Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche

Story 15 - In the Flow of Life.
page 98

      Was I still that empty inside to be stopped once more by the keeper of the draw gate? Was I full of what is not? I paused and looked back across my entire life and examined critically what I had stood for. Was it all emptiness? I answered without hesitation that it was not. In that moment I touched the gate to the West.
      Its river flowed through a stormy land. The shores were steep vineyards, towering cliffs with shrines and churches on them, and places marked with crosses and gravestones.
      I was on a sightseeing boat. The tourists were laughing, eager to learn, attentive to their guide who told them what to look for, what the sights represented, and how to feel about the country.
      "I'm disappointed," I said to a man next to me. "I expected something profound, like on all the other three rivers."
      "The tour guide is lying," the man whispered to me. "The churches and temples are the edifices of cults." He said this and nodded as if he had been there. I believed him. His face had the scars of deep sorrows. "Cultism is the most hidden and profound wickedness on earth," he said. "Communism is a cult, and the West is full of cults of greed, and sex, and power. Their human dimension are all stark coldness and cruelty. There is nothing human in them. Their halls are the halls of fascism."
      I protested, but then I cried because I knew the man had dared to open his eyes and seen what I had also seen, an emptiness surrounded by a finity that contained the sword of violence that we were trained not to look at. But I had also seen beyond that. "No! The West is not made up entirely of cults," I answered the man. "The West has been built on science and understanding, on universal principles, on breaking down limits and finity, and improving the status of man."
      "Look at the coldness of the temples," the man replied as if it was his mission to convince me, "look at the blood stained palacious board rooms at the top floors of the glass towers beside the graves of unemployed workers that were discarded the moment they were no longer a resource, but a liability. And look at the coldness of the prisons, and the coldness of the country's secrecy!"
      "This is not human," I replied. "This is not love."
      The man laughed. "What love?" he said.
      "Yes there is love, the kind that this madness cannot conceal," I said. "The tour guide is a fraud. A blind man leading the blind. This whole river journey is a false!"
      The man looked at me and smiled. "The river is what you see," he said. "The more you open your eyes, and then your mind, the more beautiful the images become. Science is the gateway to truth. Science is the Christ. This river is your journey of science. It lets you see what no eye can see, if you are willing."
      I lifted my gaze up to the steep hillsides again and cried. I cried for the pains of humanity that had no reason for being. Suddenly, the temples and churches were no longer monuments of coldness, but had become palaces of infinity, representing the truth and the power of understanding. They had become palaces of universal knowledge, universities.
      At this moment I noticed a fork in the river that I had not seen before. A narrow branch flowed out of a gorge that led deep into the mountains between rock-ribbed walls that echoed the call of wild cranes. I shouted to the captain, "Change course! Follow this path!" I saw that the branch of the river that flowed out of the mountains flowed smoothly, indicating a deep draught while the river ahead was white with shallow waters. But the captain said no. He said the tourist director was in charge and had commanded to go straight on.
      "I am the director of myself, I can swim," I replied to the captain. I replied cautiously. At first I replied only to myself, then I began shouting it strongly to the captain; and immediately I jumped into the water. Everyone on the boat shouted, "come back, you can't do that!"

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 (c) Copyright 1998 - Rolf Witzsche
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada