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Filtering by Tag: Pentecost

The Gates of Dawn

Tom Sturch

St “But Mole stood still a moment, held in thought. As one wakened suddenly from a beautiful dream, who struggles to recall it, but can recapture nothing but a dim sense of the beauty in it, the beauty! Till that, too, fades away in its turn, and the dreamer bitterly accepts the hard, cold waking and all its penalties.”   ― Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

You know the feeling. You've just finished a big show, cleaned up the messes, returned the equipment, the wrap party is over, and now what? For weeks life had singular purpose. For the last several days you've been riding that wave. What exhilaration! And as soon as the morning after, you're on the shore looking out at the horizon on a dead calm.

In the seventh chapter of Wind in the Willows, Rat and Mole set off down the river on an adventure to save their friend, Portly. Along the way they hear and follow a haunting song with great anticipation. As they enter Wild Wood they are confronted with a mystical appearance of Pan playing the song against a rising sun and are overcome with a desire to worship. When they lift their heads, Portly is sitting there, no worse for the wear. But, they can't remember what happened and they can't recall the song. It seems an oddly melancholy moment.

The title of the chapter is “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”and youth group called their recent musical based on it “The Gates of Dawn." In just seventy days we wrote the script and songs, designed and constructed the set, learned our parts, and did two shows. At church some days later I noticed bits of the froth like patches of suds on the faces of the kids. No one mentioned it. It was as if we'd forgotten, but not.

In two weeks from this writing the Church will celebrate Pentecost. We'll have ridden the ebb of Lent through the highs of Eastertide for nearly one hundred days. And in a rain of fiery tongues we'll celebrate the arrival of the Holy Spirit in power. The following week will be Trinity Sunday and the Sunday after that begins the long stretch of calm seas called Ordinary Time. It will dawn as a kind of inevitable denouement that allows us to gather the threads of our livesin my case, the lawn, some work, the rest that I'd foregoneand let memory return in time with the understanding that abides the common, the quiet, and the quotidian.

LOST Expectations

Aaron Guest

12 LOST Six years ago, my wife and I binge-watched the first five seasons of LOST. It took four months. Many nights we watched three or four episodes in a sitting, sometimes as a way to pass the time while my wife was feeding our infant daughter… or because we hadn’t finished the package of Oreos yet. Other times compelled by a look or a glance to “keep watching,” a willingness to relinquish the joy of teasing out possible meanings.

This caught us up for season six. But like the rest of the LOST audience had been, we were then dangled out over the cliff for an entire week, week after week. I locked myself into a habit of trolling message boards and meditating over the copious and astute Doc Jensen recaps. I lived, agonized by this hope of what could happen.

This comes to my mind now whenever Pentecost approaches. Maybe you can see where I’m going. How I’m picturing the disciples living in a type of cliff-hanger following Ascension. Trying to figure out the meaning of Christ’s promise and exactly what they could expect.

It so happened that the final episode of LOST aired on Pentecost Sunday. At the time, I felt this was significant for plot reasons—the Season 6 cast photo staging “The Last Supper,” and the smoke monster’s desire to get uncorked from the island and into the real world. As the final episode played out, people felt abjectly betrayed, denied some hoped-for reality.

Awaiting the arrival of a sought after book, listening in the two years between a band’s albums, thinking a Patriot’s 19-0 season is a foregone conclusion, again and again I raise expectations for an experience or encounter. Then the book is disappointing, the album sounds like a group popular ten years ago, and David Tyree haunts my dreams. I think I should learn from this pattern. It leaves me falling in an abyss for weeks on end…like after Manningham reeled in that catch.

“To raise one’s hopes is to risk them falling further,” Anthony Doerr writes in All The Light We Cannot See. Yet, I can’t help but find myself continually uncorking expectations. Even when it leads to the despondence that was first and goal for the Seahawks on the one-yard line, or the slog of Doerr’s overwrought writing.

Where were the disciples after their second cliff-hanger in two months? Ten days of wandering in a gray world, lost, locked away? Was there ever the hope that the doors and windows would be thrown wide? Should I raise my own expectations when again and again I am let down? But I do. I always hope for a book or poem or song—or that interception—to erupt in me a fiery joy.