Throwback Thursday: Room With a View

While I’m working on getting my voice back, I’m going to occasionally share some stuff from my archive. Back in the day, I used to participate frequently at Worth1000. (The link may or may not work; the site has been flaky lately.) I submitted several pieces there that I am still very proud of years later. Here is one of them.


I opened my eyes and found myself seated in a completely dark room. All was silent, and as far as I could tell (inasmuch as I could not see, or hear, or smell anything) I was alone, yet the room seemed to vibrate with a great sense of anticipation, as if somewhere a maestro had just raised his baton, or a soprano was even now licking her lips and inhaling a preparatory breath.

Music rippled through the pregnant stillness, a melody so pure and sweet and insistent that I was compelled to look toward its source. Light was piercing the darkness, terrible light and beautiful, but distant so that all that fell on me was a gentle gray twilight.

Presently the song of the light was joined by a complementary voice which, though it sang softly, had a power that touched the core of my soul. The light around me had taken on a dreamy blue hue, and with the introduction of one color the room around me began to glow with its complements: flowers on a table beside me lit up in an explosion of oranges and yellows, the wall behind me was painted a vivid shade of salmon, and my chair was upholstered in the very creamiest of leather.

The second voice rose up in a powerful crescendo, and every fiber in my body tensed with the expectation of what was to come. With a crash of cymbals a wave rolled in below me and I looked back through the window upon a mighty sea. The waves were a playground of blue shadows, dark trenches and foaming peaks, and the music of the light met the song of the sea with a chord of such magnificent harmony that the world could not contain it. A curtain rolled back to unveil the sky, and the duet of light and water rushed out to fill the infinite space with a concerto of clouds and rainbows that met the sea at the distant horizon.

A new voice joined the chorus, deep and rich, and summoned a palette of new colors. A wall of brown rock rose from the sea, and I realized the baritone voice spoke to the earth. Trees and foliage spread hungrily across the barren rock, like a flame advancing across a sheet of paper, but even as I watched the green fire consume the earth the room in which I stood retreated from that place. The sea and the sky and the land and the music receded, and through the window I saw only a perfect blue globe suspended in space.

Then the entire orchestra roared out the glorious appearance of the sun and its brethren, and the room in which I sat was flooded with pure light of such brilliance that I could not bear the sight, yet neither could I look away. Before me lay the primal glory of a thousand thousand stars, and as those engines of creation danced to the music I watched the pristine cosmos unfold and rush out to meet the farthest heavens.

The music swelled around me once more, playing with ever-increasing insistence, sounding a call that must be answered. A bird feathered with all the colors of the rainbow burst into song from its perch across the room, and a huge dog came bounding in, barking with delight, jumping up and licking my face. Something stirred inside me and I felt such a longing to embrace the music that my heart almost burst with the sheer joy of being. I found myself standing up and stretching my arms, truly awake for the first time in my life. The memory of the darkness in which I opened my eyes receded like the tide running from the beach, as if everything I saw in front of me had always been there. The music called me again, and I was compelled to reply, singing my part in that first performance of the symphony of creation.

Somewhere, the maestro finally laid down his baton and the last notes of the symphony hung in the air, perfectly sustained and echoed by the things the music had called into being. I looked through the window upon the vast majesty of the universe, and I saw that it was good.

Andrew Lector

One of the traditions that I love about the Episcopal church is how much emphasis is given to the public reading of Scripture. In any given Sunday-morning service, we are treated to all of the following:

  • Old Testament reading
  • Psalm
  • New Testament reading
  • Gospel

The readings are prescribed according to the lectionary, which is “a table of readings from Scripture appointed to be read at public worship.” A number of bloggers and podcasts are in the habit of hosting a discussion of the upcoming Sunday’s readings. I thought I would contribute by recording the readings for anyone who cares to listen. Here is the story of Pentecost from Acts 2, and this week’s Gospel reading from John 20. Let me know if you find this useful!

Untested

I am daunted by your stories.

You brave, wonderful, beautiful people with your words of heartache, loss, abuse, survival and recovery. Most of these things I have not endured, and others in only small measure. My losses have been in the order of things; loved ones who grew old, faded, and passed away. I grieved their passing and miss their presence, and regret that I was separated from their last years by oceans and time zones, but Death is not so painful when he arrives at the naturally-appointed time.

What have I to say to you who have lost a child? You who have lost innocence, or health, or a lover, or peace of mind? What worth is my testimony of unearned blessing to a world where so many bear greater burdens and enjoy fewer rewards?

My faith is real, and growing, and informed by the experiences you have shared, but it has not been tested. As time goes by and life becomes ever more comfortable, I am afraid of how hard that test will be when it arrives.

Breaking the writer’s block

Christians sometimes argue about the longevity of salvation. Is there such a thing as a former Christian? Did people who lost their faith ever have much of a grip on it in the first place?

I was a writer, once, but then I misplaced my voice. I set it down somewhere and got distracted by other things, and now it is lost.

Once a writer, always a writer? Or are writers known by their fruit and judged by their continued output?

For the lapsed Christian, I believe grace is a breath away. For the lapsed writer, I believe it is time to end the excuses and wrestle with words until I find my voice again.

I still have stories to tell.