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爱的诗篇

〖这是一篇朴实无华、却美丽绝伦的爱的诗章。译者一口气读完它后,感动得热泪盈眶。在此努力将它译成中文,愿与真心寻求爱的朋友们共同分享。〗以下是芝加哥Loyole大学教授约翰.帕罗(John Powell) 亲历的一个真实故事。故事的主人公汤米曾是帕罗教授“信仰神学”课的学生。

大约十二年前,我的“信仰神学”课又迎来了一批新生。那天,我正坐在讲台边打量着他们一个个走进教室,那是我第一次见到汤米。一见面,汤米就给我留下了深刻的印象。我看到他时,他正在梳理那一头卷曲着的披肩长发,足有四、五尺长。我第一次看见一个男孩留这么长的头发,那时男孩留长发的时髦还刚刚兴起。虽然我提醒自己“头上的并不重要,头里面的才重要”,但因当时没有思想准备,我心里还是咯咚了一下。我立即在脑子里将汤米归入“怪”字那一档。

果不其然,在我的“信仰神学”课上,汤米是个铁杆无神论者。他不断地反对、嘲笑、讥讽我,坚持认为“不可能存在一个无条件爱我们的神”。一学期下来我们的关系还算平静,但我不得不承认,这个坐在最后一排的学生有时真使我头疼不已。这门课结束时,汤米把期终考试卷交给我,以一种近乎嘲笑的口吻对我说:“ 你觉得我还能找到上帝吗?”

我决定来个激将法,于是面无表情地说:“不能。”

哦?我还以为你一直在想帮我找到上帝呢!”

等他走到离教室门口还有四、五步时,我朝他喊道:“汤米!我敢肯定你找不到上帝,但他一定会找到你。”

他耸了耸肩,离开了教室,也离开了我的生活。我略微有点失望,因为他似乎并没有明白我的那点小聪明:“他一定会找到你。”至少我自己认为这很聪明。

后来,听说汤米毕业了,我自然感到高兴。但随后我得到一个不幸的消息:汤米患了癌症,而且到了晚期。但还没等我找他,他却来找了我。他一踏进我的办公室,我就注意到他因癌症晚期而极度瘦弱,满头长发也因化疗全部脱落了。但他的双眼却炯炯有神,口气也异常自信,这在以前我从未见过。

“汤米,我常常在想你。听说你病了。”我嘟嘟囔囔地说。

“是的,我病得不轻。癌细胞已扩散到我的双肺。只有几个星期了。” “能谈谈你的感受吗?”

“当然!你想知道我哪方面的感受呢?”

“比如说,仅仅二十四岁,就得面对死亡。你心里一定很不好受吧。”

“但这并不是最不幸的。”

“哦?还有比这更不幸的吗?”

“当然!比方说,一个人活到五十岁还没有自己的价值观和主意,还把花天酒地、纸醉金迷当成追求的大目标,那才是真正的不幸呢!”

我开始在脑海里“怪”字类的档案中搜寻。当年的汤米哪去了?似乎每次当我把一个人打入某一类时,神总会把他送回我的生活来教育我。

“但我这次来的真正目的”,汤米接着道:“是要说说上完你最后一堂课后你跟我说的一句话。”(他居然记住了那句话!)

他继续说:“我问你我还能不能找到上帝,你说:‘不能!’这使我吃了一惊。但你又说:‘但他会找到你。’我为这个问题想了好久好久,尽管当时我对能不能找到上帝并不很在意”。(我的一点小聪明,他居然想了好久好久!)

“但是当医生从我的腹股沟切除肿块,并告诉我它是恶性的时候,我开始严肃对待寻找上帝这个问题。当肿瘤开始转移到重要的生命器官时,我更开始用滴血的拳头猛擂天堂的铜门。但上帝并没有出来。事实上,什么都没有发生。

“不知你是否有过这样的经历:你拼尽全身力气想达到某个目的,却一事无成。你颓废万分,没有欲望再去试一下,于是你决定就此作罢。有一天醒来时,我的心情正是如此。我决定不再向那厚厚砖墙那边的上帝祈求——也许他根本就不存在。我决定就此罢休,我决定不再去理会人死后有没有归宿及诸如此类的问题。

“我决定在这辈子余下的时间里做点有意义的事。这时我想起你,你的‘信仰神学’课,及你曾说过的另一句话:‘稀里糊涂地过一辈子而没有爱过是不幸的,但更大的不幸是没有将你的爱告诉你所爱的人。’

“于是我开始从最难的做起。我来到父亲面前,当时他正低头看报纸。

“‘爸爸……’

“‘干吗?’他继续看着他的报纸,连头也没抬。

“‘爸爸,我想跟你说件事。’

“‘说吧’。

“‘我是要说,这事很重要……’

“他手中的报纸慢慢向下移了两、三寸。‘什么重要的事?’

