Two experiences from yesterday stand out with exceptional clarity.
First, I drove over to the nearby mall, forgetting this was one of those frenzied Saturdays prior to Christmas. Had I remembered, I would have waited until 2013, but I craved an adaptor for my new Nook e-reader (the one electronic I had tried, and failed, to avoid buying).
So I found myself walking through the gigantic hall inside the great mass of humanity, swirling by rag-tag Salvation Army bands, kiosks with costume jewelry, pink phone covers, cookies, imported goods from Mexico, a Christian organization wrapping presents for free (“no donations, please”), the giant bungy cord jump experience, “just $3!” (hmmm, maybe I’ll take the grandkids there when they come); plus all the families, many of them, yes, still way too lumpy and fat and sheeple-looking for my taste, but all of them, it seemed to me, loving their children more gently or fiercely than usual on this post-traumatic day after 20 small Connecticut children died of a burst of semi-automatic gunfire. As I walked I found myself loving them, each of one them, every single human that my eyes landed upon. Catching the eyes of an old, painfully hobbling, kerchiefed woman; a neatly corn-rowed, pink-dressed tiny chocolate girl-child; a college coed, loose blond hair, mid-riff bared, insouciantly aware of her body’s allure; with each one I could not help but smile, embrace them internally, grace them with the Love that funnels so flagrantly from infinite points in the continuum through my eyes into theirs. And each time, yes, with each encounter, there was this hesitant, do-I-dare? open-eyed, shy half-smile in return, the sudden slowing of time to a stop, that secret, miniscule, infinitesimal pause, that holy place of meeting, greeting, ensouled being — before time started up again and the 3D world slid back in.
So thrilled, I realized, when I returned home from this brief journey to heaven, that none of my usual judgments, my usual critical view of this one and that, how they should be this way or that, more like me or less like me, but anyway, other than they are; there was none of the usual neurotic — hell, psychotic! — amped up, stressed out ideational flashes of this and that to separate me from them and all of us from source. No. Just not there! Gone! And what remained was nirvana, one teeming, seething oceanic mass of surface currents thrumming humanity’s synchronized beating heart.
Thank you Thomas Berry: “The world is not a collection of objects but a communion of subjects.”
Then, yesterday evening, another experience, one might even call it the “opposite” of the first, in that rather than communion I (we) were graced with the minutest flash of separation necessary to keep us both breathing separately alive in 3D.
I was driving to a friend’s house for our monthly world food dinner group where we were going to indulge in what we too late realized were the way-too-bland foods of New Zealand. I had my just finished, still warm quinoa/sweet potato/onion salad with sage, basil, lemon juice, parsley and peppercorns on the front seat next to me. Hoped other offerings would be more interesting than this recipe I had found on-line and no wonder in our seven years we’d never thought about doing New Zealand before. Thank God somebody was bringing Trader Joe’s New Zealand lamb! At least, that. I was tooling along at about 30 mph, thinking thoughts like these, and who knows what else, when, all of a sudden, popping into close view for a single, sustained nano-second, the full length flash of an enormous full-grown deer, directly in front of my face. Like a dream, was this deer, a fabled creature from myth, as if from the mists of Avalon. Then, next flash, GONE. I did not hit the deer. HOW did my car not hit the deer? I can’t imagine that the distance between me and that deer was even a quarter of an inch, so close was the encounter, and so exacting, obviously, the universe in making sure that we did not collide. That I did not kill the deer. That the deer did not damage my car, or me. That we were both safe in the arms of the larger Love that holds us always, always, even when we are least likely to know it.
And, just so that I don’t end up getting too slurpy on this post, here’s both sides of a hilarious poster one of those delicious coeds was handing out yesterday at their table next to the bungy jump.