With a gut crammed full of Sunday lunch and a brain crammed full of Chesterton I lay awake looking up at the ceiling. She woke me from a dream. The sermon was just finished and I lay down from exhaustion; preaching had tired me. I’m ninety-five she said, smelling like powder, and I didn’t have the slightest notion about man’s nature. Never a better time to learn, I shook her hand. Wake up, it’s time for choir. Heavy eyes, so much activity behind the curtain.
And why the curtain? He is a fool who will not struggle against the dark veil said Disraeli. I feel like a fool, an ambitious fool. The Indian man speaks of a moral law invoked, if God is unjust, what is justice? You say evil like you believe in good. You invoke the moral law like you believe in a Lawgiver. But the very question you brandish cuts to ribbons the premise on which you stand. Standing on the promises, no, no, follow ME. Tenors, again, if you can’t hit the E, stay on the B. It all fits into the chord.
A threefold chord is not quickly broken. What a cord it is! The slow rise and fall of her form as she takes in the air, warms it and releases. Her eyes open though I cannot see them. The hand reaches out and touches my face. Facing tomorrow is so very much like facing yesterday, nothing like facing today. Today takes courage, yesterday takes prisoners. But tomorrow, tomorrow I have bills to pay. Tomorrow I can see the signposts, the arrows this way and that. Happyville to the left, Comfortown to the right. Just a few miles if these shoes hold out. I’ve been wearing them now for a while. What happens if I go straight? Sit down? Take off my shoes?
Take off your clothes. Show me you’re telling the truth. NO. You’re just a guy in the mall who called me a liar because I have no cell phone. I’m not stripping for you. The reception is terrible around here, and there’s a hundred foot antenna whose shadow lands on our building. Building frustration. Why do I need a cell phone I ask him. It’s a story says he. His disbelief is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long. Altos, look at ME. Fortissimo!
Those faces. They need. I need. We all need, and we all hold those masks so well. Raise them and sing the tragic chorus. Antigone feels the struggle between civil law and the higher law, but then she’s assuming a moral Lawgiver says the wise Indian. They found her hanging in a cave. Swallowed by conflict.
I swallow hard. Life is good, hard, tough, conflict. Staring out the glass, I am a goldfish waiting for wings. Lean on my hands and watch the sun rise and set, rise and set on my mortality. Shall I go here? Shall I do this? Oh the voices, the voices, they surround me in harmony, dissonance, together now in unity the man with the baton cries. The elderly gentleman beside me went flat, but he sang with all his might. It is this very might that I can feel, welling up in my muscles, the tensing, the bouncing foot, ready to walk, to run, the embrace the unknown, to sing the part I’ve only heard briefly in my dreams.
Solutions. Precious commodity these days.
Rest my voice, rest my eyes, rest my soul and remember that at day’s end, Creon had nothing left but order.