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Looping into Peace

My father was this first to point it out to me, following a conversation in which he kept pausing to prompt me to finish his sentences. Feigning curiosity, he asked “Brian, do you understand how you keep on finishing my sentences for me?” When I shrugged my shoulders, he was more specific, “Do you understand just how far ahead of us you are?”

I was somewhat more conscious of it during a congregational meeting. We were to vote on a capital campaign, and I opened my mind to the community, trying to ensure that all viewpoints were considered and honored. Towards the end of the discussion, I took the microphone and asked a question. The rest of the congregation stared in confusion. Finally, one of the elders offered “Could you repeat that for us?” I tried again, with the same result. The elder said, “I’m sorry, I still didn’t catch that.” Finally I had this strange sense of my mind slowing down to come into synchronization with everyone else, asked my question one more time, and received an answer.

Most of these moments come to me in dreams. The first found me on an ancient battlefield, following a commander as he skirmished with exhausted warriors. Dispatching the last, he began trotting across the field, seeking a bow. Taking one up, he notched an arrow and fired it into the sky. My will followed the flight, bound to the arrowhead, seeking a target, finally rushing downwards to pierce the forehead of the enemy commander.

But there have been so many others. As I entered Barnes and Noble one afternoon, a man accosted me “You know the pope is looking for someone?” After John Paul II died on Good Friday, I played a requiem for him at work on Monday. During the Choral of Beethoven’s Ninth, I had a clear impression of Karol standing in the quarry in Warsaw just after WWII, and sent him the message “Come find me.”

Or of the woman that I identified with the Magdalene, one night reaching into her left fallopian tube and sending a gift way back to the foundation of her relationship with Christ, satisfying her deeply-held desire.

I do not know how to characterize this process. To be loved is to give strength to our desires, producing both sublime relation and corrupted entanglement. The will of Christ seeks to re-enter the world, and must clarify its manifestations. Can anyone claim to be the focus of that timeless power, or are we all just points of contact used to render more efficacious its engagement with us?

These are the moments most precious to me: when I lose sight of myself, and feel rising above the pain of tomorrow that future of love that calls back to steel our resolve and stimulate our hopes. It is to no longer be an “I”, but an “us” that blossoms from isolation into limitless possibility, all fears vanquished, all needs met, all questions answered. In those moments, all that I know is that simply to be a conduit of that realization is to receive a gift beyond any justification. I cease my restless dancing to bask in peace.

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