“‘爸,我爱你。我只是想告诉你这个。’”

说这话时汤米的脸上露出满足的笑容,可以看出他心里有一股暖流流过。

“听见这话,他手中的报纸‘哗啦’一声落在地上。

“然后,他做了两件我这辈子从未见他做过的事:他哭了,把我拥在怀里。那天晚上我们彻夜长谈,尽管第二天早上他还要去上班。我感到无比幸福——离爸爸这么近,看着他流泪,感受他宽阔的怀抱,聆听他告诉我他多么爱我。

“把我的爱告知妈妈和弟弟就容易得多。他们也跟我一起哭泣,我们相拥在一起,互相倾诉彼此的感激和爱,一起分享多年来一直埋藏在心中的秘密。我心里遗憾,为什么没有更早地把我的爱告诉他们。于是我就把我的爱告诉了所有亲爱的人。

“终于有一天,我回头一看,发现上帝就在那里。曾几何时,当我向他哀求时,他并没有向我显现。我突然明白,原来我从前就像一个驯兽师那样,手里拿着鞭子,喊叫着:‘过来,跳进去!快跳,我给你三天时间……三个星期行了吧?’但显然上帝不是我们要他做什么他就做什么的。上帝有自己的方法、自己的时间表。

“但最重要的是他就在那儿。你说对了,他找到了我。尽管当时我已不再寻找他,他还是找到了我。”

“汤米,”我深深地吸了口气:“也许你没有意识到,但你所说的实际上包含了很重要、很普遍的真理。至少对我来说,你的故事说明:人若想寻找上帝,最好的办法是不要把他当成你的私有财产、解决难题的工具、或是当你有需求时随叫随到的精神安慰。你知道吗,使徒约翰说过,神就是爱,任何人如果活在爱里,就是和神在一起,神也活在他心里。

“汤米,可以请你帮个忙吗?不知道你是否记得,在我的课上,你曾让我十分头痛。但现在我给你一个将功补过的机会(笑)。可以请你到我现在正在教的‘信仰神学’课上,把你刚才讲的告诉我的学生们吗?若由我来复述你的故事,效果可能还不足一半。”

“嗯……我本来只打算和你说说这个故事。跟你的学生说嘛……”

“汤米,我不想为难你。回去仔细想想,如果愿意,随时给我个电话,我好安排时间。”

几天后,汤米来电话说他已准备好。他愿为上帝、也为我做这件事。我们约定了日期。但他没能如约。他要去赴另一个更重要的约会。那约会比向我的学生讲述他的故事重要得何止百倍。当然,他的生命没有因肉体的死亡而终结,只是更换了一种形式。他完成了从“风闻有你”到“亲眼见你”的跨越。他得到的生命比世上任何人所见过、听过、想象过的生命更加完美。

在他离世前,我们曾有过最后一次交谈。“我怕是到不了你的教室了。”他说。

“没关系,汤米。”

“可以请你替我把这个故事讲给他们……讲给世上所有的人听吗?”

“我会的,汤米。我会讲给他们听。我会尽我最大的努力。”

亲爱的朋友,我真诚感谢你聆听这朴实无华的爱的篇章。还有你——此刻正安息在乐园里一处阳光灿烂、青翠碧绿的山坡上的你:“我告诉了他们,汤米。我尽力告诉了他们。”

宁安译

Tommy’s Story

John Powell, A Professor at Loyola University in Chicago writes about a student in his Theology of Faith class named Tommy: Some twelve years ago, I stood watching my university students file into the classroom for our first session in the Theology of Faith. That was the first day I first saw Tommy. My eyes and my mind both blinked. He was combing his long flaxen hair, which hung six inches below his shoulders. It was the first time I had ever seen a boy with hair that long. I guess it was just coming into fashion then. I know in my mind that it isn’t what’s on your head but what’s in it that counts; but on that day I was unprepared and my emotions flipped. I immediately filed Tommy under “S” for strange …very strange.

Tommy turned out to be the “atheist in residence” in my Theology of Faith course. He constantly objected to, smirked at, or whined about the possibility of an unconditionally loving Father-God. We lived with each other in relative peace for one semester, although I admit he was for me at times a serious pain in the back pew.

When he came up at the end of the course to turn in his final exam, he asked in a slightly cynical tone: “Do you think I’ll ever find God?” I decided instantly on a little shock therapy. “No!” I said very emphatically. “Oh,” he responded, “I thought that was the product you were pushing.” I let him get five steps from the classroom door and then called out: “Tommy! I don’t think you’ll ever find him, but I am absolutely certain that he will find you!” He shrugged a little and left my class and my life. I felt slightly disappointed at the thought that he had missed my clever line: “He will find you!” At least I thought it was clever.

