One of the Joyful mysteries of the Rosary focuses on the story of Mary and Joseph looking for Jesus and finding him in the temple but only after three days of frantic searching. This story always brings to mind two things; when my oldest son was lost at the beach and my own lostness.
This is a mystery that evokes gratitude. And that is where it takes me every time. I had gone to a small beach with four year old daughter and my two year old son near where we were living in Georgia. I never liked doing this as I was nervous the whole time.This is water after all and they were just little children. I remember the day so clearly. I had brought a People magazine which I never intended to read because my eyes had to be glued to those little bodies. But this time , just for a minute, I read a few lines.When I looked up, my son was gone.The feeling that came over me was hard to describe; a prickly rush went up my spine and my mind went blank.What do I do? I got up and looked around and saw only my daughter. Do I start screaming? What? I headed for the water and out of the corner of my eye, here came my sweet boy with his big smile.Without a care, coming from I don't know where, he was miraculously there. My relief and joy was without end. I feel it now.
My own lostness, chasing illusions and empty things to fill the God size hole in my heart would take a longer writing. I just hum Amazing Grace and know that, for all of us, grace is available to find our way back. Another reason to be grateful.
These things came to mind as I pondered something that happened yesterday as I left the Goodwill store. I went to stock up on treasures and I had found many.I was happy when leaving, especially after getting the senior discount. As I walked to my car this thought came with great force;"You are going to find something soon."Well, I figured a dime might be on the ground, or I would find a penny and consider it a gift from the Creator. Instead, while putting the bags in the back, there it was , the earring that I had lost the Sunday before after church. How it got there, I don't know since I always sit in the front. An earring you say? Big deal ! But it actually was because I was very sad about this particular earring that my wonderful daughter-in-law had made for me from some beads I found in a thrift store.I always think of her with love when I wear them.The earrings are silver with three small blue beads hanging down on thin links, so perfect. And it was gone. How did I know that I was going to find something special? It is a mystery to add to the others.
His story haunts me. The tale of a wanderer who had seen beauty and couldn't live without it.
I can't remember how I stumbled upon Everett Reuss, his art and poetry. He, though brought up in California, found himself in the Southwest, and was so smitten by what he saw that he lived for going back. . With a glint in his eye , and art supplies in his pack, he left his family, bought two burros and drifted across the desert like an aimless tumbleweed. Through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona.; he would be gone for months and then show up to restock and take off again. His first solo trip commenced when he was 17. I imagine him now in things like a hawk circling above on a breeze or on a windblown, desert trail.
In Everett, I see my son Sean, my last child, who was never as much at home as he was on the Flint River and now in the deserts of West Texas. He made a film once when he was 15 years old about the Flint that flowed behind our house.The hours he spent exploring the woods and river created the man he is today. A wanderer, teacher, explorer, who takes students to Mexico looking for undiscovered species of snakes and lizards. I can feel his excitement, see the glint in his eyes as he packs for the next adventure and I worry about the desert.
Everett's poetry and art are not regarded as more than average by some, but I see them with my own eyes, those of a minor would be drifter. Everett was full of life and had no confusion over what he wanted to do. There were no roots to be put down beside a stream for him. His was the wanderer's path.He sought out beauty and tried to express it; his works touch me.
The following is the last paragraph of a poem that he wrote when he was 15.It is a moving and heart-breaking harbinger of a short and well lived life. It is called "Pledge to the Wind"
.."By the strength of my arm, by the sight of my eyes,
By the skill of my fingers, I swear,
As long as life dwells in me, never will I
Follow any way but the sweeping of the wind"
In 1934, the poet and artist disappeared among the red rocks of Utah and has never been found. He was 21.