A chunk of my days are spent with people who have to choose between toilet paper and bread.
Some days I dance. I allow my heart to be carried into a deep well of surround-sound chants that reverberate against the walls of my syncopated ventricles. I am in these moments an innocent child of infinite origin, a whirling dervish who knows her blood from her intellectual formulations.
What do you suppose keeps us Alive? And I don’t mean in the physical sense. Sometimes my food is a plate of Love garnished with audacity and courage. On lesser days it’s courgettes and belief. Worse, fear and retreat.
What makes me hunger?
It’s a serious question. And what do I put on that plate?
In my weaker moments I wish for different hours to my day. Perhaps then I could spend my minutes solving the ultimate calculus problem: What is the true volume of a cynical heart?
In my stronger moments I stand in front of a loaded gun that fires racist garbage and hatred into the soul of the sanctuary and a nation. And I refuse a wall that separates me from you. Whoever you are.
One of the stupidest things I’ve done in my life: Swimming in the crocodile infested Zambezi river, just above Victoria Falls. I could see the whites of their eyes. And at the same time the sheer cliff of crashing waters pulled my body toward the precipice of certain death. Caught between a Crock and the Falls. Bloody exciting, actuallyJ
Another dumb moment: Thinking I could outrun Thai soldiers who found me illegally snooping inside a cruel and horrific camp of Cambodians caught in the crossfire of war. I managed to photograph the soldiers in the act. A dense jungle chase followed with all the hollywood trappings of vines, snakes and bullets zinging past the ears…
And there was that crazy time I stood muscle-ache still for hours, facing the oncoming stream of 90,000 people at the end of a three day trek across a desert plain in search of water and food. Their bodies brushed and bumped against my shoulders and hips as they wound their way past me down the narrow path into a refugee camp.
Husbands carrying their deceased wives, sisters carrying their too-quiet siblings, a low humlike prayer emanating between their hollow stares and tattered clothes. A river of death flowing through my head and heart.
Will my hunger go away if I close those permanently etched eyes? And then bury my head in the sand?
There’s that gap, isn’t there? The Stay Alive gap. That space between my head and the sand.
During the later years of my life I’ve danced more than my younger years. I mean Really dance. Those all night festivals where your heart and prayers are in complete union–every step in the grass (or mud) a prayer for peace and love for all this world. Eyes wide open, seeing the billions of beautiful souls dancing together–seeing the full content of their hearts…a want of deep community and meaning, a wish for tears to be wiped away, a hunger for this world to be all the goodness it could be. A place of gathering into my soul everything I have seen and still see. A space where the honesty of all that is right and all that is wrong stands squarely in front of my heart’s eyes and invites full prayers in response.
When I was a young boy I was told a story that Jesus took five loaves of bread and a couple of fish and managed to feed 5,000 hungry people with it. I would have loved that dance party!
Toilet paper or bread. When 12,000 of your neighbours across the street live in shacks, and live on less than a dollar/euro per day, well, it does invite a Pause at that space between.
Another Dumb Moment: We decided three years ago to never say no to anyone asking for food. Swimming with the crocs was a lot easier…😂
I can choose what goes on my plate. And I sincerely hope I will choose to keep my head out of the sand.