Eighty-one was (it feels odd to use past tense) as unique a store as Lake Charles has ever had. During the closing phase, I felt, and wrote, that it was like being alive at your own funeral. People looked me in the eye, and there was something in The Look. Hugs were sincere, there were actual lumps in throat, and even tears. People came at great inconvenience, from far away, for One Last.
On the morning of the last day, I was asked how I felt, and I said, “It’s exhilarating.” If I’d said Bittersweet, or Sad, or Heavy, those would have all been appropriate, but instead I felt exhilaration.
Part of it was that I was Ending something to Begin something. It wasn’t loss, but gain. I was leaving what I was good at, and heading towards what I am best at. Instead of “hobby writer” I was making a conscious choice, to put writing first. Instead of building with wood, I’d build with words; instead of creating décor and utility I’d create head stuff, heart stuff, soul stuff.
So much of my life has been spent climbing ladders that didn’t take me to the right Up, being in rooms that had no Home to them, being invisible in a crowd, the best of me unseen by people who bump their heads on a ceiling of Average.
So much of life is all hope, that lemons do make lemonade. We grind it out, or do our duty, we grab a hold, settle for, make the best of, who among you have not rode one of those… It was quite the fine thing, to reach this stage, and actually Choose. There’s risk in the choice, but the risk is offset by faith, and the foundation I’ve laid, of all those years of hours, working that thing between my ears, Rubik’s Cubing thoughts, feelings, memories, dot connecting, and giving them Place ‘n Home, in a story.
I’m not some kid with a daydream. I’m a dude with decades, and I have plowed some acres. As lifetimes go, I’m in my autumn, and it’s time to see about the harvest.
Suddenly The Story Changes
So there I was, early on the last Saturday, asked how I felt, to which I replied, “exhilarated”, when suddenly my mind went on a great leap…
“What if this was what death was like?”
If this modest “change” felt exhilarating, then what about the greatest change of all?
…let’s pause a bit… I know I kinda out-of-the-blue’d you there…
The Ultimate Change
What if the living soul within the dying body feels exhilaration? Loved ones mourn the cooling crust, while in the secret center unseen, the great I Am is in attendance at this most sacred moment, and the intact soul, all vibrant and healthy, goes on the greatest change, from temporary to eternal, from camping on Earth to home in Heaven…
I can almost hear Martin Luther King, in the I Have A Dream speech, “Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, free at last!”
Everybody Has Their Own Vote
It’s been over a week since that thought hit. I’ve rolled it over. Things like this, you can always glass-half-full or glass-half-empty, no-glass-at-all or no-water-at-all.
Shoes I’ve walked in, miles thereof, the knowing I’ve come to know, I’m choosing for life down here having meaning, and there being life after. It’s my private vote, for my private life. Everybody has their own vote. And it can change. Mine has.
For a guy who spent twenty something years ate up with doubt, I’ve ended up here, and the bucket doesn’t leak anymore. Any given day I sense the battle between Good and Evil, in me, around me, for the good or the harm of me. The great treasure of us is something we sense, but cannot see. We name it “soul”.
If our soul is worthy of so great a struggle while we’re living, then I cannot imagine the soul being unattended at death. If the “change” of death brings us a glimpse of God, how could that not be exhilarating….
…and yes, as I typed that last paragraph, I pictured my many dead loved ones, and wished exhilaration upon them…as I now wish upon yours…
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
This edition of Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories is brought to you by the ghost of Eighty-one, where the building remains, but the creativity has gone elsewhere.
Uncle P can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, where you can also request copies of the Uncle P’s Bedtime Stories book to be mailed to you.