I was a little overwhelmed at how many people read my last post. I am moved that you spent the time. Although I knew I was making it public, I assumed it would only be read by people who knew Johannes or knew of him.
Standing at the sink the next morning, I realized that what I’d written was a kind of public mea culpa.
My mother – who of course was the first one to read it – said, “Don’t grieve too long.” It also hadn’t occurred to me until she said it that I was grieving. In my eyes, I was doing something like regretting. Perhaps those two often go hand in hand.
I don’t often write about the men in my life, and another subject I don’t often breach is my jumbled belief system. It’s an inheritance that has shaped me and the way I see the world. Whether or not you believe Jesus was the son of God, or if there was a real resurrection, or if there’s a God out there, I believe that most human beings desire absolution. I know I do. I screw up all the time, mostly in small ways but sometimes in big ones.
I recently apologized in person to someone for something I was unable to do – for not living up to an agreement. I did not have the emotional or physical ability to carry out the agreement, but I felt terrible about my failure. It was all I could do to rustle up the nerve. I walked up to her in a public place, but I had barely gotten my apology out when she turned on her heel and walked away. Asking for forgiveness is a tough business.
In search of absolution
It’s at times like this that I wish I were Catholic. I wish I could walk into that box and some voice on the other side would listen quietly and tell me that God heard me, too, and that I was forgiven. I used to go to church. This may sound strange, but I looked forward to the confession. When I couldn’t think of anything truly bad that I had done, I’d just wait for the lines where I’d ask for forgiveness for the things I had not done (like feed the poor). Or the things I had thought about doing (like poisoning my neighbor’s chihuahua to stop it from barking in the middle of the night). I often felt a sense of relief afterwards. Just the notion that I was disclosing my wrongs or giving them up was enough to make me feel like I could stop worrying about them.
In writing about Johannes, I know that’s what I was hoping for – a forgiveness of sorts. You, my friends, gave me that with your loving emails and your responses here and on Facebook. Thank you.
The land of the living
I think I read somewhere that the only antidote to death is life. (Am I making that up?)
Anyway, I listened to my mother. I lived a full week. I wrote a lot. I auditioned for another cooking show. I pitched my story ideas to online media. I finished a draft of my screenplay. Then I went sailing. All the while, I thought often of Johannes – especially while sailing.
I kept hearing that cliché in my head, that life is short. And at the risk of sounding too much like a passage from Tuesdays with Morrie, it reminded me to keep on doing the things I love.
FOOD FOR VISUAL CONSUMPTION
The photo at top is of the San Diego coastline, approached by sea about a half hour after sunset. What follows are photos of the meals I made while sailing to San Diego this weekend from Dana Point: