Agape: In Search of Universal Love
from the novel, The Lodging for the Rose
Rolf. A. F. Witzsche
Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
Story 2a - In the Brilliance of a Night
At two o'clock that night the conversation had ground to a halt. I could hear the water dripping in the kitchen. By then I had fallen more deeply in love with Ushi than I thought possible, without really knowing why. Certainly, a blind man would have noticed. No doubt, it hadn't escaped Steve's notice, but he didn't react to it. I looked at him from time to time. He yawned once or twice. The last of these was followed by silence, after which he suggested that we should have coffee and cake before retiring.
Time to go, I thought. I went to the window to sniff the night breeze that swept over the park. The drive to the hotel would be pleasant in the cool of the night. Steve joined me at the window, but before I could say anything about going back to the hotel, he called to Ushi who had gone into the kitchen. He told her that he was going to sleep outside on the balcony. "This means you can invite Peter to spend the night here," he added, "and share our bed with you, if you would like to."
Steve spoke about this as though he was talking about the weather.
I stared at him with my mouth open. Ushi had shown me the apartment earlier. The bedroom contained a single queen size bed. I stared at Steve. I couldn't believe what I heard. He appeared calm, leaning out of the window again in the faded Hawaiian t-shirt that he had put on after work. If he had worn a gray sweater, smoked a pipe, and had looked the image of a professor lost in a world of exotic theories, then I might have been able to understand the offer. But Steve wasn't absent minded, or exotic. He was an ordinary man, except he was more alert and down to earth than anyone I knew.
"I would love that," Ushi called back from the kitchen.
He turned to me, "is that OK with you dear friend?"
I still couldn't answer, except to stare at him and nod. How was this offer possible? He had opened the door to a great incredible good and had reached out his hands to me with an invitation to embrace it. What a man could possibly do this? I nodded again, almost in disbelieve.
"Well, that's settled," he said.
I didn't know what to answer. This shouldn't have been possible.
Steve remained with me at the window. Moments later he continued our earlier high level exploration as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. He looked at me and began to smile. "Can you remember the question that I had asked you in my office this afternoon, that you couldn't answer?" he said. "Now you are facing the inevitable answer and you are puzzled. When you asked me about the Ogarkov Plan, whether it is real, I was sorely tempted to ask you in return how you regard the marriage scene of humanity: Is it real? Is it absolute? Unfortunately, I couldn't have asked that. You would not have understood the question. Even now, you still can't fully understand this question, though it is fundamental to everything that is going on in the world. The point is, that unless you understand this question, and understand the answer to it, you will never be able to understand the operation of empires and their wars against humanity. This question is a question of community of principle as you had correctly pointed out, such as the universality of love, and our fidelity to that principle without exceptions. Ushi and I have been alone in this fight, trying to come to terms with what the concept of community of principle means. Now we are three. Consequently I must share with you what I know, but I don't know all the answers, either. This means that we must be prepared to explore the unknown. We mustn't do it blindly. Still, we must do it, because the future of the world, which is our future, depends on the answers we find."
I just stood there with my mouth open and nothing came out. What he said was bewildering.
"Pete, when I asked you earlier to describe your most ideal being in the universe, if you had the power to create it, you answered me truthfully. Without being aware of it, you gave me a description that reflected not just your wildest dreams about what humanity should be like, but what it actually is like. Remember, I told you afterwards that what you described is already the reality of our being. I wasn't joking. I also told you that the greatest problem that we face in the world today, is to be truthful with ourselves, because we constantly deny what we truly are. We don't allow ourselves to regard one another, ourselves included, as human beings in the highest sense as you had truthfully defined it. We see ourselves divided instead of being bound to one another by our common humanity in a community of principle. That's a tough habit to break, Peter. The reality is that no one lives outside the sphere of our common humanity that we share in a community of principle. We may pretend that we do, but we don't; not really. There is no such thing, as outside. No principle supports that notion, no matter how much we believe it to be true. It is a lie that looses its validity when we raise our perception of ourselves to a higher level of truthfulness, where universal principles furnish the foundation for truthfulness. What is left behind becomes irrelevant, then. I propose to us all that we allow ourselves to become human beings, to make an effort to actually live as human beings. That's a touch challenge, Pete, because countless contrary traditions and axioms stand in the way, almost like insurmountable hurdles, even though they are irrelevant on the platform of universal principles where our humanity is truthfully defined. I propose that we take up that huge challenge, to become truthful with ourselves in our life, and with one another. If we can't do this, who have already come to recognize this challenge, who will? So, I asked you, will you accept that challenge? We have left the theoretical world behind. The task before us is to become truthful with ourselves."
I simply nodded for an answer. I was invited into a world I had never lived in before; that I had dreamed about, but had never dared to expect it to actually become real.
(c) Copyright 1998 -
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, Canada