GALEN HOLLEY: Ten more minutes and nothing left to lose

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

Most days I feel a profound, almost debilitating sense of gratitude, a feeling that borders on guilt.
When the sun climbs through the clouds, and the sky turns the muted, pearl white of a wedding dress, I’m prone to sit until I’m late for work, staring east.
I can’t tear myself away, and the thought of traffic and phone calls seems wrong.
Mornings are excruciating. I make a pot of French Quarter coffee and watch the school buses pass on 301.
I felt the same way when I was a child. The idea of freedom so close, there in the familiar woods, on gray mornings. Then came the stench of the school bus intruding, the choking exhaust that wasn’t natural, wasn’t green and croaking with life. The ugly, grinding clank of the door swivel.
Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose, Janis said.
I’m invested now, and I’ve got plenty to lose. Can’t call in sick. There are bills, appointments, deadlines, the bus is coming, stand ready.
Freedom doesn’t simply mean irresponsibility, I hear myself say. That’s a child’s freedom, or a bum’s.
There are days when I want to lie down on the earth, because I don’t feel I’ve been thankful enough for the land God has given me. I want to touch it with more than my feet, cut my hand and bleed on it, sprinkle dry spoonfuls of it in my coffee.
I want to clean and oil it like my pistol, feed it like a baby. I want to smear it on my face like war paint.
I like the house so quiet I can hear the cats’ paws on the carpet, hear their rough tongues and the swish of their spit as they have their morning baths.
The candle-colored sunlight is flooding into the room where I write, the holy hush of the still morning. My wife has forgotten to set out the meat to thaw.
Some mornings I hold the rosary beads my mother gave me, and say an “Our Father” 10 “Hail Marys” a “Glory Be.”
There’s time and eternity in these prayers, two completely different things. We think of eternity as endless time, but that’s it, at all.
A grown man doesn’t sit and cry over his coffee, I think. It’s time for me to go.
The cats have been up for hours, now they’re bedding down for the day. The buses have ceased, and mommies are doing their first loads of laundry and watching Al Roker.
I want ten more minutes to pray, to cry, to look east through the pines and wish I could stay.
“As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end,” I whisper. “Amen.”

Contact Daily Journal religion editor Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or