Saturday, January 12, 2013

A One Love kind of place and that's another film....


My friend Marcel drops by. I appreciate that he shares my perspective on the impact of race and class issues in the church at this time. And gets what we’re trying to do here. And also cares about my fate.  We talk about the struggles of the small urban church he's moderating at the moment. And what it will take to get West-Park across the line. 

Enid comes looking for space for her Afro-Brazilian worship group to perform their rituals. She’s pleased that I have a basic understanding of how the variety of Afro-Caribbean religious groups have amazing similarities. And how effective they have been in preserving indigenous West African  Yoruba religion within the outer trappings of Christianity. I remember how Pueblo friends explained how  Catholicism with its saints and calendar of celebrations had enabled them to maintain their ancient traditions. It was the purity of Protestantism that threatened to decimate the religious expression of their culture.

I also recognize an accent. And soon figure out that Enid is from west Texas. And I share my Oklahoma stories. And ask how she got to Afro-Brazilian. The answer was by way of Tibetan Buddhism. Uh, alright, then. She’ll come up with a proposal for Daniel. 

The ballet dancer from Sanctuary has all kinds of ideas for classes and performances and schools and...I’m sorry but I’m worn out of ideas. I need a firm deal finished. This trying to bring things to conclusion is difficult. Easy to see things from different perspectives. More financial, more security but separation as opposed to uncertain and collaboration. (That’s oversimplification...) I think back to my conversation with Alexis. I don’t know, she said, you have to hold onto what you truly want as long as you can. West-Park always seemed to me to be, like they say in Jamaica, a One Love kind of place. 

                             * * * * 
In Zeljko’s film of Teddy, he asks him about love. You mean between a man and a woman? Yes...there’s this one’s been 30 and her? That’s another film. And he laughs...somehow fell out of touch...

She has come to visit and talk. Misses him profoundly. He was, as she says, the love of her life. A before, during and after everything else that happened in their lives kind of love. And there has been a lot. But I can see immediately how they were drawn to each other. An unstoppbale force and an immovable object she says. 

She has a beauty that shines through years of experiences. Somehow tough and gentle and warm at the same time. With experiences saving lives as a medic. And sometimes seeing other lives wasted around her. Rough language and laughs. She was a match for everything he was. Through it all, a survivor. And despite a justifiable streak of anger, a passionate lover of people.When she tells her story, their stories, I understand why Teddy said, But that’s another film... And they are her stories to tell,not mine. 

We go see where he lived. Meet his roommate Christopher.  And Stephen. 

We’re back in my office, talking about, well, after. I don’t know, I say. I know that people who come close to dying describe a similar experience. Being greeted and welcomed. I believe we go from our own tear drop back into the cosmic sea. But somehow something that is uniquely our spirit stays around. Continues. I mention Jamie’s dream of Teddy coming to her with a message for his second wife. And our joking that he would take care of the restless ghost people keep seeing around. 

Someone wants to come in. I don’t recognize him. Hey, it’s me, Gregory, he says. And I say, Oh my God... I remember him from the steps. But he looks robust, healthy. Good haircut. Teddy kicked my ass, got me sober. I’ve kept it going. For him. Nah, for me. I went home. Back to my life. Back to my wife. 

I can’t believe how good you look, I say. And introduce them.

Just had to drop in. He told me to look in on you. He laughs. And yeah, thanks for noticing the difference. It means a lot. I’ll be back around, OK?

I’ll be here. I look back to Teddy’s friend. That was not a coincidence....

She smiles, yeah, I know... She’s been haunted by not having been able to say goodbye. Not being able to tell him she loved him. You saw the film, I say. You saw the look on his face when he spoke about  you. He knew. You were the love of his life. 

Maybe we ever just get one, she says. And a lot of people, not even that...It was good what we had. 

It was love, I said. 

That's another film.....

It’s getting late. I’m done in. Anxious to Meet Jamie at the B. A cold rain is falling. Crossing the street, Rachelle accosts me. Pastor, pastor, I am coming to help you, she says. I look at her. I m shivering. Thanks, but I’ve got to get out of the rain. 
Oh yes, oh yes, it’s cold, it’s cold...
I have to get out of the rain, but thank you...

From outside, the B looks warm and cozy. And there’s a vacant stool....

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