If I could but touch the hem of His garment…
Promises, promises; the stuff of faith and campaigns: “Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime…” Give a man a fish, and you have a friend for life–a friend who continually asks for tartar sauce.
My journey started before I was born. I was quite young then. The Robe says we each have a spiritual destiny, one that was planned before our parents met, got drunk and screwed. Our destiny is revealed through time and ritual, through silence, work and community. Our destiny brought us together for lunch in the cafeteria. Wednesday is spaghetti day. Friday is chocolate milk day.
I came to where I am by honest means, for I am an honest seeker. I’m a kind of old teenager with honest desires: to sit upon a throne, to have all that I see, to please many women, and to be ever free of pain. (I’m a lot like you, if you’re an adult male with no spiritual training and a myopic vision of eternity, or a lesbian with the same limitations.)
My life is my job (now). Since my renewed devotion to faith and factory, I find threads of wisdom in my work as a sewing machine operator. The garment that we long to touch is now mass produced here in our workshop. It does no good to touch the hems of robes made for profit, I touch these hems all day as I sew them. And I, devoted as I am, I cannot heal you.
But I remember the hem that draws so much humble longing, for I saw it once.
I remember the Galilean, He fed men on the hillside with bread and dried fish. He spoke of heaven as if… He spoke of church, as if… Then He walked away. He departed, leaving men with their hunger, to return home and ponder the advanced mathematics of simplicity. He destroyed many of us. He promised us death.
His words, and the bread He shared with dirty hands; they somehow compel and draw the soul. His gravity: subtle. His joy: violent. His paradox: transparent. I followed Him.
Then I met another like Him. He promised us life. He served bread too, with deli meats and cheese. There was soup, croutons and garnishes. The meal was planned; organized. His hands—clean. He has a great house band that entertains us every Sunday. He brought us together, gave us the machines of devotion, and we toil happily making icons and souvenirs for the gift store. But I fear, I silently fear, that icons are not made of wood or stone, but faith and blood. An icon is a living thing, a walking thing. An icon is fragile, it eats, it farts, it doubts. It believes. Living icons have touched the hem of His garment; the song is silent and sung from the eyes.
But happy toil fills the time, and machines hum along to fill the shop windows. I guess I stay because I have a big window by my work station. I can see the hillside from where I work.
Our leader was recently on the evening news, pictured with his boyfriend. His wife and children were really upset. I guess he likes a bit of sausage on the side of his marriage.
Our sweatshop was divided over whether to stay together, cut off his sausage and serve it to him, or abandon the faith. Most of us decided to stay, as it was Wednesday and the garlic bread is wonderful.
And I continue sewing hems, as if…
By: M. Joseph Liebe. “plantingpennies”