Friday, March 14, 2014

Lenten Diary 4

A Crack in the Tomb

     March is almost half over, and here in Norfolk we’re seeing warmer days—actually occasional T-shirt weather—between spells of wind, rain, and cold. Tonight, March 13, it’s cold, but it felt a lot colder for most of the day as a fierce northwest wind swept across the Chesapeake Bay, freezing our faces.
     Yet away from the wind, in a brilliant clear sky, the March Sun was like a heated blanket. Coming closer and closer every day, the smell of victory is on the wind. And tomorrow will be warmer.
     Coincidentally, as I was driving to the city swimming pool—having bagged the idea of an afternoon walk in that wind—I had a peculiar and somewhat disorienting experience.
     For a moment I felt like my father was driving my car, as if “I” (whoever that is) had moved to the background of my perceptions and he had emerged in the foreground, taking charge of a good part of my body. I even saw his hands on the steering wheel, as if they were mine.
     And I remembered something. He always liked to drive.
     And something else. At times since he died in 2000, when I’ve driven home at night when I shouldn’t have, I’d have this eerie feeling of someone driving the car for me. I called him “the guy who always gets me home.” It was a sensation, like an alert force inside my skin, keeping me safe against all odds. I appreciated it, but I didn’t know what it meant.
     Today, on the way to Northside Pool for a therapeutic swim, that guy revealed himself to me. He’s my father! He’s still alive! He’s still my parent, my brother—my good relation!
     Such epiphanies come and go, and when they go you’re not sure what to believe. But I have a theory. It goes back to psychics I’ve listened to and read over the years who report that spirits frequently enter human consciousness. They may be “earth-bound” souls seeking  pleasures they’re still addicted to. Bars are said to be common hangouts for them. But sometimes they’re loved ones who want to make someone on this side aware of something.
     In my last post I expressed my doubt that my father really exists any more, now that he’s been gone for over thirteen years. Not that I found any peace in that thought. But I had the Lenten blues. My hope had worn thin over these past few difficult years.
     But today brought me a surge of reassurance. I can’t explain it, but for a moment this afternoon I experienced the clear sensation of my father alive within my body, driving my car. From the vast, unknowable dimensions of the subconscious, he focused his identity as my father into my consciousness, not just as a memory but as himself, alive in the present moment.
     This wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been open to it, and I might not have been if I hadn’t been driving. He taught me to drive, even helped me buy my first car. He was a good driver. I’d trust him to drive my car any day. I don’t believe he ever had an accident, which is more than I can say for myself.
     It would be like my father—to have a kindly regard for me in my moments of doubt. It would be like him to try to respond to my unanswered questions, like whether impermanence is really all there is. Hearing from him would give me great hope. I would feel a sense of rebirth in myself to have that hope, a rush of upward energy, like a shoot in the warming March Sun.
     Like a crack in mortality’s granite tomb.


At 1:11 PM , Blogger sydney shenk kissinger said...

Sweet Lenten post. Heart warming


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