The Beautiful Life & Perfect Death of Father Davidson: Chapter 51

Deirdre went quiet on the other side of the wall; and I listened closely a little longer, trying to hear what she was doing, before continuing on my walk. Flower petals fluttered past me through the air, and I smiled contentedly as I viewed the path ahead—looking like a street after a parade—multi-colored and festive. I could no longer hear Deirdre so I continued on my way, almost reaching the large chestnut tree at the southern corner of the wall, when I heard the familiar creak, and clackety-clacking, of Father Davidson’s bicycle behind me. I turned around and watched as he parked his bike, leaning it against another chestnut tree near the northern corner of the wall, some 75 feet or so away from me; and then he clambered like a squirrel up the tree and across a low-hanging branch, and then onto the wall. For a man nearly fifty, or thereabouts, he was quite agile and limber; and I admired his dexterity.

He stood still and very erect for a brief moment, staring down at Deirdre, before saluting to her, and then jumping into action; dancing along the wall in the same way he had when I first met him—one step, two, and a little hop, and a twirl, and then repeating. This time however, flower petals flew in all directions as he went; and he reminded me of a child with a pile of fallen leaves. He smiled broadly, and glanced often in Deirdre’s direction, to make sure that she was still watching him.

“Come on, get down now.” I heard her plead, but more gently this time than before. And then: “You don’t need to hurt yourself. You win, I’m too tired to fight you anymore.”

Father Davidson didn’t stop however, but continued to hop, and twirl, and kick up flowers in all directions. Yet, when he had reached about midway along the wall, he laughed loudly—or did he shriek?—and he tripped, or was it intentional? And he fell off the wall and out of my sight, landing on the other side with a rustle and then a thump.

I’m still unsure what exactly happened on Deirdre’s wall at that moment—when I go over it in my mind. It seemed that he may have slipped, as perhaps the petals were wet and slick from the morning dew. But he may have tripped, as his right foot appeared to hit a protruding stone and he lost his footing. But on the other hand, he may have simply jumped.

By the time I ran around to the side gate and into the backyard, Deirdre had managed to lift Father Davidson’s torso up onto her lap as she knelt on the ground behind him. His hands and feet were bloody, and he appeared to be unconscious as she held him in her arms. Nearby shrubs must have softened his fall before hitting the ground; although I noticed a large bump growing upon his forehead, indicating that he must have struck it fairly hard.

Deirdre looked panicked and distressed as she rubbed his face briskly with a scarf, which she pulled from around her neck. He was breathing but unresponsive; and the next few minutes seemed to stretch into eternity as we tried to wake him up. Eventually cold water splashed onto his face, and over his head, helped revive Father Davidson. However, he was groggy and mostly incoherent as his eyes struggled to focus; and he turned his head this way and that, attempting to understand where he was and what had happened to him. But when Deirdre asked me to call for an ambulance, the Father suddenly became more alert and aware of his circumstances and adamantly refused—instead, insisting to be brought inside, and for Deirdre to care for him.

And though she was clearly reluctant to do so, she acquiesced, and between the two of us we managed to hoist the Father to his feet, propping him up as he stumbled across the backyard and into Deirdre’s house. Once inside, she directed us down a short hallway, and then into her spare room—Ryan’s former bedroom. We helped Father Davidson onto the bed, propping his head under several pillows; and I sat beside him while Deirdre went to get a washcloth to clean the blood from his hands and feet. He remained delirious as she cleaned him, saying ridiculous and nonsensical things that made her smile, and even laugh; and when she finished, he was asleep.

She had washed him with great care and gentleness, which made it hard for me to believe the things I knew about her anger; for anger or harsh feelings seemed too incongruous for the sweet woman I saw here before me, hovering attentively over the ailing Father. But how complicated, multi-faceted, and changeable is a human being; at peace one moment and then provoked to madness the next, and then settled once again. Though Father Davidson had clearly awakened her to her better nature, and Deirdre looked joyful for once, and her face seemed radiant with a new happiness and purpose. I hesitated to leave the old woman to care for him alone, but she assured me she was fine and could manage.

Father Davidson stayed with Deirdre for several days, until his wounds began to scab over and the bump on his forehead went down. She cared for him like a mother would, much to her own surprise; and her heart warmed to him, as she allowed her own wounds to heal and she began to forgive. She hadn’t intended to forgive him, but the decision snuck up on her unexpectedly. If she had been honest with herself, she always knew in her heart that he had never intentionally hurt her boy Ryan; she had always known this, though it was inconvenient and unsatisfying to admit it.

