The world turns over and morning comes again, a pure, slight, yellow thing. It is so happy. I give it the side-eye. Am I ready to accept that the old things fall off? That yesterday was yesterday? The whole world is full of its psychology, the effect of past and future and the tides of human sorrow and incompetence. It doesn't seem like we can actually let yesterday go, when it has consequences that go on forever.
And yet we have morning. Impossible every day, that the light comes back, it is not gone.
Isaac marches sleepily downstairs every morning, his arms full of clothes that he has pulled from his drawers. He finds me in the studio, where I am always working away at books and illustrations, and sits beside me. He lists his imaginary friends for me, who are more like imaginary warriors. There is Hulk Buster Sword (swoid, in his peculiar Brooklyn-esque accent), F'Isaac, Magic F'Isaac (who is invisible and often comes on errands with us, perched behind me on the motorbike) and a bunch with ever-changing names that I suspect (just between you and me) that Isaac makes up on the spot. Their names are things like Cono and Eeemy. All of these fighting strong guys surround Isaac every day. And at the center of their circle, he sits on my lap and snuggles into me as often as he can.
I have my own fighting guys. Some unwelcome. The Anxious Hot-head. The Fight Without Reason. Ranter. Beast of Unexpressed Grief. And then there is one who is always welcome, but like Magic F'Isaac, she's invisible. I can see her if I don't look straight at her, rather looking into sparkling rivers or the last light of the day, illuminating the grasses. She stands just beyond, her silhouette like a long line, a smudge of brightness, happiness, ready to fight for more days, ready to try again. To relate well, to be the brave one. She marches downstairs with her arms full of clothes in the morning.
Here, the house stirs, and Leafy begins his daily walk. Around the garden, behind the house, over to the well, circling back. His mind is full of ideas, he doesn't like to be called out of them, but we can reach him if we try. He skips and runs when he thinks of something particularly exciting. Last night he busked for the first time this season; just a 10-year-old boy and his melodica, sitting on the curb, playing the Star Wars theme song. My heart is unbearably tender toward him.
Yesterday my Thai teacher asked me why Kai dragged Solo across the floor in a sleeping bag. I sighed and held my head in my hands. Our Thai teacher comes once a week to teach Leafy and Solo, and most of the time, I can get the other kids to be quiet during the lesson. But not always.
"Because," I told her, "Isaac lay on the floor and kicked Solo, and then Solo kicked Isaac back, and Kai told Solo to stop, but Solo didn't listen, so Kai decided that the only way to solve it was to angrily drag Solo across the floor in his sleeping bag, Solo yelling all the way, in the middle of your lesson. He had the best of intentions. It's only his methods that are lacking. Plus, a man was cutting tiles across the street and the sound made us all lose our minds a bit."
We don't do simple around here very well. Every single action has layers of complexity. There are always other kids who want a turn, or more mouths than bites, or tiles being cut, or feelings that are hurt. When I want simplicity, I stare at the sky, so wide and blue. Looking back at life, I feel unbearably tender toward Kai, trying his best to help the situation, fumbling it a bit, dealing with my consequent annoyance.
I've had all these theological questions lately. They zoom around my head, like dragonflies, or mayflies, getting caught in my hair, my teeth.
If I have such a hard time relating, can God love me? Can he relate to me? There are many of us in the world who feel cut off from others. Can they relate to God? If it is all about relationship, and there is some cut, some gap in the heart between self and others, am I in the family in the same way? These may sound like casual questions, but they have had me gasping in fear and grief this week, ready to call it quits, to not try anymore.
But I glance to the side and see her there, my warrior who is barely visible, up in the morning, her arms full of clothes. She is not alone, I see. Jesus, her companion, stands with her, a shimmer, a light within her. She is ready to try, and he has run toward her, meeting her where she cannot cross, finding her in the gaps. He is determined, his heart is unbearably tender toward her.