Friday, September 23, 2011

Stories from Burning Man #1 - Jesus was lost, and I found him.

It sounds like a joke, but this is a moment when truth is stranger than fiction. I am told that I am one of those people for whom truth being stranger than fiction is a common event. That thought is both exciting and fearsome, and I am not sure what to do with it, because these things seem all very commonplace and normal to me.

Hope, Dennis (whose playa name should have been "Two Tents") and I arrived at the Pillars of the Saints to prepare ourselves for the coming of the afternoon visitors. It was a hot afternoon as most afternoons on the barren playa can be.

As we parked our bikes behind the pillars, I looked out into the deeper desert of "deep playa." Jesus was walking across the barren landscape carrying a cross. I shouted to Hope, "Look it's Jesus carrying a cross, let's go get a picture of him."

The three of us started out walking across the playa toward Jesus, but Jesus turned away, and was walking further into nothingness and away from us. So I hastened my pace and after a couple minutes caught up with him.

Referring to a Biblical passage, I lied and said, "Hi, my name is Simon, and the Romans sent me to carry your cross." He of course, was familiar with the Biblical reference - after all, he was Jesus, and he handed me his cross and said, "Oh, thank you, it's not too heavy is it?"

I walked and talked with Jesus. I confessed, "My name is not really Simon. It's Phil, and my friends and I created an art installation in honor of one of your saints - Simeon Stylites. We'd love to show it to you."

Jesus stopped. He looked me in the eyes, and said, "Are you Phil Wyman?"

"Uhm. Yes."

Jesus teared up. He said, "I've been looking for you. I was lost and couldn't find you."

And then Hope and Dennis finally arrived with cameras in hand.

Dennis took the cross from me, and we walked back to our art installation. Jesus meditated upon our pillars, and wrote something gentle and profound.

Jesus was kind enough to do an interview with us. Turns out he is really a bookseller from Canada, but that doesn't change the fact that Jesus was lost, and now he is found. I found him, and it turns out he was looking for me all along.

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