Following the Leader
With the Veil so thin, I'm feeling my grandmother within and about these days. They were giving away frozen turkeys at the grocery store yesterday, and I got a 20-pounder. I cooked it today and even whipped up a tasty dessert. That's Grandma at work.
But tonight I'm thinking of my dad and how he led me to my current Path.
Dad was a Baptist his whole life and hardly ever missed church. This meant that I grew up going to church every Sunday. Dad taught Sunday School and sang in the choir. He was always torn philosophically about his faith, though. The scientist in him made him skeptical, and the more he read in the Bible, the less he liked it. Still he persisted because he liked the core message of the New Testament. I think of him as a Thomas Jefferson Christian, cutting out the stuff he didn't like and keeping what worked.
When Dad took to his deathbed, he told me he saw Peter Pan standing in the doorway of his room, with his hands on his hips. At the time I was teetering towards my current Path, and I found this information very intriguing. I felt that Peter Pan was a Portal Being who had come to guide Dad across the Veil. Soon enough, Dad and Peter went off together.
Shortly after Dad told me about seeing Peter Pan, I found myself in the Methodist church I had attended in an effort to replicate my childhood experience for my daughters. I don't remember why I was back in that church that day -- I had pretty much left it emotionally, and Heir and Spare were not with me. Anyway, this Methodist church had a little mini sermon for kids after the opening hymn and prayer. The kids came forward, and from the rafters of the church a movie screen descended. The screen must have been new, I don't remember seeing it before that.
The youth pastor gathered the children around and directed their attention to the screen. And up came the footage of Peter Pan, from Disney, leading his charming Lost Boys through the landscape of Neverland. There's a song in the movie, do you know it? "We're Following the Leader." That's the clip that showed on the screen.
When the footage ended, the youth pastor posed a question to the Methodist tots: "Who is the leader we should follow?"
I stood up. I was in the balcony. I said, "The leader is Peter Pan."
I walked out and have never returned to that church, except once, when I gave blood in the basement.
Peter Pan led my dad away, but I don't think Dad is a Lost Boy. I think Dad is a Found Boy, eternally young, capering at play in the wake of a long, hard life in the apparent world.
Jesus isn't everything. He isn't the Leader. Peter Pan is the Leader, and when you decide to follow him, be sure you are ready to go with him forever. What is more heavenly than eternal childhood?