In a dream, I see my sister again.
Jen, who died in 2014, and I are sitting at the bar table in the kitchen back in Platteville, Wisconsin, the small town in which we grew up, and I am trying to convince her to see, to grant, to accept that sunyata is God. She is sitting where my mom used to sit, and I am sitting where she used to sit.
From the look on her face, I can tell that she’s not buying it. But Thomas Merton…
And now I am trying to assure her, or myself, by suggesting that she and I have more in common, religiously speaking, than the secular-minded people around us, but I can feel her smile suggesting otherwise. Her coyness. Her suspicion.
Buddhism… Aren’t you a betrayer?
When my brother-in-law shows up, it dawns on me that the personhood of God is the sticking point. Or else it is the lack of intimacy between Jen and me. Something unapproachable or inaccessible, something yet to be closed or, if closed, yet to be opened. Something, still here, between us.
In my dreams, she almost never speaks.