Full Circle or how Paradise was regained for a brief moment

Today the story made full circle. As a child my father´s garden was a real paradise to me. There were trees, shrubs, crops. In between the plants there were exciting paths that nevertheless felt safe. In summer the green coolness of the leaves protected me from the scorching sun. There were animals, too, but I did not call the animals by their names. Nothing had a name yet: the plants nor the animals nor the green coolness nor the scorching sun: to me it was as if it were one. And not only didn’t I distinguish between the phenomena around me, I didn’t experience a separation between those phenomena and me either. All was one and eternal.

But one day I was riding on my tricycle in my father’s garden: back and forth. Just a few inches, back and forth, back and forth, over and over and over again.

The day before it had rained a lot and with my head bent downwards I watched the wheels dig deep into the mud. Back and forth, back and forth, still deeper into the morass.

I must have been four or five years old. Oh, I awoke in anger, so alone and terrified. I wasn’t part of the wholeness anymore.

***

It was an early winter morning, two years ago. I drove my wife to work. Wet snow was drizzling down. Suddenly she says:

“I know what you should do. You get off that bike, leave it stuck in the mud and start looking for a new horizon. Remember as a child, in church, what you wanted to be? Well, become that bird in the child’s hand and fly away!”

Full Circle

Full Circle
Back in the Garden, for a brief moment…

Today the story has come full circle. I was back in the village of the cinema.

The cinema has been closed for years. As I passed by I saw a child’s tricycle lying in the middle of the road. Without thinking I picked up the tricycle and put it at the front door of the former cinema.

It wasn’t until I walked away, that I realized how wonderful and mysterious this moment was. Thank God, because otherwise I might have taken a picture and spoiled the mystery.

***

I remember what my wife had also said during the car trip two years ago: ”You may believe that you are kicked out of paradise. Or you may believe you walked out voluntarily to experience life in a world with myriads of choices. In either case you may stay out of paradise or you may return at any time you choose to do so.”

For a brief moment I felt like flying, far away from the mud.

For a brief moment…

 

Madonna in the Dark Alcove Of My Mind

On Sundays my parents used to take me to Holy Mass, even though I was still very young. In a way the weekly gestures of the priest swaying his aspergillum, his arms spread wide over the sacred host, his fingers subtly making the sign of the cross, marked the passing of time to me. Until then I had floated around in a vacuum where time didn’t exist. Sunday’s mass was like a levee in that vacuum to which I returned every week. But there was also another presence at that center: lady Madonna

Madonna watching me

I was fascinated by the gestures, though, not by the words. As soon as the priest started to preach my glance strayed to the Madonna which stood in a side aisle. Candles were burning in front of the statue.

The Madonna held a child that seemed to be floundering in her arms as if it tried to escape from her grip. In his left hand the child held a bird.

As the priest’s words floated unabsorbed high above me in the nave of the church, I wished I was that bird.

As time goes by…

I have not been back to that church ever since I was ten years and I don’t intend to go back soon. I’m too scared to destroy the perfect image of the candles, the loving countenance of Mother Mary and the floundering child with its bird. Mother Mary is closer to my heart than abstract concepts as the Big Painter in the Sky, God or the Universe.

I reckon Mother Mary understands us, having gone through the same tribulations as we do.

Often I ask Her to give me some of her warmth and mildness in my voice as I speak to others. Some of Her peace, gentleness, simplicity, the radiant look of Her eyes when I meet other human beings.

However, I don’t build my castle on a force from outside. I believe in the Rock in the Dry and Weary Landscape of my Interior, where there is no water.

Sometimes the Rock disappears under the sand.

Don’t despair then.

Only those who are unaware of the Rock inside, never doubt its existence.

Madonna in the Dark Alcove of my Mind
The Madonna burning bright in the Dark Alcove of my Mind