Maximillian Amadeus Banzai (banzai) wrote,
Maximillian Amadeus Banzai

  • Mood:

Courage and faces

Settling in with a pot of jasmine pearl at Teahouse Kuan Yin. Just finished seeing Garden State. Wonderful. Go.

Had lunch with Natrix at The Canterbury after locking up the church. Good times. Seana stopped by our table to tell me a woman I know had left information with her months ago to try to get in touch with me. The number's long since lost, but I'm resourceful. It's just nice to have a trail of breadcrumbs here and there.

I'm starting to realize what it is I want. Rather, I'm starting to remember what it is I want, what I've always wanted or would have wanted. It's good. Ain't that the damndest thing?

Recently I've remembered a conversation I once had with Howard Morishige, the (now retired) director of the counseling center at the last university at which I was employed. We connected, he and I, and one day he looked me in the eye and said, "You have a lot of courage. Do you know that about yourself?"

He saw me, saw the layers and the hidden facets without needing the stories (stories I don't tell so well anymore). He saw me.

I think I remember that for a couple of reasons. One, it is so good to be seen, without having to wade through another person's self-involvement or dive into my own and push myself onto someone—just to be present with another and have that presence acknowledged. It's rarer and deeper than it sounds; that ability seems absent, stunted, or limited in most of us, whether by culture or numbness or pain or self-absorption.

Two, it reminds me of the place of courage in my life. I knew he was right. And if I'm going to live, really live, it's going to keep calling on that courage. I need to have it, to express it, to share it.

But courage's place extends beyond me. It also takes courage to really see me and be with me. Being able to see me is one gift. Being willing to be with me, to be a face in my life, is another. In my life today, I don't get to see the faces of anyone who has really seen me. There's something in those faces that I need, something that won't be touched by just any face, and something that can't be fully given without a face.

I need to look into the eyes of someone who can see me, and they into mine, even and especially when it's scary, because it's good—because you can see me and I can see you. I spend day after day looking into the faces of people who cannot see me. The risk in that is small, and so is the life. I want more than that.

Like any gifts, these are things that are OK for me to long for, and to ask Him for, but not things it's fair of me to demand. Gifts can only be given, by God and by others. My place is to desire and to receive.

But at least I know what I want. That's something.

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