December 13, 2013
I’m getting ready to start my day, listening to Pandora. Suddenly, Máire Brennan’s song, Land of Youth, starts playing. It is the song recounting the tale of Oisín in Tír na Nóg. I have just been thinking about Oisín, and his own song, the one he wrote for me. For some reason I take the arrival of the song to indicate that I should be expecting Oisín, so I walk about and look for him. I cannot see anyone or anything beyond five feet or so. For this reason I wander around the living room, to make sure I don’t miss seeing him, should he appear.
Silently, he walks to where I am standing. There is only a need for silence. Wordlessly, we share moments almost as though I am a child. As though, perhaps, I am his child’s child’s child… and, how far would that go, I wonder.
He is half a chest and a full head taller than I am, Oisín is, with long curly blond hair and clear bluish hazel eyes. I am gazing up at him, as he towers over me. He greets me with the gesture that to those in the otherworld means both hello, welcome, acknowledgment, and the recognition of who a person is. In the otherworld, you can understand everything about who a person is once you know that you don’t have to put up defenses.
I can’t read Oisín’s facial expression, in part because his face is a good 8 inches above my head. Yet I know it is stern and weather worn, somber, kind. I can only picture a “generic face template” for anyone, embodied or otherwise, so I’m simply told the extra information which I appreciate especially as I never get a chance to know things like this of people in this world.
We stand speaking wordlessly about the far and the near, about the vast and the insignificant, there in the middle of the living room. Alllegro sits a few paces away, intently surveying us quietly and I notice that he’s not shoving a hedgehog at either of us.
I ask questions but there are no answers. Questions like Why? And How? And What was it like when? And I know that now, being as he is in another world, his eternal address is from nowhere.
And as we stand side by side, I understand what must be done: its just to be. Be and go on being. Doing what I am already beginning. Be fully here now, share all I can.
And so I thank him for the song. I gesture as if I could take his hand and tell him how much his words mean to me, though there are no words for this. I ask how he’d like to handle the fact that he wrote the song, but I wrote it down, because of course, I will always be honest and give him the credit in a world that will not accept what happened.
He gestures to put the song into my hands and I protest that it isn’t right, but he insists it is what must be when someone is already not of this world.
Suddenly a commercial careens through the room with its loud incantations of Black Friday sales and Christmas gifts. I am almost certain that Oisín will disappear at this point. I know he doesn’t like commercialism, and is suspicious of modern technology, recognizing it is only helpful as most things are, in balance with the rest of living. Now, I think I’ve been hoping to never see what Oisín or Caoilte or anyone else looks like when angry. But I suppose I have known that I would find out sooner or later. Oisín isn’t angry at me, he’s angry at the hollow meaninglessness surrounding our culture’s obsession with stuff, material substitutes for real connection, and all the falsehoods such a way of life continues. I know this as it is quite easy to read each others’ thoughts.
Anyway, when he is angry Oisín is even more formidable and fierce looking than usual. I realize I have already moved a bit out of the way, but Oisín sees this and puts a light around us. I look up at him expectantly, willing to begin to learn that anger is a regular human emotion and doesn’t have to indicate either that something is wrong with me or be about me at all. It doesn’t have to mean, as it did with my ex partner, that a person will lose control and lash out at anyone in line of fire. Some people like Oisín know how to express emotion while directing it appropriately. That is new to me. Then his anger shifts into sadness.
If he were an embodied person he would sit me down and have the “back when I was young” conversation that my grandpa had with me yesterday and elders always need to have because the world has changed so much, usually for the better but not always.
And then, noticing the sympathy flickering in my eyes, he smiles. He says, “I don’t understand this tradition of your time: indiscriminately blasting messages of little intrinsic point and specious importance at anyone who happens to hear, into houses and around neighborhoods, all in order to further convince people of a ubiquitous deception. There is obviously a great deal of competition involved, but no honor in it. It’s tragic to see and hear about such wanting for the sake of wanting. Why? So much stuff, the majority of it unneeded, vies for the giving of attention to the wrong sort of value and meaning. This is profoundly wasteful and does not forge good character in people.”
I have to agree. Though I appreciate getting material gifts from people, I know our culture takes it out of hand beyond what is healthy or balanced.
