Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Incarnations

11/10/92 Tuesday

Last night after dinner I got a phone call from Dave.   “Can we come over tonight and talk?”  Sure.  “Will Maria be there?”  Yes.  “Good.”  Weird.  I knew, even though David sounded cheerful, that heavy news was on the way.  He and Maria haven’t gotten along well in the past and he would usually avoid her whenever possible.    Also the “we” part worried me.  If he was coming to talk about computers he wouldn’t be dragging his family along with him.  It was going to be a serious family discussion of some kind.  But as it turned out it was the best news of my life.  Ikuyo was pregnant, to everyone’s surprise most of all her own.  She was 3 months pregnant because even though all the signs were there the possibility of ever having another baby was so remote that it had not occurred to her to check even though all the signs were there.  They had found out from the doctor only that afternoon and their first thought was of us.

Maria was pleased but less than thrilled.  She wants to straighten out Papa’s situation and had even been thinking about whether to accept a child from Steve and Kimiko Cox until things were more organized.  But now here it comes ready or not.  I must tell Steve and Kimiko we’re okay now so we don’t leave them in the lurch.  But I was totally thrilled.  It’s literarily a dream come true.  And from my brother next door.  What could be better?  We’ve made a 40 day prayer condition.  I didn’t say it out loud but I was thinking especially of 40 days as a separation from Satan since Maria has always had a hard time appreciating David and Ikuyo.  And I know it’ll be a long six months as far as building unity is concerned and all too short as a foundation of faith and substance.  If I ever needed God’s help it will be from now.  But thank you God.  I have almost forgotten the bitter spiritual struggles we have gone through to get to this point. I hope a new door will be opening for us now.

3/4/95
Depressed and sorry for myself today.  We all went to downtown Panama to visit Chaguin.  I looked at the people around me and I found it hard to identify with any of them.  They all seem so physical and simple.  No philosophers.  No book readers or computer hobbyists.  No intellectuals.  Just dancers, housewives, and babies’ all salsaing their way through life.  Ignorant.  I know it’s wrong to feel this way towards others, but if I break through there, I just want to record where I came from at this moment.

Beans and rice.

Anthony and I got haircuts.   Anthony cried all the way through his.  He looks like a little marine now.

I miss terribly the creature comforts of American life.  The good quality which is so easily available.  Even this notebook, so common – where will I find another like it?  I never thought of myself as materialistic, but I find in this moment when my “heart of restoration” has lapsed, that I miss material things.

6/26/99

Next week is our last week.  We leave next Sunday.  Monday and Tuesday they’ll pick up our stuff.  The last couple of days I’ve been getting the Audi fixed up so we can get it shipped without a fight.  Today we went to Casa Del Carne for what is probably our last grocery shopping in this country.  I was reading over my diary of when we first arrived here.  I had forgotten what a hard and lonely time that was.

6/27/99
Today, Sunday, will be our last halfway normal day here.  We’re going to begin organizing what will be picked up tomorrow.  Then Tuesday they’ll pick up what little furniture we have.  Wednesday we’ll be out processing. And ship out the car.  We leave early next Sunday morning and that’s that.  But this time (8:30am) I’ll be on my way to another life.

I find myself beginning to believe in reincarnation because I see the parallels of it in my own life.  I seem to have been many people already in my lifetime.  I have had friendships with people I have not seen again.  All gone now.  I’m keenly aware of this.  My life in New York was like another incarnation, another life time.  Then time in this country which is coming to an end now with its myriad memories.

This morning traveling here to work on one of the Diablo Rojos it was such a sentimental journey through the past for me.  I’m leaving the way I came in when I was a poor man, grateful for a break.  I had prayed for a fighting chance and God gave it to me.


I got up this morning still feeling a few traces of the illness which wrecked my health for the last few days.  I had coffee and packed this diary and my networking book and Maria walked me out to the bus stop just like when I first began.  These things she does make her unique.  Other women wouldn’t do that.  Riding the Diablos, surrounded by working people and school kids, not isolated in my car, my attention not distracted by traffic I had the luxury of seeing the old places go by.  Riding through downtown I remembered my lean days trying to wade through the paperwork, the bureaucracy of getting a work permit and a cedula.  The walking from the Registry Civil, the disappointments and setbacks, trying to connect with people and the Fidonet BBS because there was no Internet here at the time.  Some days were successful and some days were painful.  Papa was living with us and we were trying to get his checks set up so we could survive.  Chaguin had died and people still grieved over him.  We walked the dirty streets of Caledonia and picked up some bags of beans and fruit for dinner.  That was what we could afford and it kept us lean and young.  When I got my job it changed my life and eventually even my religion.  Riding through Balboa on the bus I thought of these things and my heart swelled with joy of my life.  My life has been so varied and so rich with feeling and memories how will I ever remember it all?  My life on the streets of downtown seems like another incarnation.  I have had many lives in this one life.  I am not the same person I was when I came here.

