Sunday, March 22, 2009

CROSSROADS

March 21, 2009 crossroads

Heaven blessed us with crossroads. Meeting places; where strangers become friends, where future meets past, where fortunes come and depart. The thing about it, though, is that in order for one to reach a crossroad she must be moving. Motion. You think a crossroad is a place, but really it is a communion.
Yesterday we walked from this lovely house on the corner of Mulholland and Wells in Nauvoo IL, across the street and past the glistening temple, down the hill to old Nauvoo where we visited the blacksmith shop and the wheelwright; the printer and the post office and the general mercantile shops. For a couple hours we pretended we lived here, over 150 years ago. I was lean and able and devoted, sweating and smiling as I went about my chores, singing the hymns of the saints as I punched down the dough in the dough box and beat the rugs on the back porch. I knew the postmaster, I knew the newspaper editor, I knew each neighbor and they knew me. And we all knew our prophet. So in my mind, when that fateful day came that found him lifeless and twisted under the broken window at the jail in Carthage, I sensed the crossing of the road we were on. We shifted our weight on our unsteady legs, then made ourselves move. Tables were slid against the wall and we began shaving wood in the dining room, doing our part toward the building of 3000 wagons. Heads bowed in the labor, we prepared to leave this heaven of a place we had finally established after years of wandering.
I have no problem pretending. In this regard I suppose I never grew up. So it was natural that we pretended as we walked, arm in arm, down Parleys Street toward the Mississippi and beyond. Pretended we had left our cherished earth-things. Our tokens of memory and tenderness. Our dolls and our china and our instruments and books. We met where the road crossed the river and wept together for a moment. Then someone started up a song and soon we were all singing, united in our suffering and comforted in our sorrow.
Crossroads. Where one path, one road, one vein meets another. I am reminded of another crossing, the place where horizontal arms met vertical body. Where lungs were pressed flat from the weight of hanging. Where blood spilt and agony was laid finally to rest with these words..."It is finished." The crossroads for all mankind, there where His heart was stilled.

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