Parting Joy


The sun rises, and it sets. Suddenly, the crows-feet claw outward from your eyes. My body meanwhile still obliges–in fact, its fibres pull stronger than in youth–but the delicious victories cost more. Another pull-up. Another 5 on the bar. I am alive in pushing open the door of the moment but I find new, myriad pains behind.

Yesterday, Holy Saturday, I cut across a flashing, sirening fire engine entering an intersection. It was odd. I did hear the siren reverberating through the street of skyscrapers. I checked all my mirrors and saw nothing. I scrutinized them again, not noticing that the car to my left and my right had dropped back. I heard an extended horn as I went through the green light. A moment later, the fire engine careened by in my rearview, red with indignation.

The episode disturbs me because its  constant playback calls me a fool. So I wipe it from my conscious thought, pretend no one knows, and keep driving awkwardly.

I made it to my friend’s church a little too early. It was a wholly unfamiliar experience stepping inside, despite the fact that I had gone to church for ten years (almost to the day). My guest-preaching friend entreated us kindly from the stage. He yelled fiery exhortation while pacing the aisle. He exposited from behind the pulpit–all for us to put our faith in the sovereign lord. Meanwhile, children crawled under the pews and through people’s legs. It was a small church, but I had the strong impression that these people had committed their lives to it.

My faith is a little too hidden. My friend’s faithful outburst reminded me that I can show more.

But I’m also reminded my joy and my sorrow speak differently. A feminist blog entry on East Asian silence had attracted me during the preparation period before Easter. Something about uncanny, awkward silence as has been emerging too much in many of my loving-damaged relationships thwarts my usual narrative and bids me listen. The blog tells me: Silence is passionate, diligent, courageous suffering.

Silence scars the ground on which we live. It is both inflicted on us and our chosen response. Done well, it is a preparation that yields joy.


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