A few weeks ago, I spotted a tiny lizard next to the marching band field. She was looking a little worse for wear, so I took her in and nursed her back to health. She became the marching band mascot. Kids and staff alike adored her. And she won my whole heart, pure and simple.
But then tragedy struck. She suffered from a neurological disorder, the cause of which will remain unknown. Her death was excruciating to watch, though I was happy to comfort her as she passed.
My fellow marching staff members helped me bury her next to the band room in a ceremony befitting the beauty of spirit she embodied, in the light of a full moon on a crisp October night. The following words represent most of my speech. Some words I jumbled. Some I had yet to find at the time. The sentiment the following words intimate, however, has not changed since her service. And since her service, the marching band executed an undefeated season. I believe Lil’ One was with us every step of the way.
IN HONOR OF LIL’ ONE, THE BEST LIZARD THAT EVER WAS
Memory is tricky. Moments come and go; fade away into an abyss of the past. And when we attempt to recall what no longer is, we never fully restore those moments as we originally experienced them. We forget; we imbue those moments with meaning that reflects more of our current perceptual state than what really was. But some moments are special. Some moments embody and directly express that which connects all moments together, the irreal; the eidetically absolute. In those moments, our attention immersed in pure love, itself, the power of beauty preserves for us the typically contingent content that would otherwise perish through the wild ride of lived experience. Such that when we recollect those moments, we represent their events and states of affairs clearly, distinctly, as they originally were. We feel once more and know once more the full sense of what we gathered; of what we intimately shared with the world. Those special moments reflect a continuous harmony of spirit that ultimately sanctions our humanity. And given that beauty embalms these sublime treasures, recollections of those special moments are typically accompanied by tears.
Lil One, I’ll never forget the moment when I first spotted you on that tiny rock next to the marching field. I’ll never forget your gaping smile as you enjoyed your first bath in your bottle cap swimming pool, in your new, warm index card holder abode. Nor will I ever forget how animated you became after eating two ants in a row for the first time. You mounted your front little lizard feet atop that little log in there, beamed up at me with the utmost self-satisfaction, declaring to me and to the whole world, “Ahh! Ha-ha! I am a LIZARD!” You truly were a good lizard, the best lizard. And though your time with us was short, you deeply touched all our hearts. We bury you next to the band room so that you may guard the purity of our endeavors, here; so that you may nourish the grounds that bring our various heart beats together under a shared rhythm and purpose. May we honor your life and memory through our continuous efforts to perfect ourselves and our craft. May we earn the touch of divine grace you recollected for us by merely gracing us with your presence, as we attend the primal content of our lives, no matter how tiny, with the utmost care.
Your grateful friend, always and forever, Amen.