My mother used to tell me when I was little that I could make time stop. Of course we were capable of every work of Christ and therefore if we needed time to stop then all we had to do was ask God to stop time for us (slow it down essentially). And of course, I believed her. I don’t know if Christ ever stopped time actually, but I figured he would have if he could and there were so many reasons to stop time from going anywhere. Time was like a little brother you couldn’t get to sit in one space for too long and considering the fact that when baby-sitting my little brothers when I was young meant locking them in the closet so they wouldn’t go anywhere, I applied this to my magical way of ‘stopping time’. You just had to keep an eye on it. I figured if I kept looking at the clock it would sneak by slowly as not to be caught trying to slip away. You can’t take your eyes off children, you know, they will get themselves in all sorts of trouble. And anyone that has ever baked anything in the oven knows that if you keep opening the oven to see if it’s done it’ll never bake, so I stared at the clock and the time went slower.
The problem was, however, when I looked away from the clock it ran off and got itself in trouble by speeding past whole dozens of minutes! This would not do, but I couldn’t find anyone else that could watch the clock for me to make sure Time wasn’t going anywhere. This magical gift of stopping time didn’t work for just anyone, apparently, it only worked when I was watching it. I was the baby-sitter of the Universal Time and he was a very disobedient child.
This really has no point. I just remembered it this morning when I decided I needed more time to drink my coffee. I actually would love it if Time decided to run off and go faster because then my time would come a lot faster, and an ungodly amount of minutes later. Maybe Time is punishing me cause I was an awful baby-sitter and it grew up dysfunctional due to me stifling it’s creative spirit.
Maybe Time just needs some Ritalin.
I had always taken things literally as a child, especially in regards to religion. When my Mother said that God was the Father of Man, I honestly believed this. When she said that the Bible was written by Men inspired by God, I believed that too. And when she explained that God made Man in his image I also took this to heart. However, not exactly the way a Christian would find appropriate.
I distinctly remember telling my Mother I was going to write my own Bible when I was six, which of course was blasphemy. I didn’t understand why these other people could be inspired by God but I could not. There were people everywhere “feeling the holy spirit” and I was supposed to seek to attain this feeling which is not so unlike “inspiration”. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t write my own.. or possibly get some other born again people to write with me. Modern Day Prophets, as it were. I loved God, I wanted to write for God. What made these other people greater than me? If we were all supposed to be the same and created in the same image and all made perfect by the selfless acts of Christ then why could I not write it? Artists can paint beautiful pictures and singers praise, acceptable forms of “godly inspired” works, but write a few sentences down and say it is inspired by God (which would technically make it Gospel) and you were considered possessed by Satan, seriously. Needless to say I got in a lot of trouble for this idea for a very long time.
I have my own faith that I have been known to joke as being called The Common Sense Religion because I simplify everything. A great deal of it has been formed around these literal ideas that birthed into my heart as a child and then magnified as I aged and understood them more. My faith is personal and I honestly believe that although there are some that could empathize or perceive theirs as being close, nothing can perfectly mirror what I have come to believe in my heart fully and completely, without hesitation.
I do believe in God, but not as others do. I don’t believe he is a male or a female or a person or a thing that made himself into a person and then died and became a thing again. It all gets really confusing. I don’t believe God is exactly any of the other Gods that anyone had ever come up with or that it’s an Alien. I don’t worship nature as God or darkness as God or… well you get the point. None of these things are God to me. In fact, I have absolutely no idea what God actually is. God could be anything… scientifically, religiously or theoretically or nothing. I don’t pretend to know what ‘God’ is exactly. How I understand it is that there are hundreds of beautiful books inspired by men and women in the world. All of these books hold the same principles, but each tells a different story and the reason they all have a different story is because ‘God’ is whatever they ‘feel’ God is. It’s a Turtle in some places, the Sun in others, it’s the Earth and the Moon, it’s Black or White, it’s Air. It’s twenty different Gods creating one single aspect or it’s one perfect Man. It’s a lot of things… everywhere… but here, for me, I just call him Dad. I don’t like making things complicated.
