by Rev. Dr. Daniel C. Wilburn
Dear Emily, I Killed A Fly
He (she? it?) had been with me since I got to the hermitage on Monday. He left me alone. But I wanted him dead. I sit in front of the fire these beautiful October days and watch the dancing lights. Gentle breeze is the light’s paintbrush, the shadows are canvas. Everything is tempura on paper – thick but superficial (like this writing).
So I finally killed him. For two days he buzzed around my smelly old body – heaven for him I am sure. He doesn’t need much to be happy – just a taste. He just indulges in me. But I object. But he is a person to me. Yeah, I killed him after I’d spent hours imagining his personality and motives.
“I just have to rest! I fly and move, and go go go. How busy I am. Here on Monday I am fresh; but this slow peaceful Wednesday I am ready to slow down,” he says.
I imagine he wants to torment me. Funny how dualists think heaven will have no flies or mosquitoes. Why should heaven be so sterile, clean or neutered? Why can’t we imagine no fears, tears or pain AND mosquitoes and flies? Like poor Lazarus, maybe this little guy is sent to tell me to wake up! “Wake up O Sleeper and Christ’s light will shine on you!”
Maybe I want to kill the fly because I am separate from him, and I want to keep it that way: separate from all that is not me and my kingdom. I am captain of my own ship, master: Creation is mine! Like ol’ Melkor, I only know how to sing out of tune, and make orcs in response to elves, burn instead of grow, clouds instead of starlight. I kill because I need to kill to affirm my god-status.
Seconds and minutes tick by and the fly keeps trying to tell me something: “He loves you. I need you.”
“Well I don’t need you – you touched me. And nobody touches me, ‘friend.’ Fly really close to the fire and you’ll get energy as your fluids warm beyond wildest dreams, fly.”
Well he ain’t stupid. I am though. I get fixated on killing a fly.
The poor are a fly. We trap them between the screen and closed window and cruelly forget about them, pull the shade and let nature take its course. If the fly is lucky then there is a jumping spider in there with him and his life will be short and oh so sweet.
“The Land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants.” – Leviticus 25.23
What we need is Jubilee like good Dr. Luke prescribes. “All you flies can land on me, buzz me, drink from my aroma!” There – free at last to just be at home in heaven where you are, like in the inner city, in the worst of it, the most dangerous place. We who are in power do things right. And our might makes us right (Habbakuk).
So the poor are flies now are they? So you want to keep them, control them, love them and squeeze them – possess the poor? So we jump from smelly shoes to the church’s pet? De La Torre is right: justice never comes from above, always from below. But Marx was always just another version of violence – not Jubilee.
I need the poor. I need the fly.
We need a cross to bear, not a cage, not a window, and not a rolled up newspaper. I killed the fly. And now I am remorseful. Better spoken, I am alone.
The fire is dying out. The day is getting older, the fly is dead and I have to go home to my productive life again, back to my self-made Israelite slavery at home. Home but not free. I am a slave to comfort and safety and increase. “Increase.” That’s a damnable name for a child. My little dead fly would never be named “Increase.” He’d be named “Yes, my child.”
I think I killed the fly because I fear the touch – the merger of heaven and me. My false surface self cannot accept the sinking down into the depths of g-d, the falling, falling, falling. We call it “The Fall” because we fear it so. Total depravity is never really grasped by us. We can’t imagine ourselves as poor and greedy as we really are.
Flee! Yes, we must flee because we fear. Silence! Yes, silence because we chatter and jabber like threatened squirrels. Repose! Yes, because we are lunging at a fly with a rolled up newspaper. Our entire life is filled with swatting fly after fly. How vain. How sad.
The fly wins, Emily. The Windows do close, and the sight no longer sees. But we only rot to become the food of flies. We make the flies so happy. Our rottenness is so appreciated. My little fly just wanted to show me his appreciation in advance. And I can’t even hardly thank g-d for my life? No wonder the mourner’s Kaddish is nothing by praise!
The Kaddish – upon the death of my fly:
May his great Name grow exalted and sanctified in the world that He created as He willed. “Amen.”
May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel, swiftly and soon. “Amen.”
May His great Name be blessed forever and every.
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One,
Blessed is He – “Blessed is He” – beyond any blessing and song, praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. “Amen.”
May there be abundant peace from Heaven, and Life upon us and upon all Israel. “Amen.”
He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace, upon us and upon all Israel. “Amen.”
© Brother Dancha 2011