God-Forsaken Tear Ducts

by joanabagano

My eyes wander around the room, dark if not for strobe lights that dance rhythmically and carelessly to the beat of the drums and the tinkle of the cymbals. My seatmate’s hands are raised up high as if to say “Take me, take me now,” to the God up there, in here, the God somewhere. She puts down one arm, wipes her cheek with one hand and raises the arm up again.

I close my eyes and listen to the music. Images come flashing in the dark panorama behind my eyelids and the more I try to push them away, the more they become vivid and the faster they arrive. Some images are carefully intertwined, others disconnected, still others have come from so far away and so long ago. The food I ate last night. My friend’s car. Brothers. China. My dad’s church. Karl Marx. Why I don’t like chocolate very much. Books I should be reading. Politics. My organization’s internal problems. My crush. I never follow my train of thought fast enough to keep track of everything that enters my head.

I open my eyes. Only ten seconds have passed. My eyes are still dry while my seatmate is fumbling for tissue in her bag. She’s having difficulty behind misty and heavy eyes so I pick my pocket for the tissue I have left, the tissue I prepared in case this night would be the first night of many that I would cry again. I am sorrily mistaken so I elbow her and offer the tissue.

“Thanks. God is awesome,” she says. I nod. God is awesome. I think about the sentence for a minute or two, dissecting the only three words it has. God. Who is He? All my life I’ve been hearing His name and never in my years was I ever close enough to who He is. I dismiss the question because I don’t know the answer and my knowledge would never be enough. Is. Present. Now. If God is awesome now, then He is present now. Existing. Living. Breathing. Awesome. Sometimes I think it’s overused, but language is the closest we can ever get to understanding each other and so we excuse every cliche there is. God. Is. Awesome. It’s like saying “God is God.” But because awesome is not all He is, we use “God is awesome”. Much like saying that “Salad is lettuce.” It’s not only following my train of thought that I have difficulty with, it’s also understanding the way I think.

I close my eyes again. This time, I imagine myself walking in an empty space, as if all my life I’ve been in full places. The feeling is a familiar atmosphere of vulnerability and strength, loss and gain, injury and healing.

It’s when we are alone that we realize who we really are and that’s like saying, “We are everything.” We are everything from the moments we extract from the memories we remember to those other times we no longer keep in mind. We are our tears, here now and maybe gone for a while because maybe, just maybe, our tissue was meant for somebody else. We are our own little idols in our own space within this world. We admire ourselves, call ourselves awesome as we call our God awesome because who are we but faint echoes of who He is? And maybe that’s all we can ever be. I don’t know. I take everything I hear (from the pulpit to the classroom) with a grain of salt. There is only faith, hope, love. And even in the end, only love remains.

The question begs, “What if even love is no longer present?” I say the lack of love wouldn’t even bring you to ask that question. Love remains, at least and at best.