is divorcing my stepdad. I'll be going to live with my grandparents in Altoona, Al. But, I was born and raised in Alabama City. How can I not go to Sansom? Well, at least I'll escape that stupid bully since he won't know where I went anyway. But, I'll miss the kids I grew up and went to school with for 9 years. Most of them have been a little distant since Walnut Park though. Oh well.

West End High: It's so small! The whole class together isn't as big as one home room at Emma Sansom or Forrest. Still, the kids are a little more laid back. They seem friendly enough. I think I hate school anyway so I'll just put my head down and wait for it to end.

This is adult hood? I'm gonna have another beer and another joint and I'll do something else tomorrow. I'm only a kid so it's not that big a deal. That's what one of the adults just said anyway. Later: Why don't you get a job, you bum. "Wait, didn't you just tell me I was just a kid yesterday?" What? Where did the years go?

Look in the mirror and wake up for just another minute since I'm in my late 20's. I think I'll finish my education or get a job or do something. Getting high and strung out was fun a few years ago but not so much now. I don't like the way people look at me and I don't want to be the town drunk or druggie.

Education. I get to teach at a private school while taking classes at Jacksonville state and I have a 2 year diploma from Gadsden State. I even started church again. Waking up a little but I'm not really sure of the fire and brimstone stuff. I think I'll just go to work at the county tax appraisers office.

Married? Well, I had thought about it but I didn't really expect it. Still, seems like it might work out. Still, it seems that other people have baggage too. Who knew? It's hard but we are going to Hawaii. I know I might be crazy but I'm not sure of just what works and what doesn't. On to Colorado. A son? I look at the sonogram and I bless him in the womb. I'm awake for a minute.

Why is she having such a hard time and seeming to be in so much pain. I see his little head and it doesn't look that big. WHAT? That's the head? OK, I'll never call women the weaker sex again. That would have killed me.

But, he is beautiful. I can't wait to hear his first words or see his first steps.

Work, it's what I do. No, I'm tired and besides I'm off and I just want to chill. I'm not thrilled but at the same time I'm just gonna keep my head down.

Change? Not yet, not again! This is hard and my finances aren't perfect. What if, what if what if?

End? Not really but kind of an


Dream from several years ago. Wow, how vivid. There's my body back there. What a vivid red landscape. Who's this beside me? Seems like he could tell me anything I wanted to know. Well, I want to know about life and death and God and meaning and who am I and where did I come  from and where am I going. So, I turn and ask. But as always in dreams I don't ask word for word as in waking life. I ask "What is the dream?"
He says "you ask too much."
A single tear runs down my face and I wake up.
A single tear really is running down my cheek.
So, still I ask What is the dream? Maybe one day!