How do you digest a hurricane? How do you swallow the moon and the earth lit up by the moon? Some things are too big, too inextricably bound up in the world to be consumed. I want to know The Fourth Estate. A conference designed to spark an ideological movement: a commitment to global citizenship and responsibility to justice. I want to analyze and categorize it. But it cannot be held in my hands because there were too many miracles in the orchestra to hold.
Each individual experience, the unique events of every life and the wash of one video on one pair of eyes and a speaker’s words on another. I will never know the stories, the ruffles of the heart that were the very moment of a life change, or the seed falling in the crack of stone, invisible for years, only to grow into a mighty tree in years I will not know.
I held the face of new loves, cried with them as we said goodbye, I hugged a million works of art and wrote my name in books that will hold the words of great men and women not yet written.
I spoke with my heroes, listened to them address and articulate a future and a present and the human condition.
I heard great minds give credit to science for life, to God, to something more but not quite God. Each man, each woman bringing her motivation, the deeper hunger, to the stage, inviting each member of The Fourth Estate to take the wild wonderous magic of living seriously, the profound duty to examine the phenomenon of existence and behave with intention. Intention is everything.
If these members walked out a bit dizzy, stumbling over thoughts too big for the brain, we have done our job. If these members walked out convinced of nothing except the dignity of human beings and a desire to protect that dignity, then we have done our job.
If these members exchange self-serving profit for life-serving purpose, if they see their lives as part of a living body, and not an ignorant cancer, we have done our job.
If we prioritize worthy things, and marginalize unworthy things. If we celebrate beauty and mystery and belonging, and if we critique abuse, the rape of the human soul and the natural world, the fragmented fiction that my choices are separate from yours… then we have done our job.
If we stop blaming injustice on laziness, culture, and history, and start solving injustice with love and focused attention, then we have done our world a service.
And if there is a God, He will be well pleased.
As I traveled the east coast in an RV, celebrating Brady’s bar exam, exploring the Carolina’s and sitting at Lincoln’s feet in DC and walking the streets of New York with Orion (a fresh poet’s eyes seeing the temple of man for the first time), I carried with me the glory of The Fourth Estate. The sense of purpose, the crater of impact scarring my face and shoulders with value. It was a haunted drive, my thoughts present in the Charleston rain and above the clouds in the lingering ghosts of the prior week. It was the perfect meal: swallowing the moon with brothers of chosen blood and adventure, digesting the hurricane that circles inside me, wrecks the islands of doubt and rests its quiet eye over my heart.