|© Michael Dudok de Wit|
When I was six and my Mom told me God was the Father this stuck to me like super glue. When you are six you don’t exactly understand the complexities of reproduction that actually create babies. There is just this figure you look up to with wide curious eyes that you want to make so proud and you know, absolutely 100% know, that because they are there everything is going to be okay. So God the Father wasn’t a sperm donor, I wouldn’t have even known what sperm was. God the Father wasn’t even Christian because the complexities of the Bible were so far beyond me. God the Father was exactly that, literally, a Father… some giant huge being that I never saw but was surely there somewhere always taking care of me, that I loved with great unconditional abundance. It is easy for me because my actual Father was rarely around when I was little and I personally do not recall his picture in my memory. I only have the remembrance that he was there at that place and time. So God is perfect for me to recognize this way, I can relate to this. You have to find what you can relate to. If you can relate to an Alien, by all means, that’s wonderful… weird, but wonderful. You found your Image.
God doesn’t talk to people. I used to pretend God talked to me so I wouldn’t feel stupid when I was little, but God doesn’t speak. A thing or no-thing has no vocal chords to speak and whatever voice is in your head is your conscious. You can talk to God all you want but I don’t believe he’s going to verbally talk back to you. That is not to say God has never communicated with people. I was once very hurt, very sad. I sat by a window and cried for days, it was November and the ground was frosting over. I would sit and talk to God for hours because I was alone and no one seems to wonder about me unless they were checking to make sure I didn’t commit suicide that day. I sat there, looking out the window that pressed against my bed and there beneath it, regardless of the soon-to-be winter chill, was a red Tulip. Tulips bloom in March and live for 7 days. They are called the flowers of God because of their beauty and perfection. This was not an imaginary Tulip. It was an actual flower that bloomed in November frost beneath the window of a sad little girl in a place that no flowers had ever grown in the years we lived at that house and neither would they ever grow in the following years. My entire family remembers this flower. This is the way God speaks.
We are made in God’s image and no one knows this literal feeling more than a parent, especially a Mother. Through pain we give birth to our children. We seek always to nurture and care for them by giving them the necessary things to survive and also in equal amount the desires of their hearts. Try as we might to dream of what they will be, they become their own people and they live their own lives no matter the lives we picture so perfectly for them. They love us as children, curse us as adolescents and then seek to find us again for who we really are outside of being a parent when they grow to adulthood and see each of us inside of them. This is the same relationship mankind has with what had created it. Every answer we seek is already there read by our hearts. How the world works can be found in the seasons, the flowers and the trees that encompass us. How to go on when all is lost are found in these same things. Life, Death and the meaning of each of these importance’s are written in the clouds that shift above us, the rain they let go of and the process of evaporation. Love is answered in the heart of each child that sees beyond the awful things of this world and can still smile when all is lost to them. The answers we seek are right in front of us, where they have always been. At least for me.
There is no book more good or beautiful than the one sitting with open pages in everything around me. And at least in this book I have my own story. I can be acceptably inspired by God and write my own story by living each day. I know, out there or somewhere around here, he is happy that I know this now (for myself) because the only thing I can think of that he really honestly could care about is our happiness. That’s the only true thing any parent could ever desire for their children. What else really matters?
The snowmen here have all lost their faces. There are pieces here and there; once i found a top hat in my driveway. When I first came here to this cold place I used to wonder who could take away the pieces from the snowmen. I wondered where the dream of Frosty had gone, with his smiles and ability to dance. All the snowmen here are motionless, they scare with button eyes (and some do not even have eyes), and their stick like hands reach out so closely together that it’s hard to get down the street without being scratched.
I used to have nightmares where I ran and ran away from them all, bloody from their icy sticks, and without shoes my feet were like leaded ice. Their carrot noses looked rotten and molded and they brought no cheer… only the cold: desolate, lonely and frightened.
They do not scare me anymore. I started to try and gather all the pieces I could and fix them. I gave a sad small snowman the top hat from my driveway and I bought them all new carrots. One of them I gave a raincoat too and I think I almost saw a smile on his charcoal mouth. They still do not move and they’re hearts are frozen in time. Their stick like hands no longer frighten me, though, as I dress them in tinsle and golden christmas bobs. They can never be like Frosty, but I have made do with what they are.
