My good buddy, Gil, may be dying. He is getting worse each day, fighting a rare, mysterious neurological disorder. I’ve been with him every other day for the last several weeks except the week I went on vacation. It has been at the same time a great and an impossibly difficult experience. Unless he starts to get better, we are down at the end of the road, feeling the cold breath from the Other Side. Gil was being brave and hiding the seriousness of his illness from us all, but since he was admitted to the hospital weeks ago, his good friend Bill, myself, and many others have done our best to stand by his side. Today his rector and people from his church went and prayed with him. What God wills will happen; so be it.
I do make a practice of only putting up new blog entries when I have something I really think is worth sharing. We have facebook, twitter and myspace for casual thoughts and comments and keeping up with the Joneses. But some magic just happened to me, and I feel fired up to share that message with you all: “Don’t forget that there is magic in the world!” Those of you who have read my old blog will know that I had a category called Magic, and periodically wrote about case studies of it in my life. But we have to go back to last night to set the scene for this case I am about to share.
I think it was June, 1946. Something about this evening’s after-dinner, back deck chat triggered a vivid memory from my childhood. I had told Rip to come over for oven-fried chicken and creative leftovers with Stephen and me. He arrived with an empty old crockpot under his arm—I recently complained that I no longer have one that size—a very thoughtful gift for me. A glass or two of chardonnay had put us in a reminiscing frame of mind, and we were going at it: moms and dads, ex-wives, kids, rectors we have known, the usual fare.
In my old blog I had a category called Magic. While I’m not in a constant alternative reality, the Other Side definitely speaks to me at times. And it happened again yesterday. I’ve been going to the hospital the last couple of days to visit Stephen, who is recovering from an operation. As I was driving there, I passed a graveyard by the side of the road. I’ve never even been in it, and I know of no one who is buried there. I’ve driven by it dozens of times. But yesterday afternoon, for some inexplicable reason, just as I could see the grassy hillside leading up to the well-spaced grave markers disappearing in my right field of vision, I had the sudden urge just to go and sit on the inviting green grass amongst the graves. Being on the interstate, I had to drive on, of course, to complete my journey to visit my friend. My mind, however, remained ensconced in the grass, and I began to have an amazing set of cogitations and realizations. This morning, as I was visiting with Stephen, I tried to tell him about my experience, and now I am going to try to set some of this down here.