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Holy Ghost Campground

 

I spent the past three days at Holy Ghost Campground in the Pecos mountains, hiking with Preston and Laurel and Francis and Pink and talking and not talking about Christianity and weddings and crowd surfing and disappointment and universes expanding and the collapsing of dreams and the black holes and big bangs that we are.

Shooting star contests: "Who's gonna see one first?"

"Me," I said, staring straight at Pres — he's a constellation. I see meteorites pass through his atmosphere and burn with all the beauty of a campfire. I know it's a struggle to feel the warmth of the suns inside of him, sometimes, when the wind blows too hard on the flame, or too much kindling and too many pine needles or too many platitudes or too much crowbarring of another person's faith threatens to choke the flow of oxygen to our stargaze.

It doesn't mean God's not present, sometimes. It's just appropriate to stop talking about it. Stop forcing conversations. Stop clogging possibilities with torn-out pages of how-tos suffocating as innerant insofar as they suit you. Like a prospectus about how "you, too, can learn to see everything from the perspective of my upper hand."

I spent the past three days at Holy Ghost Campground, with no cell service. May as well have been three days in a tomb. Scared a couple of friends who didn't know I left into showing up on the doorstep afraid that maybe I had said "yes" to an invitation from death. And so I know that I am loved, and they may have wept like Mary Magdelene when the grave released my texts.

All I know is that Christ is alive in people no matter how blasphemous we get.

Listen, if you're watching this — if I can dig myself out from underneath the fear of pressing publish, if I can risk myself for the sake of something I still love: is there still space for me? is the seed dead yet? is the burial process really something I can trust? — then take my hand.

We are solar systems. There are light years in your eyes.

I have seen visions. I have dreamed dreams. I have grown into a man old enough to watch young men do the same thing. I have witnessed the prophecies of daughters — voices ablaze with a song to sing. I have been the recipient of miracles.

I have watched the future walk away from me.

And I hope that she will not become a pillar of salt, no matter how badly I want to be looked back at. I wanted to catch every crystal. We are not flavorless, but I wish that I had not taken the taste for granted.

You are the light of the world. You are the light. You are, and I am, and there will be ghosts.

We'll find them in corners we forgot to appreciate. Hear them asserting themselves on the quiet nights, in the rafters, presenting their absence on Christmas morning, when we find ourselves celebrating the breath of God with an exhale, remember when we returned to dust, haunted by "shoulds" and "should have nots" and confused as to how we completely lost ourselves in the process of trying to do the right thing.

Like preaching grace from a stage whose mouthpieces don't practice it — not so much because they don't want to (really: who doesn't?), but because they don't know how to receive or rest in it, themselves.

You've got to cloud projection with self-assurance and hierarchy if mercy starts to sound like death instead of incarnating itself to hallow the gates of hell.

Well, I've been working on my morning pages, praying prayers between drinks, bunkered down inside a constant civil war between my heart and my head over the words "enough" and "more" and a body that is trapped, waving a white flag, like:

"Enough, I can't take much more of this."

Christ the broken-hearted. Christ the forced. Christ the undefended. Christ the remorse. Christ the cosmic. Christ the ghost. Christ the comforter. Christ the stranger inside of your own home. Christ the weakness. Christ the unheard. Christ the co-suffering servant of the under-served. Christ the husband. Christ the wife. Christ the indistinguishable breath of all of life. Christ the patient. Christ the dove. Christ the clockless unmechanicle timelessness of love. Christ the real, and right now, and here (the only time and place in which eternity draws near).

I fell in love with you as a child, and then I watched you disappear and then, like scales falling off of my eyes, I realized that the shadows were bigger than the monsters that I couldn't help but fear. (But hindsight doesn't rewind the years the foxes ran rampant in the garden, spoiling vineyards, does it, dear?)

I never quite knew how to dance on top of graves (let alone: grapes). Their dead always seemed to keep a grip around my ankle. Maybe I didn't understand what it really meant to ferment. Did I underestimate how much new wine our skins could take before they burst?

"Over" is a word dependent upon a time-piece of which Love knows nothing.

I tried not to watch the clock at Holy Ghost. The shooting star contest.

Hope might be the heaviest thing we'll ever have to carry.