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Word Gremlins


I seem to be drawn to the keyboard these days.

It's like there are words inside of me screaming to get out.

Like little chaotic gremlins who won't let me rest until they are out of me and onto the screen.

I don't even know for sure what the little gremlins have to say until I start typing.

So, here we go, another rendevouz with the word-gremlins.

I have been limping around rather pitifully on this bee-stung foot for a few days now. It is a sad and pathetic sight, and I feel sad and pathetic, too.

Torrin regularly kisses my foot, and tells me "it's all better now" like I should just get on with it.

Or maybe he is still so innocent and loving that he is patient enough to just keep kissing the foot, and just keep reassuring me, even if it doesn't seem to be working.

I wonder when I stopped being so innocent and patient? When I stopped being so willing to calmly and lovingly reassure people, even when my efforts don't seem to be effective?

There, now I've touched the gremlin's lair. They seem to always want to lead me to some wound or shadowy place that I don't want to see.

I can't imagine kissing a yucky, full grown, swollen-red adult foot. Gross. I kiss Torrin's precious little delicious toes a million times a day, but not a gross swollen adult foot! And yet, here is my sweet little love who is willing to offer me his unpretentious, non-judgemental, totally loving kisses over and over.

Maybe this is why Jesus told us that a little child would lead us?

Maybe this is why St. Francis kissed the leper?

Maybe this is why Mother Teresa lived in orphanages in Calcutta?

Maybe humbling ourselves to offer love and kindness with the innocence of a child is what this whole thing is about?

Maybe all of our adult ponderings and arguments and intellectualized positions are the equivalent of my gross, swollen, barely mobile foot? And maybe the only way to respond to something so inflamed is with simple love? The kind of love that bends down, gets on its knees and kisses the lowliest and filthiest part of us?

Oh, and to top it off, while I'm limping around and sitting with ice on my foot, and soaking in epsom salts, my twelve year old daughter is helping to put a clean diaper on Torrin, and cleaning up the house, and asking me if I need anything.

She had just finished straightening up the house (quite an accomplishment!) when she realized that Torrin had gotten all of his toy cars back out and lined them up all over the recently cleaned floor.

She flopped on the couch next to me and said "Now I understand why the insane asylums were always full of women."

I thought this was a good time to teach her about the root of the word "hysteria" being "hyster" which means womb or uterus, and that "hysteria" was the main diagnosis given to women in asylums.

She has decided that she will adopt a ten year old, rather than have children of her own.

So, even though the children may lead us with their innocence and their love and their unpretentious joy and abandon....ten year olds are a lot easier to civilize.

And there is my answer....the cost of being civilized is my willingness to be with what I consider "gross."

That is what we are trying to condition Torrin away from. "Don't touch that." "Stay away from that." "Get over here."

All of our efforts to keep him safe, to civilize him, will slowly rob him of the innocence that allows him to so easily give kisses to my big fat foot.

It is that innocence, that ability to see beyond what we are taught to believe is unacceptable, that all of the great teachers throughout time have called us back to.

Trying to tolerate and be with that kind of love, that kind of freedom, is enough to break the mind. It is enough to make us hysterical.

Maybe this is why Jesus tells that we must lose our life in order to find our life in Him? We must lose our orientation toward life as we have been taught, and learn to live in the radical love and freedom that is the Way and the Truth?

Ok, the gremlins are satisfied for today.


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