Friday, March 27, 2009

How the Story Found a Speaker

Dear Story,

I wonder if I triggered some memories last week. Maybe you got thinking about a time when words like "religion" and "science" didn't exist, when "cosmology" was more than a subfield of physics, when you got that first look at the universe. And when you had that spirit.

The Story of Everything I was telling you about recovered his spirit. He got in touch with an ancient part of his being, with a soul that loved mystery and bowed before it. Once he felt it (her) again, he closed the door on books forever. They were too fixed, too orthodox, too . . . dead. He wanted to take a fresh look at the universe.

Who could have guessed what happened next? The Story took off on a second exploration of the cosmos. Not surprisingly, he found more than he had the first time around, more than he could have imagined. Not surprisingly, he was astounded by what he found, even exhilarated. What he hadn't counted on was the fatigue, the sheer exhaustion. The Story could never get to the edges of the universe. They were just too fast for him. He couldn't cover everything. There was just too much of it.

Then a strange thing happened. Call it coincidence, call it providence, leave it at "synchronicity." The Story ended up on an airplane next to a guy who was making calculations on a notepad. Once the flight got going, the Story slipped into his mind to check it out.

Things seemed oddly familiar in there. The man started talking to the Story like he was just another thought. Only it wasn't what the Story wanted to hear. How you--the man was pointing at the Story--lived on a little planet out in the boondocks of space. How you were the center of nothing. How the universe was 13, 700,000,000 years old and you were a mere 25,000. The man looked at his calculations. "If the universe is a year old, you're a minute old."

Whack! Not the way you'd expect a conversation to start with someone fated to be your Speaker. It got worse. The man didn't like the Story the way it was. He wanted to tell it backwards, to put Spirit at the end, not the beginning, to make Spirit something that emerged, not something that created. Not exactly a minor revision.

They got into an argument. As it wore on, the Story started having flashbacks. He recalled a boy who once loved the Story, who was abandoned by it, who grew angry at it, and . . . . suddenly, the Story realized where he was. He had felt a longing and a love.

Once they got off the plane, the Story left the man's mind and spent many days walking by the sea. He needed time to think. He knew his fatigue would not pass and that it was a sign of something more. He had to find a place to breathe his last, which meant he had to find a Speaker. The man on the plane? No . . . the Story could never become what that man wanted. He could not betray all those who had believed in him for so long, and believed in him just as he was, with Spirit at the beginning, in the place of honor.

The answer came in a dream. Just a few images. A river flowed into a desert and became a trickle. A wind lifted it up. A cloud carried it beyond the desert. It rained. The Story had to surrender, had to be lifted up, had to be carried to another side, had to acknowledge that a story served its speaker and not the other way around.

So the Story left the seashore and entered the man's thoughts for the very last time. The man lifted it up, carried it across, and spoke: a New Story for a new time, a new beginning, a new end.



1 comment:

John B said...

Thisnposting brought to mind a night long ago when I lay on my back on the lawn on the farm in the U. P. At that time I was completely taken by the story as told in the books; even more, I was taken in by those who read and interpreted the story in the books. That night, there were Northern Lights flashing and dancing in the sky, and I recall thinking that there is more to the story than what the books and those who read them tell me. Referring back to the earlier story about the caterpillar and the butterfly, on that night I began the long journey toward becoming a butterfly.