Every once in a while, especially on holidays, I find myself wandering through my memory museum - rattling doors and fishing through those virtual hallways. That’s where I found ‘Father Lucas,’ last night, back from when I was eight or so, at (private catholic) school.
Each week, before we received that week's ‘catechism lesson,’ (religious education) from the nuns, we’d get to hear what Father Lucas had to say about the Kafkaesque mysteries of the universe. He looked very old, wise and wrinkled, like a skinny Santa Claus.
Outside of those brief lessons he was always shrouded in a cloud of cigarette smoke. Even at our age, we knew cigarettes were bad for you - but what did ‘Father Lucas’ have to fear from death? On him, the surrounding smoke seemed right and fitting, as if he were the human personification of the burning bush.
My father had just died (we were in a car crash). Before that, the biggest drama in my young life was putting one foot in front of the other, and suddenly, I had a lot - lot, lot of questions that I absolutely, positively and under no circumstances what-so-ever wanted to discuss with anyone.
Imagine, if you will, the gravitas that Rod Serling brought to the introduction of each Twilight Zone episode, and you have Father Lucas’ introducing the lesson. I felt an anticipation of answers independent of my individual situation.
Father Lucas provided context and meaning to the unknown, he dabbled in surrealism, spun out paradox and it seemed that he stood on the very edge of that dark room at the end of the maze. He was transmitting at my frequency, and I could have listened forever. Bless the man.
Ultimately, of course, there were no ‘answers’ - but that’s ok - no answers are an answer.
(*BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Kafkaesque: nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical*)