******

The 1990's were probably the most important and dynamic decade of my life.  I hadn't thought of things that way until this topic came along and I started to list some of the stuff that had happened.  I started out as a part of a fundamentalist fringe of Christianity, worrying about God and Satan.  Then over time I lost my faith and became spiritually adrift and angry at God for years.  In the early part of the decade my brother and his wife offered us a baby to adopt so that we could be parents too.  What greater or more genuinely sacred offering than that?  Then we moved to Panama and I experienced life as a genuine immigrant in a foreign country, without language, without citizenship, without means except my own wits to get by on.  Then things became better, fairly prosperous. Then we left Panama and made our way back to America.

As I wrote then, I have been many people in this one life.  


13 comments:

  1. Sheeesh! And I thought *I've* lived a varied life. Them's some extremes, dude… Glad you came through them as you have. No wonder you write from such interesting perspectives.

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    1. Hi Daddy X!

      I'm still waiting for a chance to have my life threatened by Indians . . .

      Its a strange thing to go back in a read diary entries you've written so long ago. Whatever your perspective on God, seeing your life at some distance is a very spiritual experience. It does seem like someone elses life when I read through it. When makes it seem so strange is when you read the things that were on your mind at the time, the people you were worried about, the stuff that you were afraid would happen and you wouldn't know how to handle it; and then somehow these things found their way most of the time.

      People are sometimes so sure God doesn;t exist, but it depends on the way you define God. If you can see God as the heart of the mystery of our own existance and experience then we realize how little we know even of our personal journey in this world much less the bigger stuff.

      Garce

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    2. God lies in the connection between human beings and their connection to the environment.

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    3. That's what I think too. I could write a lot on that point.

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  2. Wow, I really love reading people's diary entries. Thank you for sharing.

    And you do seem to have been many people! When I started reading this post, I at first thought, "This is one of Garce's wildest stories yet!" After a bit, I began to realize it wasn't fiction. Funny how that works.

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    1. Hi Annabeth!

      Thank you for reading!

      What pops out at me in the earlier entries is the voice of that person writing. That intense, and now strange sounding, religious vision of the world. What would that person think if he met me now? I think he would be a little horrified by me.

      I wonder what our past selves would think of us now?

      The people I knew during that time, 1992, we seemed so young then and our futures unformed. Some of them did okay, I did sort of okay so far, but some of the people I knew in the time who were comfortable had terrible poverty and disappointment waiting down the road that would have terrified them to know. When I think of the future I don't know if I should ber scared or hopeful.

      Garce

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  3. Garce:
    I'm so impressed by the intelligence and sensitivity of your journal entries, they really are a window into your past and show that a writers talent was evident. As you said, I do wonder what my past self would think of me now. I think it would be "Dude, what happened? This wasn't what we planned at all." I think for all of us, our story is how we dealt with being blown entirely off course.

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    1. The way I live now, both better and worse is not what I planned at all either. It makes me wonder what the future will be compared to what I want it to be. I look at my kid and wonder how things will go for him.

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  4. Spencer is right...or as John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to us while we're busy making other plans."

    I knew this was your posting because of the intensity of your writing, which is always there. Not ever having had the religious convictions you've had, lost, then regained over the years, I find it difficult to feel as you do. But I do enjoy reading your words.

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    1. Hi Fiona!

      There is a sense of inevitability about things which I think must be an illusion of the mind. It must be how we see things. I'm an enthusiastic Unitarian-Universalist these days so in spite of all the strange turns I haven;t given up on the idea of God. In fact I think I've been able to find some answers that make sense to me. So whatever all there is a kind of happy ending or happy progress to things. These things come from somewhere.

      Garce

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  5. Hey, Garce,

    Do you ever read over your diaries and find yourself writing about people you can't even remember now? That happens with me sometimes - someone was really important in my life for a while, but now, two or three or four decades later, they're gone without a trace. Not just without a trace in my life, but even in my mind. Extremely upsetting. Sometimes I think the diaries are just illusion, a past reconstructed for me by some Power playing games with my mind.

    I know so well the farewell rituals you talk about in the last entry. "This is the last time I'll ever do XXX."

    One of the many things I love about you and your writing is the way you've woven the myriad details from your past experience into your stories. I remember the Diablo Rojos from "El Pimientero".

    Then again you seem to come up with other stories out of thin air.

    Thanks for another thought provoking post.

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  6. This is great, Garce. Diaries provide such a sense of immediacy, of feelings that will change in a moment and never return in the exact same form.

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  7. Hi Jean!

    This is true. I haven;t kept diaries well for a long time, and I'm thinking I should start again.

    Garce

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