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Getting What You Wished For


There's this story of a brokenhearted man who in order to get the attention of his lost beloved had inflated the largest balloon anyone had seen. The balloon grew so big that it eventually blocked out the sun.

Upon seeing the large globe and recognizing that it was his lover who made such a spectacle to behold, she approaches him and their silence is broken. He then casually pierced the balloon.

I no longer take regular coffee. Now I drink decaf. And sometimes even tea in the evening. It's a bit simpler now.

And now that I think of it my reasoning was absurd: take coffee because of hangover, hangover because I drank the night before, I drank the night before because I couldn't sleep, I couldn't sleep because I had too much coffee during the day.

Now I no longer have to medicate myself. Or punish myself. While I predict that this may only be momentary--I, too, know myself and the workings of the world--I'm enjoying it while I can. Getting back what you want, or ending a long wait buys you some time: to celebrate, to relish in it, or to at least keep still. If peace is elusive it's because you decide to never settle for less, to never be content. But such decisions are easily made. My feet get itchy too easily. But never mind that. I want to talk about this moment.

But what is ridiculous is how you suddenly feel you deserved everything; that it was no surprise; that it was your destiny. Of course that's easy. You tend to believe that it was either written in the stars or you are the author of your own life. But both are lies: you knew it then and you still know it now.

It wasn't long after I got my life back that I asked God what was next. "What would you have me do?" I asked. I imagined him smiling, or even laughing the way older people shake their heads at the impatience of the young. Sometimes we do not know what we really wish for.

Patience: Where would I be without it, or without learning it, or honestly, without struggling with it? If the only real lesson was to let go, and if the deepest insight was how to let things be, then patience would pretty much be the key that opens both doors. Or patience is a key you just have in your pocket but cannot use. A locked key. Because some people have the same key as some doors open by themselves.

I thought Kafka's parable of the "Law" in The Trial was funny. A man who wished to see the Law dies waiting by an open door guarded by a doorkeeper of a few words.

Before he breathed his last, the man asked the doorkeeper a question he had tried to answer in his head over and over again: "Everyone strives to attain the Law," said the man, "how does it come about, then, that in all these years no one has come seeking admittance but me?"

The doorkeeper shouts: "No one but you could gain admittance to this door, since the door was intended only for you. I am now going to shut it."

After hearing this parable from the priest, K.--the protagonist of The Trial--asks the wise man:
"So the doorkeeper deluded the man," said K. immediately, strongly attracted by the story.
"Don't be too hasty," said the priest, "don't take over an opinion without testing it. I have told you the story in the very words of the scriptures. There's no mention of delusion in it."
"But it's clear enough," said K., "and your first interpretation of it was quite right. The doorkeeper gave the message of salvation to the man only when it could no longer help him."
"He was not asked the question any earlier," said the priest, "and you must consider, too, that he was only a doorkeeper, and as such he fulfilled his duty."
Ask and you shall be answered. But be very, very careful for what you ask for.

So I'm pretending nothing happened. They're pretending too. And I appreciate that. It's like being forgiven without asking for forgiveness. There's grace in that.


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