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As an adolescent, I prayed to be made wise, but now, knowing the price one will pay for such insolence, I regret my words. I could have asked for riches or a long life or many children – but no, I had to ask for wisdom.
I have lived in the flesh what I would have preferred to have read of in books. I fear that life is too much pain and longing and far too many farewells for my simple soul. Some of us are born fragile and there’s not much we can do about it.
In what was once a church burying ground (though years ago the church and its red roof were moved to town to become someone’s house) we found a gravestone. Rebuking those who read it 170 years after its placing, it read, “Though ye be young and full of health / Remember that ye too must die.”
One of our group, the youngest and freshly in love, shuddered and turned away. Another, the wisest, said simply, “It’s hard to forget.”
I look at an old barn that will soon be torn down. Its walls have rotted out where they have come in contact with the ground. The county has declared the barn an unsafe structure, though the winds and snows of Cape Cod have pardoned it these many years. It will come down and the hand of the carpenter that hung these shingles will be erased from this land while other, noisier hands – aided by power tools – will ply their builder’s trade until they too are overturned.
Today is baptism day. While two little babies’ heads are sprinkled with water, we will renew our faith that life continues to be something worth celebrating and that man has something beyond new flesh to contribute to the universe.
I do not know why I have been put here. When I try to figure it out, I just keep coming back to the idea that the purpose of life is to celebrate life itself. Nothing more. I believe in God though I suspect he is not all-powerful and he is in need of our help. I would like to be good in this little life of mine, not harm others and, most of all, not contribute to the spread of the ugly things which are like a blight on this world.
Perhaps a few stray drops of holy water will do me good today.