The Tunnel

In those days it seemed like there was this euphoria that undergirded everything

like I might be able to dig in the right place and find a pool that was essence of bliss

or I might peel away a flimsy wall and find a divine glow shining there

where the two-by-fours should be…

if I could tune the radio to just the right station I’d hear the angel’s singing.

My favorite thing about drinking wasn’t being drunk,

back then.

My favorite thing was the later-time

when the mellow remnants of a buzz clung on to me…

My favorite thing about being stoned was being stoned, really stoned, knocked-on-our butts stoned…

what I really relished was the aftermath:

when my thoughts were just begining to return to a semblance of obedience

when walking wasn’t so much an act of the will

a state of being that Simon and Garkfunkel described so elequently as:

Feeling GroovyWe had this place that wasn’t much but our everything.

A drainage ditch that lead into some kind of tunnel beneath the street

We’d taught ourselves not to think too hard

about what the puddle was beneath our feet.

Our eyes became anachronisms quickly in that place.

but We always new where to stop.

and Somebody would pull out a flute,

one of the clay, circular ones

the kind you buy at Renaisance faires.

And we’d breathe to the almost rythmn of that half-song.

Sometimes somebody would sing these nonsense words of wisdom

to that airy attempt at a melody

sometimes we’d talk about the most important things

sometimes those most important things were among us anyway.

Isolated from the extranous,

cut off from seeing with our eyes

A reality emerged in the darkness, a reality for us and between us back then.

But the years rolled in and they pulled us away from that place

and I spent a while trying to go back anyway

I did not realize that this was as pathetic

as Mick Jagger still begging for satisfaction while he is pushing sixty years old.

When I gave up on going back to our tunnel

I spent so long pushing foreward then, and away from it

and it didn’t seem like I got anywhere.

But last night I embraced the wierdness

of what it was I was doing.

I sipped this cup I call Jesus’ blood.

I looked around to the second group I chose as a family

and I thought maybe, just maybe

I heard those soft flute notes again.

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jeffsdeepthoughts

The stories that speak to our soul begin at a home where things are good. Cinderella is happy with her father. The three little pigs have grown up and are ready to move on. Bilbo Baggins knows his shire. Adam and Eve walk with God in the garden. My story isn’t much different. There was a time and a place where it was so good. There was a community for me. And there was joy. We were filled with a sincere desire to do what God wanted us to do. We possessed explanations and understandings that went a certain distance. We offered security and tradition and laughter. For a lot of years, that was enough. I have this sense that it was also necessary. I have this surety, now, that it certainly wasn’t everything. There were some things that became increasingly problematic as time went by. There was a desire to package things up so very neatly. Sunday morning services were efficient and strategic. Responses to differences of opinion were premeditated. Formula began to feel more important than being real. A real desire for everybody to be one of us, but also a real sense that there is an us, and there is a them. They carried a regret that it has to be this way, but deeper than this regret was a surety that this is how it is. I began to recognize that there was a cost of admission to that group. There were people who sat at the door, collecting it. Those people wished they didn’t have to. But I guess they felt like they did have to. They let some people in, and they left others out. There was a provisional membership. My friends did possess a desire to accommodate people that are different… But it would be best for everyone concerned if they were only a little bit different. I did make many steps forward in this place. Before I went there, there were lies that I believed. Some of the things that I learned there, I still hold on to. But that place is not my home anymore. Those people are not my community anymore. There were times it was hard. I am engaged in a different community now. And I am working hard at finding a place in many different places now, embracing many different kind of families. I don’t always get it right. I am trying and I am learning and I am moving foreward. I have this sense that I am not alone in these experiences. I believe that we are tribe and we are growing. We are pilgrims, looking for a new holy land. Perhaps we won’t settle on the same spot of land. But if you’ve read this far, I am thinking that we are probably headed in the same general direction. I have begun this blog to talk about where my journey is taking me. In every space, we find people who help us along. And maybe we can get to know each other, here. We embrace ideas that provide a structure for the things we believe, and perhaps we can share these too. Maybe we can form a group, a tribe, a community, if we can figure out a way to work through the shadow of these kinds of groups, if we can bigger than the us-and-them ideas that have caused so much trouble in the past. As important as they are, I think the very nature of online interactions will lend itself to something equally powerful. I am stumbling onto these practices that my grandfathers and great grandfathers in the faith engaged in. I am learning about these attitudes and intuitions are so different than the kinds of things we call doctrine today. I don’t know about you, but I am running out of patience, and even interest, in conversations about doctrine. I hope that maybe you’ll share a little something about where your journey is taking you, and maybe our common joys and challenges might help each other along, and we might lift each other up. Thanks for doing this journey with me.

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