The Glamour, Part I

            They are drifting away from me, those days.  There is something more than just the years between myself and those memories.  But I am getting so far ahead of myself.

            If you had watched us, back then, if you could have seen us, you would have thought that we were so magnificent.  I realize how that sounds.  I’m not a boastful man.  But I don’t have time for false modesty.  If you could have seen us back then, you would have thought that we were so magnificent.

 

            Probably you would have noticed Tom first.  Tom wasn’t like the rest of us.  He didn’t go in for some sort of crazy name.  He didn’t fancy himself a super hero.  But you would have noticed Tom first, there in his jeans and t-shirt.

            The way that Tom would move.  Like he’d stepped out of a musical.  Like his life was choreagraphed.  In a way, I suppose it was.

            Tom’s glamour was his ability to react perfectally to whatever came his way.  To respond without error effortlessly.  His body was like water.  He was a judo-master, heightened, taken to the nth degree.  And so they would come at him with a punch?  He wouldn’t block it, he wouldn’t meet it with force.  He would step with the direction of the blow, and so gently he would grab his attacker, pulling, pulling, pulling.  The one who’d assault him would come crashing down, and even if Tom did not see the next kick coming, from somewhere else, he would be moving anyway, beuaitfully moving anyway.  The lines described by the way he moved, it was this strange geometry.

           

            And then there was Essie.  I can’t tell you why she called herself Essie, anymore.  It was geek humor, based on the latin for a philosophical concept.  Essie had once translated the Latin for me.  It came out to something like “To be is to be perceived.”

            If you are having trouble believing in the power of Tom’s glamour then Essie’s will be even more difficult for you to swallow.

            Essie, you see, could make perception into reality.  Some have argued that perception is reality, everywhere.  They are wrong.  Only Essie can do this.

            Essie knew what they believed.  She said he could smell the thoughts of those around her.  To this day I don’t claim to understand what she meant.  But I saw it in action.

            She could… smell… the thought of the one, out of the whole pack, who believed that we were invulnerable.  And so Essie would latch onto that belief somehow, and we would be invulnerable, at least until we beat them down and sent them back to where they came from.

            Or Essie would find the one who feared that the boards beneath them wouldn’t hold their combined weight.  Then, she’d– What was her word?  Instantiate.  Essie would smell this thought, and she would instantiate it.  Down they would go.

            There was one time that it was not yet 4 AM.  There was one among our opponents who’d lost track of time.  S/he believed that dawn was coming soon.  Essie instantiated this.  Sunlight poured through the windows.  I wish I could deny that I’m smiling, now, remembering the way that they screamed, as the sunlight came and burned them all up.

            That night/morning, though, the third among us was not impressed.  He called himself The Gothic.  We didn’t call them Goths, not back then.  It was Gothic.  Gothic was dressing himself a bit like a pirate, back then.  I realize how goofy that sounds.

            But I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you that Gothic was so far from goofy.  The shadows, they would cling to him.  Like little creatures: ferrets perhaps.  But it wasn’t creatures in the darkness.  The creatures, they were the darkness itself.  Sometimes they would envelope Gothic.  Other times, they would fly from him, and they would land, mercilessly on our foes.  It was something like little teeth and impossibly sharp claws that the darkness wielded, and it rended our enemies limb from limb.

            Gothic was not like the vampires, our foes.  The sunlight caused him no real harm.  But he was no lover of the light.  It clearly suppressed his glamour.  I have come susupect that it may have even physically weakened him.  And so that day, when the sunlight came in, he was unimpressed.  He muttered something to Essie about being a damn show off.  But he loved Essie, just as we all did.  A melancholy smile spread across his long thin lips as he said it.

            And me?  I know things.  I can not explain how.  I simply do.  People tell me that when they dream, they come to know things though they can not explain how they know them.  I live my life this way. 

            If you could have seen me, back then, you would have thought me the least magnificent of us.  I was important behind the scenes, as we tracked our quary.  In the midst of battle I was our tactician.  I would call out commands and suggestions to my friends, and they would follow them, and we would be victorious.

 

 

            Those days are drifting away from me.  I am afraid that someday they will be gone.

            I am afraid that they never will be.

To read part II of the Glamour, click here.

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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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