My hands are cold and my lips are blue. I have been in this cold place for so long. When I first laid eyes on it’s crystaline sphere it was dazzleing and all I could ever think of was ice skating in the moonlight, but when I walked down to the river beds, the lakes, the streams and the smaller ponds…. they were all cracked and waiting ambiently for me to test my wit. The cold can bite you here, deep and somber. There are nights when your breath is so chill that you can see streaks of ice in the air and it’s deadly to cry. It is like a desert and there is only so much to drink, but I am not alone here. I have found few like myself and we carry our warmth with us. Some even help me decorate the snowmen when it is not so cold, but they fear the outside more than I do. They are afraid to hold red hands and blue lips as I. I have the winter inside of me…. my eyes are crystal and my hair breaths fire.
Soon I will come in to feel the Yule log and drink hot coffee by the tableside. I will share with you all the stories of this place, all the shadows, all the dreams locked inside of the snow. Time is frozen here in a dazed state. If it was not for the family I have found here I would have left long ago. Soon…. I think they will see the sun. By the turn of 11 new moons I will find my way back home. I will show you what secrets I have kept in my locket of this place…. secrets they do not know here…. secrets they could never know.
The cry of seagulls brings it back. That hot and humid day by the seashore. The afternoon was ripe with the smell of sea salt and sweat. Tanned bodies, lean and engrossed, went busy with their sifters and buckets searching longingly for the treasure of some old dead pirate. The broken teeth of a hundred sharks washed ashore with shattered conk shells sedating their hopes. It was the ever growing festivity, to walk a mile down the mossy swamp and reach the far lighthouse where once a pirates ship had landed. And we were there, resting listlessly in the hot sun, baking as we fed our desires at natures lottery.
The sand dunes rose high like mountains, even now in my memory do I see them so large and ambiguous. Now as the years have went by I know that I could reach them with one leap, but then they were as high as Mount Olympus. We hiked them to the top and rode them down like the waves, collecting sand in the bottoms of our swimming suits. It stuck to me as glass sticks to sweaty fingers, clinging helplessly to my skin which was as dark as caramel.
The sound of the waves was tantalizing, hovering over the voices of everyone and I would stand at the top of the tallest sand dune and look across the ocean past the vast horizon spread out in front of me and I would imagine the loan pirate. I would see as far as my eyes would allow, the wind in my white gold hair, before I would grab a stick and slide down the sand dune to defeat the others in capturing it as my own.
The sun was falling, as I recall it. The seagulls shouted at the fish in the water. We had decided not to play the lottery anymore and left the others with their inquisitive stares at the ocean to best themselves on a better jack pot. We were walking across the shore and my eyes were on the small foamed crests being swallowed whole by the ever growing sea when I happened upon a magic wand. It was sitting right there just waiting for me! I looked around at the sand dunes, the sea and the horizon far far in the distance while the others pattered and wandered away. The magic wand was bold with it’s smooth features and twisted in a perfect spiral of white and silver speckles. It touched me, as the sun touched me, with a warmth and a knowledge I could not understand… but as I reached for it the sea came to swallow the crests and eat at the sand (after all it was dinner time) and just before my small delicate hands could grasp onto all the magic in the entire universe I heard my name being called up ahead by the others. In those moments that I turned my head, questionably at the name of myself (for at that time I did not know if that was who I was) I mused on my existence. And when I went back to the wand, shaking off the feeling of oddity, it was gone… eaten by the waves of a hungry ocean.
I stared blankly at where it was before standing in front of the mouth of a wave. It was coming to the shore to feed (as the tide feeds) and I refused to let it take away the magic wand. I was going to thrust myself into the wave and toss and turn with it searching, longingly, for the wand that was the source of all my desires. Again I heard that name, that I was not sure was my name at all, being screamed up ahead by the lotto players and my fellow pirates in neon swim suits. It was then that I turned away from the ocean, having ran a bit faster to catch up with the others, turning around and stopping just once at the question of whether the wand existed at all. The seagulls swooped down into the salty sea water, the sun fell down into the ocean, and I left the sand dunes to be claimed by another lost and lone pirate hoping to find treasure on that hidden shore.
Somewhere in the wide horizon there exists my magic wand that the universe had given me one day and that I had lost before I was ever able to touch it.