In fact, she often doubted that Father Davidson, or Josh as she always thought of him, had actually anything to do with her son’s death at all; she had secretly come to accept that it was just an unfortunate accident, and one that was most likely caused by Richard, and not by Josh. Now, as she watched the Father sleeping soundly, she wondered why she had harbored such anger and bitterness towards him all of these years. He certainly hadn’t deserved it, so why had it taken her so long to accept this? She wanted to wake him now to apologize for everything, but she let him sleep. Certainly, there would be time to finally apologize later.

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The Beautiful Life & Perfect Death of Father Davidson: Chapter 50

Father Davidson came down from Deirdre’s wall, politely honoring her request; but he was back, dancing atop her wall the following day. He must have had some purpose, or seen some opportunity for helping Deirdre from up there; because he wasn’t one to antagonize another person maliciously, or for no reason. At least that’s my opinion.

Months passed in which Father Davidson often visited Deirdre in this way, even though there never appeared any opening for a reconciliation, nor any healing of the old wounds she carried towards him. Typically, his antics were met by her with chastisement, abuse or belittlement; so that it seemed to most casual observers that he must either be a glutton for punishment, or have a screw loose.

Father Davidson concluded his story about the desert in the late fall, and during the long, cold winter which followed, I never saw him. I returned to the campfire several times but he never appeared, as he said he wouldn’t; and his presence was nowhere to be seen around town. I expect that he spent most of the winter in his cabin praying, since he had explained to us at our last meeting together around the fire, that this is what he intended to do. Whether or not he visited Deirdre during the winter, or danced upon her wall during this time, I am unaware.

But when spring finally arrived it was a glorious rebirth of budding foliage and flowers, and the reemergence of the Father. He announced his return in a most subtle, and extravagant, and beautiful way; though only to one person, Deirdre, and to anyone else who might have caught sight of the sign and understood it. I happened to be up early this particular morning, and taking a long walk around town when I passed by the tall stone wall which sheltered Deirdre’s home behind it, and had lately often hosted Father Davidson’s tragicomedies. It is a sturdy old wall, made of brown basalt and held together by mortar; standing nearly seven feet tall, and perhaps roughly eighteen inches wide—it is normally imposing and solemn. But not on this morning; today it was welcoming and playful, festooned with a cacophony of flower petals piled across its entire ridge, and cascading across its face during every small breeze—leaving mounds of petals piled here and there against its base, and fluttering gymnastically across the street where I walked.

At that time I didn’t know Deirdre, but I heard her moaning from the other side of the wall and I wondered what it could mean. I also didn’t know or understand the meaning behind the flower petals, nor their connection within her heart to the memory of her dear little boy—long since gone. But I later learned that in this way, Father Davidson memorialized Ryan’s childhood gift of flowers to his mother—in this same way—every year on the anniversary of Ryan’s death. Was this kind, was it cruel? It evoked strong emotion from Deirdre, and she cried every time. This is how she later described it: at first the abundant flowers startled her, and then they unlocked a wellspring of sorrows which were held in check and unmoving but finally released each year, and then she felt peace, a deep calm that was always elusive, until after her outpouring of tears. She missed her boy, but she liked this tribute; it made her smile—finally, after all the tears had gone. Little by little it also caused her to reconsider her unmoving and stoic hatred of Father Davidson.

Eventually—she would later confess—she came to look forward to Father Davidson’s visits. For one, they broke up the monotony that her life had become; since she left the house infrequently, and almost never entertained guests. Secondly, the freedom she experienced while watching him, gave her hope. What kind of hope? It is difficult to say; she didn’t know. But the release that his antics created inside her, as she watched him play on top of her wall, this release allowed her to experience life again, and the darkness that had plagued her for so many years parted a little bit, allowing a little light into her soul. The hope she felt related to this feeling of lightness; hope, light, and freedom performed an alchemy that transformed Deirdre.

She had never been a religious, nor even a spiritual person, not that she could remember. Although, she still had some faint memories as a young child being a creative and imaginative person; and she remembered that these things opened doors in her mind, or was it her heart—or both—that seemed to touch upon the realm of other worlds. She still remembered those times, as a little girl, when she felt she could feel and hear angels; and thoughts of God were not antithetical to her nature.

