Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One More Trip to Paris

My dreams are often quite explicit. No, I didn’t say “sexually explicit.” Don’t go there. Explicit in that you don’t need to buy one of those dream interpretation books to catch the meaning.

When my brother turns to me and says, “ You act like a guy who thinks he has unlimited opportunities to go to Europe,” and I think to myself that the mirror response to him sounds too awful to utter, that says volumes about how we are living our lives.

I look at him and wonder how can he manage another trip abroad in his ever-increasing frailty? He wonders—how can he not. If life has decided he has room for only one more trip to Paris—Jeffrey, by God is going to take it. It makes me wonder how many trips to Paris life has allotted me. Given that I have taken exactly zero so far, in my vast sense of limitless opportunities, for all I know the answer may be “zero.” While for Jeffrey, on the other hand, the answer is always “the current number of trips to Paris + 1.”

Ya gotta admire that spirit.

How many weeks do I have left to work from Huntsville AL, hang out in Jeff’s house, drive up to the Jack Daniel distillery in Lynchburg, eat bad food, and cry together about our mutual certain uncertain fate?

In the dream that punctured the darkness of my unconscious, Jeff has not only planned a trip to Paris (as he has done for true life), he and a handful of others have entered an experimental chamber for some indecipherable adventure. I stand by in horror and observe as the glass container with brass pipes sticking out seems to run into some trouble. I immediately determine that the occupants are getting no oxygen and take all my strength to bend the pipe until it snaps apart allowing air to reach them. This was apparently a time before the importance of oxygen had been discovered. My brother’s bravery and my response lead to this important discovery.

I have to wonder if we are not in the act of rediscovering spiritual oxygen in this moment. Jeffrey doing things that those of us with seeming “unlimited opportunities” would never consider doing, while I watch carefully and sustain his life, if in no other way than in these few words of love and admiration.

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