I had to learn from experience that death was only temporary.
As a small boy, frail in body and spirit, I reached so far beyond the world of the living I didn’t bring all of me back. I tapped into lives that had been lived and maybe lost. They just kind of reached out and grabbed me. Other people’s pains chewed through me like lingering nostalgia for days I couldn’t quite recall. I took on the hurt of others like festering sores draining the spirit out of me.
Our family didn’t talk about what churned and ate away at us. Dad said all we needed to know was in our little catechisms or brightly colored Bible tales. For anything too deep and hurtful; that didn’t make any sense, just wasn’t fair, and we really, really needed to come to grips with; he’d just say, “Well, that’s just one of God’s glorious mysteries.” End of story.
Not for me, it wasn’t.
Blind obedience was our nemesis and inspiration.
I couldn’t resist questioning encrusted old beliefs, though questioning was the worst of all sins.
Pathologically sensitive, young Ed feels what people hide even from themselves. His world churns with matters so terribly unfair that he can’t accept them. Overwhelmed by hopelessness, he’s afraid to reach out into life.
Ed leaves for college as the Vietnam War deadens souls and riots tear cities apart. He has to deal with hippie artists trying to out-weird each other, police attacking innocents, and friends committing suicide.
In one month he drops out of school, turns twenty-one, his father dies, and he is drafted.
He refuses induction. He knows that if he ever finds himself in a paddy facing an armed enemy soldier, he wouldn’t be the one pulling the trigger.
Hitching a ride west with a strangely wise cowboy, he is pulled ever deeper into the bizarre and the impossible. He meets healers and miracle workers as he sorts through his own darkness and power.
He camps in deserts, sets out to sea, even walks out into the fury of a hurricane, trying to touch God close up and in all His power. He has given up on finding Him in any one religion. If He is out there, you may have to kill yourself to find him.
He teaches massage school in southern California, his life spilling over with unbridled passion now of a more erogenous sort. And yet for a while longer he must still taste darkness, failure, and bitterness.
Sometimes we have to be destroyed so we can be reborn. Anything that can be ground out you by another may need to be let go of anyway before you can see what you truly are. Crawling from the wreckage of his own being, Ed finds wisdom and healing one naked truth at a time.
He discovers that we don’t have to search for God, soul, magic, and truth. They have been with us, inside us, since our childhood.
In the end it is all about love, knowing that when you hug a child, or scratch a dog, you can find everything that is most magical and beautiful in your own hands and heart.