But these things seemed a lifetime ago, and she doubted she could ever be that person again. For one thing, she was far too old now to entertain childish thoughts, wasn’t she? And even if she could allow herself the freedom to imagine once again, and to re-explore the things of her childhood, would it even be possible? How could she learn to do it? Even considering it made her feel afraid and inadequate. And she could hear her father’s voice, the memory of him telling her to grow up and to put aside such foolish thoughts; that she was a ridiculous and silly girl. His voice in particular seized her, and paralyzed her impulse to try again.

But now there was Father Davidson, who seemed to be calling her to confront these fears; and his presence gave her new courage. Perhaps it was possible to begin again; maybe she could discover herself after all the years of pain had obscured her vision. To survive, it had always seemed the better option to let herself disappear under layers of falsehoods,   deceptions, and diversions.  But honestly, she was tired of hiding, running and fighting; and she was curious to see what more Father Davidson might show her.

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The Beautiful Life & Perfect Death of Father Davidson: Chapter 49

Deirdre recovered, and after a brief stay under suicide watch in a nearby hospital, she returned home to her beloved son. He was so precious to her now, more than ever; as life itself held more meaning—and more hope—than it had before her close brush with death. And she was profoundly grateful to the two teens who had saved her life, allowing her to return to her little boy (though not so little any longer). Who were they? They were a brother and sister she had been told; the girl had masterfully sailed them back to shore, while the boy had plucked her from the waves and somehow performed mouth to mouth resuscitation while she was still partially in the water, until she was back on land and could be treated by paramedics. Amazing!

Deirdre wanted to meet them, since she owed them both her life, but time passed, and the more time elapsed, the more embarrassed she became, having never thanked them. Eventually, the shame she felt about this, transformed in some strange way within her, so that she became angry with them instead. She blamed them for saving her life, believing that she would have been better off if she had died. At times she believed this with all her being, but then at other times she was still glad to be alive—for Ryan’s sake.

But it would have been so easy to just slip below the waves and disappear, she would think; in fact she had already become unconscious, so she wouldn’t have known anything, the hard part she had already overcome. Death had been within her grasp, and she was already half-way there, until the young man, Josh, had pulled her back. Was that fate? Or dumb luck? She believed in both. Life was so ugly, and death seemed so right—the perfect answer to the ugliness of her life, so why was she saved?

She even considered that Josh had saved her intentionally in order to torment her. These are the twisted maneuvers that her mind could make. And if there was a God, he surely had it out for her, somehow wanting to cause her as much pain as possible in this life, and using Josh to do it. She began to see Josh, not so much as a savior anymore, but as a tormentor and a messenger of evil. But then she’d stop herself, because these were crazy thoughts, and he’s just a kid after all, and he saved her life! Of course he didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t even know her! So she’d stop with this painful, demented train of thought and come to her senses again, feeling gratitude for the second chance at life that resulted from Josh’s, and his sister’s, act of bravery and selflessness towards her.

But Deirdre was a restless sort of person, so she could never finally settle on one way of thinking, or the other. Until the café fire and the loss of her boy, proved once and for all that Josh was indeed a bad person who had come into her life to hurt her, and to make her life “a living hell,” as she often would say. She wanted nothing more to do with Josh Davidson, even hoping that he might die; but if that wasn’t possible, at the very least he should go to prison for a very long time. She hoped she’d never have to see him again. But as fate, or dumb-luck works, we often don’t get what we hope for in this life. Some would say that God has a better plan for us; but Deirdre didn’t know anything about God, and this didn’t cross her mind.

Josh did go away to prison for a while and this pleased Deirdre; though she felt it wasn’t nearly long enough. She was alone now and missed her boy tremendously. She often thought about his final moments in the fire, but she couldn’t bring herself to dwell on the horror of that for long; so she’d distract herself by reading through the journal that Ryan had left behind: filled with his thoughts, fears, and hopes for the future. She was surprised to see how much Ryan had begun to think about God; and also how much influence Josh Davidson had on her son. These two things bothered her and they made her feel very uncomfortable; to distract herself from this, she’d cleaned the house a little, but surprisingly she wouldn’t pour herself a drink. She had grown too weary for that, and she was tired of feeling hungover all the time. Most days she still needed a drink, but not so much as a distraction anymore, just for maintenance.

She’d gaze out the back window into the spacious backyard, imagining her little boy out there playing with Buddy the dog. She could spend hours daydreaming, going over all of his exploits in her mind, almost imagining that he was really out there, dancing along the top of the old stone wall, or picking flowers and bringing them into the house to give her.

