Saturday, September 22, 2007
Bring on the Fu Dogs
I went to an auction.
I have a friend, a fairly new but solid friend, who has leukemia. This is heartbreaking. What an incredible person she is: a theologian who turned me on to Jesus of the Week, a woman who can glimpse the wink in the eye of the divine. She and her husband run a theology discussion group that my spouse and I attend, and we revel in the ideas and the open minded, open hearted experience that is being with these wonderful people.
I had been thinking about the next blog for some time, about writing something on how we Americans are in danger of turning into what we despise, about the CIA even out CIA-ing itself, bla bla bla, but then I went to an auction with my friend who has leukemia, and who just got some bad news about her recent blood work.
It was a gorgeous day to go to a country auction, and this one was out in the shadow of Mt. Ascutney, on a big farm with house, barn, and horse rink. The auctioneers were doing their patter, starting with high bids and dropping gracefully to lower ones when nobody wanted to start at $500 for that table.
Susan trotted over to inspect the merchandise and came back lusting for a beautiful Buddha and a couple of marble fu dogs, among other treasures. I am into shedding possessions myself and wasn’t interested in bidding but was happy for the company and the crowd and the breeze, not to mention viewing all the tchochkes of varying appeal. It’s fun to think ewwww when something tacky comes up for bid and then listen to somebody behind you offer $15 for it.
Susan found a statue of a goose–-a wonderful, flying thing that looked ready for anything skyward. She got it. “Bring out the Buddha,” she kept chanting, till finally they did, and she got that, too. Somebody outbid her on a carriage print she wanted for her sister. “Bring on the fu dogs,” she said until they did, and she bought them, too.
Susan and Kenneth lived in Texas and can tell you all sorts of stories about Bush and his cronies there, life in the buckle on the Bible Belt. Kenneth is a Brit who was in charge of interfaith dialogue for the Council of Churches in Great Britain. These two can find the spark of the divine in anybody’s faith tradition, and do. They fairly glow with good will. Jesus would have liked them immensely. Texas must have been quite a revelation to them both.
Susan doesn’t see herself as an unhealthy person. She is golden and vibrant and energetic, full of good humor and grace. She was gleeful with her purchases, after a long week of wondering what the significance of her new counts would be, but a little chagrined, too. “I do feel better,” she said, “but I shouldn’t need things to feel better.”
“It’s okay to need things to feel better,” I said to her. I wanted to buy anything that would make her feel better. I wanted to buy her new blood work, little red corpuscles, perfect balances of the red and the white.
Instead, all I could do was trot along with her and enjoy the day.
I’ve decided that I can’t share this day with the Bushes or the Cheneys or Congress or the candidates or the CIA.
This day is Susan's.