Like the Israelites of old, we were led through the barren land by a fire with our enemies behind us. Unlike the Israelites, neither the fire that led us nor the enemies behind us were either the light of God or Egyptians. The light that led us were the gas flares that burn on the top of oil wells when they are first struck. Our pain and grief over the loss of our son were, and are, what we were trying to escape.
There is no better place in America than Texas to experience the vicissitudes of life. It was once said that Texas is paradise for men and dogs and hell for women and horses. While I doubt that the statement is still applicable to the specific genders, it does bring into question the nature of beauty. From Yin and Yang, to God and Satan, to matter and antimatter, the duality of this world is uncanny. Since losing my son, these past days have been the hardest and most painful that I have ever known, while at the same time being the most filled with love and kindness that I have ever known.
Wanting to get away from the pain, my wife and I decided to take a road trip through the southwest. We had often joked about doing such a road trip since both of us can and often do work remotely. But I doubt that either of us was serious. However, night after night of sleeping right across from Bennett’s nursery became too painful. It was a constant reminder of what we had lost and it was preventing us from doing the soul searching that is essential for us to get over our intense pain.
There are many things which help you forget your pain momentarily. Speed and the open roads are just two of them. Yet all they are is an anesthetic. They only make your brain not notice the pain. They don’t do anything to cure it. If anything, when the pain comes back, it comes back in full force. When we got to our Airstream in Marfa, Texas I knew instantly that the pain was resurging because for no reason at all, I became frustrated with everything.
Waking up this morning, I watched the sun rise over the hills of the Chihuahuan Desert. Besides a rooster crowing, all was still and quiet. For a time, I was at peace. Maybe Marfa will be our Red Sea and drown the pain and grief that is chasing my wife and I.