(A dream) -- The Pyramid and the Ring
Friday, January 5, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- In the summer of 2000, I worked as district director for a state lawmaker, and volunteered through personal vacation time to help the boss get reelected. Nice to have a job, but politics is incredibly stressful even when you work for a winner.
In the lead-up to the November election, I needed a way to lessen stress.
And then I had a dream, of a pointed mountain or pyramid, and circling around it was a ring, sort of like the planet Jupitor.
I couldn’t figure out and specific definition, but the image found useful symbols, and I came to see it as how jobs define our lives.
On the pyramid, workers start at the bottom. Yes, the opportunities are widest, but they’re at the bottom. You have a job, but you’re where wealth rises. Like climbing a mountain, the march upward takes you higher. Opportunities lessen, while wealth increases, until the highest peak leaves one almost alone.
Circling the pyramid is a magical floating circle. Like Jupitor’s ring, it angles higher so one can stand upon it at differing levels of the encircled mountain. Like magic, one can leave the mountain and leap with faith that you will land upon the ring.
What is the magic of the ring?
When one is on the mountain or pyramid, jobs are linear. As you march, the thinning of opportunity is predictable. Not everyone reaches the top. And if you are stuck at the bottom, at least you know where you are.
When you see a floating circle spinning like a carousel, it is immediately an amazing site. One must first be able to see the ring, before you have confidence. Leaping from a predictable mountain to a floating ring is an act of faith. You must believe that when you land, it will be upon the magic of being saved by the ring.
I used those thoughts to find some therapeutic way to lower the stress of someone else’s political campaign. I bought an Italian steel hammer and tools for sculpting and got an enormous stone of marble. After working a 60-hour week and volunteering to deliver signs or call voters, I would then go home and swing a hammer so as to smash into the stone.
It mattered not the sculpting itself, but that it gave some definition that made sense. If you see a ring instantly appear, and you leap with faith, you might fall through the floating illusion, or, you may indeed land upon a magical site, which rotates and lifts you, to a level higher even then the pike of a giant mountain or pyramid.
Now, I experience life as a soul reborn. Doctors opened my heart to patch holes. Later, my brain gets sliced open so as to rescue me from a life-threatening stroke. While I can never be sure if I will ever again have a job -- in politics, or anything -- I feel like the luckiest soul in America.
Exactly two years ago tomorrow, I was let go from a month in the hospital. I could barely walk, could speak a few dozen words, and had no certainty as to what life would bring. While I spent the hardest year of my life returning to functionality, everyone else was condemned to experience the ugliest election in our nation’s history.
We each have hard times, and no individual is owed greater opportunity for renewal then others. There but for fortune we each go. But just over one year ago, as that first Christmas which I didn’t expect to reach, approached, I felt that indeed life itself was reborn.
I am not one who was born of a specific faith, nor had parents raise me with religion. I’ve never read a Holy Book, nor attended mass in any church, aside for going with a politician to watch them give a droll speech.
But one year ago, just after that first Christmas, I came to feel my own life as a soul reborn. It was a leap of faith from a stone mountain, to instead fly across the air, and to land upon what could be unworthy of faith itself, because a ring that circles may be simply an illusion.
I could not fingure out why, but “Party of Grace” entered my mind. Not some words spoken in a voice. Not compulsion or orders. But phrases, like this humble messenger has experienced. I know not how the ring exists, but simply must have fidelity to the jump.
So one year after the arrival of “Party of Grace” within me, I have changed my voter registration, and now belong to a political party that technically does not exist. I invited hundreds of thousands on social media for a first-ever public event, to eat and dance together on Independence Day, at a “political reviv’ul mtg” which had exactly one in attendance. Me.
And now, after sending my fourth typed or hand-written letter to the current President, I have told anyone who would listen -- including the President -- that I believe he will ditch the GOP itself, so as to form his own definition of history itself.
The “Party of Grace” will have a candidate, and maybe even for president. That’ll be me, possibly in a race for student body leader at a college I didn’t expect to every again attend. In September, I felt compelled to apply for a masters. In December, after having been accepted, I marked the second anniversary of getting my brain sliced open by picking up an ID card for college. And unlike any time in my life, what thrills me most deeply about the college will be to join the souls of deep faith, as a member of the religious organizations.
I may not be correct that the President ditches the GOP. It is inconceivable to anyone following politics. That’s what I did for decades. And perhaps he himself sees a ring and is ready to leap across the empty sky to land on the magic which would redefine this nation’s history.
It will not be victory in a presidential race at college which defines the meaning of Party of Grace, but it could help me to understand why I feel called upon to be a humble messenger. I do not know precisely of what, or by how, or when. So I must simply act in fidelity to serve in a given role.
Good luck to the President, and to this nation, because we need it. Hatred is ripping us apart. The rising waters of fury and intolerance on all sides are a swirling storm that can erode any mountain, and cause the collapse of greatness itself. If hate-spitting lackeys are swinging hammers upon the stone of Glory, then a mountain or pyramid will fall, and no matter how great the view on the pike may seems, the erosion below will take down all at the top.
-- Billy Orton.
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