By Averyell A. Kessler
“Abandon your plans!”
The voice is subtle and unexpected, but I hear it clearly. Quite possibly, it is a creation of my mind, formed by exhaustion and stress. It is alien, outside my box, not the usual collection of random thoughts circling and pawing for attention. When my knees hit the kneeler, it interrupts before I can focus on deliberate prayer.
“Your plans are something you conjured up on a boring afternoon, obligations you think make sense. They are the tedious echo of human reason – clean your closets, organize the garage, get your records in order, and when you have a spare moment, write the first draft of your best seller. Abandon your plans and take up mine…………..Go on, give it a try.”
When I realize who is speaking, I am amazed at the stark simplicity of the request; and the suddenness of the approach.
“I can’t.” I say. “I’ve been living with them for years. They’ve been riveted into my soul, married to my brain. They are part of me now, as much so as my hands and feet. Why would you ask such a thing?”
“Oh? A part of you?” the voice asks softly.
“Yes!” I shriek internally. “This is who I am.”
“No. It is not who you are. You decided you were this way. Not me. Try listening for a change.”
“I’ve made a career out of listening.”
“Possibly, but not to me speaking directly to you.”
“You’ve never spoken to me directly.”
“I’m doing it now; so listen up child. Abandon your plans.”
“Abandonment is not temporary.”
People are filing into the nave and I am still involved in an intense, invisible conversation. I rise from the kneeler and press hard against the back of the pew. No one is watching my silent battle.
“Now that you mention it, my plans take a lot of time,” I say. “They weigh a lot too – a steamer trunk worth, at least, the heaviest weights in the gym, a fifty pound sack of potting soil. When I step away, they become a squalling infant.”
“Let them go.”
“I can’t! My plans burn brightly. They are an open wound of unfulfilled goals. I am surrounded.”
“Let them go.”
“There will be an empty place.”
“No, there will not.”
“I’m old. My birthday was last week.”
“I know. I was there when you were born.”
“What do you want from someone my age. It’s too late!”
“Ha…….that’s a good one! You’re ripe; that’s all. Ripe apples make the best pies.”
“Let’s get this straight.”
“Yes. Let’s do. Abandon your plans.”
“What are your plans?” There, I said it clearly. “What are your plans for me?”
“I’ll tell you…………..soon. Let go first.”
“That’s not fair.”
“Yes it is. Pretend you’re an acrobat. Loosen your grip on the first trapeze. Fly in mid-air. I’ll meet you. I promise. The second trapeze is on the way. But first you must let go. Look down and see how high you are.”
“What if I fall?”
“Oh, please!” We’ve been through this before. Let go!”
“There’ll be a scar!”
“It will heal.”
“I won’t know what to do.”
“Rest, look around, tend your plants, feed my birds, rest, breathe, sing, rest, listen to the wind blow. And for pity sake, slow down and unplug. Learn what’s real in my world and what’s not. Tell me how you feel about it.”
“Me? Tell you?”
“Why not? I’m interested.”
The bells behind me ring three times. I struggle to my feet.
“I’ll let go during the mass and see how it feels. Just once won’t hurt.”
“I can work with that. Let go. You’ll like it.”
“Ok,” I say.
“By the way,” the voice whispers. “Talk to me more often. It’s time you know who I really am.”