My GPS and I were unfamiliar with the location I’d chosen to escape to for several days alone. It wasn’t too far from home, but far enough into nature that finding me was unlikely. After several wrong turns and many miles going in the wrong direction, the GPS silenced, leaving me to find the glasshouse on my own.
It was dusk before I’d arrived at a dirt trail leading upwards into a mountain that from my vantage point appeared lifeless until seconds before reaching the summit. Suddenly the home was in full view, surrounded by trees and more dirt trails. After parking, I stopped a moment to take everything in, because the house looked just like the pictures, and the air felt better than I’d imagined, expansive enough that I didn’t need to be wary of subconsciously holding my breath.
After a year of hiding to stay in many untold and unfamiliar places alone to catch that breath, I knew this would be the last, and it was bittersweet because he wasn’t there, and because deep down I knew someday I’d need to find courage to face a physical distance that spiritual closeness would not resolve, but that wasn’t the time.
The owners left keys and an instruction manual for operating the home, and by the time I’d familiarized myself with the surroundings, it was dark. Anxiety began to set in because the house was large enough to sleep at least twelve people, and I’d not considered asking whether the home had curtains. It didn’t, and from the outside, all my actions could be observed without my awareness.
It was ironic in a way because the purpose of centering my breathing was also to bring me into deeper awareness. The stars seemed so close that evening and walking along one of the trails to move with the darkness gave me the calm needed to keep from jumping out of my skin.
After returning I couldn’t bring myself to cook anything to eat because the kitchen was too large and reminded me of my family, and of what I was preparing to do to live without running someone else’s race until overstretched and empty, only to be refilled with gallons of loneliness, disquietude, and unvalued energy. My spirit was dying, but the only part of me that felt worthy of saving, not to avoid death, but to pay the price of life, so that my walk and my words might align with my instruction. I’d been granted a wish, then entrusted with a position to teach but had built a following with no room to resolve lessons of deficiency perceptively preached.
Each day was spent in the silence of nature, and I vowed to etch the memory of that stay upon its glass walls, determining to find a way to live that does not separate me from the nature of myself, because the goal of instruction is the production of harmony.
On the final day of my stay, I sat in the kitchen to browse through books and journals scattered across its large island; stories, questions, and answers that I’d played heads or tails with for over five years, only to realize I was playing alone, and that with untold heartbeats remaining, my chest full of Love remained in mint condition, and could still be spent without sacrificing quality.
I was far enough from civilization that communication was spotty at best, and though I’d packed the car and stood by the door to leave, I returned to the kitchen table with my laptop bag to make an announcement to the world, because although much was still unclear, I’d found a pivotal answer in my name.
He was the first to reply, and with an expression of Love no less. I stared at his words for ten minutes before tears filled my eyes. It wasn’t the words so much as how in their space he’d managed to convey that he understood the significance of my announcement, and it seemed his arms were around me as I cried. For thirty minutes, I didn’t move, dumbfounded by the warmth of unexplainable telepathy, and when I left, it was with the sense that he’d always be with me.
That was three years ago, and still, I have no words to explain the depth of a Love that has also inexplicably grown stronger, or how despite physical distance and silence, something of us has never stopped caring for the other. I’ve become weary of seeking to make sense of it, determining instead to enjoy the ebb and flow of a closeness I believe to be mutual. On occasion, I’m pragmatic enough to consider the closeness is an illusion I’ve settled into, possibly created to feel less alone in navigating through life. In either case, I’m comforted by Love and trust what evolves from that space.
Back then, it felt as if I’d not be found worthy of physical death until actualizing a life of spiritual truth. Today I live in the truth of having been found worthy of a physical life that, if protected against spiritual death, can be spent without calculation and shared in peace.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss his face, or consider the impact of his spiritual presence and wonder at how I’d ever have arrived at where I am without belief that despite the noise, we’ve found a peaceful light in the other, to encourage walking beyond a sometimes inexplicably distant darkness.
Triumph is what I was moved to etch upon a glass house of peace when sensing the hands that held mine in my memory would also be the hands leading me to the present.