I was in Germany and I didn’t like it. I had come to see my best friend in the whole world, and she had fallen in love with a guy who was clearly going to be a philandering creep if she married him and cheated on her then. Although I had flown all the way to Germany she chose to spend time with him rather than time with me. I felt trapped in her room. I read a saucy romance novel. I read East of Eden, which was one of the best books I had read at the time.
It’s true that her parents arranged side trips – we saw famous statues, East Germany, stayed in an expensive hotel modeled after Chicago chic (did you know in Chicago they have American Flags waving in a vase at each table). I did get a good laugh over that one, and enjoy the beautiful food and champagne. Still one of that helped, probably aside from the life-altering trip to a concentration camp, as I had been betrayed by my friend. (She wound up marrying him and he did become a philanderer where he and his twin brother would actually go on trips together, with their wives full knowledge to enjoy the favors of the weaker sex.)
I tried to have my own adventures. I walked all over her neighborhood, afraid to take the bus anywhere. (I speak about 20 words in German on a good day.) I saw the inside of a castle, which was opulent and beautiful. I spent $55 on a plastic comb from France. I still have that comb but feel ridiculous every time I see it.
I also saw a Catholic church. I could see the steeple from their yard. I went inside and it was beautiful and empty. Flled with candles, flickering light all over the room. I took a candle too, hadn’t any money but thought I would probably be okay and looked at all the light. I thought to myself this was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life.
I felt that way at Glacier Point, in Yosemite. one of the many times I’ve been there – started a trip up to Half Dome, drove to see the view and saw the sun go down. It’s a sacred space to be. There is a song, and maybe you know it, “Dona, Nobis Pachem”. I was there, with two good friends I knew from the Youth Conservation Corps. There were two violins playing the song. When I was younger I had a lovely voice and my dear friend asked me to sing along. Please. I felt like I was floating. That was the song played when I walked down the aisle.
My brother’s mentor and good friend had brain cancer, and I know I’ve told you this story before. He told my brother he was not going to ever be a burden during this and would make sure he wasn’t. I believe he had some bad news. He came home, went in to the bathroom and shot himself in the head.
At his funeral everyone spoke of the great guy the dead man was. They emphasized how much he loved his wife and how he wasn’t himself when he ended his life, the second part which was not true. The thing that touched me, though was my brother. His friends mom was standing next to him at the front of the meeting hall. At one point she completely broke down and almost fell. My brother held her up and calmed her. It was at that moment, I saw him become a man.
I feel like God reaches out and touches me now. He teaches me and I know he loves me and is good. I know what the Bible teaches about me and I understand a lot of it. I even believe most of it. Above all I feel like we embrace each other. His love for me is as everlasting as He is. The point of this article is that I felt “spiritual” before I knew the living God. I don’t know if this means these stories point to Jesus and release something inside of me, or not. I point, I believe, is that you, if you have no specific beliefs, that you still can be hit with arrows that open yourself to the beautiful wisdom and kindness of the world. There is more to come. Celebrate.