Before birth–you remember now, don’t you?–we stood before St. Peter and his Big Book of Earthly Desires and we breathlessly declared our deepest wishes for this quickly passing lifetime.
Do you remember what you wanted so fervently? I remember peeking in the Book and seeing the golden ink: “I want to help people who are suffering.” “I want to be a writer.” “I desire to grow food for the hungry.” “Pete, this time I want to fix things for folks–how about a machine shop?” “Saint, sir, I would very much like to spiritually grow up.”
And St. Peter scribbled, scribbled away in his Book with his golden pen and golden ink, nodding, understanding, scribble, scribble, scribble, smiling into his soft beard, truly hearing the beatings of our heart-souls, our desires for creativity and expression on the blue and green spinning planet that whispered to us in slumbering in-between-life dreams.
Once the book closed, off we scurried into waiting wombs, growing hair and skin and patterned cells, a kidney here, a toe there, oh look, fingernails! We floated in dream-fluid, turning, somersaulting, dreaming with Mama, that mysterious sharing space, that chord of desire.
The day arrived, or was it midnight?, when the moon beckoned beyond, and the Book of Desires flew up and we swam out toward a dim light which now shivered cold, oh-so-cold, oh-so-bright, swat!, breath-what is this?-did I ask for this?-no, send me back to that silver-finned underwater world-I didn’t understand–
And then the weeping, the squalling, the forgetting of dreams.
We grew upward toward the moon, then, our hidden desires bursting bigger, like seedlings pushing through dirt, like red sprouts on the maple tree blossoming open.
Our desires followed us, prodding us, like Daddy behind the bicycle just before he let go.
Into this unruly and chaotic patterned world we burst open, and we followed and preened and dove and surrounded and succumbed to that which our desires beckoned. Oh how we created! Oh how we loved! Oh how we hurt, broke open, dissolved! Oh how we struggled, didn’t we struggle?, do you remember how we struggled and how St. Peter once winked from the moon whispering, “But you wanted it–”
We wrote til our fingers bled, we painted until colors swirled in our brains, we raised sturdy children bleating like goats with their own desires, we repaired ancient cars, we studied law, we fed a hungry woman in Nigeria, we nursed sick babes toward hopeful health.
We created a thousand paths, no, a million! We sang for our supper with our endless wants. We watched a billion rainbows rise from a billion stormy skies. We created ourselves over and over again.
Until one day, was it this lifetime? Or the next? the desires grew weary, tired, old. Creation sighed and groaned, a limping woman with carved wooden cane. We felt it all like a lung collapsing, a fish drowned in its own ocean, an erasing of hue, an empty ending.
That’s when St. Peter showed up on our doorsteps, maybe in the guise of a chickadee or slap on the face, maybe wearing rags or carrying a Gucci purse.
Maybe you were staring out the window, downhearted, or maybe you’d meditated since 1986, faithfully, trying to awaken beyond suffering. Maybe it happened in church in between “Hail Marys” or maybe your husband hit you one too many times. Maybe nothing happened at all–
Maybe one morning you looked out the window of your eyes and suddenly realized, as if awakening from a dream, that the joke was St. Peter’s April Fooling. Those desires? Oh weren’t they fun, weren’t they awful? When all along we had everything we ever desired–and more–there was nothing to create which already wasn’t whole, perfect, silver, dancing, alive?
We saw, as the fog lifted, the dream of our desired self melting like the Wicked witch in the Wizard of Oz, like Dorothy clapping her red heels, like that man behind the magic curtain, the lovely witch, the land of Oz, the tornado, Aunt Em, the little girl watching television, the light glinting through the window, or was it rain?
Suddenly it’s gone, woof, empty, absent. No TV, no movie, no viewer.
Nothing except that which never ends, never births, never dies, never dreamed up a St. Peter.
And that nothing is the biggest something, already fulfilled, already enough, already completely filled with every creation and desire your heart ever dreamed, ever imagined, ever grinned, ever exulted, ever hurt, ever wondered!
You turn around, bemused, almost a little embarrassed, wondering, oh yes, didn’t you wonder?–how you fit yourself into something so small as a single point of view when you were everything, the entire TV show, and even that is too small, too tiny to even mention!
Now you create again, but you’re not creating! Now you dance again, but you’re not dancing! Now you write again, but no one writes! It’s a riddle, an April Fool’s joke, and everyone in the heavens laugh in delight, overjoyed, it was a joke, a grand joke, a hysterical joke and someone giggles. You’re gone and you never really existed. You were never born. You never met St. Peter and you never, I swear, this is not an April Fool’s joke, you never read this blog.