Pilot Light

Pilot Light June 21, 2010

Sorry. As soon as I talk about it, it moves out of view. Let me try again. There is a teacher, a teaching, a moment that keeps working me. I became aware of it four years ago when I met several burn survivors; heroic individuals whose faces have been removed, whose limbs have been disfigured. They have nowhere to hide. Inside is outside for them. I could see their beauty, each like a lantern broken by the storm; their flicker steady and bright though everything that carries it seems shattered. Two years later, my own struggle to lose weight gave me compassion for those who are covered by too much. I realized no one sets out to be overweight. And since, I’ve had silent conversations while riding the train: the obese man’s eyes meeting mine; his crying out: “I don’t know how this happened. I’m not what you see! I woke up in this mountain. I’m trying to get out!” Now the teacher, the teaching, the moment was saying: You see, some are stripped away and some are buried. But everyone is in there. And just last month, my good friend Eileen lost her mother at 88. At the funeral home, I was fixed on this picture of Margaret when she was 35. Her eyes kept flashing vibrant, with a sense of self, and a sense of what holds the world up. Things I never saw in her Alzheimer eyes. Now at the grave I’m watching one of her ancient friends sigh as small birds named Margaret fly from her mouth. Is this the passage no one can escape? Must we all struggle with not being seen for who we are? Is this the turning point in our journey? Is being who we are anyway the threshold? We are all burned. We are all buried. We are all trapped in some way by the cataract of years. We are all fresh and lighted within. So pass nothing or no one by. The light is on. The teacher, the teaching, the moment is waiting.

Browse Our Archives