Before he leaves, Oisín draws a time line in the air. I stare at it intrigued. Through it he draws an x. I don’t get it. I draw a blank and show him a picture of both of us drawing but not understanding each other.
And then he gives me another picture, one that unfolds that I can read. Change has no schedule to keep. Friendship is not a sequence of events. Living is not a series of completed finish lines. And there is no reward system for waking up in the morning. There is no answer to the question: Am I doing all I can do? Even if I ask the question a hundred times a day, and I do. There is only doing.
Some day a long long time from now, more than sixty years from now, once I cross that bridge that we all will cross, I will sit down with him for hours and we will wonder at each other’s beginnings. We will marvel at how we could be friends, even while belonging as we do to two different worlds. There is no reason to let a simple detail like that put limits on what is already boundless and knows no turns or edges. Of that we are both in agreement. We smile at each other and make the sign for parting before he disappears, and then I go about dropping some airborne into a glass of water and take Allegro downstairs and eat breakfast.
And at the moment there are two or three otherworld people fascinated by what I’m writing and are walking around. I don’t recognize them but they look curious—as in full of curiosity—and seem fine. I keep a pretty good lookout here because since I offered my place for the fianna to come through on the way to other things (surely not thinking through how many of them there are!) I have seen many many more people than usual, some quite modern which means despite my intentions many many otherworld beings can come through here, and not just the ones I intended. This could turn out to be more of a problem than I want to admit.
Sometimes I create a circle so I don’t have anyone coming through, but if not I watch and make sure these are genuinely good people because after all as an embodied person this is my space and I have the first say on boundary creating. Well, and I also have places at my house that no otherworld people are allowed and time limits because they have no concept of time and might, and did, come through at three in the morning with very important lyrics to songs to write down. I mean, I appreciated the lyrics, but not being up at that hour.
So begins my ordinary Monday morning. Well, at least it has become quite ordinary.
4 thoughts on “An Ordinary Day _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 10”
Love this, Éilis! Even your prose is so poetic in style. And I love the story, and completely agree with Oisin’s opinion on commercialism.
Having worked for many years in retail management, the greed and selfishness I encountered just turns my stomach; I completely lost my drive to make sales and turn a profit, where once the chase of it thrilled me. When you work in a sales led environment, you are indoctrinated into believing that the more sales you make, you are the best. But I just felt like I was selling stuff to people that they didn’t need or even really want.
I do want to be the best I can be in all areas of my life, not because I want to be better than anyone else, not because I’m seeking admiration, but because I think it’s important to always do your best. That applies to writing, blogging, being a mom, doing the housework… ok, maybe I don’t try so hard with that last one, lol!
Funny thing, though, isn’t it, that the harder you try to be the best, the more you see that you’re not. What does Oisin think about that?
Thank you Ali! Oh no, does doing the best we can in all things also apply to housework and especially the dishes? I’m in some real trouble! 🙂 No seriously doing your best and not being perfectionistic about it is a worthwhile thing to strive for. I certainly do. And then I fail and have to be kind to myself about it. I either fail because I don’t do my best, or because I’m driven to do my best in an unbalanced way, like expecting perfection, and either way holding myself accountable but also treating myself well are both necessary then. I think when we put our attention on something, it’s easy to focus entirely on it. We’re human and don’t do anything well all the time, this would be impossible, and yet it seems we want the impossible. If you were focusing on something else like having the best hairstyle you’d notice all the moments your hair didn’t meet your standards. Because we never completely meet our own standards. That’s my point of view on your question and when I next get to speak to Oisín, I’ll let you know what he thinks on the matter.
You’re right… I always focus on the things I don’t like about myself… I mean, I cant even take a compliment without pointing out why I didn’t deserve it lol!
Hi Ali, Here is what Oisín asked me to pass onto you. You cannot find outside of yourself what you do not find within yourself. You will not know whether you are doing your best if you do not think yourself worthy of it. It is because you do not see yourself as enough that you cannot take in when others tell you that you are. You believe you are lacking and that is what you see. You are not what you do, but who you are. You will not do everything well, but it is not at all the same thing to fail or fall short of an action and to fail and fall short as a person. Equating the two causes unnecessary suffering, as you then believe an incidious falsehood. The truth is you have always been whole, and if you look within yourself you will know the measure of your worth. For the worthy are born into this world. You are here. You deserve then to own who you are, it is the guiding light within you.