Until one day, years later, suddenly and as if out of a dream—or out of a nightmare—that young man showed up again (now quite a bit older). It was Josh Davidson walking along the top of the wall, dancing and hopping, and twirling like a marionette, imitating her dear son Ryan! Deirdre stood at her back window watching him, in shock and disbelief and unable to move. A cascade of thoughts flooded her mind, and she was unable to keep up or focus on any one of them: “…how did he get there? where did he come from?…how did he know her little Ryan used to do that same dance on the wall?…and why is he imitating him?…and why is she enjoying watching him?…how could she enjoy it and why can’t she turn away, or close her eyes?…what are these tears falling now?…and why am I crying…and how does he know?!”

Deirdre wiped the tears from her face, and this broke the trance; she immediately jumped into action, running around to the back door, and out across the yard to where Josh was balancing on the wall, and she yelled up to him with all her strength: “What in hell are you doing up there?! Get off my wall!!!

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The Beautiful Life & Perfect Death of Father Davidson: Chapter 48

Thoughts about God led Ryan in new directions; he lost interest in his old books about adventure and intrigue, and sought out more philosophical and theologically themed works. He and Josh both worked together early in the morning, before Ryan went to school, and he looked forward to these times to talk about what he had read, to get Josh’s opinion about these matters. And while Josh had done some reading himself, his feeling was that it was more important to seek God directly in life and living, rather than through a book. Ryan jotted down some notes about one of their conversations in a journal found at his home, from which I’ve tried to reconstruct the basics of, and share with you here:

“I’ve always felt as though you know God personally,” Ryan commented to Josh early one morning. “How do you know him?”

“If I know him at all…I’m not always sure that I do…I think it is by using my body, or everything that I am, to search for him,” Josh replied. “I watch for him, I listen, I think always about God, if I can…and I stop my thoughts as much as possible, so that I can experience him through my living.”

“But I don’t experience him, it doesn’t seem to me that he is near. I like to read about him though, a lot of what’s written makes sense to me, though a lot of it also doesn’t make sense,” Ryan countered.

“God is much closer than we realize, I think,” Josh continued. “I think we just don’t know how to understand his presence. That’s what we need to learn…is how to train our senses to experience him. It’s like we can see, but our eyes don’t understand what they’re seeing.”

“How do you do that!?” Ryan exclaimed.

“I don’t think books can teach us that; maybe they can point the way, or inspire us a little. I’m not sure how we learn it actually,” Josh shrugged innocently. “Or…we learn by doing, and by asking. I ask God to teach me how to find him. I pray, I guess you’d call it. I talk to God—whether I think he’s there or not—and to my surprise…eventually he appears to me, somehow.”

Conversations such as this one gave Ryan hope. Josh had made the prospect of knowing God seem possible, and this hope became a new powerful and important ally in his battle against his sadness and despair. He also hoped that his mom would discover this herself someday, and find a way out of her own darkness. In fact, one morning he even asked Josh directly for his help with this. He was almost pleading that Josh would teach his mom how to know God, so that she could be happy; and Josh promised Ryan that he would try.

However, several months later the café burned down, and Ryan died in the fire, and Josh confessed to starting the fire. This horrible and tragic event greatly complicated his relationship with Ryan’s mother, and prevented her from allowing Josh to fulfill his promise to his friend.

Deirdre already knew Josh, from an event that had occurred a few years earlier, and this event left her with very strong, and very mixed feelings about the young man. So that now, as he was apparently the cause of her own son’s death, she understandably didn’t want to have anything to do with him; the anger that so often had derailed her in the past, now seethed within her towards him, and yet she was confused and unsure about this anger. She felt ashamed of her anger, in this particular case…at one moment chastising herself because she owed her own life to the boy…and the next moment wishing she and Ryan had never met him, wishing that Josh had died, instead of her son.

Deirdre hadn’t wished someone else were dead, since Ryan’s father had left them; he was the last person—other than herself—that she seriously had these thoughts and feelings towards. But as she devoted herself to raising Ryan, eventually her anger towards her ex-husband faded, replaced by new causes and objects of her rage. But the one person who always made her feel better was her son; though she regrettably and incomprehensibly often directed her anger towards him. How could she do it?! She often asked herself this question, while locked behind her bedroom door—as much to protect her little boy from herself, as to protect herself from the world.

