Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Best Person I've Ever Known

The greatest person I've ever known, Maribel Diaz, died this week. Her traditional Mexican funeral was a tutorial on what matters in life. When I arrived to see her casket in the primitive garage of a crumbling house in a poor neighborhood, I wasn't disturbed at all. She was a global traveler who worked at an aristocratic country club. Yet, she preferred to hang out in the barrio with her family and loved ones. Like Jesus, she was royalty (of character not bloodline) riding on a donkey. I lay a palm branch at her feet.

As people gazed into her coffin, many commented, "Maribel's not here; she's flown." They instinctively knew that her great soul had vacated the physical hull she'd worn only 36 years. As the hearse drove away, the crowd spontaneously applauded then burst out, "Goodbye Maribel. We love you and are so proud of the life you lived." Not a bad way to go. Everyone with a heart or brain re-cognized that a man who leaves behind an accumulated pile of gold is quite poor compared to a woman who leaves behind a deeply impacted mass of people.

At her sunset burial, there was an ocean of flowers and a long line of mariachis. Even people who devoted their lives to acquiring money by illegal and immoral means had drained their pockets in response to dulled consciences still functioning well enough to realize that Maribel was simply a superior person. All people are created with equal worth, but they sure don't stay that way.

Her dog walked four miles on his own to show up at her burial in a place he'd never visited before. An exotic bird (seen wounded on the day she entered the hospital in a tree she'd once planted) died at her porch step on the day she expired. I shit you not. If Maribel's not in heaven, the joint is surely uninhabited. Should I ever meet another woman with a heart like Maribel's, I will propose marraige at once, but only on the condition we spend our eternity with the original Maribel in the French Quarter of heaven as a spiritual menage a trois. Go with God.

While this site shamelessly celebrates the beauty and sensuality of the physical, we also celebrate the supremacy of the spiritual. This brings us to that endangered species of soul to soul communication: the book. Why does our literary mag insist the book is still sacred?

It's easy to wonder if books have much value in our current video culture. Many say a picture is worth a thousand words. Yet, the true nature of reality suggests the opposite. When I reach out to touch a beautiful woman, I can't. Not just because she's classy and wants nothing to do with such a rogue (though that's a valid point). Rather because it's physically impossible.

Were one of the subatomic particles spinning around within me and creating the illusion of solid matter to touch one of her particles, there would be a nuclear reaction. My neurons merely send signals to my brain creating the sensation of interaction with a world that may bear no resemblance to my perception. The physical cosmos is a vast illusion no more real than a video game. Our souls perceive the matrix, but the matrix does not exist.

Consider Anne Frank's Diary. Were it not for this writing, holocaust victims would just be old photos. However, through her scribblings, souls across many countries and generations catch a glimpse of her spirit. Words are constructs of the mind that can pass through the physical world no more or less effectively than the binary code of a digital photo. Yet, the digital photo is merely an attempt to communicate the unreal and illusory physical world. The word can be a deliberate communication from one soul to another.

"In the beginning was the Word ... and the Word became flesh." All the dusty tomes in a bookstore are really messages in bottles floating from one desperate spirit to another. Movies distract the masses with fine (but transitory) piece-of-asses, but books give spiritual folks a ghost of a chance to encounter the greatest souls that share our existential dilemma - and maybe even The Great Soul.

Perhaps, this meeting of the minds with as little interference as possible from the bogus physical world is the best shot our spirits have of clearly grasping the big picture. That picture is worth a thousand words. By all means, savor the physical world, but don't confuse it with ultimate reality. People around the globe believe that God inspires sacred books. I don't know anyone who thinks God has a blog or an infomercial. Maybe there's a reason. Books may not be this world's cutting edge technology, but this world may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. We all need to be more spiritual. Reading more good books and knowing more people like Maribel Diaz can help us toward that end.

1 comment:

  1. She sounds like she was a great and a good person. A rare quality, and what a lady.