A mob of angry citizens surround me with their mobile phones and their buckets and shovels. "What do you want from me," I plead. They dig into the earth with their shovels and fill their buckets. "Eat your own earth," I plead.
I wake up in the lawn. The sprinklers click on and my pajamas slowly drench. As I walk back to my front door I notice my dog digging a hole. I'm too tired to discern the significance, so I amble into the kitchen. "Hi honey," I say and make my way for some toast. She looks up from her mobile phone. "Fall asleep on the lawn again?" I nod my head. "Yeah."
As I'm slathering my jelly all over the face of my toasted bread slice, Joey-Six-Pack rings the door bell. I swing the door open and Joey says "Hey man. You piss your pants." He points to my wet pajamas. "No. Sprinkler." He nods. "Here's your shovel, dude. Thanks for letting me use it."
The problem is when we turn our periscope inwards. When the slide under our microscope is a mirror into our own minds. Our own self. When WE become the noun-like object upon which pronounce ultimate judgment. But not just our self. Of course, we must judge our self. That is how we grow and change and learn. We judge how we are doing. We celebrate what we do right. We wrestle and strategize where we do wrong. But there is a deeper sense in which the judgment becomes problematic. There is a depth of assessment that fails us. Jesus tells us to keep our microscopes away from it. He wants to be "all," but not in that way...
We are all one melody away from an epiphany. We are all one question away from a breakthrough. When I was a child, my grandfather let me steer the tractor (he held his hands over my hands, but I was convinced I was the one steering). When I was an adolescent, my teachers let me turn in my homework late. I guess there are many mercies and graces overflowing from the seems – seeping into the streams. And even now, when I look back on it all (with Chopin playing softly in my earphones), I see that I am lucky. I am lucky not to be an orphan. I am lucky not to be deformed. I am lucky not to be a lost alien on some doomed exploratory mission. When I look back on it all now, I regret my character flaws and the sins they inspired. But there is mercy and grace from the tip of our tongues down to the inner workings of our molecular systems. And I am steering the melody tractor and I am breaking through.
The closer you are to freedom the more tentacles encroach into your scenes. The closer you are to touching that tit of mercy the more angst-cream seeps into your machine. I was born of a naive woman and a small-minded man, in the middle of nowhere, at the end of a bitter winter. I was the bringer of fear, a stumbling block with blonde hair. When I fell over I would laugh. When I was left alone I would draw. I was the introspective one. The task-finder. I run my fingers against the paper. Smudge the lead to buff the pencil marks and mold the gray into shade. The closer you are to escaping your origin the dizzier you become. You walk into walls and lean against the sinks. The tables and ottomans seem to swing around you and you try, in vain, to keep them in place. You try to smudge the gray into shade.
He was holding his breath for as long as he could, just to impress his peers at the cocktail bar. He was red in the face. He was damaging his brain. He was acting like he was having more fun than he really was. Then she walked in. She was the prophetic painter. She splashed some paint on a canvas and moved it around and said, “This speaks to someone, I don’t know who.” She threw salt on the outskirts of her creation to create a texture. “This is striking someone. I don’t know who. It is striking someone and they don’t know why.” She turned the canvas to the side, painted something that looked like a rotating eye. She said, “I don’t know who, but someone here wants to confess how they are really feeling. Someone here wants to share, but they can’t find the words.” She took her fist and strategically smudged the paint in certain places. “This speaks to someone,” she said.