Later I heard that Tommy had graduated and I was duly grateful. Then a sad report, I heard that Tommy had terminal cancer. Before I could search him out, he came to see me. When he walked into my office, his body was very badly wasted, and the long hair had all fallen out as a result of chemotherapy. But his eyes were bright and his voice was firm, for the first time, I believe. “Tommy, I’ve thought about you so often. I hear you are sick !” I blurted out. “Oh, yes, very sick. I have cancer in both lungs. It’s a matter of weeks.” “Can you talk about it, Tom?” “Sure, what would you like to know?” “What’s it like to be only twenty-four and dying?” “We’ll, it could be worse.” “Like what?” “Well, like being fifty and having no values or ideals, like being fifty and thinking that booze, seducing women, and making money are the real ‘biggies’ in life.”

I began to look through my mental file cabinet under “S” where I had filed Tommy as strange. (It seems as though everybody I try to reject by classification God sends back into my life to educate me.) “But what I really came to see you about,” Tom said, ” is something you said to me on the last day of class.” (He remembered!) He continued, “I asked you if you thought I would ever find God and you said, ‘No!’ which surprised me. Then you said, ‘But he will find you.’ I thought about that a lot, even though my search for God was hardly intense at that time. (My “clever” line. He thought about that a lot!) “But when the doctors removed a lump from my groin and told me that it was malignant, then I got serious about locating God. And when the malignancy spread into my vital organs, I really began banging bloody fists against the bronze doors of heaven. But God did not come out. In fact, nothing happened. Did you ever try anything for a long time with great effort and with no success? You get psychologically glutted, fed up with trying. And then you quit.

Well, one day I woke up, and instead of throwing a few more futile appeals over that high brick wall to a God who may be or may not be there, I just quit. I decided that I didn’t really care . about God, about an afterlife, or anything like that. “I decided to spend what time I had left doing something more profitable. I thought about you and your class and I remembered something else you had said: ‘The essential sadness is to go through life without loving. But it would be almost equally sad to go through life and leave this world without ever telling those you loved that you had loved them.”

“So I began with the hardest one: my Dad. He was reading the newspaper when I approached him.” “Dad”. . . “Yes,what?” he asked without lowering the newspaper. “Dad, I would like to talk with you.” “Well, talk.” “I mean. .. . It’s really important.” The newspaper came down three slow inches. “What is it?” “Dad, I love you. I just wanted you to know that.”Tom smiled at me and said with obvious satisfaction, as though he felt a warm and secret joy flowing inside of him: “The newspaper fluttered to the floor. Then my father did two things I could never remember him ever doing before. He cried and he hugged me. And we talked all night, even though he had to go to work the next morning. It felt so good to be close to my father, to see his tears, to feel his hug, to hear him say that he loved me.

“It was easier with my mother and little brother. They cried with me, too, and we hugged each other, and started saying real nice things to each other. We shared the things we had been keeping secret for so many years. I was only sorry about one thing: that I had waited so long. Here I was just beginning to open up to all the people I had actually been close to.

“Then, one day I turned around and God was there. He didn’t come to me when I pleaded with him. I guess I was like an animal trainer holding out a hoop, ‘C’mon, jump through. ‘C’mon, I’ll give you three days three weeks.’ Apparently God does things in his own way and at his own hour. “But the important thing is that he was there. He found me. You were right. He found me even after I stopped looking for him.”

“Tommy,” I practically gasped, “I think you are saying something very important and much more universal than you realize. To me, at least, you are saying that the surest way to find God is not to make him a private possession, a problem solver, or an instant consolation in time of need, but rather by opening to love. You know, the Apostle John said that. He said God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him.”

“Tom, could I ask you a favor? You know, when I had you in class you were a real pain. But (laughingly) you can make it all up to me now. Would you come into my present Theology of Faith course and tell them what you have just told me? If I told them the same thing it wouldn’t be half as effective as if you were to tell them.”

“Oooh . . . I was ready for you, but I don’t know if I’m ready for your class.”

“Tom, think about it. If and when you are ready, give me a call.”

In a few days Tommy called, said he was ready for the class, that he wanted to do that for God and for me. So we scheduled a date. However, he never made it. He had another appointment, far more important than the one with me and my class. Of course, his life was not really ended by his death, only changed. He made the great step from faith into vision. He found a life far more beautiful than the eye of man has ever seen or the ear of man has ever heard or the mind of man has ever imagined. Before he died, we talked one last time.

“I’m not going to make it to your class,” he said. “I know, Tom.” “Will you tell them for me? Will you . . . tell the whole world for me?” “I will, Tom. I’ll tell them. I’ll do my best.” So, to all of you who have been kind enough to hear this simple statement about love, thank you for listening. And to you, Tommy, somewhere in the sunlit, verdant hills of heaven: “I told them, Tommy . . as best I could.”

http://huang45.ccblog.net/archives/2006/17869.html

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