The Road Home
I’ve come to believe that direction is more important than destination. It’s better to be in hell looking up toward heaven than it is the other way around.
CHARLES JAMES’S DIARY
FROM CHARLES JAMES
When I was eight years old, about five years before I dismissed God from my life, I asked the priest at church if God made the Garden of Eden.
“God made everything,” he replied.
“Did he make the snake, too?”
Even though my question was an honest one, the priest shook his head angrily and called me a naysayer. At that age I had no idea what that meant, but from his tone, I was sure it was something sinful.
More than twenty years later I still haven’t stopped thinking about that question. Perhaps the truth is that
it’s impossible to build an Eden without snakes, because there’s a snake inside all of us.
Likewise, I’ve come to believe that you can’t have order without chaos. That doesn’t mean that chaos is desirable or on equal terms with order. The nature and goal of civilization is to bring order to chaos (hence the word “civil”). But I don’t see how you can have one without the other. Even anarchy follows rules.
My life right now is the perfect example of that conundrum. I’m living on the street with my future unknown, my business closed down, walking to a woman who not only believes I’m dead but might also not even be upset that I am. My life is the epitome of chaos. So why does my life feel more in order than it has in a decade? Maybe because, in the end, where we are is less important than where we’re going.