Paths of Devotion
Don't hide your heart but reveal it,Last week my friend Vitaly greeted me with a sudden handshake. He had returned from
So that mine might be revealed,
And I might accept what I am capable of.
It was clear that Vitaly was reeling from the experience. On the way to
In my sterile cubicle, Vitaly shared that he had never lost someone so close. We didn’t say much, but I knew what he was feeling. We both had lost sick and elderly grandparents, aunts, uncles, but until recently neither of us had come so close to death.
Vitaly described how he spent New Year’s with his eighty-eight-year-old grandmother, drinking champagne and watching fireworks explode over
Modernity has buried the old ways of initiation and provides no sure path to mastery. Those who in previous ages would have become elders are now locked away in institutions full of close supervision and technical know-how. Our youth can work all sorts of entertaining technologies but take longer and longer to become true adults, if they do at all, with few qualified to guide them along the way. We’ve forgotten the natural world and its animals, who are in many respects our superiors. We are immigrants in a cold, unyielding land.
Last year was marked by further travels in the outer and inner worlds. Like Vitaly, I had flown to the other side of the earth, into another time and place. Last May, while Vitaly visited his father for what would be the last time, I walked leaf-strewn streets in
Today, a little later than usual, I put on my coat and made for the corner door. Vitaly had his on, too. “You going for a smoke?” I smiled. “Yeah.”
We slipped out the door and into the first snowfall of the year. We crossed the parking lot, and I headed for the bordering trees. “Where are you taking me?” Vitaly asked. “To my secret place,” I joked. We went up a short embankment and under a canopy of pines to the Quaker meeting house just beyond.
I said that it was old and Vitaly said that nothing in