"I do not remember where I went, or who I saw there, or what I did on the visits. I only remember the way the mist curled around the buildings while I watched twilight colors get drunk on guitars and concrete and neoned reflections. I do not remember the trip, but the destination is too great to re-imagine into words for you.
For city lights and hurting people are a grander picture than any artist can capture with camera or pen or paint. A street musician's wild and animalistic smile is more joyful than a Christmas gift-opener's; and life is not confined to those living it well."A couple of weeks ago, I posted a resolution to live my life like a child, to gape and be amazed by all the things I see, to ask never-ending questions about the things that fascinate me.
Now I feel I must comment on the other side of the way I want to live.
Have you ever seen a movie (or read a book) that was so vivid, so truthful about pain and sin that you suddenly felt inundated with it? As if you were the refugee, the tortured soul, the betrayed victim of war? I've seen (and read) many. Braveheart, Forrest Gump, The Screwtape Letters.
Even some more innocent stories have given me tears over the depth and subtlety of the agony lying beneath the surface. The Princess Bride, The Chronicles of Narnia, and even The Blues Brothers (a comedy) have all shown me something that sobers and hurts me. They've shown me things that have grown me up.
Pain involves a great deal of clarity. Pain is always intent, always exact. Pain does not allow compromise or unpunctuality. Part of being an adult is knowing pain beyond scraped knees and disappointment. It is honesty, perception, and undulled feeling. It is great and wild and chaotic.
For some reason I find myself wanting it. Not the pain itself, necessarily, but the growth, the experience. I want the knowledge, the power, the memory of triumph and failure standing side by side.
I want to be like an adult in pain, knowing that I have seen much and can see more, and unafraid of the crescendo creeping nearer and nearer. I want to gasp at the asphalt and smoggy skies and hold in my arms a hopeless medical case and sing loud into a lonely, lonely canyon. I want to walk straight into a world and not sidestep the beggars lining the streets or step over the litter blocking the pathways.
I want to be a woman unafraid of the pain she's in, holding instead to the suddenly clearer image of her Reason To Live.
(And this is another odd resolution, to be an adult, with more strength and gentle forbearance than I currently have.)