I wish I could write about it. But some things are too deep, too fearful, too sublime. If only life were surface, then we could just scrape the memories and the friendships off, we could peel back the tremblings of doubt and hope. How can I write when there are no words for such tremors and ecstasies? I wish I could write but some things are too deep to write. Some things are only meant for feeling.
Maybe we can't stay in L.A. forever...
(this next part was written on the plane)
I don’t know what this is, this plane traveling between two lives. I don’t know where I’m going even though I’m flying at 30,000 feet. Sure, sure Detroit is what it says on the ticket, sure I’m going back home, back to the warm bosom of family and familiar faded faces, places. But where am I really going? Where is my heart pulling me? The city of angels, the darkness drifts in as the sun sets and I can see it out my plane window, the plane going for darkness, the plane going for obscurity, for a small quiet life, nights spent slowly disappearing, in the dark of my Michigan living room, each day like the next just wasting away a little at a time until there’s nothing much left but an old Harrison football t-shirt, smelly and poked with holes, holes where my dreams slowly escaped, they flew, hitchhiked across the country and out to sunrises, but there’s me, flying on a plane back home and watching as the sun sets.
Below, the clouds linger, cottonball blankets, soft-edged mountains poofing their way near the wing, brushing past just to remind us all that Man can only fly if he keeps his head a little in his dreams. I wonder… I’m so giddy -- nervous or insane? -- irrationally charging off into who knows where, looking out into heaven and wondering if that was God speaking to me at mass this morning as the words of Jesus sounded across the stormy sea: “Oh man of little faith, you couldn’t even walk out on the water and come to me! Where is your Trust?” Am I St. Peter, testing the water with a big toe but untrusting, unwilling to take the step and let God lead me across the surface of the deep sea, sinking because of my fear? Won’t I just take that step, that stride, that leap into the deepness of a life on the edge, a life as an artists for God?
It’s too much sadness. It’s too much grey. The clouds are a murky sea now, and I’m waiting to hear the voice of God. Will He be an earthquake, 5.4, me rolling on the sixteenth floor of 5455 Wilshire Blvd? Will He be fire and flame, the light of a candle in the dark as we sit in a West Hollywood paradise? Yeah, sure, only my cousin’s back patio, but like a Buddhist temple, palms overhead and the sound of falling water, us eating pizza, talking about boys and life and fears and secrets, and the candlelight was all we could see, and it was enough, as I saw the faces of endlessly fascinating new friends (Will they stay with me, I wonder? Will we ever sit around the candlelight again?).
Can He really be a Longing, this almost-sickening tug of the heart, a string that’s tying me to that sun-drenched land, where madmen and poets and hucksters make up dreams out of key strokes and celluloid? Where is that call I yearn for? Is it a whisper, like Elijah on the mountain, that whisper I strain to hear but can actually feel like a brick in my stomach, that voice that calls me out to my dreams by somehow ordaining that today’s mass readings -- readings for the last mass I might ever hear in L.A. -- that they're readings about hearing the voice of God and trusting completely in the plan of Jesus, readings about Elijah and the whisper of God and Peter and the sinking into the sea? Is this how God speaks, in ordinary coinicidences and well-timed stories? Can it even be a question, that God would speak to a poor, confused storyteller like me through His holy stories?
The sun’s light is a sliver of pale yellow on the horizon. The land below is all black. I imagine slipping down into my seat, slipping so deep and so long that I slip down into that darkness, swallowed up by the unseen dark desert below. I’m not anxious about it. It seems like it might be peace, if I could just close my eyes and slip into that hole of the unknown and simply trust in the unseen One, me all blindness, God the divine Vision.
Maybe in a couple of weeks, I'll be driving through that desert on my way back to L.A.