Who is this Peter guy?
I'm late to the Criss Cross party, but I made it. I read Lynne Rae Perkins' book just last week. I love intersecting lives, connections being pulled into relief, multiple points of view weaving themselves together. And Criss Cross satiated these loves. I had heard about the book so I knew this could be the case. But I didn’t know that Lynne Rae Perkins brings landscape into this trio of discoveries.
Peter and Debbie, two of the many central characters in the book, take a trip on a bus out of town. Not far out of town, but far enough that they find themselves in a place neither of them had been before. They find a bakery, buy chocolate milk and a loaf of freshly baked bread, and meander through a neighborhood until they find a bridge on which to sit and eat their meal.
Then they get back on the bus to go home, and while they travel Peter tells Debbie about a theory he's been making up:
"I think," he said, "that it's a good thing to get out of your usual, you know, surroundings. Because you find things out about yourself that you didn't know, or you forgot. And then you go back to your regular life and you're changed, you're a little bit different because you take those new things with you. Like a Hindu, except all in one life: you sort of get reincarnated depending on what happened and what you figure out. And any one place can make you go forward, or backward, or neither, but gradually you find all your pieces, your important pieces, and they stay with you, so that you're your whole self no matter where you go. Your Buddha self. That's my theory, anyway."
To my mind and heart, Peter's Buddha Self Theory ties directly and deeply with the ways lives connect and support and enlighten each other. The more we discover about ourselves, the more we know about ourselves, and the more pieces we fit together…well, the more we are whole. And the more we are whole…the more we can connect.* Truly connect. Nothing else brings a wider, more wonderful sense of being alive.
I often write about the joys of returning to a place again and again. Today I urge us—you all and me—to go somewhere brand new. Let's see if we can find some pieces of ourselves there... wherever there happens to be.
*Apologies for all of the more.