Meiyan walked like a stranger for an amount of time that is of little consequence. When one is a stranger in a strange place, and begins to feel the homelessness of an unrevealed purpose, time seems to bend, or stretch, or stop. He rarely paused to consider the people and the place, but rather was propelled on through it, half blind, half aware. He saw things clearly, and in that fresh light of grace that is so tangible to the mind of one experiencing things for the first time.
But it was not long before he was greeted by a young man. Meiyan had stopped beneath an awning that flapped lazily in the hot breeze, and afforded just enough shade in its pulsations to be a respite from the sun.
Meiyan saw that the young man was about his age, with curiosity in his eyes.
Hi, he replied. How’s it going?
Hot, said the young man, looking beyond the pillars of smoke that divided the blaze of the sun above. Where are you from?
From beyond the city lines. To the east side.
Haven’t been here long have you? By the way, my names Haro, said the young man.
Nice to meet you. Long enough…just getting to know the place. And you?
I am just passing through, but I’ve been here several weeks. I rode the trains in, and have been waiting for a gathering of my friends who should be coming through in not too long. We’ll be going to Furtile. You been there? Haro shifted on his feet, looked around distractedly.
No, I don’t believe I have, said Meiyan.
You should go, he said. In the meantime I’ll show you around.
They walked across to a long line where a transit system was designed to carry passengers across the outskirts of the city and into the central area, visible as a series of spikes on the horizon, and distinct from the rest of the area because no factory arms reached into the sky.
It was a wait for the next transit line, so they passed time walking by shops where people were drinking and reading on the sidewalks, plazas that reflected the heat back up to the bronze sky, and tables and cloths thrown about the curbs where people of all ages stopped to look at trinkets and pay to hear their fortunes. There were flower shops and clothing stores blaring repeated ads on megaphones, and buildings that slumbered like giants on beds supported by massive columns of stone. Some people were dressed in rags and walked barefoot, and others moved by in vehicles that hovered automatically engaged in their own agendas. Shacks of tin and ventilation towers of glass and steel.
You said you were waiting for friends? What about your family? asked Meiyan.
Yeah. said Haro surveying him out of the corner of his eyes. Been a while since i saw family. I’ve got friends though, and we’ll meet up and have a good time. I’ll introduce you. Haro flashed smile. So why are you on the road?
Meiyan was silent a while, staring down at the book in his hand. I heard…well, I mean…do you know when you see something common–something you’re used to–like it was the first time? Like some asteroid from heaven had just broken in through the atmosphere, and shifted everything else when it collided? I’m just passing through really.
I’m thinking you’ll like my friends. Listen, where are you staying? I’ll take you over to Furtile gate, and if you can get through, then we’ll have a good time.
What that you’re reading? Is that a journal?
Yes. And no. It’s a journal, but not mine.
Even better, wait till I tell my friends.
The transit car came and Haro slipped suddenly into the exit door, in the melee of passengers, and beckoned Meiyan to do so as well. Holding his book tightly he looked to where the passengers were paying the conductor’s fare. But after a moment’s hesitation, he pressed himself around the last few exiting passengers and found himself on board a car, crowded with people standing, sitting, squatting. The conductor was now moving in their direction and Haro quickly turned and walked away, and Meiyan followed. Car after car, they walked, and Meiyan saw the city grow in density, with hovels, and plots of farmed land cemented into terraced roofs of tenement houses, skyways, and increasingly heavy vehicle traffic.
Meiyan was arrested from following the sites they were passing then by a cry. He looked and it was a woman, red in the face after a loud series of curses and complaints. She was wrapped obscenely in knots of clothes and rags and bags of cloth and miscellaneous material, pushing a cart of similar indistinct items against the wall of the car. She was laboriously lashing the cart to a post there, and yelling as she did so. Meiyan stopped in his tracks there as Haro hurried past, that beneath her, like a pool of filthy oil was a shadow that both shocked and revolted him. It seemed like a stain, or formless pit beneath her feet. His stomach and heart both seemed to turn in reaction to that sight of stark emptiness and bitterness, even in the dim interior light of the car. She raised two blood shot eyes to him, and continuing her furious dialogue, directed the force of her cry at him, You’ve come here, why, why?! Go away! The car stopped suddenly, and sent Meiyan off balance, and he stumbled on into the next car, just in time to see Haro exiting to the street.
Bag lady told you, said Haro.
Meiyan smiled unconvincingly and looked away. Suddenly there was a commotion behind them, and both turned there heads to see a knot of people far behind them moving erratically as if surprised. As the commotion grew they saw that people were scattering every which way in the street, and in the midst of the chaos bounded a large beast on heavy paws, who though he seemed to be snapping from side to side, was picking up speed. Haro began to look around nervously and then beckon Meiyan to follow him towards an old stone building that stood on the corner of the street side opposite them.
To be continue in "A Young Man's Alphabet: D"
Come Magnify the Lord
We are exhorted into fellowship with the goal of making large what is not readily large in relationship. This magnification of the Lord, the only One who Is, and who describes Himself as I AM, requires a movement on our part: to Come into fellowship, to Come out of the present situation, to Come closer to God. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8
Let Us Exalt His Name
In order to exalt God’s Name, we must know God’s Name. Although all creation, as His own workmanship, will render praise to the Creator out of the marking the creature bears of the Creator’s hand in past, present, or future, we are given an invitation here. This invitation we can also extend to others, and in doing so, bear the image and the reproach of our God, for not all are willing.
In the community of God is the perfection of the Holy Trinity, and His people are likewise of complex and interwoven design. Not one is alike another, yet all seek the whole, and exist within the fragile balance which is God’s strength and glory. We recognize our own frailty within relationship, and we are not blind to our corporate weakness, yet even so, “a thrice bound cord is not easily broken.” Eccl. 4:12
To Make Christ Beautiful and Satisfying to Our Minds