I keep imagining that someday I’ll get caught up: write those letters, read those books. What a great imagination! My plans smile at me from tomorrow, always tomorrow. And here it is, always today.

 

S. plays music with a drummer who’s been deaf since childhood, when a neighborhood man beat him unconscious. “He can’t hear words, but he can distinguish tone,” S. writes, “and he is a master drummer. At his drums, he hears everything. I am being taught to listen by a deaf drummer. It is a great privilege.”

 

The sun isn’t your friend. It didn’t laugh at that stupid little joke. But when the business failed, when your beauty failed, when you should have gone home but spent the night, the sun kept shining.

 

We thought we were floating above the world. We thought our nakedness was something special.

 

The old loneliness disguises itself: as my wife, because she isn’t at home; as my children, because they’re away at school. Stephen encouraged me not to try to explain loneliness, and not to condemn it, but to see it as a kind of prayer, a deep longing to feel God’s presence. Do I eat unless I’m hungry? Sleep unless I’m tired? Do I consider what I really long for unless I feel love’s absence?

 

There’s nothing fixed or solid — no man at fifty, no her, no me — only change and impermanence: this endless act of comparison, a shell game in which I always con myself.

 

The secret is that we all have the same secret. Big secret!

 

A pale moon. Sadness. But this is tonight’s meal, so eat.  The Father of Days wants me to taste it all and, when the moon disappears, to eat darkness, eat it all night.

 

How important to set aside time each day for the unknowable. How important to reach out: it doesn’t matter that I don’t yet believe.

 

There’s a power that comes from observing myself, different from the power of bossing myself around with schedules, goals.

 

Thy will. My will. Words make them seem different, just as day and night seem to describe two worlds.

 

Can I start here — in this body, this history, loving who I am, keeping my heart open in the hells I create for myself? Of course, the world will betray me. My wife will grow older and less attractive. (And so will I.) My children will ignore my advice. (And I’ll ignore theirs.)

 

Immediately before lowering the coffin into the grave, the Irish would remove the nails from the lid, so the dead would have no difficulty freeing themselves on Resurrection Day.

 

Nothing the night said about the morning turned out to be true.