(click on the links below & read my current blog here)
the stone boat
A series of stories and pieces written for St. James’ Church (New York, NY)
inspired by Scripture.
the flame tree
Short talks and preludes from 2006 to 2014
from East Africa and the Upper East Side
“It’s the imagination with which you perceive the world, and the gestures with which you honor it.” Mary Oliver
Finally, somewhere south of Oaxaca, I said: I’m leaving you. He said: Fine. He set off for the coast and I went to Guatemala where, still void of any purpose in life, I studied Spanish for a few weeks. One weekend I decided to go up in the mountains. I took an early morning bus and ascended through the pines and found a pension with cats lounging on mattresses in a hot courtyard and drunks in the next room. I had lunch by myself in the little town with everyone staring at me. That evening I took a walk up a hill outside the village. I reached the top of the hill. In the little valley below I could hear the sound of families before dinner — a dog barked, a child laughing, the murmur of voices and bouquets of laughter, someone calling someone else into a house, the smell of a fire burning. Humble village windows were lit warmly from within. Across the valley, someone was playing Simon and Garfunkel songs on the marimba.
And I thought to myself, What the hell am I doing here?
How far off must we wander to finally confront ourselves? How much pain must we endure until we finally listen to the still small voice within? How far out must a riptide carry us before we pray earnestly for God’s direction? Rest, and listen. You don’t have to retreat to a cave. You don’t have to cross a desert on your hands and knees. Just listen. Elijah, what are you doing here? God asks but while Elijah babbles on in response, God already knows. Elijah is doing exactly what he should be doing. What the hell am I doing here? You are doing exactly what you should be doing.
Now turn around.