God jokes around so much it’s tempting to think that maybe the whole damn universe is a plaything: an elaborate war game, a psychological thriller, a slo-mo drama for the viewing pleasure of a warped creator. Look around. There’s a decent chance we’re on our way to extinction or global misery so ubiquitous that many will wish we were already extinct. Every day, I fight off the satanic seduction of the glib slogans or easy answers generated by the hateful to justify greed.
It’s wild turkey mating season. The turkeys in the yard are flirtatious, energized in the ways of turkeys in heat. Generally, I don’t admire turkeys, but they’re scrappy and they adapt. I suspect cockroaches and turkeys will outlast most other species on earth. In Montana, wild turkey mating season coincides with our efforts to legislate. Both are awkward to observe.
Who can carry guns, where, and why are questions in play. Even though God is allowed to pack, weapons are not the answer. Spread randomly among the populace, they provide neither safety nor security. Yes, they provide a means of killing. But from what I can tell, God is not a big fan of killing or even of self-defense. Self-sacrifice, yes. Self-defense, no. This is very hard to contemplate. Maybe God’s creation has a lot of humorous quirks embedded to make life a little more mysterious, but it is very, very unlikely God approves of killing in God’s name–or anyone’s name.
How do I know this?
In one of my unfinished novels, the main character’s name is Tender. An unusual name for a strapping young man, the son of a tall American soldier. But his Korean mother liked the sound and meaning as she considered various English words to name this unlikely offspring. Of course, I’m the author of this novel, so I invented this Korean mother and named her child myself.
Tender: Fragile, sensitive, easily hurt, often bruised, gentle: the tender green of newly sprouted seeds. With my ranch background, tender also means easy to chew. A tender cut of beef, vegetables cooked until they’re tender… And then there’s the transactional meaning; you can tender your resignation—always a tempting option. And finally, there’s legal tender–anything recognized by law as a means to settle debt or meet a financial obligation.
The novel isn’t finished and may never be. This is due in part to the fact that God emerged from the pages, and I realized God’s name is Tender, and it frightened me. It still does. God is gentle and kind, easily bruised, willing to let us flounder and resign from even our most basic human duties. God sprouts vulnerable in the deep purple light. And God steps in repeatedly to settle serious debt. Sure, God jokes around. God chases turkeys. God rocks herself to sleep among a million spinning planets. But this is the awful truth; one of God’s names is Tender.
7 thoughts on “Tender”
Good morning, Rita,
I have just read aloud the whole New Testament Epistle called 1st John. (Translated by the Greek Orthodox scholar, David Bentley Hart in 2017.) I wish for a good theologian to help me understand the concept of the” whole cosmos rests entirely upon the wicked one” 1st John 5:19. Thank you for working in your novel and recognizing God the Good One rising from the pages with the name of TENDER.
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Hi Elizabeth. Nice work continuing to read, think, and contemplate. Wisdom is so illusive! I’m pretty sure the problems of good/evil and omnipotent/consciousness will plague us our entirely lives…probably supposed to. Thanks for your comment.
You wrote another great essay, Rita. Thank you. And may all guns be taxed like crazy and require mega dollars of insurance to own them, thus creating some financial assistance for those who are vulnerable.
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Hi Kathy. Weirdly, I wrote you a note back, but it doesn’t seem to have posted. Totally agree!!
Yes, taxes and sensible education and insurance and….did I mention sensible? Thanks, Kathy.
This made me laugh: “In Montana, wild turkey mating season coincides with our efforts to legislate. Both are awkward to observe.” You make me laugh. God does too. I now look forward to reading you each Sunday, like the paper. Got to you late today, but glad I did.
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Thanks Polly. It made me laugh when the vision came into focus. Glad you saw the irony :).