Paul did call on the Bend job, but it was too late. Everyone had gone home. He’ll have to try on Monday morning.
He received a call about an interview for the Jefferson County alternative position in Madras. Monday at 9 a.m.
Another trip over the mountain. And, in certain frames of mind, we think as Paul said in an unguarded moment:
Another trip over the mountain for a job I won’t get.
Then, we brush away these evil thoughts from us like pesky flies and start building castles in the air arranging them around a job in Madras. Paul studies possible interview questions. I gear up for homeschooling. Both of us try to operate on that higher plane that ignores the chaos of our lives. We try to live as if we were stable.
All the while I have that unsettling feeling that I’ve forgotten something essential — that dream-bound surprise of realizing I didn’t wear my pants haunts me.
I’m missing something.
I’m standing at a crossroads shouting at the heavens:
Give me a sign!
Perhaps a neon sign is blinking explicit directions right behind me?
Am I afraid to turn around?
Are the words of the prophet written on the wall behind me?
What is life anyway? Is it really about scrabbling for work and getting a home and arranging our things about us like a fortress?
Perhaps. Being out of work and looking in, the patterns of work and eating and resting and raising and seasons come and seasons go feels like the song of the earth. A song of praise that began in the naming in the garden of Eden and continued through the hunting and gathering and tending and husbandry and the swish-swish of the scythe — the rains and sun — the floods and explosions — the earthquakes and tsunamis — the fires and hurricanes — the erecting of towers and construction of cities — the coups and assassins — the inventions and discoveries — the extinction of species — melting of ice and the making of mountains — the fall of empires — the babies born and the elderly or untimely deaths — the loves gained and lost — the wars waged — the peace forged — all of it swirls into a crescendo of praise. And my little whines about unemployment and feeling lost seem, not silly, but completely unheard and unimportant. Unregistered. If I picture myself in the swirling crescendo of praise that is humanity, it doesn’t matter anymore. I am swept up and happily lost, shouting my part but unable to hear it or anything but a roar of praise and the terror and excitement of what is to come.
I sing because I must. Because it is an impossibility to be quiet.
Our lives are vapors. We are but a breath of air. It is all meaningless. But the omens must be interpreted. The paths chosen and trod upon. The poem spoken. The life lived. The song must be sung.
And whatever I sing is my gift, the only thing I have to give. I cannot hear it. Whatever I sing will be used. We are, remember, creations and we will serve a purpose, though chance and choice alters what we give. We cannot do otherwise. And if, someday, my song were to be plucked from the swirling opus, the cacophony of billions, the flocks and herds of millennia, would it please me? Would I have delusions about how it sounded? Did I deceive myself?
Or did I live bravely? And sing with love? Did my voice tremble with joy?
In the end, will it be recognized as praise?
And in truth, did I sing it as so?