I learned yesterday that the gift Toyota is not going to be. Turned out it’s a great vehicle for someone who doesn’t mind getting out and doing minor wrenching once in a while, but not for someone who just wants to get in and go.
But I had fun exchanging messages and receiving photos from FishOrMan (and with another friend who offered to join the Toyota conspiracy) and I consider the offer(s) and consequences to be part of the magic that touches my life so often.
It’s been a rough six or seven days. There’s been good news (no surgery! Toyota offer) but also more stresses and troubles than I’ve written about. I found that when FishOrMan emailed to say he didn’t think his 4-Runner was for me, I felt peaceful and happy about the decision. Somehow it was one more thing I didn’t have to think about.
I’ve been having a fine time on foot. It’s been mind-easing not to think about car repairs for a while. And heaven knows Ava thinks walking even more than usual is the way to live. I’ll take Old Blue in for a second opinion. If she’s fixable, I’ll get her fixed. If not, another vehicle will come along when the time is right. I can still drive Old Blue short distances — to the grocery store, for instance, or to Furrydoc’s clinic in an emergency. Who knows, maybe the Elio will eventually become something other than vaporware and endlessly upbeat PR.
And there’s always that magic. Which I think of as the work of good friends, good fortune, and good freedomista hearts, but which some of those friends are more inclined to see as God’s providence coupled with human action.
One of those moments struck yesterday, as well. It arrived at my PO box in an envelope that held both $100 and a dare. Not merely a dare, but a double dare. The sender didn’t go as far as making it a double-DOG-dare. But still. It was serious stuff.
For my friend’s privacy, I can’t give much background. So this might seem out of context. I’ll just ask you to understand that the money and the dare were a culmination of a long, sometimes challenging dialog between skeptical me and one of the most devout (though unconventionally devout) people I know. A dialog that (unusually in these cases) has never been about proselytizing, but only about faith and God and the intellect and art and many wide-ranging things.
So to the dare: After I quickly pocketed the money (because I was in a public place and even in this friendly small town it doesn’t do to wave random pictures of Ulysses S. Grant around in public), I read the accompanying letter.
The $100 is meant to be the deposit on a week-long icon-painting class to be held at a monastery here in the PNW this summer. The class requires staying at the remote, rural location (a feature, not a bug). The class fee is $500. Room and board with the contemplative community is another $210 or thereabouts. Somebody has to take care of my animals. And somehow I have to get there. (I can reach the nearest town by bus, but the last 12 or 15 miles gets tricky.)
I accepted the dare immediately. I sent off to the monastery for class registration papers as soon as I got home. There was no doubt from the second I read the letter.
If this all seems totally off-the-wall, I may just have to leave you with that impression. My friend didn’t realize, and I find it impossible to explain, that icon painting, remote monasteries, and the chance to learn an artform that’s both highly formalized and devotional has meaning for me that goes both back to my roots and back to the three hours I spent in a float tank last week.
Is it completely impractical to consider accepting this dare — double-dare! — at a time when half my house still needs to be raised and repaired? While Old Blue is sitting lame and neglected in the driveway? When I’ve gotten this far only through the help of friends?
Yep. Completely impractical. Crazy, nutz. Call it what you will. Shake your head, click your tongue. If I were you, I’d probably type tsk-tsk into my computer.
But I’ll also call it absolutely necessary. Necessary to heart and soul. Necessary to follow where my friend, my inner voice, and those hours in the float tank are sending me.
How to make it happen … that’s still ahead. Metals prices are up; I have a few coins I could sell. I still have a bit of my generator fund, no longer needed since the gift of the magical Honda. I won’t touch the house-foundation fund. I did have to tap into it to pay doctors (ptooey!), but that fund is strictly for practical, necessary things.
And though I don’t intend to ask (because I’ve already received more than my share), maybe other souls who value impractical aesthetics and wild leaps of faith will want to contribute to the crazy cause.
But … dare enthusiastically accepted.
Source. (That one’s not really an icon and I gather that it’s a huge no-no, at least in purist eyes, to paint an icon on canvas rather than on board. But it turned up in my image search for icon painting and I thought it was charming.)