Rage turned to sadness turned to despair; but drinking set her free. A gin and tonic, or a vodka and coke always helped her breathe again, when life seemed to want to suck the oxygen right out of her lungs. And with a smile, she’d pour a second drink, and gaze out the bedroom window, and secretly watch her beautiful baby boy as he was playing with the dog. Her heart always softened—and she entirely forgot the issues she had against life—as she watched him play: picking flowers, climbing trees, and dancing like a silly marionette across the top of the stone wall, at the far end of the yard. Whatever he did out there always made her smile, and chuckle to herself; and after a third or fourth drink, she was often in hysterics—a happiness due to her son, mixing with a desperation at her sinking life—until she collapsed and fell asleep on the floor.

Sometimes she felt very ashamed that she drank so much, with her innocent son in the house. So she started to leave the house to go drinking. And this made her feel better, at least until she had to return home again. By the time Ryan was in high school she had made a habit of leaving the house to visit several local bars; and sometimes she checked in on him before leaving, to make sure he was okay and had food available, in case she didn’t make it back for a few days. Little acts of kindness like that, convinced her that she was doing a pretty good job as a mother, so that she could leave and go to the bar with a clear conscience.

One winter, in the early morning, Deirdre left the bar and attempted to find her way back home. She had a bottle hidden in a bush outside the bar, available in case she hadn’t had enough inside before the bar closed, in case she was still thirsty. She grabbed this vodka on her way out, and took it with her for the long walk home. But she never made it home.

Somewhere along the way, she got confused; she saw the lights across the bay and they looked like streetlights, so she followed them. After that she must have fallen into the water, and sometime after that she must have lost consciousness. Fortunately for her, not too long after that, she was pulled from the water and taken to safety by the Davidson kids, who heroically managed to get her up out of the water, and tie her off to the tiller of their little sailboat, and sail her back to the dock at the nearby marina. Along the way, Josh Davidson kept her alive—filling her shrunken lungs with his own breath—while Amelia piloted them back to safety.

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The Beautiful Life & Perfect Death of Father Davidson: Chapter 47

Before continuing with the final chapters of the story of Father Davidson’s beautiful life and perfect death, I think it would be helpful first to backtrack just a bit; and to share briefly with you, a little about Ryan—the boy who was accidentally killed in the café fire—and his mother. Because their stories intersect with Father Davidson’s in several important ways.

Ryan had no siblings and lived alone with his mother, Deirdre, in a small house on a spacious property south of town. Ryan’s father left them when he was a toddler, leaving the young mother to raise him on her own. She did admirably, at first, motivated by her anger towards Ryan’s dad, and by an intense desire to prove everyone wrong who doubted her ability to take care of herself in these circumstances, let alone raise a boy on her own.

Deirdre’s motherly love for her son, and her devoted attention to his needs, surprised everyone who knew her, who knew her inclination to become overwhelmed within the world of her own turbulent emotions. She fought back the sadness and the anger admirably in her effort to be a good mother to her only child. But these emotions seemed to have a life of their own within her, and they reappeared when she least expected and at the worst times.

She wasn’t herself when the sadness or the anger returned, and she treated her beloved child poorly when this happened; sometimes yelling in a rage, so that he fled the house in tears, or other times retiring to her bedroom and locking the door, ignoring the little boy for hours, or sometimes days at a time.

Over the years Ryan learned to adapt to his mother’s mercurial temperament, and in some ways he even learned how to thrive within her orbit. He loved her immensely, and always found a way to forgive her for her unexpected outbursts; and he knew how to focus his mind on the love that she had showed him over the years, coaxing his memory to linger on only the good times they shared, and concentrating his hopes for the future on these memories of the past.

His young life was plagued with loneliness, and as he grew older, he also discovered a depth of sadness within himself, similar to the one that his mother possessed. Had she taught him this sadness, or passed it along to him unwittingly? Who knows exactly the method that it was transferred to him, but the result was that Ryan learned at an early age to wage his own battle against a profound and chronic sorrow. Fortunately, he had several allies in this fight: his imagination, his love of books, and his best friend, Buddy—a small dog his mother had given him during one of her happier episodes.

As a youngster, Ryan relied especially on Buddy to meet his emotional needs; and the little dog willingly played multiple roles as mother, father, and brother to him. He licked Ryan’s wounds when he fell, protected him against enemies real and imagined, and he wrestled with the little boy, sometimes even competing like a sibling would for the best place on the couch, or battling with him over a tasty treat.

