Yesterday, I washed a week’s worth of dishes, sorted emails, moved the compost bucket to the door, raised the blinds, took a swipe at my hair, put my morning half-beer within arm’s reach, and decided to stay in my pajamas a while longer. It appeared I’d survived another night and still inhabited my corporeal body. Perhaps this was cause for rejoicing. Perhaps this was ordinary. Banal, even. As that thought crossed my mind, I glanced over my spiritual shoulder, waiting for a rebuff or reassurance. Nothing. Then some random curiosity prompted me to google daily global death rates from various causes. It was a terrible mistake. Of course, I myself might get Covid, but the rates are comparatively low. Cancer is pretty high, but I’ve already had cancer. Heart disease takes a lot of people out, and it does run in my family. But here’s what got me by the throat: every single day, 25,000 human beings die of causes related to malnutrition and hunger. Given my hearty breakfast and plans for a snack midmorning, I did not believe I was in imminent danger of this particular fate. But my morning had been trashed.
I stopped glancing over my shoulder and sat very still. I did not want God stopping by. I wanted to sit there by myself, imagining what I would do if I were God instead of the human-inspired insipid bastard who flits around the universe enjoying fame and good fortune. All manner of religious expression seemed as vapid as the press conferences we’re currently being subjected to. God made in the image of humans; human longings pinned as promises to the robes of this almighty manmade tongue-twisted idol. Born out of wedlock, born out of nothing, elevated, emaciated, eternal; God stands accused and convicted. But really does God stand at all? I sipped my beer and waited to be struck dead by lightening.
Instead, I heard a meadowlark. The tom turkeys strutted by, hoping to impress the ladies. The sun had raised itself and was hard at work greening up the earth. I could hardly stand how small I was. Across the valley, my eye caught a movement: It was my archenemy waving a white flag. I swore under my breath and sighed. Then, reluctantly, I raised the arm still attached to my limited body, waved the hand attached to the arm, and warmed a cup of sweet tea. It’s a favorite of his. No words were exchanged. A long day of tiny miracles and cleansing fires ensued, and then I slept.
This morning, before I was fully awake, a dense, resonant essence laid down beside me, enveloped me, and wrapped me in unearned perfection. The holy phantom was tattered and torn, hopeful and helpless, blameless and fully alive. I was defenseless and unafraid. “Good morning, God,” I said. “Happy Easter.’