Not long ago, God and I were kneading dough, trying to time things so the smell of fresh bread would greet our guests at the door. Homemade sourdough is one of my staples, and I wanted to impress these acquaintances with my earthiness. I had a hunch they were our kind of people.
Most of us need a few homies; a posse, an inner circle of those who know us well enough to hold our fears and failures–and reveal their own. Recently a chunk of our inner circle fell to the forces of mortality, and the wound is still tender, keeping me acutely aware that anyone can fall at any moment and no longer be. God puts the dough in a cool place to slow the rise. She gives me a knowing glance. “You’re ambivalent, aren’t you?” she asks.
“Yeah,” I say. “There are days I think it’s best to be disconnected. Less risk. Less pain.”
“Slight correction, if I may?” God says. “What you mean is that the illusion of being disconnected offers a bit of respite, but…”
I hold my hand up. Mercifully, the Center of All that Is and Isn’t, the Author, the Plot, the Weaver of the Tapestry, the Queen of Connection stops talking. I know where this is headed. I know about Oneness, and I know about loss. Many’s the time I’ve tried to make God understand how it feels to be on my side of the perpetual falling away, but God only sees it as falling into, not away. I think that’s callous and naïve. God thinks I’m tiresome and unsympathetic. So, once in a while, to show God how hard it can be, I sing to her–usually James Taylor’s Fire and Rain–and she cries a little for our sakes. But being the thing we fall into is also hard. She borrows Paul Simon (himself, a borrower of ancient hymns) and sings to me.
“…I’ve often felt forsaken, and certainly misused. But I’m all right, I’m all right. I’m just weary to my bones. Still, you don’t expect to be bright and bon vivant so far away from home, so far away from home.”
And I cry a little for her sake. The best homies remind us we aren’t home, and the wisest among us realize there is no home, only the lonely journey and the shared and cherished resting places. Most dreams have been driven to their knees, but it’s all right. It’s all right. Even when exhausted, God kneels alongside the dream. And shatters with the dream. And sings.
The oven is ready, the table set. We will break bread together, drink leftover wine, and in those rare moments, we will bravely partake of a singular and temporary joy.