Sweet Life

The north pantry is barely lit by a rising sun.  The black wooden stool is centered before one counter, under a window.  The stool looks Asian. The journal lies open, scribbles on both pages. I flip it to a new page, which might be called the page of Now.  To the left of the journal sits the lacquered box with Japanese figures painted all over it.  I’ve not noted this Asian theme right in front of my face, in our kitchen. Nothing else in our house is Asian.  I’m intrigued by my own ignorance. I take a deep breath. I must remember to slow down and be mindful. Otherwise, the ritual will be a waste of time and money.

Inside the box are pages of handwritten notes on top of pill bottles and tinctures – my stinctures, H. called them, with affection and perhaps tolerance.  At the time I asked him if my body has been smelling funny since I began the regimen, but he evaded the question. The past two months I’ve been dutiful in the pursuit of health.  The tinctures and pills themselves are distinguishable by smell. For the first week or two of taking them, I studied each bottle, held it in my hand, and admired the weight, as if the weight itself carried potential.  The graphics on the labels were beautiful, exotic, promising; the Latin names adding to the mystery. I remember the excitement that came with the first deliveries: I tore open the packages, counted the bottles, and then gently opened each one.  Into one box someone had slipped a tiny Tootsie-Roll, a little log of hope and goodwill, a blessing from a stranger. I teared up.. Om.

I remembered the teaching: that which is inhaled has the power to reach every cell in the body. I sampled each tincture with a deep inhalation.

First, faith.  Everything else has failed.  

I know this: without faith things do get done.  Against the odds bodies may heal, lives may be lived and lives may be saved.  We are held in the warp and weft of Indra’s bejeweled net, after all. That we are in control of this life is a vanity.  To start.

With faith, however, miracles happen.  I am certain that the miracles in my life began happening before my faith in them developed consciously.  I was born into a family of great love, which invested all its members naturally with faith. I cannot remember a time when faith was not a backdrop into which I could fall when exhausted.  Of course my needs will be met. Of course miracles happen. Of course I belong to this world, am supposed to be living here. If I could graph the alternating shine and tarnish of my faith throughout these 56 years, I would see, no doubt, the continual righting of my course, refining, polishing faith determinedly in relation to the intensity of the pain that comes with greeting any number of days.

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