In the wee hours this morning, God shook me half-awake and said in a swaggering voice, “You want a piece of me?” and from a place howling with threats of winter, I heard myself yell, “NO! Go away.” But my words were garbled. Embryonic. I didn’t think they’d made it to full expression. I assumed my body reabsorbed them like it reabsorbs so many of my ill-conceived notions and radical impulses. By the time I was eating toast, the wind had died down, and the day looked like it would roll out ordinary.
“Well, what would a piece of you look like?” I asked God in a conciliatory tone.
“Obviously, that depends on which piece,” God said in a chilly voice. Maybe my words had hit the mark after all. It was clear I’d hurt her feelings, but what’d she expect? It was night. She’d snuck up on me. God is quite reactive sometimes. I fought an urge to be cold back and instead, took a breath and forced the door to my soul open just a crack. It was early, but I thought I could handle a little exposure.
“What piece did you have in mind when you woke me up?” I asked sweetly. Okay. Maybe not that sweetly. I knew I was being passive-aggressive, and I knew this was a stupid way to be with God, but I couldn’t help myself. Being dependent runs against my grain—especially being dependent on a God like God—She He It They—defenseless child, free-range parent, doting auntie, stalking lion, friend and foe. Who can blame me? Any piece of God is bound to be hot.
“Well, for one, I can blame you,” God said. “But I don’t.”
“Right,” I said. “Exactly. This is the crux of the matter, God. Any piece of you is going to illuminate my pitiful little life, and my eyes are going to sting from trying to adjust, and the gloom will seem preferable, and I’ll know it’s not, but I’ll long for it anyway, and then, another day will have come and gone, and I won’t have saved the world, or myself, or even the rhubarb.
“Too bad,” God said. “But there’s not much I can do about that.”
“Yes, there is.” I glared. “For instance, if you’d stop letting pipes and valves corrode, break, freeze up. and flood the barn, I could devote more time to helping others.” This was feeble, but I was really, really tired of the mundane, thankless tasks of the average homeowner in the average community in the average scene in my average world. Wasn’t I destined for greater things?
God shrugged and grinned. “Dream on,” she said, and handed me a short-handled shovel. She looked determined. Pleased with herself. Ready for action. “Today is for digging,” she declared. “And if we find the leak, so much the better.”