painting by Than Htay Maung

I was told through a friend engaged in the practice of prophetic prayer that I am a “meaning maker.” That is, that I perceive, combine, and make meaning from the babble of the heart. This was back in 2003 at a time when I had not been able to read or write for two years and would not be able to for at least another two. If this were a biography of me, it is what would be referred to as the dark times. At that time I questioned whether or not I would ever be able to write again. “Will you write? You must,” it was relayed to me. I had forgotten about this until I recently listed to the cassette recording. A lot of what was said makes more sense to me now in retrospect than it did at the time. For example, it was also said that I was training to see the world’s meaning instead of the spiritual meaning. That I was learning how to perceive the truth of the world which was perhaps judging, divisive, elitist. I would go on to work for the U.S. intel community, compiling and analyzing data to target places I’ve never been, pretending people’s lives were nothing more to me than a soap opera story.

On paper, I am smart. My IQ is in the 98th percentile for all the good it has done me. But I can see connections and patterns, I can perceive and combine. This makes me a poet, but it also meant I could be a good intel analyst, why I was snatched up even without finishing my masters, why I was being rapidly promoted and gaining incredible job security. I quit.  I started reading and writing again and I quit. Is this a metaphor for my eyes opening? which also would be a metaphor, but… I don’t know. I just know I purposely chose a job at the poverty level with no chance of advancement, a path with no financial security, more questions than answers. But I was sort of tired of answers. I mean the kind that fit neatly into reports and boxes, could be illustrated with charts and maps. I’m still searching for answers, but these are the kind of answers I may never find. I’m okay with that.