Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Late at Night

I haven't posted anything this late (1:34 am) since I worked at the hospital. But after spending an entire day wandering the streets of New York and drinking probably WAY too much coffee, I find myself unable to sleep.

I've finished "The Road" as well as James Baldwin's "Giovanni's Room". If you did not care for Brokeback Mountain, you'll not care especially much for Giovanni's room. It is, however, a beautifully written book that touches on the dynamism of human longing to be with one's beloved and the terrible consequences of denying one's true feelings. In this novel in particular, the tragedy of David's life (the main character) is foreshadowed by his inability to love his father, who himself knew not the role he was called to play in David's life. In short, so much of the novel's tension rests in discerning and answering the fundamental question "Who am I?" and accepting the consequences of discovering the answer. I'm now reading Willa Cather's "Lucy Gayheart" and, only thirty pages in, I'm in love with Cather's descriptive prose and can feel an affective connection already with Lucy.

My trip into Manhattan today led me down 5th Avenue. Before my eyes was played out scenes of great contrast: a morbidly obese man garbed in a tacky "I heart NY" shirt leaning against a Cartier window - two symbols of excess, but in radically different expressions. A homeless man begging for money in front of the Coach store - and the feigning of empty pocketbooks by women emerging who'd just spent a small fortune on new purses.

A woman on the train announced loudly "Excuse me, everybody. I'm sorry to disturb you, but I'm broke...that ain't no joke...not trying to be funny...ask you for money" - her rhyme/rap moved lyrically in this way. I'm ashamed to say that she did disturb me...that her (apparent) need burst in upon my reading as I sat on the train. We don't get a lot of money and I don't often carry a lot of cash on me and I still flush read when I have to face someone asking for money and say, "Sorry, I don't have anything." I often like to entertain the notion that by "ministering" through my blog or with music or with theology that I am making or will make a difference in the lives of others. And then a voice crying "I'm sorry to disturb you" recalls me to the fact that I have - as we all have - a very long way to go in seeing God's Kingdom come to fruition on this earth.


colin said...

did you leave her any cash?

Ryan Duns, SJ said...

No, I didn't. I had no cash on me at that point - just a credit card and, I suspect, she didn't quite have the ability to accept AmEx.