Their refuge was the backyard, in good times and in bad; they could easily spend all day playing in the expansive yard. And when his mother locked herself in her bedroom, they often also spent all night out there. This sounds a little sad, but Ryan and Buddy didn’t see it that way. There was too much to be done to be sad: too many imaginary places to discover, and monsters to defeat, people and dogs to rescue, and prizes and honors to be won!

In winter storms, they braved torrential rains and stormy seas—sometimes defiantly like Captain Ahab, in search for that great white whale, Buddy, hidden beneath waves of tall grass—or other times shipwrecked like Robinson Crusoe, with his trusty dog, Buddy, marooned and trying to survive. And in summer heat, they found shelter from the hot sun under the tall trees, in a hidden grotto at the far corner of the yard; and there they waited for the sun to set, the moon to rise, and for someone like Peter Pan, or their mom, to rescue them.

And Ryan rarely let his mother see him cry; he didn’t want to add to her problems. So he tried to keep it inside, although he sometimes let himself cry when he was safely hidden away. At night was a good time to let it out, under the cover of darkness, and when Buddy was curled up next to his head, so that he could bury his face in the warm, soft fur and silence his sobs. But mostly he would lay there, next to Buddy, not crying, but just thinking about things, wondering what he’d be when he grew up, and praying that Buddy would be there with him when he did.

He often thought about his mom, wondering what he could do to make her feel better. He drew pictures for her, and even performed little plays for her, and she seemed to enjoy these things. She laughed the hardest though when he acted silly, pretending to be a little wooden soldier—or like Pinocchio—walking stiff-legged, and twirling about, and always about to fall down.

And she loved flowers, so he brought her flowers, ones he picked from the garden, or wildflowers that he found growing along the base of the tall stone wall which enclosed the backyard.  He’d scatter them throughout the house, across the tables and chairs and over the counter, because she liked them that way; the wildness of the flowers—and the disarray of their varied colors—strewn throughout the home made her happy. When she saw the flowers in this way, she felt free.

As Ryan grew older he turned his attention to books more, and spent less time in the yard playing games; though because the house was so small, and the pain his mother experienced was so great, he preferred to spend most of his time reading, out in the fort he made amongst the trees. He performed less and less for her, and rarely drew her a picture after he entered high school, but his gift of flowers scattered throughout the house had become a family tradition that neither son nor mother could bear to abandon. Though, for Ryan at least, he took less pleasure in giving them, because he saw the happiness they brought his mother was very short-lived. Flowers didn’t solve her problems.

There were periods when Deirdre left the house for a night or two, leaving Ryan to take care of himself. He didn’t ask questions when she’d return, though she was clearly hungover and smelled of alcohol. One time she was gone for several days, and he learned later that she had been taken to the hospital—that she had nearly died—but he wasn’t given much more information about it other than that. A neighbor came to stay with him until his mother returned home. For several weeks after that incident, she was like a new person. She hugged him, and told him how much she loved him, which she hadn’t done in quite some time. She also noticed and appreciated little details about life which had previously always escaped her, and she commented upon these things in an exaggerated and dramatic way, and exclaimed how grateful she was for everything! For Ryan, her new attitude was refreshing and surprising, and a little entertaining. They both enjoyed each other a lot during this period, though it too was short-lived; and soon things returned to normal again.

In his senior year, Ryan got a job working in the kitchen at Café Diamandis, owned by Apollo and Lilian Diamandis, parents of Mark, one of his classmates. Mark also worked there and helped get him the job, which Ryan appreciated the most because it gave him a good excuse to get out of the house, and away from the confusing and complicated emotions he felt towards his mom. At work he also became good friends with another classmate—Josh Davidson.

Nature is always looking for ways to heal; similarly, Ryan’s nature unconsciously sought out ways to heal the pain and suffering that he experienced. In Josh, Ryan saw an example of the wholeness and health that he wanted for himself; so he was drawn irresistibly to that. He looked for any excuse to be near Josh, to watch him and learn from him. I don’t believe that Ryan did this consciously, nor do I think he was aware of the reasons, but somewhere deep inside him, I think he believed that Josh could show him the way to a new and better life.  In this way, Ryan awakened and opened to the idea of a God, and the possibility that there is a God who might be able to help him. How he made the leap from Josh to God, I can’t say exactly; perhaps it was an intuitive understanding of a connection between health and wholeness, and God. So that when he saw Josh, he also perceived the source of Josh’s health and wholeness—that Josh wasn’t responsible for his own mental and emotional health, but rather enjoyed these as a gift. But if they were a gift, and he came to believe that they were, from where did they come, or from who?

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