Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wrestling With The Angels Again

It was in the early 1980's and my friend Theresa and I were having a glass of wine in the outdoor courtyard of a Denver restaurant called "The Ratskeller". Muzak was being piped out from a local radio station to the courtyard of tables. The music playing was Tom Petty's "Refugee" and we were the only customers on a quiet early evening.

...Somewhere, somehow somebody
Must have kicked you around some
Who knows, maybe you were kidnapped
Tied up, taken away and held for ransom
It don't really matter to me
Everybody's had to fight to be free
You see you don't have to live like a refugee
I said you don't have to live like a refugee...

We sang the last two lines together.

Theresa, smart and savvy New York Italian that she was, arched one wry eyebrow and said.. "I don't have to live like a refugee, huh?" She paused, and took a deep sip of wine, gazing at me over the rim of her wineglass as she said, "News to me!"

It is perpetually news to me. I am always surprised how much less struggle I have to take on when I stop struggling! Well, DUH.

Attention: All Passengers on Planet Earth: Please Step Away from the Drama!

It is the nature of our brokenness to make simple things -- like love, like joy -- more complex than they really are.

Could it be that we really don't have to live like refugees, after all? I can choose where I look -- at what is absent in my life, or at what is abundant. And when I face my own abundance, I am able to help those who really *are* refugees in the world. When I acknowledge what I do have in life, I see that there is so much to share.

But surely it is not that simple, that facile. Do I have to stretch the reality of who I am to the snapping point before I can be called back into that simplicity? How many angels have to appear for a spiritual wrestling match so that I, like Jacob, can awaken with a new sense of the world and my best most useful place in it?

I think that interim is required -- that exile, that time in the desert -- before we understand that the Promised Land is ours and everyone else's too. The trick is to not fall so in love with the desert that we forget to step into the oasis.

Maybe Leonard Cohen is right when he sings --"Ev'ry heart to love will come -- but like a refugee."



Blogger beth said...

Oh, I needed this...thank you so much, mata...

10:45 PM  
Blogger Rainbow dreams said...

"The trick is to not fall so in love with the desert that we forget to step into the oasis."

I will be thinking on this today - thank you for bringing moments of clarity

4:38 AM  
Blogger The Harbour of Ourselves said...

Lee Weiner once said that 'we are all refugees of a future that never happen', something about that i like

6:20 AM  
Blogger samtzmom said...

"The trick is to not fall so in love with the desert that we forget to step into the oasis."

Oh, so true, so true... we can all become prisoners of our own drama. Reminds me of that saying by Barbara Johnson... "Pain is inevitable, misery is optional."

6:26 AM  
Blogger mister tumnus said...

i hope you are right mata. jesus. i love forward to the oasis.

2:12 PM  
Blogger mister tumnus said...

look i mean. 'look forward'. a fruedian slip perhaps. but i have no idea how to 'love forward'!

2:13 PM  

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