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ADVENTURE, REAL AND IMAGINED
December 28, 2010
 
A scratchy throat and a iffy train schedule induced a rare common sense in me, and I canceled my New York appointments for the day. Now I am wrapped in my prayer shawl, still in my pajamas on the couch. Two of the cats are beside me, curled up together yin-yang style for their morning nap. It is quiet here. I have time to manage other people's affairs.

Two friends are stranded in Michigan. Everybody is stranded everywhere. Unbidden, I have taken it upon myself to get my friends home.

There's a Greyhound Bus from Detroit, I email. You get on in Detroit at 9.10 and you get off in Newark the next day at 9.40. You sleep the whole way. I love the Greyhound. I take it every chance I get. I love its modesty, its egalitarian welcome to all, the families at the stations bidding people good-bye, the funny old suitcases people carry, the stories one senses in one's fellow passengers. Besides, you see everything, and you ride with people you might not ordinarily meet -- it's an adventure! Except I guess you don't see much scenery at 9.10 at night, and all the people on the bus are probably asleep.

Can't, she says. I have contacts.

What does it matter who you know?
I tell her, this bus'll get you home.

No, contact LENSES. I have to take them out. I'm almost blind without them. We're looking at trains. But really, don't worry about us. There'll be a plane.


Trains! There's one from Ann Arbor. You go to Chicago and then Washington and then to Newark. It takes a day and a half. But this is a great country, and on a train you get to see it. And sleeping on a train is fun -- on the Chicago-Washington leg, you get a room in which your bedside table is also your toilet. Another adventure! And not nearly as unpleasant as it sounds -- not unpleasant at all, in fact. Astounding, is what it is.

There'll be a plane. We paid for our ticket.

No sense of adventure. I tell her I'll keep looking, and she sighs. We hang up. I call her right back.

Ooh, ooh -- the Panama Canal! Take the ferry across Lake Michigan, then down the Mississippi and across!

I think you have too much time on your hands. Don't you have some needlework to do?


Other people are flying and driving -- one on a trip to Rhode Island which I consider ill-advised, though I must admit that nobody asked my opinion. My granddaughter and her family commute between her family's home and his, during his ten-day leave -- of course, they should just stay down here. Deacon J's country lane is still buried. The roads are still dangerous.

Not that anybody asked me.

Everyone will be okay, Q tell me gently. He is sitting in his reading chair, trying not to cough -- he bruised up his ribs by hitting a phone pole the day after Christmas. The car skidded on the ice and crashed into it, then spun around and bashed in the back end, for good measure. Car: totalled. Man: bruised, but whole. Thanks be to God.

Hey, we can use this to see how we do without a car at all, I say. We can walk to the train and to the drugstore and the bank. You can take the bus to Highland Park, we can get the senior citizens' van when we need to go to the store or the doctor. If we ever need a car, we can rent one. And Corinna's right around the corner.

Maybe,
he says.

It'll be an adventure!

I wonder if my unnatural brightness around all these travel snafus is wearying to people -- there are signs that this may be so. But I think it's important to seize unexpected challenges by the throat and turn them around, and to do this as soon as possible. They offer us a chance to be amazing, leaping over them rather than plodding through them. And then, if we end up plodding anyway, we have the glorious imaginary moment of our great leap. So what if it was imaginary? It was no less glorious because of that. All human achievement lives first in the imagination.

So then, it's settled. On to the Panama Canal!
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A second video conversation between me and Jim Melchiorre, this one about the twelve days of Christmas, is available for viewing on the Trinity Wall Street website.
http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/webcasts/videos/conferences-classes/special-classes-lectures/the-twelve-days-of-christmas
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And here is "Look!", a Christmas poem by Episcopal priest and poet John Conrad. Fr. Conrad is rector of All Saints, Riverside, CA. :

Look!

It is not as if God was without options.
God could have remained aloof in heaven,
left humankind alone
Brutish and selfish in the darkness.
It is not as if God did not try,
Did not put star guides in the lonely night.
Flame of the covenant,
Torch of the Law,
Fire of the prophets.

But for all that, still darkness.
Even Almighty God,
YHWH, El Shaddai, Elohim,
Couldn’t make it shine.
A light loved people loved dark power,
instead of God,
instead of neighbor,
instead of self.

Yet love light God
still loving, still giving, became
A powerless child
of pure love,
pure light.
So that we who would not might see.

--John Conrad
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Crafton
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